Engineering Meets the Arts Exhibition

6 December 2019 - 9:00am to 23 February 2020 - 5:00pm
Manly Art Gallery & Museum
Nigel Helyer - Chaldini plate pattern, 2019
Nigel Helyer, Chaldini plate pattern, 2019

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of UNSW's Water Research Laboratory (WRL), an 'Engineering meets Arts' exhibition will be open to the public from 6 December – 23 February. Working in partnership with Manly Gallery and Museum, eight contemporary Australian artists have been engaged with eight engineering researchers at WRL over the past nine months to observe and respond to the physical and cultural setting of the WRL site at Manly Dam, and issues around coastal, estuarine and wetland water management and restoration

About the Manly Dam Project

The Manly Dam area is a unique landscape rich in natural biodiversity, shaped by the interventions of engineering and science. Once the source of drinking water in Sydney’s north, freshwater continues to flow from the catchment to the sea. Along with a rich Aboriginal cultural significance, the area’s European history is layered with stories of social and recreational activity.

Adjacent to this area, now known as the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, is a hub of international research through the work of the UNSW Water Research Laboratory (WRL), a facility of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Eight contemporary artists from a variety of practices have created new work inspired by place, history, water management and engineering.

Presented by Manly Art Gallery & Museum and UNSW-WRL, supported by the Aboriginal Heritage Office.

Curated by Professor Ian Turner and Katherine Roberts.


Shoufay Derz, Blak Douglas, Nigel Helyer, David Middlebrook, Sue Pedley, Melissa Smith, Cathe Stack, Nicole Welch

Participating Engineers

Ian Coghlan, Chris Drummond, Francois Flocard, Mitchell Harley, Alice Harrison, Tino Heimhuber, Gabriella Lumiatti, Ben Modra



Artists ‘in conversation’                               

Sunday 8 December, 3 - 4pm

Katherine Roberts leads a conversation with the artists about their experiences working on the Manly Dam Project, their creative processes and artworks in the exhibition.

Sound Walk Workshop

Mon 10 February 2020, 10am – 12.30pm

Join sculptor, sound-artist and writer, Dr Nigel Helyer, (a.k.a. DrSonique) for this workshop which will lead you on an audio journey which will test the power of language to find the descriptive and analytical language to describe sound in the environment.

For bookings and further details, search ‘Sound Walk Manly’ on Eventbrite

Water Research Laboratory Open Day

Saturday 15 February 2020, 9am – 1pm  DATE TBC

The WRL Open Day is a fantastic opportunity to experience first-hand this unique, world-class research facility. Tour the massive labs, meet the experts, and see engineering and science at work. All are welcome! If you are interested in water, engineering, science or the environment, then come along!

110 King Street, Manly Vale

For further details, visit

Guided Walk at Manly Dam

Friday 21 February 2020, 10am – 1pm

Join Karen Smith, the Aboriginal Heritage Office’s Education Officer on a guided walk from the Dam Wall, along the escarpment and to the Curl Curl Creek waterfall and returning along the water’s edge. Bring your own picnic lunch and water.

Bookings via Eventbrite, search ‘Manly Dam Guided Walk’


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