Life sustaining, thirst quenching, essential; water is precious for all living beings. The Social Life of Water is a collaborative community exhibit that explores fundamental relationships with water throughout the Okanagan Valley. The exhibition will use art, audio and visual media, and storytelling to explore the diverse meanings that water holds and has held for the many communities, cultures and interest groups in the valley over time. This multi-disciplinary exhibit extends beyond the reaches of a traditional museum display, calling on the community to join in this pertinent discussion. The exhibition will take visitors through a journey of the Okanagan watershed, exploring relationships we have had with the watershed over time. In addition to exploring the past and present, the exhibition will examine our relationship with water in the future, inviting participants to imagine how a responsible relationship with water might look. Drench yourself in this ongoing collaboration and become inspired to share your water knowledge via the online contribution form, which will inform the development of a virtual exhibition website. This fascinating, immersive exhibit will be on display until the spring of 2017 and will host a series of public events throughout this time.
Location: Okanagan Heritage Museum (470 Queensway Avenue)
Open to the Public: October 2016
Exhibition website: watersoftheokanagan.ca

The Social Life of Water has been made possible through the dedicated collaboration of a variety of partners, including: the Kelowna Museums Society, the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the UBCO Centre for Culture and Technology, the Sncewips Heritage Museum, the Okanagan Basin Water Board and WaterCycles Consulting.
The Kelowna Museums Society is thrilled to publicly launch this exhibit this fall at the Okanagan Heritage Museum. In addition to providing gallery space and funding for this project, KMS’ exhibits, archives and programming staff have been instrumental in bringing photographic archival content, curatorial and fabrication support to this expansive collaboration.
The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) brings the voices of syilx elders and Knowledge Keepers to this exhibition, offering an essential indigenous perspective that depicts the significance of water as it infiltrates every aspect of life. Explore the cultural reverence of water via informative content, historical photographs and community archives, collected and curated by ONA researchers. Enjoy the rich sensory experience provided by unique audio, visual and video media content.
Sncewips Heritage Museum is honoured to contribute curatorial content, photographs, text, video and audio from a unique syilx viewpoint and original artwork by Coralee Miller. Discover the vibrant history, cultural reliance and gratitude that unite us through our connection with this sacred resource. Learn from insights that continue to be passed along through generations over thousands of years, based on respect and responsibility to care for the land, water and all living things.
The Okanagan Basin Water Board and their communications initiative Okanagan WaterWise are happy to contribute expert knowledge and cutting-edge research on the Okanagan watershed. Thanks to their smart science communication program, complex environmental information is depicted through easy-to-understand maps and images.

University of British Columbia (Okanagan) (UBCO) – Enjoy diverse contributions from UBCO professors Dr. John R. Wagner and Dr. Aleksandra Dulic, co-investigators of this exciting project.  Content based on Dr. Wagner’s research permeates this exhibition, including works from his 2013 book “The Social Life of Water” (New York: Berghahn Books), which provides the namesake for this project. Contributions from Dr. Marlowe Sam are also woven into this immersive experience. Interviews conducted by Dr. Sam as part of his MA program provide the basis for an inspiring audio installation. This interview content is provided with the gracious consent of the syilx Knowledge Holders. 

The Centre for Culture and Technology, with the artistic direction of Dr. Dulic, is elated to showcase a dynamic audio collage, immersing patrons in the elixir of life. Submerge yourself in a harmonious water audio and community documentary composed by media artist Kenneth Newby, as well as an interactive storytelling and experiential learning environment created by PhD Candidate Jeannette Angel. Immersive graphics and stories are abundantly captured through text, images, audiovisual and installation materials that inspire and educate. This exhibition experience was created and implemented by a talented team of UBCO students: Ricki Lynn Achilles, Matt Fritter, Liam Lippard, Bowen Matheson and Taylor Siemens. 

WaterCycles Consulting – Founding member Christine Mettler is elated to have inspired this exciting partnership to make this project come to life. WaterCycles has contributed a variety of skills to this project, providing project coordination, generating community involvement, and integrating design development and informative content

This ongoing collaboration promises to inspire and educate. Join the discussion and enjoy this informative journey with some of the most influential partners in our community.

The following grants have helped to make this educational endeavour possible:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Connections Grant)
Central Okanagan Foundation (Project Grant)
UBC Hampton Research Fund
Okanagan Basin Water Board (Water Conservation and Quality Improvement grant)
Mitacs (Accelerate grant)