Depth Exhibit premieres at the Michigan Science Center

By: Dr. Amber Pearson, Associate Professor, Michigan State University

Precarity exists when people have little predictability in their day to day living conditions, including the water they need to survive and live a quality life. When power is uneven, or political will fails, or economic systems do not prioritize safe and accessible water, people live with, and through, precarity.

This exhibit showcases vignettes (stories, images, video) of the everyday realities of water insecurity and its consequences from Bolivia, Kenya, Uganda, Brazil, and Ghana, from the perspectives of children, women, and young adults. Upon a closer reflection, we are confronted with the precarity of water and power here in the USA, Flint, Detroit, Arizona and Puerto Rico.

The juxtaposition of imagery show the enormous physical, emotional, psychological and economic burden of water insecurity and challenge mainstream discussions of where water insecurity occurs and who is responsible. Meanwhile, both foreground and background of imagery underscore the commonalities of precarity and the political and economic drivers. The accompanying text highlights both the everyday lived experiences of water insecurity, and broad insights from our ongoing research collaboration.

Our intention is to show systems of power at play, with very real consequences for an essential part of life water. Dr. Amber Pearson organized the installation with contributions from Alex Brewis, Wendy Jepson, Leila Harris, Crysal Tremblay, Amber Wutich, and Sera Young.

The Depth Exhibit is funded by the Science Gallery Network. You can learn more about it at

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