17 May 2018 from 15:30 to 19:00

The Intimate Realities of Water

Sustainability meets Humanities

The Intimate Realities of Water film still

While the concept of sustainability has its roots in the natural sciences, it has become evident that sustainability is as much about social and cultural values as it is about biophysical relationships. To inspire this notion, the internationally recognised scientist and activist prof. Adrian Parr has been invited to share her views on the global water challenge and how to use water data in a more humanised context. Dr. Parr is Professor and Director of the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center at the University of Cincinnati, and UNESCO Water Chair.


Time: 16-19hrs (doors open at 15.30hrs)

Discussants: Prof. Annelies Zoomers and Prof. Appy Sluijs.

Hosted by Prof. Rosi Braidotti, Dr. Rick Dolphijn and Prof. Maarten Hajer.

Supported by the faculty of Humanities, the research focus area Cultures, Citizenship and Human Rights, the Urban Futures Studio and Pathways to Sustainability.

The Intimate Realities of Water Project

Documentary by UC professors follows everyday lives in Africa's largest urban slum and may help shape policy in Nairobi

Water statistics highlight the scope and magnitude of the global water challenge. What they don’t illustrate is how water scarcity, contamination, rising sea levels, and changes to the hydrological cycle affect everyday life on the ground. They also don’t expose the politics of water access, the failed experiments in water management, nor the social and cultural hurdles that impede the success and equitable distribution of water development projects. How we use and interpret water data can foster and enhance important social, cultural, economic, and political changes. The success of water projects designed to address the world’s growing water challenges depends upon culturally appropriate solutions that are alert to political obstacles, attentive of social biases, and responsive to economic inequities. In order to achieve this, it is important to humanize and contextualize water data. Exploring more creative ways to use water data is central to achieving these goals. The Intimate Realities of Water Project is a transdisciplinary public humanities project that combines storytelling, the moving image and sound, oral history, and philosophical reflection to humanize and contextualize water data.

Prof. Adrian Parr

Adrian Parr

Adrian Parr is an internationally recognized environmental, political, and cultural thinker and activist. She is the Director of the UC Taft Research Center and a UNESCO water chair of water access and sustainability. She is a founding signatory of the Geneva Actions on Human Water Security. In 2011 Parr received the UC Rieveschl Award for Scholarly and Creative Work.

She is the founder and director of Louder Than A Bomb Cincy, a citywide youth spoken word competition in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is the producer of three public humanities projects. These consist of the multi-award winning film series (with Sean and Jon Hughes), The Intimate Realities of Water Project, and two online series of short and engaging interviews with prominent activists and eminent scholars – TAFTtalks and H2Otalks – on topics ranging from violence, to migration, water rights, and climate change. She is a writer, public speaker, community organizer, and filmmaker. She has published numerous books and articles and has been interviewed for her views on social and environmental justice by The New York Times, public radio and television. She has published op-eds in The LA Review of Books, Al Jazeera, The World Financial Review, and The European Magazine.

The driving force behind all her work is the question of how to overcome ecological and economic scarcity. She asserts that environmental devastation and climate change are crimes against humanity. Parr works at the intersection of environmental politics, water access, sustainable development, and the built environment, advocating for what she calls ‘bastard solidarities’ between reform-based politics and confrontational political strategies. As governments, policy makers, and the courts worldwide struggle to redress environmental degradation and the harms experienced by vulnerable communities, Parr looks to themes of equity, friendship, and generosity as starting points for change. She argues in favor of creating social models premised upon open-minded, ecologically conscious, non-violent, and participatory ways of living. She maintains an inclusive emancipatory political imagination will help get us there.

Prof. Adrian Parr will also be giving a lecture during the Annual Deleuze Symposium on 16 May. Venue & time: Utrecht University, Drift 13, Auditorium D13 - 004; 9-12.30hrs.

Start date and time
17 May 2018 15:30
End date and time
17 May 2018 19:00