siwlɬkʷ - Water

siwlɬkʷ is the nsyilxcәn word for water. The meaning comes from (siw) and (ɬkʷ)ˑ
The word (siw) comes from siwst - to drink (human)
The word (ɬkʷ) comes from ɬkʷitkʷ - to lap (animal)
Together the two parts identify the Syilx ethic that the right to water is equal for animals and humans. silwɬkʷ is sacred as the source of all life on the tmxʷulaxʷ.

About Water Ways

Water Ways - the Past, Present and Future is a four-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funded research project in Canada that will be represented in a community-based interactive media exhibition that explores the nature of human-water relationships in the Okanagan Valley, extending into the Columbia River System and its tributaries. The artwork employs the creative and innovative use of interactive media and artistic software design to create a platform for dialogue across diverse community-based, poetic, traditional and scientific water knowledges. The project includes the collection and synthesis of water knowledges of the past and present, and employs community-engaged research to envision sustainable water futures.

Explore the Water Ways

Meet the Team


Aleksandra Dulic

Principal Investigator Associate Professor, Creative Studies
Dr. Aleksandra Dulic is an internationally recognized media artist and scholar working at the intersections of multimedia and live performance with research foci in computational poetics and cross-cultural media performance. Dr. Dulic is a founder and a Director of Centre for Culture and Technology and an Assistant Professor in Computational Art at the Creative Studies at UBC Okanagan. Recent works include The Music of the Heaven performance, and the Social Life of Water exhibition.

Ahlam Bavi

Graduate Research Assistant UI/UX, and interactive designer
Ahlam Bavi is a conceptual artist, industrial designer, and digital humanist. She has studied and researched at the University of Tehran, the University of Lucerne, and the University of Calgary, where her digital sculptures were recognized by several awards and fellowships. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in the interdisciplinary Digital Arts & Humanities program and involves in several research projects. She is working on her dissertation in the darc | digital art history research collective lab; also she is awarded a graduate research fellowship in the AMP Lab at UBC mainly working on academic micro-credential. Also, she was/ is working on an international SSHRC funded research project as an academic graduate project manager. She collaborates as a research assistant at the Centre for Culture and Technology lab in two SSHRC and NCERC funded research projects. She was working at the Center for teaching and learning for the new approach of online and blended learning at UBC.

Dallmar Hussein

Undergraduate Research Assistant Team Lead – 3D Modeling
Dalmarr is a 4th year undergraduate student from Toronto studying digital media and computer science at UBC Okanagan. He specializes in 3D modeling, texturing, and animation with a keen interest in physically based rendering. With his programming expertise and 3D modeling experience, Dalmarr explores the intersection of coding and 3D art, for applications in web development, simulation, and virtual reality. Being a part of the Waterways project has been a remarkable opportunity for Dalmarr to learn more about the history and culture of Kelowna, and has given him fresh perspectives on the natural splendor of the Okanagan.

Emerald Holt

Graduate Research Assistant Team leader,UI/UX, and interactive designer
Emerald Holt is an emerging media artist and concert trained pianist completing her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Visual Music at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan (UBC-O). She is an academic scholar who enjoys research in the intersection between visual arts, music and technology. Emerald was awarded several scholarships, including the prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Scholarship for her thesis research, The Voice of the Land in 2019. Currently, her research is focused on building an interactive Visual Music installation of the Okanagan Valley, BC. She has presented her research at the Humanities Graduate Conferences for UBC-O and SFU-Vancouver and the Interactive Arts Science and Technology regional conference. She has had solo museum exhibitions at the Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Gallery Vertigo and The Hub Arts Collective, and worked in collaboration with multidisciplinary artists for the Living Things international Arts Festival.

Jeannette Armstrong

Co-Investigator Canada Reasearch Chair, Syilx Okanagan Traditional Knowledge
Jeannette Armstrong is Syilx Okanagan, a fluent speaker of Nsyilxcn, a traditional knowledge keeper of the Okanagan Nation and a founder of En’owkin, the Syilx knowledge revitalization institution of higher learning. She has a Ph.D. in Environmental Ethics and Syilx Indigenous Literatures. Jeannette currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Okanagan Indigenous Knowledge and Philosophy at UBC Okanagan, and currently serves on Canada’s Traditional Knowledge Subcommittee of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

John Wagner

Co-Investigator Professor, Community, Culture, and Global Studies
An environmental anthropologist, Dr. John Wagner focuses especially on the role of agriculture in water governance systems. He also conducts research in Papua New Guinea where he has undertaken long-term research in Pacific Island customary property rights systems. John was a core member of the design team for The Social Life of Water.

Kohl Finlayson

Undergraduate Research Assistant Unity sound designer and recorder
Kohl Finlayson is a Media Studies student at UBCO Okanagan. He handles sound design and video editing on the waterways project.

Lael Parrott

Co-Investigator Professor, Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lael Parrott (PhD, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, McGill University) is a Professor in Sustainability at the I.K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Okanagan Institute for Biodiversity, Resilience and Ecosystem Services (BRAES) at The University of British Columbia. Dr. Parrott leads an internationally recognized research program in modelling and characterising contemporary regional landscapes and ecosystems as complex human-environment systems.

Madeline Donald

Graduate Research Assistant
Madeline’s research focuses on sustainability through the concept of attention. She is interested in the mechanisms through which attending to possibilities in our environments can bring human people closer to living in right relation with the lands/waters that give us life. She seeks to understand the possibilities for the conservation of Okanagan and Similkameen riparian habitats by tracing the aesthetic preferences, colonial settlement patterns, and border infrastructures that put these ecologies at risk.

Maria Correia

Graduate Research Assistant Team leader
Maria Correia, Water Ways Researcher. Maria is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies Program, Sustainability theme, studying climate change communications, and adaptive co-management of social-ecosystems from an indigenous and non indigenous perspective. Her work on Water Ways focuses on researching Syilx indigenous-led innovations on managing water ecosystems.

Marlowe Sam

Research Associate Faculty
Marlowe Sam is a Wenatchi/Lakes descendent from the Colville Confederated Tribes of Washington State (CCT). He is currently an Instructor in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia. Marlowe majored in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and received a B.A. and M.A. with distinction. He defended his doctoral dissertation “Oral Narratives, Customary Law and Indigenous Water Rights in Canada” to earn a Ph.D. majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies from UBC Okanagan during which he was the recipient of the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship.

Meg Yamamoto

Graduate Research Assistant Archivist and content designer
Meg Yamamoto was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction at the University of Calgary, completing her degree through a Study Abroad program in Berlin, Germany in 2014. She was awarded the University of Calgary Silver Medallion in Art in 2015 and spent the following two years studying the geometric, structural, and symbolic properties of Hiberno-Saxon Knotwork. Meg completed her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her PhD research examines how experiential and artistic responses to the local flora and fauna can be documented in the form of an online archive.

Miles Thorogood

Co-Investigator Faculty
Miles Thorogood is an Instructor in Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia in the Okanagan. He is a creative technologist who specializes in generative systems for developing computational assistive technologies in creative industries. His research includes modelling human creative processes in visual and audio work for decision support systems, and designing autonomous agents for interactive environments. His work has been featured in public art installations, as well as at international conferences and festivals. Some notable highlights have been works for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, Fraser River Discovery Centre, International Symposium of Electronic Arts, and the Vancouver PUSH festival.

Rylan Broadbent

Graduate Research Assistant multimedia artist
Rylan Broadbent is a multimedia artist and Master’s student interested in the complex interplay between objects, symbols, and identity. He is primarily an assemblage sculptor, but often incorporates aspects of drawing and technology into his work. Rylan’s role in the Waterways project is design and construction of both digital content and the exhibition. When not researching or building, Rylan can usually be found exploring the beautiful province of BC.

Sarah Alexis

Graduate Research Assistant Gratuate Student
Sarah Alexis is a Syilx and Dakehl Master’s student and researcher at UBCO as well as Natural Resources Project Coordinator at the Okanagan Nation Alliance in Westbank, British Columbia. Her academic research focuses on human-water relationships in the Okanagan from an Indigenous Syilx perspective. She has been a key member of both the UBCO Waterways, Past, Present and Future as well as the Social Life of Water research projects, providing invaluable Syilx inputs and considerations, including on traditional ecological knowledge and adaptive co-management. Her research interests include Indigenous history, Indigenous forms of health and medicine, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Indigenous language and relationships.

Sepideh Saffari

Graduate Research Assistant Exhibition and virtual world designer
Sepideh Saffari is an award-winning artist and architect currently pursuing her IGS Ph.D. in Digital Arts & Humanities at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus. She is also a graduate research associate of the AMP lab and a member of the Centre for Culture and Technology. In these research centers, she has been collaborating on projects such as Aga Khan Garden web app and Water Ways as an exhibition designer and CG artist.

Tyrel Narciso

Research Assistant Software Developer, Technical Artist
Recent Computer Science Graduate with an interest in pursuing software development and game programming. Worked as a Technical artist and Unity developer on the Waterways project.


Alex Lake

Research Assistant Undergratuate Student
Alex Lake is a fourth year EESC major with a minor in Biology. His role with Waterways involves historical mapping with geographic information systems and data analyses of quantitative water trends in the Okanagan region. He enjoys being outside, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Alison Trim

Contemporary Artist Graduate Student
Alison Trim is a contemporary artist from Ireland whose practice is a response to place through paper-based media, and an exploration of line, surface and movement. She is currently involved in drawing research based on the environments encountered in the Okanagan, specifically in relation to rurality and the non-human. Her methodology explores physical traces, forms of mark making and responses to walking the land.

Émer Symons

Designer Recent Graduate
Emer is a fourth year Fine Arts student majoring in Visual Art for Digital Media and 2D design. With a background knowledge in Computer Science, she combines this with her creativity and eye for design to create unique user experiences. She is working on the design concepts and website design for this project.

Felicia Watterodt

Research Assistant Undergraduate Student
The watershed that Felicia Watterodt calls home is the South Saskatchewan River Basin. She recently graduated from the University of British Columbia-Okanagan with a Bachelor of Arts, major in International Relations. As an undergraduate research assistant on the Waterways project, she conducted archival research on the historical ecology of the Okanagan watershed. Both Felicia’s interdisciplinary degree and her experience working on the Waterways project have inspired her passion for finding sustainable solutions in order to create resilient communities and healthy ecosystems.

Jeannette Angel

Project Manager PhD Candidate
Jeannette Angel is an Interdisciplinary PhD Candidate in creative practice who works as a researcher at the Centre for Culture and Technology at the University of British Columbia in the Okanagan.. Her research focuses on creative, experiential approaches for community engagement in sustainability challenges. Recent projects include experience designer for a museum exhibition, The Social Life of Water in the Okanagan and an interactive display, Right of Way: Wildlife Corridors and Ecological Connectivity in the Okanagan.

Miah Shull Olmstead

Researcher and Designer Undergraduate Student
Miah Shull Olmsted is originally from the Chattahoochee River Basin (part of the larger Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) Basin. She is new to the Okanagan Valley, having come from Australia, She is visiting these lands by invitation in order to study and conduct research. She is both undergraduate student and a staff member in the Department of Creative and Critical Studies, University of British Columbia - Okanagan. Her primary research interests include Visual Sociology, Environmental Science, and multi-media Climate Communication. She is actively developing her own Eco Art practice with work focused to include fusions of both artistic and scientific creativity. She has been an active citizen scientist for over three decades including marine conservation work (with a background in manta ray, shark, and sea turtle projects), citizen science initiatives, informal scientific learning projects (including co-teaching secondary field study courses in Costa Rica, Peru, the Great Barrier Reef, and US nesting beaches). She is a senior staff instructor for PADI with extensive experience leading environmental volunteers, SCUBA divers, and global film crews throughout Australian and Asian waters. Working in a land based freshwater environment via the UBCO Waterways project has been a wonderful way to get to know the local land, the watershed, and the people of the Okanagan Valley.

Sarah Ellis

Designer Recent Graduate
Sarah Ellis, originally from Vancouver, British Columbia and is in her fourth year of her undergraduate degree specializing in 2-D design and digital media. As a part of this project, she is co-working with Emer on the design concepts, and website creation.

Trevor Richard

Software Developer Undergraduate Student
Trevor Richard is a student at UBC Okanagan working towards his Bachelors of Computer Science degree. He is an avid programmer who focuses on the creative side of technology and human computer interaction, most notably within the boundaries of website development.


Mill Creek Visualization

Museum Design