Rivers Of The World

Home > Projects > Rivers Of The World

Metal is currently working with Thames Festival Trust and Nene Park Trust to bring the national project ‘Rivers of the World’ to Peterborough.

About Rivers of the World:

Rivers of the World is an international art and education project delivered in partnership with the British Council that connects pupils around the globe to their local river through environmental, economic and cultural learning themes.

The two-year programme involves the pupils in the first year learning about their local river and in the second about a river in another country. Rivers of the World encourages young people to explore and reflect on local and global issues and perspectives to build the skills they need for life and work in a global society.

Working with an artist or designer, who has been trained by our lead artist Shona Watt, pupils learn and gather ideas that are channelled creatively into drawings, paintings, photographs and other visual media which result in the creation of a collective large-scale work of art. The artworks are then curated and exhibited in galleries, along the River Thames walkway, schools across the UK and around the world in partner countries.

Since its creation in 2005, Rivers of the World has been delivered in thirty countries around the world including Egypt, Turkey, China, Hungary, Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, France, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, South Korea, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Argentina, USA, Pakistan, Taiwan, and across the UK in London, Hull, Reading.

Rivers of the World is managed by the Thames Festival Trust in partnership with organisations local to each city. In Peterborough these are Metal and Nene Park Trust.

Locally this is made possible with funding support from Heritage Lottery Fund via Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme.



In Peterborough we are working with

  • Ormiston Bushfield Academy
  • Thomas Deacon Academy
  • St John Fisher Catholic High School
  • Queen Katherine Academy
  • Ken Stimpson Community School
  • City of Peterborough Academy

Artists Stuart Payn and Jeni Cairns have been working with pupils at the school to create new art works about the river Nene. These will be displayed in Autumn 2019 along the river at Orton Mere / Thorpe Meadows. They will be displayed alongside the work by pupils in Rabat Morocco who have been exploring their own river Bouregreg. In 2020, the Peterborough schools will research and create new works about the Bouregreg river and Rabat pupils will create work about the River Nene.

Keep an eye out for dates in the Autumn when the art works will be on display.


Story of Water

Story of Water is the sister project to Rivers of the World. It is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and works with Primary Schools. It is a new art and geography based project designed to inspire teachers through creativity while meeting National Curriculum objectives in Geography at Key Stage 2. It has local and international ‘water’ and ‘river’ themes and involves a whole year group of Year 3 to 6 Key Stage 2 pupils.

The Story of Water involves the creation of an artwork / installation that is made collaboratively by all the pupils in the year group. The work is water-themed and can integrate the culture of their overseas partner school in Rabat Morocco. The project seeks to benefit teachers by giving them skills and confidence to apply art-based learning themselves in their own practice.


In Peterborough artists Stuart Payn and Jeni Cairns are working with:

  • The Beeches Primary School
  • Southfields Primary School
  • West Town Primary School
  • Orton Wistow Primary School
  • Leighton primary School
  • William Law C of E Primary School.

Teachers are provided with resources from their overseas country to enrich lesson plans plus art-based learning CPD and advice and guidance throughout involvement with the project.