An Art Inspired Water Forum: Using Art to Educate and Advocate

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If you are a resident or a tourist in Marseille this week, you have probably noticed that not only are you surrounded by a beautiful Mediterranean port packed with water related industry and activities, but also by numerous exhibits celebrating the beauty of water.  Art is an amazing way to communicate because it takes many shapes and forms while allowing people to interact in very personal ways. Art speaks. Art educates. Art can be in your face, shouting out at viewers as a huge sculpture, or subtly displayed in a corner shop, quietly awaiting the passerby. Currently, many interesting exhibits showcasing water are available throughout the city and Forum. Several unique examples of educational and artistic displays shined through a variety of formats.

One exhibit displayed in the Place du Général de Gaulle, which also had its own great water feature, was created inside white shipping containers. The exterior signage identified the exhibit with bright blue water forum signs that lead you into a cool, shady container lined with light brown pressed wood and colorful oceanic photos.  The photography displayed was large in scale and full of oceanic life. Just outside of the container was signage telling the visitor about ecological infrastructure and rehabilitation.  The installation exhibit also included a Forum representative with whom you can converse about the photos or ecological restoration plans.

A second exhibit, found across from the tourist center at the port, was unassuming from the outside, yet still beckoned you inside for a peek at what was waiting. This space was filled with small partitions arranged to display hundreds of printed stamps and postcards recounting ocean life and tourism. There was also a friendly curator available to answer questions about the collection.

Lastly, inside the Forum, there were numerous exceptionally artistic exhibits created to educate and entertain the thousands of conference attendees. Interactive exhibits demonstrated innovative designs and information in a visually pleasing way. One example of a enjoyable exhibit was the “1% Solidarity: International Solidarity in Water and Sanitation” exhibit showing interactions between topics with colorful ribbons. This goes to show how information on finance and cooperation can be made more interesting and attractive to a wider public.

Art is a fantastic way to educate and connect people, perhaps describing two of the most important objectives defining the progress of a successful conference. Art skillfully suggests solutions to problems while providing an alternate means of vision for people who aspire to inspire. The abundance of aesthetic work at the forum demonstrates just how important an emotionally touching or interactive message is to widespread water resolution communication.

To view more art around Marseille and the World Water Forum, head to our Flickr page. Art was also used as an education, communication and advocacy tool at the World Resources Forum 2011. To view WRF art, click here. 

One thought on “An Art Inspired Water Forum: Using Art to Educate and Advocate

  1. heidi, great topic to start talking about the materiality of water. (we) in the west most of the time (apart from summer holidays) forget about the fact that water is a beatiful material which water we can not take for granted nor its existence, hence the way we perceive water and consequently how we use it (consume it) is disentangled from our body and minds. I am excited to hear more about this topic in such a high political context. How are participants and worksophs deal with the issue that water is a material people can and have to connect to with both their body and mind in an era where we mostly only read (hence affects our mind) about how important it is to be thoughtful about the usage of water…

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