Water Swallows – new sonic artwork

Buxton is an ancient site of water. Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust have worked with award-winning artist Amy Sharrocks to build a new sonic artwork for Buxton and a programme of work across the town and in conversation with local people. 

WATER SWALLOWS is an artwork made in collaboration with people who live here, looking at our landscape of water and the experience of living here. Over 2 months, artist Amy Sharrocks and sound designer Tom Hackley travelled across Buxton and the Peak district recording residents talking about the water in their days. The sound work roams through a landscape of springs and dams, through prehistoric, Roman and Celtic histories and modern day lived experience. It wanders through the sounds of rain and rivers, through the ethics of water, the negotiation of natural resources, of commodification and sharing, mineralisation and economies. Begun at a time when Toddbrook Reservoir was threatening to burst its banks and engulf Whaley Bridge, WATER SWALLOWS understands what it is like to be overwhelmed. It takes its name from a local quarry, an ancient volcano, then an industrial site, now re-purposed as a lake, and the title references our daily ritual of swallowing water, our changing land use and agreements as well as the threat of climate change that hangs over all of our heads. 

WATER SWALLOWS was broadcast for the first time at 3pm 22 September as a mass listening experience for 500 people on the Slopes. The work is now available from the Pump Room all year for free – you can pick up a headset at any point until September 30, 2020 to take the sound work for a walk. An unusual pedestal cabinet has been made by Buxton artist Sarah Brindley as an extraordinary housing for this binaural sound work, in a new collaboration. 

WATER SWALLOWS was made with many thanks to:

Tom Hackley, Sarah Brindley, Liz Mackenzie, Louise Cross, Jen Francis, Cora Glasser, Harleigh-Jai Aldous, A.C. Baxter, Sue Boulton, Anna Brower, Amanda Cirillo, Will O’Connor, Mohamed El Fatih, Andrew Emmett, Marguerita Ellen Field, Annabelle Fletcher, Jess Gardiner, Jamie Gardner, Lola Gill, Brian Gould, Linda Goulden, Lottie Gregory, Paul Grimstitch, Haddon Hall Care Home, Finn Hornsey-Saunders, Alison Hunter, Sienna Jackson, Sandra Jowett, Emily Light Brian Lutchmiah, Vicky Madry, Ted McAvoy, Keith Oxley, Rob Robinson, Keith Robinson, India Rushton, Katherine Rushton Karin Sheldon, Pam Smart, Rachel Somers, Alastair Spencer Alan Walker, Ros Westwood MBE, David Wood, Pauline Wood and all the people in Buxton and Derbyshire who gave a little part of their day to talk about water.

Artist Amy Sharrocks

Sound Designer Tom Hackley

Cabinet Designer Sarah Brindley

WATER SWALLOWS is part of SENSORY BUXTON, a programme of FREE art and events curated by Amy Sharrocks and Buxton Crescent Heritage Trust looking at water, the environment and wellbeing in Buxton, funded by Arts Council England. For more information, please see here:

Our Water Inspired Arts Council Programme