Voices of the Dart

A river-long exploration combining local knowledge, climate science, data and the arts.


Communities up and down the River Dart are figuring out effective ways to keep the river clean, and to save water. Why? Because we live close to it, drink it from our taps, swim in it, and our treated waste water goes back into it.

All life needs water – we need to share it.

The invitation

West Country Water Resources’ projection for the River Dart shows a flow deficit of 39 megalitres (millions of litres) per day by 2050, making it the most climate-stressed river in Devon. This will impact our drinking water supply, the concentration of pollutants in the river and the whole aquatic ecosystem.

What can we do?

Get up to speed.

Our Voices workshops in Dartmouth, Totnes, Buckfastleigh and Ashburton (spring 2022) gave local communities global, national and local data. You too can create and contribute data–be a citizen scientist! Measure water quality with Westcountry Rivers Trust (the map shows where citizens are currently active). Let’s all learn more, together:

“I am shocked that the UK is in the global future drought scenario map.”


With first-hand input from South West Water, we designed actions we could all take together to reduce water use from 148 litres to 110 litres per person per day. BLC builds climate resilience through getting policy-makers, statutory bodies, government, NGOs, utility companies and communities to talk and design actions together.

“It gave me confidence in the work that this group is doing—people power—we are in this together.”


We shaped river clay with our hands, shared our observations and memories of the river and asked ‘If water could speak what would it say?’ BLC works with both artists and climate scientists, environmental experts and local know-how.

“I am water. I am flow. I am the bearer of life and energy. If I could have you understand one thing about my life with the Dart it would be that I am now asked to do more, even though I am less. I am starved of the oxygen I need.”

Listen to the Voices of the Dart conversations aired on Soundart Radio featuring Tim, Simon, David and John with Isabel Carlisle and Patrick, Josephine, Jane and Grant with Sally Sutton.
See more beautiful images at riverdartspeaks on IG.

BLC gives people doorways into experiencing systems, such as water, in order to demystify systems change
and get to grips with the issues we are facing. As a diverse group, we tackle straightforward questions … How can we prepare for both floods and droughts? What can we do to ensure the river ecosystems are healthy and water clean? How do we reduce water consumption by measurable amounts?

Our work results in clear pathways for action. See how we did this for the ‘Water’ domain of the Devon DoughnutHave a look at What people want to know about water from the Water Resilience Workshop we organised with Westcountry Rivers Trust in 2019.

Voices artist Ione Maria Rojas worked with local schools to create images for the Queen’s Jubilee ‘River of Hope’ flag parade.
See the artworks made by school children from around the world.

Watch this short video all about Voices of the Dart

Contact us to bring a Voices of the River workshop into your community

We work in and at the intersection of economy, ecology, learning, arts and culture and the gaps in between.