The Social Life of Water has been made possible through the collaboration of community and institutional 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 host the exhibition from October 2016 –May 2017 at the Okanagan Heritage Museum. In addition to providing gallery space and contributing to the 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 essential Indigenous perspectives depicting the significance of water as it infiltrates every aspect of life. Audiences are invited to explore the cultural reverence of water via informative content, historical photographs and community archives, collected and curated by ONA researchers.

Sncewips Heritage Museum is honoured to contribute curatorial content, photographs, text, video and audio from a unique syilx viewpoint; as well as original artwork by Coralee Miller. Visitors will discover the vibrant history, cultural resilience and gratitude that unite the syilx people through a connection with this sacred resource; and 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.

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

University of British Columbia (Okanagan) participates through the dedication of co-investigators Dr. John R. Wagner and Dr. Aleksandra Dulic and a team of students working on this exciting project. Dr. Wagner’s ethnographic research motivated this project, including the exhibition title derived from his 2013 edited collection of essays “The Social Life of Water” (New York: Berghahn Books), Contributions from Dr. Marlowe Sam are also woven into this immersive experience. Interviews conducted by Dr. Sam as part of his MA program, supervised by Dr. Wagner, provide essential narratives for the meaningful audio installation. This interview content is provided with the gracious consent of syilx Knowledge Holders, Dr. Jeannette Armstrong and Richard Armstrong. Dr. Dulic contributes her artistic vision and design expertise to create the overall immersive experience of the exhibition, leading a team of students and researchers at Centre for Culture and Technology at the UBC Okanagan campus. Visitors are submerged in a resonant community water audio composition developed by media artist Kenneth Newby. PhD Candidate Jeannette Angel contributed overall exhibition experiential learning environment and interactive storytelling content. Immersive visuals and stories are abundantly captured through text, photos, maps and graphs, soundscapes, video and interactive elements that inspire as well as educate. This exhibition experience was gathered, created and implemented by a talented team of UBCO students: Ricki Lynn Achilles, Matt Fritter, Liam Lippard, Bowen Matheson and Taylor Siemens.

Partners