In 2016, Playful Anywhere CIC, a Leeds based social enterprise who “catalyse creativity, connectivity and conviviality” launched Flotsam & Jetsam – two water-themed projects. The projects, Caddis and Water Quest were a reaction to the record-breaking flooding that took place in Leeds on Boxing Day 2015 and the remarkable mobilisation of volunteering in Kirkstall to deal with the impact of the deluge.
Both Flotsam and Jetsam projects, were supported and hosted by TCV at Hollybush. Stories for Caddis were collected at an event organised by Team Kirkstall to thank the volunteers who helped clean up after the flooding and in July 2016 hundreds or people came to Hollybush to enjoy a day of activities at the site, and to take a boat trip on the canal with Safe Anchor Trust, many of them on the Caddis boat.
Later that summer Hollybush hosted Water Quest, four days of water- themed holiday activities for children.
Caddis was a floating art installation aboard Safe Anchor Trust’s workboat Lady Brenda by artist Gemma Latham. It was inspired by the case that an insect called a caddis fly makes to protect its body during its larval stage, a structure that it forms from materials found in its environment. Caddis took inspiration from this industrious insect and incorporated collected information and stories from people in Kirkstall to the Boxing Day 2015 flood, along with data collected along the River Aire. Gemma used this collection from the local environment and incorporated it into the design of Caddis.
Some of the panels from the installation, showed river level and rainfall at various point in Leeds during December 2015, with the peak on Boxing Day. These were displayed at Hollybush on the inside of the barn doors as part of Hollybush @40. The panels formed a shelter over the framework on the boat to form a space for people to contemplate, discuss, celebrate, commiserate the impacts of the flooding while taking a boat trip on the canal. It was a space for us to work out how we could become more resilient to flooding the next time it happens.
Over the top of the data, the smaller pieces displayed here contained advice, anecdotes, stories – some true, some imagined – all of which were collected from people who experienced the flood.
After appearances by Caddis at Kirkstall Art Trail and Light Night, the colourful panels were removed from Lady Brenda and the boat returned to its day to day life as a workboat used by volunteers to keep the waterways in Kirklees clean and tidy. The data panels and a selection of the stories formed part of the 6- month Flood Response exhibition at Leeds Industrial Museum.
Water Quest was four days of art, tech and making for 8-13-year olds during the school holidays.
POP-UP MUSEUM We’ll make our very own museum of water — IN JUST ONE DAY! Join artist and maker Alison Booth and museum experts to build the museum YOU would like to see.
WATER SCIENCE HACK with Domestic Science artist and maker, Ross Dalziel, we’ll build, prototype and code our own water testing equipment. Let’s find out what’s lurking in the water…
MINECRAFT MAP OF KIRKSTALL Join digital artist Gemma Latham for a session where we build the waterways of Kirkstall in Minecraft.
On each day of Water Quest, we spend time making a boat from discarded plastic water bottles intercepted from Leeds City Council’s recycling processes. The boat was completed on the final day, launched and sailed on the canal (see header photo). Canoe instructors from Kirklees Duke of Edinburgh’s Award were on hand to help build the boat and to help us to safely sail it and they also brought along extra kayaks for everyone to get out on the water.