POOL Exhibition
Philadelphia, USA

Victoria Prizzia has led Habithèque, an interpretive planning and design studio in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, USA, since 2007. They create award-winning interpretation programs, crafting experiences that increase public engagement with water. Habithèque is known for exhibitions and cultural activations that seamlessly integrate art, history and science through innovative storytelling. Victoria Prizzia believes that igniting the heart and mind creates a fertile landscape for learning. Self-discovery, curiosity and pushing the boundaries of knowledge are integral to her work. Each project is seen as a gateway to creative expansion and social change.

A social history of swimming
pools in community life

POOL is a 437 square-metre, multi-disciplinary museum exhibition exploring 
the history and contemporary implications of segregated swimming in America. 
The exhibition investigates the role of public pools in communities, with the goal 
of deepening understanding of the connection between water, social justice, personal wellbeing and public health. Weaving together history, storytelling, scholarship, and place-based learning, POOL immerses guests in a collection 
of original visitor experiences, commissioned art installations, and rarely seen archival film footage and photographs.

Present-day effects
of past discrimination

POOL features the voices and work of Black artists, swimming champions, aquatic activists and scholars, to illuminate a history of segregated swimming and its connection to the present day. Past racial discrimination at swimming pools, coupled with a general shift of funds away from public pools to private swimming and recreational opportunities, have had a significant and lasting impact on Black communities. According to reports from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Black children and teenagers are almost six times as likely as white children to drown in a swimming pool. USA Swimming reports that 69% of Black children have little to no swimming ability, compared with 42% of white children.

Victoria Prizzia
Founder and Chief
Executive Officer

Habithèque, USA

Connection to water:
survival, recreation and
cultural tradition

POOL illuminates drowning as a global “neglected public health threat” and emphasises the importance of resources for the development of a lifesaving skill. 
It builds awareness about the vital health benefits of swimming and access
to water.

The benefits of promoting
a swimming culture

Investing in infrastructure that promotes a culture of swimming offers a wellspring 
of benefits. POOL demonstrates that the act of swimming together can transform 
the lives of individuals. Vibrant and welcoming public pools can function as the heart of a community and be a haven of personal development and recreation for people of all ages.


+POOL Project
New York, USA

Kara Meyer talks about the +POOL project in New York, 
a design for an innovative, environmentally sustainable floating swimming pool in the river, which launched 
a movement to reclaim urban waters for swimming.

Survival Swimming Centres
South Africa

Andrew Ingram describes how the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) in South Africa converts standard shipping containers into swimming pools to teach essential water survival skills, reduce drowning and create communities.

Karim Ziady discusses the Nager à Paris programme, highlighting its success in making swimming accessible to all Parisians and improving their wellbeing.

Nager à
Paris, France