Severn Project brings tidal culture to life

Issue date: 29 June 2009

Tide Lands - a contemporary dance production by Gloucestershire dancers A cast of characters from eel fishermen and tattooed sailors to a cycling bird watcher and a murderous goose hunter – all linked by the mighty Severn river - will be brought to life in Bristol's Alma Tavern theatre on 11 July. The animation of the poem A Sleepwalk on the Severn, by poet Alice Oswald, is touring as part of this summer's Severn Project aimed at celebrating the communities whose lives are linked by the river.

Other events include the Tewkesbury and Lydney Festivals, family events, poetry workshops, music and dance. The Severn Project is aimed at inspiring people living along the river Severn to get involved in creating new music, songs, dance and street performances influenced by the river, the landscape and cultural heritage.

Dr Owain Jones, from the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) is studying the impact and benefits of this cultural project which has involved two years of planning and partnership building between local artists and community arts organisations along the length of the Severn. The research institute is a collaboration between the Universities of the West of England and Gloucestershire, Hartpury College and the Royal Agricultural College.

The Severn Project aims to engage young people, develop creative skills, build vibrant networks, entertain local communities, promote cultural tourism and contribute to local economies. Professional artists include choreographers and dancers, composers and musicians, poets and performers working with local communities, young people and schools to develop a unique entertainment and learning programme. The Severn Project has been awarded the Inspire mark as part of the Cultural Olympiad that runs for four years leading up to the London Olympics in 2012.

Owain said, “My research interests in place, landscape and communities include an interest in 'tidal culture' – that is the way tidal rhythms affect local landscapes, places and cultures. In particular, I have a great interest in the lower reaches of the Severn and its communities.

“I will be evaluating the impact and benefits of the wide range of events taking place for four groups – the artists, participants, audiences and local businesses.”

For full details on events, visit

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