top of page
River Rapids

Follow the waters

Intercultural training programme for river and water school practitioners 

Screenshot 2022-11-23 at 13.41.40.png

River workshops in Aldeia Kariri Xoco with Tawana, Nhenhety and Nic

Train the Trainee program:

Follow the Waters: Intercultural training program for river and water practitioners




Week 1 - Spending River time

An induction week will be devoted to spending time together learning local rivers in Essex, sharing knowledge and skills, getting-to-know each other and building community trust across cultures, languages, gender, ability.

Week 2 - Walking with River

This workshop would include structure and semi-structured riverside to understand how to engage the river in learning processes and pedagogies. The aim of this week is to developing the ethical framework of river school—the values, principles and objectives of river school

Week 3 – Getting the River to Walk

The third week will be devoted to Indian traditional knowledge systems of river restoration and governance (johads, val shala, water swaraj) led by the four eminent Indian water practitioners.


"Like school, every river has a catchment"


Lee shows us the 'awakened snake' during river school at the Cuckmere, East Sussex

10 ways of spending time with your river

River time is:


Time together: How many beings beyond the strictly human can be found on your river? All beings that live in, and with the river, are riverine community members: insects, fish, birds, amphibians, invertebrates, trees, fungi, moss, lichen, bivalves, algae, humans. How do these organisms live with one another? What brings us all together? How do we interact? How do build a sense of community and interaction in a symbiotic web of river life?

Journey time: Rivers are journeys. The journey of world rivers goes beyond borders.The journey includes atmospheric rivers, underground rivers, ocean rivers-- the whole cycle-- not just what you see flowing on the surface of the land. Rivers do not belong to territories, to countries, to counties or regions. They are passing through. Basin and catchment approaches are not enough-- they do not encompass the whole, round journey.

Story time: There are many stories, myths and legends to be told about a river, her tributaries, her catchment, her springs. Rivers have biographies and lifecycles, they have myths of origin and creation. They are born, they grow into childish brooks, they mature and ultimately meet the sea. How many stories, myths and legends will be told over the course of a single river? 


Memory: The land remembers herself-- storing and storying its layers of earthly past. Can you see where the river used to flow? How has the course changed, how has the land moved, how have trees, fungi, lichen and moss stored water, how has water remembered where and how to flow? How important is it to respect and remember that natural history? What do old people remember, what do young people remember, when they come to the river?

Screenshot 2022-10-11 at 14.38.23.png

Spending river time at the Chari, in Lake Chad, Republic of Chad, with Kanembu people

Voices: We encourage you to hear the voice of river: the babbling, bubbling, gurgling, splashing of many drops flowing together. Each drop is a voice and the river is a huge collection, or choir, of voices. Many rivers say the word 'rain' if you listen closely. What other words can you hear? Is there a poem to be written in the river's own words?

Spirit time: There are imaginary beings living in the water. Nereids, sprites, fairies and mermaids. River gods and goddesses. Caddisflies that change shape and hungry diving beetles that plunge deep, and vanish. Where do they go? These characters tell us many things about the imagination of rivers, how rivers flow from land to body, from body to mind, from waking to dreaming, like a magical water theatre that has been forgotten, and which we can learn to personify and act out once again. 


Music: if the muses live on water, it must be because rivers are the sources of music. Water music in India, water music in Vanuatu, river songs on the Bayou-- we are keen to go to school playing the medium river knows best- song.

Reflection of Monks Crossing a Wooden Bridge

Dreamtime: Can we sleep, can we dream river? Can we imagine river reveries and daydreams? As many indigenous people say, we must dream off. To "dream off" means to lead a life of goodness guided by a starting point, which is our revealed dream. Dreaming off requires water, as water changes the patterns of sleep, and the patterns of sleep change the concourse of dreams.

Indigenous wisdom: River wisdoms have been travelling for a long time to get to where we are. Western society sometimes lacks respect, reciprocity and acknowledgement. We see river as thing: something to be utilised, managed, controlled, taught over, explained and mostly dumped into. But where do these knowledges come from, how far into the past can your knowledge reach? Can you access an ancestral understanding of your river?


And most important of all, spending time with family- parents and children...with those we love. River is kin.

Screenshot 2022-01-19 at 11.24.59.png

Rajendra Singh, the Waterman of India, chairs a session of the Ganga River Parliament

bottom of page