The Poetics of Heritage: an inquiry into disaster.

  • David Haley China


This paper argues that heritage is what contemporary culture makes of history and that this may distort our ability to face future realities. Funded by the UK Heritage Lottery Fund, the VIEWPOINT ecological arts project at the confluence of two rivers in Cockermouth, Northwest England, questioned the deployment of art and heritage as a means of community recovery from the 2009 and 2015 flood disasters. As the climate crisis accelerates and the psychosocial emergency increases, this project reassigned a Wordsworth poem and repurposed twelve large rocks to celebrate the potential for communities to live with their rivers in the future and defy their tendency towards nostalgia and memorialization.
However, the situation was exacerbated when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage awarded cultural heritage status on The Lake District National Park, affixing the environmental management of the area to Beatrix Potter’s romanticized notion of sheep farming; thereby ensuring perpetual landscape deforestation and future flooding.


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.


Adcock, C. (1992). Conversational Drift: Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison. Art Journal Vol.51 (2), 35-45. doi: 10.1080/00043249.1992.10791564

Baker, L. (2019, July 15). UK Hydrological Status Update – July 2019. UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Retrieved from

Barlow, J. (2010a) PSA3 Riverine SSSI Restoration Visions: November 2009 Flood Impacts Survey. Report B1284600/PF1. Jacobs.

Barlow, J. (2010b) PSA3 Riverine SSSI Restoration Visions: River Derwent Catchment – Technical Report. Report B12864000/D01. Jacobs.

Bateson, G. (2000). Steps to an ecology of mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

BBC News (2016, June 7). Flash flooding causes chaos in parts of England. Retrieved from

BBC News (2019, June 11). UK weather: Heavy rain causes road and rail disruption. Retrieved from

BBC, (2017, July 9). Unesco awards Lake District World Heritage site status. Retrieved from

Bohm, D., Factor, D. and Garrett, P. (1991). Dialogue, A Proposal. Retrieved from

British Haiku Society (2011, February 13). Retrieved from

Busby, M. (2018, October 13). Storm Callum: rivers burst banks in Wales as downpours intensify. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Cockermouth Emergency Response Group (2016, October 9). Cockermouth Flood Action Group. Retrieved from

Cockermouth Flood Action Group (2016, October 1). Environment Agency Proposals. Retrieved from

Cumbria County Council (2016). Cockermouth S.19 Flood Investigation Report. Retrieved from

Davis, I. & Alexander, D. (2016). Recovery from Disaster. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Debord, G. (1956) Theory of the Dérive. Les Lèvres Nues#9 (November 1956) reprinted in Internationale Situationniste #2 (December 1958) Translated by Ken Knabb. Situationist International Online. Retrieved from

Denyer, C. (2019, May 3). Climate change: What is a climate emergency? BBC News. Retrieved from

Discovering Derventio (2019). Retrieved from

Environment Agency (2017). What to do before, during and after a flood: Practical advice on what to do to protect yourself and your property. Bristol, UK: Environment Agency. Retrieved from

Farina, G. (2014). Some reflections on the phenomenological method. Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences. 7(2), 50-62.

Flood List (2017, August 10). UK – Summer Storm Brings Flooding to Eastern and Southern England. Retrieved from

Freire, P. (2017). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London, UK: Penguin Modern Classics.

Global Commission on Adaptation (2019). Adapt Now: A Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience.

Retrieved from

Gov.UK Flood Information Service (2019). Retrieved from

Gunderson, L. H. & Holling, C. S. (Eds) (2002). Panarchy: Understanding Transformations in Human and Natural Systems. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Haley, D. (2008). The Limits of Sustainability: The Art of Ecology. In S. Kagan and V. Kirchberg (eds.). Sustainability: a new frontier for the arts and cultures. Frankfurt, Germany: VAS-Verlag.

Haley, D. (2017) ‘Undisciplinarity’ and the Paradox of Education for Sustainable Development. In Leal Filho, W. (ed.) Handbook of Sustainable Science and Research. Series, Climate Change Management. Berlin: Springer Press.

Harrison, H. M. & Harrison, N. (2008). Public Culture and Sustainable Practices: Peninsula Europe from an ecodiversity perspective, posing questions to Complexity Scientists. Structure and Dynamics, 2(3). Retrieved from

Hayes, K., Blashki, G., Wisema, J., Burke, S., & Reifels, L. (2018). Climate change and mental health: risks, impacts and priority actions. International Journal of Mental Health Systems. 12(28)

Heaslip, M., & Grimshaw, H. (2017). Environmental cost of flooding: A report by URBED (Urban Environment and Design) Ltd as part of the Big Lottery funded ‘Rebuilding Together project in Cumbria. CAfS Cumbria Action for Sustainability. Retrieved from

Howard, E., & Carrington, D. (2015, March 16). Everything you wanted to ask about the Guardian’s climate change campaign. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Khan, R. V. (2010). Critical Pedagogy, Ecoliteracy & Planetary Crisis: The Ecopedagogy Movement. New York: Peter Lang Publishing Inc.

Laurent, M., Gion, C., & Levy, B. (2015). The film Travel the world of solution. Demain le Film. Retrieved from

Meadows, D.H. (1999). Leverage Points: Places to intervene in the system. Sustainability Institut. Retrieved from

Merrill, J. (2014, October 8). Extinct fish found in the Lake District after millions is spent on clean-up work. Independent. Retrieved from

Monbiot, G. (2017, July 11). The Lake District’s world heritage site is a betrayal of the living world. The Guardian. Retrieved from

National Trust, Beatrix Potter the farmer. Retrieved from

National Trust, Wordsworth House and Garden. Retrieved from

Parks, J., Pickford, A., & Borgia, J. (2019). Viewpoint: a dialogue between rivers, people and their futures. Signal Films and Media. Retrieved from

Pidd, H. (2015, December 7). ‘I can’t go through this again’: Cumbrians struggle with floods aftermath. The Guardian. Retrieved from

Rebanks, J. (2016). A Shepheard’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District. London: Penguin.

Slaughter, R. (2003). Futures Beyond Dystopia: Creating social foresight. London: Routledge.

Telegraph (2018, November 10). UK weather: Heavy rain and gales bring flooding to England and Wales. Retrieved from The Guardian (2017, November 23). 70 rescued from floods as severe UK weather continues. Retrieved from (Accessed 13 November 2019)

Tyndall, J. (1872). Contributions to Molecular Physics in the domain of Radiant Heat. London: Longmans, Green and Co. Retrieved from

United Nations (2015). Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. 14-18 March 2015. Sendai (Japan). Retrieved from

Walker, T. (2018, October 17). Cockermouth celebrates 35 years of twinning with Marvejols. Times & Star. Retrieved from

Wheeler, M. (1995). Ruskin and Environment: The Storm-Cloud of the Nineteenth Century. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Wordsworth, W. (1807). Resolution and Independence. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved from

Cómo citar
Haley, D. (2019). The Poetics of Heritage: an inquiry into disaster. Arte Y Políticas De Identidad, 21, 139-159.