Further reading

Press coverage on Museum of Water:

“not your average collection of items on display in a museum.” Blackpool Gazette, 4th April 2014

“Water is the force that flows through birth, love, loss, home, holidays, danger, adventure and grief. It is life, death and all the washing up in between. Which is what you want from a museum – the whole of human life. Bottled.” Nell Frizzell, The Guardian, 22nd May 2014

“This quirkiest of experiences is watertight” **** Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 9th June 2014

“An engaging exhibition with a strong socio-political message about how we take a necessity of life for granted and thus it proves to be a thoughtful display” Tabish Khan, Londonist, 10th June 2014

“The collection is endlessly fascinating, incredibly moving and often rather amusing… it’s difficult to imagine any visitor to this installation failing to be inspired by the hundreds of beautifully lit vessels and accompanying handwritten notes and not wanting to be a part of it” Exeunt Magazine, June 2014

“A most unusual exhibition” Diamond Geezer, 25th June 2014

“invites people to consider how precious water is and what it means to us individually.” Cumbria Crack, 25th June 2014

“Amy Sharrocks invited visitors to consider their relationship with water by bringing precious samples… a melted snowman, droplets from a baby’s bath and sacred draughts from an Indian river. London’s newest museum.” The Guardian, 22nd July 2014

“a series of narratives about scarcity and generosity, meshed together in the contents of the bottles is the fragility and resilience of human life.” This is Tomorrow, 18 October  2014:

“Water, the source of life, has been the inspiration for a travelling museum that has become a triumph in public engagement.” Museums and Heritage, 16th October 2014 


Other writings on Museum of Water:

Read The Museum of Water” by Claire Trévien in her latest collection: Astéronymes

Museum of Water and SWIM books available here.

BBC World Service’s series The Why Factor interviewed Amy about Museum of Water as part of an episode called Why Is Water Exceptional?

The winner of Live at LICA’s Museum of Water literature competition is David Hartley and Sarah Leavesley as Highly Commended. Live at LICA and LitFest were seeking entries from budding writers to celebrate the Museum of Water exhibition in the gallery at The Storey 6-8 & 20-22 February 2015. Writers were asked to submit a new piece of writing, maximum 500 words, in response to the exhibition. Texts of all forms were welcome – from haiku to micro fiction, poem to prose.


From the Deepest Depth by David Hartley

The man smelled of squid guts and dead salt. There were white flecks in his beard and his fingernails were crinkled like fragments of shell. His eyes would not meet mine. They darted around in their sockets, minnows in rock pools.

‘Thanks for seeing me,’ he said. He held out the vial. ‘This is it.’

Thick, clouded glass stopped with a cork. Liquid inside which looked dark, but it could have been the tint of the glass, hard to tell. There was a space on the table for acquisitions and I had my gloves on ready, but he kept a tight hold.

‘Thanks for bringing it in. Take your time.’

‘Don’t want nothin’ for it.’ Spit foamed at the corner of his lips. ‘Nothin’.’

‘A donation?’

He nodded.

‘Very generous.’

That seemed to soothe him. He wiped his mouth, scratched his chin, readied himself.

‘Its water,’ he said, ‘From the deepest depth.’

‘From where?’

‘From the deepest depth. The deepest point of the deepest place. From the bottom of the Mariana Trench.’

I frowned. His breaths deepened, his grip on the vial tightened.

‘Please,’ I said, indicating the table.

‘You be careful?’ Dart, dart, dart went the eyes.

‘Of course.’

‘Don’t open it. Promise me.’

‘I promise.’

He set it down as gently as placing a landmine. I took it into my hands with just as much care. It was nothing. Just a small vial containing a small amount of liquid which could have just as easily come from the tap in the men’s toilets in the foyer. No marks on the glass, nothing on the cork, no labels or stamps.

‘Deepest depth,’ he muttered. His eyes were fixed now, right on mine, circles in circles in circles. I was, for that moment, held and then, a moment later, swept in.

‘I’m sure we can find a place,’ I said.

He nodded. A small smile, to himself. Another nod, and then; ‘Thanks.’

He turned on his heel and marched away. As he wrestled with the door to get out of Collections, his coat knocked against the wall. Tinkle, tinkle, clink, clink; he swore, put a hand against the bulging pocket to stop the sound, then barged his way to freedom. The door clicked shut. The smell stayed.

I ran my finger around the edge of the cork, round and round and round. I didn’t want to look at the vial again. I would find a place for it.

I didn’t move for a while. It was raining outside, I was quite sure; a heavy downpour. And the pipes of the museum were flush and full, like blood vessels of some giant body forever thirsty. And in my own body; my mouth an arid desert, my stomach a dried-up lake. A bead of sweat burst from my forehead, streaked down my cheek to feed my lips, then seeped its way to my tongue. It was salty, it was precious and it was gone too soon.


Bottled by Sarah Leavesley

What it is to be lifted:
glass in hand, a tilt of chin
before the throat’s swallow.

The mouths known
by each bottle raised,
downed, but never left

quite empty. Always a drop
more, always a shape
filled with floating light;

a story waiting to be found.
Here, warm lips brushed a rim,
fingers stroked a neck.

Over half our flesh is aqua:
our bodies a boned bottle,
with silken skin.

Lift me then, my love,
and drink.


Further reading about Amy Sharrocks’ other work.

Stanley Ulijaszek
‘Ecologies of water, fluid boundaries and obesity studies’
(University of Oxford Unit for Biocultural Variation and Obesity Opinion Paper 5, 2014)

Simon Usborne
‘Art That Goes With the Flow’
(The Independent, 11th July 2009)

Ed Caesar
‘An even bigger SPLASH’ (The Independent, 16th July 2007)

Agnieszka Gratza
‘London Waterworks’

Comments are closed.