Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been invited to participate in the Multi-Story Water project, you may find the following information useful to consider. Please ask us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. You can email us at [email protected]
What is the purpose of the project?
We are seeking to understand the ways in which people living near rivers relate to the water in their environment. For example, do you have particular feelings or opinions about the River Frome and the way it is looked after or managed? Do you feel personally connected to or disconnected from the river? Do you have particular memories or stories that you associate with it?
We will gather a range of responses to these and other questions by talking to members of the Eastville community. This will help inform a wider understanding of these issues, and this will be beneficial to the policy makers who share responsibility for the water in your environment. At the same time, we are hoping to engage members of the community in further discussion of these issues: after all, we all share some responsibility for the river and its condition.
We are hoping, in particular, to develop site-based, participatory arts activities that involve community members in reflecting further on the local environment — through storytelling, drama, music, street art, or whatever else seems appropriate. The responses and stories gathered in the initial survey stage will help inform the development of this creative process.
Why have I been asked to participate?
You have been approached because you live close to the River Frome, in Eastville. This is one of two case-study areas that have been selected for the Multi-Story Water project: the other is in Shipley, West Yorkshire (through which run the River Aire and its tributary river Bradford Beck). We are seeking survey responses from around 100 homes in your area, and we will also be approaching members of local community groups and forums.
Do I have to take part?
No. It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part, and to what extent. This is a research project, and your decision to participate (or not) in no way affects any rights or benefits you are normally entitled to. You can also choose to withdraw at any time without giving a reason.
What do I have to do?
If you decide to take part in the initial survey, we will ask you a number of simple questions, to which you should respond as you think best. You do not have to provide your name or any other personal information. You are free to contribute as much or as little time as you like to answering the survey questions.
If you would like, subsequently, to be interviewed in more detail (for example, if you have particular stories or ideas that you wish to share with us), we will need your contact information in order to get back in touch with you. You will also be asked to sign a consent form, allowing us to make an audio recording of your interview. However, your responses will still be anonymous, and you can withdraw from participation at any time without giving a reason.
If you, or any member of your family, would like to volunteer to participate in the creative arts project that we will be developing in your area, we would be delighted. This is a little more involved, because we would ask volunteers to dedicate time, over a period of several weeks, to participating in workshops and/or rehearsals, and developing creative ideas. You could contribute creative skills you already have, or learn new ones with guidance from our facilitators. Again, you would be free to withdraw from this process at any time without giving a reason, though obviously we hope you’ll want to see it through to the end!
What are the possible benefits of taking part?
Taking part is voluntary, and we cannot pay anybody for their time. However, we hope that you will enjoy the opportunity to talk about, and reflect on, the place you live in. If you choose to participate in the creative process, you will also have the opportunity to work with professional arts facilitators, and express yourself in various ways. We hope you will feel that you can learn something new, just as we hope to learn things from you.
During the course of the project, we will also be hosting various talks and discussions with experts on topics relating to the water environment and our creative process. These sessions will be open to everyone, and we hope they will prove informative and stimulating.
Will my contribution to this project be kept confidential?
Yes. All the information that we collect during the course of the research will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous. Audio recordings of interviews might be transcribed as anonymised text, but no other use will be made of them without your written permission, and no one outside the project will be allowed access to the original voice recordings.
If you decide to participate in the creative process (e.g. as a performer), then you will probably want to take the credit due to you! Even in this instance, however, documentation of the performance (video, photographs etc.) will not be shown or published publicly without the written permission of the people that feature in them. Nor will any such documentation be stored in an archive or online without the participants’ written permission.
What will happen to the results of the research project?
At the end of the project, we will prepare a report on what has been accomplished, and guidelines for the possible replication of this creative engagement process in other settings. Again, though, no participant will be identified individually unless we have their explicit permission to do so. The report and guideliness will be made publicly available online.
Who is organising and funding the research?
This project is funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council. It is being organised and run by Professor Stephen Bottoms (University of Leeds) and Professor Lindsey McEwen (University of the West of England), with the advice and participation of a range of partners including the Environment Agency, local councils, schools and colleges.