Wetland: sharing practices of care and hospitality to engage communities and redefine former industrial spaces

Partners:  Cement Fields (Kent, England) and Floating e.V. (Berlin, Germany)

Image © Floating e.V Spatial Experiments credit LENA_GIOVANAZZ

“As two organisations with unique parallels in both our practices and contexts, working in places defined by their industrial uses and intrinsic relationship to water, Cement Fields and Floating University Berlin are delighted to come together and reflect on our socially-engaged programmes, particularly considering how we can foreground care, hospitality and conviviality when working with artists and communities. Through familiar methods of hospitality – reading together, walking together, eating together – we are excited to look beyond our own immediate geographic boundaries to think about new ideas and explore alternative ways of working.”

Cement Fields and Floating University 

About the partners

Cement Fields is a visual art organisation working collaboratively with artists and communities to create ambitious new art along the Thames Estuary in North Kent.

Our programme is an exploration of place and process, defined by the multiple shifting landscapes that stretch along the Thames from Dartford to Whitstable – a place where boundaries blur, where busy urban centres sit alongside industrial sites, where waters slow in marshes and wetlands, and the major arteries of rivers and roads connect rural areas and seaside towns.

We invite artists, participants and audiences to use North Kent’s unique contexts to ask radical questions and explore new ideas. Through this interaction we create experimental new art and develop imagination, skills and pathways in creative careers. 

Cement Fields has grown out of Whitstable Biennale, a visual art festival founded in 2002 with an international reputation for developing experimental new work, often giving artists their first commission, and attracting over 70,000 visitors to each edition.

Cement Fields is proud to be a National Portfolio Organisation, supported using public funding by Arts Council England, and the University of Kent.


Floating University Berlin is a natureculture learning site on and in the rainwater retention pool of former Berlin Tempelhof airport. The founding year of the Floating University saw a diverse breadth of visitors involved to varying degrees with the activity on site, creating a unique ecosystem. The program consolidated a network of practitioners, who towards the end of 2018 decided to continue the experiment by transitioning from a ‘temporary’ project into an association: Floating e.V.

Floating e.V. is a self organised space and group, where practitioners from a wide range of backgrounds meet to collaborate, co-create and imaginatively work towards futures. It is in solidarity with the history of the site and with the lineage of alternative narratives for urban development that the Floating e.V. situates its mission: to open, maintain, and take care of this unique site while bringing non-disciplinary, radical, and collaborative programs to the public. In other words, it is a place to learn to engage, to embrace the complexity and navigate the entanglements of the world, to imagine and create different forms of living.


Image © Cement Fields, Madeleine Ruggi, TRANSMISSION–CARRIER, Whitstable Biennale 2022. Photo_ Rob Harris