Dr Amber Abrams

Senior Research Officer

Abrams' work focusses on social sciences and human health around water. Dr Amber Abrams works on numerous projects within Future Water. Her background is both in public health and anthropology (with specializations in environmental and medical anthropology). She supervises honours, MPH, MA, Mphil, PhD students exploring a range of topics from extreme weather events, health vulnerability indices, and DDT in waterways, to citizen responses to water sensitive design interventions. Abrams is currently co PI with AProf D Ikumi on UCT Grand Challenges RRIP, a program to reorient research and practice around water, and has led a number of projects recently; one exploring health vulnerability to extreme weather events, and another project that aims to create A Museum of Watery Relations and Values; this interactive hub for the Future Water Institute brings together our various skills, projects and data, and provides a place for citizens to contribute their own perspectives on water, its values and their interactions with it. This water map is an interactive site aimed at providing an easily accessible interface that can become a one-stop-shop for all southern African water related research, and resources.  Amber also engages with young people in discussions around valuations of water. Borrowing from the concept of a Water Museum this project aims to develop, and collaboratively create, with citizens of South Africa, an engaged water museum and interactive online map of water user and water stories.

Amber is interested in working to inform citizens to enable them to feel confident in their expertise as people who value water. She does this through workshops, public engagements, and inviting people to voice their own forms of knowledge and expertise. Amber works in a participatory fashion to understand different ways in which people make use of, value and innovate around water in light of Cape Town’s water ‘crisis.’ This focus, including interviews and time spent at water sources neatly combines with the above two other projects to understand how water access points foster relationships and connections across space and time. Amber's aim for the future is to continue to grow and develop a cohort of social scientists at the Future Water Institute that challenge, collaborate and push technical water scientists to consider the social, political, relational and emotional aspects of their work.