By Liz Ivkovich, communications and relationship manager, University of Utah Sustainability Office

Graduate students in the “Global Changes and Society” course knew they were signing up for an interdisciplinary project, but they never imagined that project would be a museum.

“I was skeptical at first but when it all came together, it was – wow!” said Karren Fultz, a graduate student in the Master of Public Adminstration program. “The experience of working on a collaborative project, which resulted in an exhibition that is now traveling the world was so much more than just another class. It challenged me to think outside the box, more deeply explore my own relationship with water, and allowed me the opportunity to connect on a personal level with my peers.”

After selecting water as a focus for the course, the students used science, the arts and humanities, politics and public health to consider their personal histories of water. With disciplinary perspectives ranging from civil engineering to communication, the 16 students in the course were often challenged by each other’s experiences.

These conversations were corporealized in a portable museum of water made up of postcards and interactive installations. The museum was installed at a symposium on education for water resilient cities hosted by TU Delft’s Department of Urbanism in May 2018. Building on the symposium’s theme, the museum demonstrated how when individuals understand their relationships with water in a highly personal way, opportunities to create resilient cities of the future are enhanced.

The course – Global Changes and Society – is offered each spring by the Global Change & Sustainability Center, and this section was taught by Stephen Goldsmith, faculty in City and Metropolitan Planning.

Watershed Stories is a series exploring water work across the University of Utah campus. The stories are curated by the U Water Center, the Sustainability Office and the Global Change & Sustainability Center.