EGU22-11694, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Assimilated Watercolours: Pop up art exhibitions in Care Homes

Sarah L Dance1, Hugo Dalton2, Clare Carolin3, Joanna Clark1, Nerea Ferrando Jorge1, Helen Hooker1, and David Mason1
Sarah L Dance et al.
  • 1University of Reading, United Kingdom
  • 3Freelance Art Curator, UK

We present an ongoing series of pop-up exhibitions in residential care homes around Windsor, United Kingdom (UK).  Each display was created to give communities access to science and an understanding of research taking place in their local area. The artworks were created by artist Hugo Dalton from a residency with Prof. Sarah L Dance at the University of Reading, UK. They depict areas of her team’s research into mapping urban flooding by the River Thames. To contextualise the research and to spark interest with elderly viewers, historical watercolours of the area were also exhibited in collaboration with the Royal Collection Trust, Windsor. The watercolour genre has origins which coincide with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution: Watercolour and the picturesque movement can be seen as an early form of climate awareness.  


The scientific research that the collaboration builds on includes a method for detecting flooding in urban areas by merging near real-time satellite observations of flooding from Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) with model-derived flood hazard maps. Watercolour, as a painting medium, mirrors that the way that the data are used: Artists, like scientists, layer together different types of raw information to produce a coherent distillation for the viewer. Dalton painted in the exact locations where the scientific case studies were conducted, and developed these sketches in the studio into a series of artworks paired with scientific information.


For the art installation a frameless mobile fixing system was developed, working closely with the care home staff. This allowed artworks to be easily removed from the wall and inspected up close for residents with limited sight, or moved into the rooms of bed-bound residents. The reverse side of each had a short explanatory text.  Members of care home staff visited the artist’s studio to gain a deeper insight into the art and science. They could then recount this knowledge to their communities, becoming citizen advocates. Staff also used the artworks as starting points for activities.


This science-art collaboration empowers communities to understand and feel proud of science in their local area. The project’s wide reach extended beyond the residents to those who visited the homes, including relatives and their children.  Each paired set of artworks formed a talking point and enlivened the visual surroundings. Being geographically linked to their location the artworks provided a way for residents to share their lived experience of climate change. The future aim is to partner with other venues, including public houses and village halls to widen audience engagement.



How to cite: Dance, S. L., Dalton, H., Carolin, C., Clark, J., Ferrando Jorge, N., Hooker, H., and Mason, D.: Assimilated Watercolours: Pop up art exhibitions in Care Homes, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11694,, 2022.


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