The deadline for our extreme weather photography competition has been extended to Friday 14th September. Please do send us your entries – it is FREE and you could win a prize including £20 Amazon/iTunes vouchers!

The competition details are given below. Good luck!

Calling ALL photographers of Eastville, whether you use a disposable camera, phone or SLR! The Multi-Story Water Project invites you to submit your photographs on the theme of Extreme Weather in the UK. From last winter’s big freeze to this summer’s flash floods – how did you record or experience the weird and wonderful weather patterns that have frustrated, flummoxed and fascinated us over the past few years? Or, thinking completely outside the box, what else does ‘extreme weather’ mean to you?

Your entries will be displayed outdoors at the celebratory Multi-Story Water Weekend, 29-30thSeptember.

You can submit up to 3 photos per person. Please state when and where taken, plus a sentence or two about what inspired you to take it/them. (The Guardian In Pictures weekly competition is full of great examples of creative photographic responses to a theme)

PRIZES will be awarded to a winner and a runner-up in each competition, and include£20 Amazon/iTunes vouchers.

Friday 14th September

SUBMISSION Entries should be submitted by email or post with name and contact details  to  or
Multi-Story Water Project
c/o Nancy Campbell
Faculty of Environment & Technology (FET)
UWE Bristol
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
BS16 1QY

Remember, the competitions open to all ages. Winning photos will be selected by a judging panel that will include representatives from the local community, the Environment Agency, UWE and Bristol City Council.


Just when you were running out of things to do on rainy days this summer, Multi-Story Water has paddled to the rescue with TWO, FREE arts competitions for ALL ages, with a chance to win £20 of iTunes/Amazon vouchers in each one. Interested? Read on…

Do you like to draw and design? Are you passionate about celebrating the River Frome? Do you want to see your art work shown around Eastville this September?

If so, then we need you to design an eye-catching, river-themed poster for the Multi-Story Water Weekend 29th-30th September! The winning design will be used to promote this celebratory weekend of events including: dance and circus performances around the river and under the M32, storytelling, science and wildlife river walks, community film and photography exhibition, street art, face-painting and more!

Your design should be A4 portrait size and you should remember to include:

  • title of the weekend – Multi-Story Water Weekend!
  • dates – Saturday & Sunday, 29th-30th September
  • and please leave some space for us to add our logo, web address and final details about the events and locations…

The winning designs will be used to produce the official event posters, but we will share all entries on the website and also endeavour to display them during the final weekend.

(If you’d like some help with layout ideas for your poster, you can see an example of one of our earlier posters here)

Calling ALL photographers of Eastville, whether you use a disposable camera, phone or SLR! The Multi-Story Water Project invites you to submit your photographs on the theme of Extreme Weather in the UK. From last winter’s big freeze to this summer’s flash floods – how did you record or experience the weird and wonderful weather patterns that have frustrated, flummoxed and fascinated us over the past few years? Or, thinking completely outside the box, what else does ‘extreme weather’ mean to you?

Your entries will be used to accompany live performance and/or to produce a slideshow that will be projected outdoors at the celebratory Multi-Story Water Weekend, 29-30th September.

You can submit up to 3 photos per person. Please state when and where taken, plus a sentence or two about what inspired you to take it/them. (The Guardian In Pictures weekly competition is full of great examples of creative photographic responses to a theme)

PRIZES will be awarded to a winner and a runner-up in each competition, and include £20 Amazon/iTunes vouchers.

POSTER Monday 20th August
PHOTOS Friday 7th September
(Please note earlier date for poster to allow us to get it produced in time to promote the September event!)

SUBMISSION Entries to either competition should be submitted by post OR email with name and contact details  to:
Multi-Story Water Project
c/o Nancy Campbell
Faculty of Environment & Technology (FET)
UWE Bristol
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
BS16 1QY

Please label your envelope/email ‘POSTER’ or ‘PHOTO’ (or both if you are entering together!)

Remember, the competitions are open to all ages. Winning designs and photos will be selected by a judging panel that will include representatives from the local community, the Environment Agency, UWE and Bristol City Council.


Frome in the Room – Arts Workshop 16th June

The Multi-Story Water arts process officially set sail last month (it’s taken a while for this story to float downstream onto the blog!) with the first workshop at Glenfrome School on Saturday 16th June. A big thank you to everyone who came along and shared their enthusiasm for all things riparian.

Using a heady mix of scrapstore delights, scissors, glue and that other great universal adhesive (imagination not Pritt-Stick), each group created their own artistic representation of the Frome-in-the-Room. Rivers sprung over and under tables, which became topographical features, weirs and waterfalls, or concrete bridges to carry busy motorways. Water flowed into and out of tunnels, whirlpools spun mercilessly, canoeists dropped off the edge of the falls, trees sprung up – and fell down – while, in peaceful stretches amongst the lush vegetation, kingfishers perched and wildlife calmly flourished. It was clear that the river was very present in the creative imagination of the residents of Eastville.

After an indoor picnic lunch, the school gym floor became a boat-building yard and driftwood sticks (collected by me from Aberystwyth beach, the day after the flash floods there on June 9/10th), seaweed, willow from a Fromeside tree in Eastville Park, leaves, and raffia were used to create rafts, boats and crafts to be floated down the Frome.

Using a shopping trolley (one that we’d captured after it had gone feral in the Napier Road underpass) that was speedily converted into a pirate ship (thanks to the genius of Read and Kath), we transported the miniature boats down to the park. It was a soggy crew of rain-coated pirates who processed through the rain behind it, but all the boats proved river-worthy and floated off downstream, though the willows near Stapleton Bridge may have proved too difficult a bankside obstacle to navigate.

We ended the day – courtesy of Chrissy and Justin (thank you!) – with a sneak peak at the Frome as it runs between Cottrell and Heath Roads. Kath told us it was like a ‘Heathrow airport’ for kingfishers earlier in the summer. But they didn’t get their raincoats on to give us a display. But maybe, just maybe they will be making a special guest appearance later on in the project…. (guesses on the back of a postcard)

A huge thank you to all who attended and especially to Mrs O’Callaghan and Glenfrome School for providing a fantastic venue.

Please keep watching this space for the next events in the autumn, and and please feel free to keep adding suggestions or ideas for other river-related arts and performance workshops you might like to take part in or lead, as we progress towards our final celebratory weekend on 29-30 September.

In the following images, you should be able to find, creative culverts, the M32, freshwater crabs, canoes, rafts, desert islands, great crested newts, waterfalls, whirlpools and water snakes, stick-boats with leaf sails, a pirate ship shopping trolley and a boat launch…

with thanks to Chrissy and Steve for the additional photos…

ar ôl y llifogydd 2

On a more positive note, with all the flood debris including lots of freshwater inland wood, reeds and leaves washed up on the beach, I went down to collect some for our boat-making session at the first Multi-Story arts workshop at Glenfrome School this weekend.

I thought I’d take advantage of some rare sun on the beach to practice designing, making and launching a boat…

sea weed rigging

under the jetty

deciding where to launch (sea weed leash so we didn’t lose it! it will be coming to the workshop on Sat!)

it floats!

I’ve collected some weird and wonderful materials from Welsh seashore and Bristolian riverside, I look forward to working with all the budding boat-builders of Bristol to see what kind of varied craft they come up with to float down the Frome on Saturday.

Photos by Sara Penrhyn Jones (diolch!!)

ar ôl y llifogydd ~ after the floods

“I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river
Is a strong brown god – sullen, untamed and intractable,
Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier;
Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce;
Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges.
The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten
By the dwellers in cities – ever, however, implacable.
Keeping his seasons, and rages, destroyer, reminder
Of what men choose to forget…”

T. S. Eliot The Dry Salvages | Four Quartets (excerpt)

A few years ago, I made a durational performance piece little bird, listening with my mum (in her 70s) which we periodically revive at different venues. While I dance and recite from memory T. S Eliot’s Four Quartets, she tells family stories to the audience over mobile phone from Aberystwyth, where she lives and I grew up. The stories are linked to the images from text and the place these poems occupy in our lives. In this way, the poems link us through time and space.

The third quartet – called The Dry Salvages – is associated with the element of water, and these particular words above have been racing through my head this weekend.

Coming back home to work with some local dancers in a remote woodland centre further down the coast on Friday, I was amazed by what I returned to on Saturday. We emerged muddy and unkempt from the sodden woods where we’d been dancing (blissfully, with no mobile signal) to sudden miles of closed roads, traffic tailbacks, RNLI dinghies, police coastguards, helicopters and apocalyptic scenes. Five feet of water racing through the main street in Talybont, houses flooded, caravan parks submerged, bridges bulging, animals washed up on the beach. The statistics were growing exponentially like Chinese whispers – by the time I got home after an hour in traffic crawling the last 3 miles in to town, mum was telling me that 1000 people had been airlifted (it was about 150) but, still it was shocking. My old school opposite my mum’s house was set up as a refuge for the flood victims, many of them holidaying in caravan parks along the River Leri which runs into the sea at Borth.

When I first started working for the Multi-Story Water project, I remarked to the team that I’d never had much experience of flooding until I moved to Herefordshire (the Wye floods quite regularly and rapidly, usually in response to heavy rainfall in Mid-Wales!) because ‘it nevers floods in Aberystwyth’… How strange that I am eating those words now, in the middle of the project. How strange that I’ve been looking at pictures of the River Frome in flood, filming the open sluice gates and then seeing different brown water rushing across familiar childhood roads and submerging the caravan sites that, before they altered the water mains pressure, used to reduce our tap water to a trickle in the summer…

When I was learning Welsh at school, our teacher Mrs Jones used to remind us (in a probably rather un-feminist way) that the gender of the word ‘tywydd’ (weather) was feminine because ‘it is so unpredictable, like women’. Extending the negative stereotype, the word for flooding itself (llifogydd) is masculine, perhaps because it is so destructive a force. These events have really brought home to me (literally) just how unpredictable, rapid and destructive those things can be.

A strong brown god… the River Frome and the River Leri


Opening Arts Workshop, Saturday 16th June 11-5, Glenfrome School

You are warmly invited to the first arts workshop of the Multi-Story Water project. There will be a mixture of artist-led indoor and outdoor sessions to encourage and explore creative approaches to the stories and spaces of the River Frome. It will include a guided activity trail along unusual spaces of the river as it flows from Eastville Park to IKEA, and the opportunity to make and launch your own miniature story boat from natural materials.

Everyone is welcome, no matter what your level of skill or experience in making or moving, painting, performing or playing! Join us for the full day, or just the indoor morning session if you are curious and want to find out more. Please remember to bring waterproofs, suitable footwear and clothes you feel comfortable to move and explore in.

Attendance is FREE with lunch and refreshments provided

Please RSVP by 12th June to Jess Allen, Arts Facilitator  [email protected] | 07949 474155 letting us know  the number of adults and children attending and any specific dietary and/or access requirements. Please note that children under 14 are very welcome, but will need to be accompanied by an adult.


Spotted at the end of the gardens in Cottrell Road that back on to the river (with sightings also being reported from the nearby allotments) are these three Canada geese and their nine offspring….

With thanks to Chrissy and Justin for sharing this beautiful photo.

(If anyone has more photos of the goslings or the river in general that they’d like to share for uploading here, please do email us.)

Multi-Story Maps and Minutes – Write-Up of the First Community Stakeholder Event 23rd May

The first community stakeholder meeting of the Multi-Story Water project fell on a beautiful summers’ evening last week and it was great to see an equally warm enthusiasm for the river and its sites, sights and stories.

This meeting – which brought together members of the community with the project team and representatives from the Environment Agency and Bristol City Council amongst others – was designed to get preliminary input on a series of events and activities throughout the summer connected with water.  The project will explore how people in the area around the Frome live with the river, and we will be led by local people as to the kinds of events and places residents would enjoy.

We are sharing the outputs of this first event so that it inspires local residents to think about their own ideas for events, venues, stories and groups to involve over the summer to make a series of activities that you would like to be part of.  We want your thoughts, so please let us know – by leaving a comment or sending us an email – if you have any other suggestions or if you would like to be part of anything mentioned!

1. Maps
After the introductions to the team and project, the first task of the evening was to ‘pin the tale on the map’ – annotating a giant map of the river as it flows from Eastville Park to the sluices at IKEA – with the answers to five different prompts:

  1. What makes you happy about the river?
  2. Where do you like to be by/on/in the river,
  3. Where do you notice or look our for changes in the river water? (e.g. low water, cleanliness, flooding)
  4. Where are the places you’d like to make or see performances or events that celebrate the river and its stories?
  5. …And a final ‘freestyle’, adding in any dreams, thoughts, wishes and desires for the river, the community and its future too.

As you can see, the map was too big for us to photograph in just one image to display properly here…


and still be able to read the brilliant annotations, a few of which you can see below…

So, currently the results from this mapping exercise are all being captured electronically through notes and linking the annotations to an electronic illustration of the river, though ways of also linking the results with an online map are also being investigated. But in the meantime, these maps will also be coming along to as many future events as possible to capture as many different community perspectives on the river – so there will plenty more chances to add your own tale to the map. Watch this space!

2. Groups
Next had a group carousel exercise, where we asked a series of other questions. The first was around groups in the community -who are the local groups and who could or should be involved in this project? The suggestions were:

Environment groups

  • Bristol Permaculture Group
  • Snuff Mills Action Group
  • Stapleton Conservation Society
  • Friends of the River Frome
  • Eastville Park Action Group

Faith groups

  • M32/Napier Rd Mosque, Eastville Mosque

Sports and activity groups

  • “Wheelers” (in-line skaters etc)


  • Easton Cowboys/Girls (football and netball)
  • Glenfrome School

Other groups

  • Eastville Club (in car park of IKEA)
  • RSA Concrete and Flowers project
  • Easton Energy Group
  • Neighbourhood Watch
  • Cameo – Women’s Group
  • Bristol Radical History Group

3. Venues
Then we asked, what are the local spaces and places that might be good for arts activities, performances, walks, meetings and parties?

Very local spaces – indoor

  • Glenfrome School (Summer Fair 30 June 12-4)
  • New Friends Hall, Purdown
  • Stapleton Church Hall
  • Merchants Arms Pub - including the cellars for scary arts events!

Very local spaces – outdoor

  • Environment Agency Eastville Depot – maybe have an open day?
  • The site by the sub-station opposeite the Hungry Horse (Merchants Arms) pub
  • Under the M32
  • Allotments – would be interesting – for walks, birdwatching, arts events
  • Glenfrome School outdoor classroom

Residents gardens

  • Bridge Farm (need to ask)
  • Miki’s Garden
  • Lin’s Garden
  • Wendy’s Garden

Slightly out of the project area

  • IKEA Café?  They have a community worker
  • Transition Easton, Grofun, Eastside Roots
  • Colston’s School (funding from Merchant Venturers?)
  • Purdown Detachments – Army Cadets
  • Frome Valley Walkway
  • Stapleton Village Hall

Faith spaces

  • Mosque
  • Sikh Temple

4. Events
Next we asked what do you like doing – dance, walks, boating, art, making things…?

Get togethers

  • Cottrell Road Street Party – haven’t had one for ages and they are memorable! Used to put notes round to people and then come round and visit to see in what way they could participate – make food, make bunting, put up bunting, do dressing up etc
  • Street Coffee Mornings during the day

Environment related

  • Like to find about water quality and diversity of life in the Frome – how do we get maximum diversity in the river?  Could include the Water Framework Directive
  • Workshop on pest control
  • Transition Eastville
  • History of the Frome – natural history, migratory trout, fossils etc.
  • Guided trails by local experts
  • Geocaching trails along the river – with GPS?  (could link to GreenMapping)
  • GreenMapping the river

Arts/creative/physical activities

  • Art project using all the trash collected by the Environment Agency at the Easville Depot
  • Singing – old songs – for older people to teach younger people and vice versa – could be pre M32 – et 1950s theme.
  • Open air Open mic – retro/jazz/acoustic/
  • Yoga/Tai Chi in tranquil spots
  • Dragon boat racing!
  • Recreating a boating party on the lake – bring a boat Wrap the M32 pillars with IKEA fabric (IKEA has a community liaison officer)


5. Stories

And finally, we asked where are the stories? Do you have any? Who might? Can you suggest books or materials that might be of use?


  • M-shed – extant oral histories – a starting point
  • Eastville library, Muller Road – photos, stories, pre/post M32, Stapleton Gasworks
  • Is there a history of Eastville?  Yes – a book.
  • Glenside Hospital Museum

 Other sources of stories

  • Heath House Priory Hospital
  • Glenfrome Primary Schools is the thread in this community  – it is celebrating 60th Jubilee this year!
  • Bishops Palace (Colston’s School)
  • Sikh Temple, Stapleton Road
  • Bridge Farm
  • Individuals  – who was flooded?  Especially in 1968
  • Facebook site for Eastville in the 1900s

Water stories about…

  • Boiling Wells St Werburghs spring used as a supply of fresh water to ships in the harbour
  • Pack Bridge
  • Wickham Court  – Roundheads and Cavaliers stopped before the truce where Robert the royalist walked out of Bristol with no arms drawn
  • Canoe explorations!
  • Friends of the Frome
  • Loss of the Frome Valley Walkway
  • Stories of ley lines

Other stories – wider than water

  • 13 Arches gone, M32 came!
  • The story of the stolen lampposts (1890s lampposts were taken to Cotham!)  and St Werburghs gas lamp
  • Eastville Market
  • Football Ground
    • Football Club – Purdown Predators?
    • Fairground in winter and Rovers Ground
    • Rovers Supporters Club
    • Eastville Stadium (Rovers) dog track. The underpass from Stapleton Rd was built to serve the football ground and dog track.
    • Cottrell Road street parties
  • Wesley’s speech at Baptist Mill

This is a really great starting point to help us carry the project forward together – in terms of both the gathering of stories and narratives and the arts and creative work that we hope will now start to unfold. So, a huge thank you to everyone who came and shared ideas and energy at this meeting. Please do leave any thoughts or additional suggestions as comments to this blog posting or email . We look forward to seeing you again and meeting more of you at the next project event which will be our first arts day on Saturday 16th June at Glenfrome School – more details to follow in the next blog!

Niagara Falls on the Frome

If anyone spotted a short girl in a red anorak geeking out with a phone camera at the EA suice gates on Tuesday afternoon, that will have been me (Jess, the arts facilitator on the project). I thought I’d take advantage of the sun bravely venturing  out, to make another tour of the ‘hood, seeking out the sites (and sights) along the river and under the motorway where nature meets concrete meets people meets water – and lots of it.

My original plan was to drift upstream, trying to capture objects, sights and sounds from a new angle than the way we might view them in the everyday; a lens through which to look at these places differently – and especially as spaces we could use to take and make ‘art’ and tell stories, whether that will be through singing, dancing, walking, knitting, acting, juggling, spoon-playing, skating, drawing, beatboxing….whatever the talents, interests and desires of the multi-skilled folks of the ‘ville may be. Like Alice’s rabbithole, I was looking for a way to fall into Wonderland, Eastville-style.

But I got far more than I bargained for at the sluice gates – which were open to allow the river to by-pass the city (so I’ve learned!) – and there was high drama as the Frome raced and frothed furiously through, creating a fine mist of spray. Like a stereotypical tourist, I just couldn’t stop filming, whilst grinning and exclaiming excitedly to passers-by ‘It’s just like Niagara Falls!’. From Eastville to geeksville…