Rivers Of The World

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Metal is currently working with Thames Festival Trust and Nene Park Trust to bring the national project ‘Rivers of the World’ to Peterborough. Below are details of the Rivers of the World programme for secondary schools, links to our public competition, the Story of Water, the Primary Schools programme and a series of resources you might find of interest.


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. Peterborough has been partnered with schools in Rabat, Morocco. 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 artists, who have been trained by 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


In 2019 artists Stuart Payn and Jeni Cairns worked with pupils at the school to create new art works about the river Nene. These were displayed in Autumn 2019 along the river at Orton Mere and Thorpe Meadows. Art works by artist Aicha El Beloui and pupils from schools in Rabat Morocco were also displayed, celebrating their own local river, Bouregreg.

In 2020 we are working with pupils on a schools competition. Die to Covid 19 we are sending them digital resources and posting materials and reources to their homes. Artists Jeni Cairns and Stuart Payn have created worksheets and films to inspire new work. 20 of the best art works from each school will be brought together in a series of banners. Their banner designs will be displayed in Peterborough and also outside of Tate Modern, London, in September.

Schools in Peterborough have been successful in receiving funding from British Council’s Connecting Classrooms programme. This will allow them to visit their partner schools in rabat, Morocco and for them to visit Peterborough. They will share teaching skills and be inspired by each others rivers.




Alongside the schools programme, we are also running a public competition inviting young people aged 11 – 18 from across Peterborough to submit their own art work. More details about this competition can be found here


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.



You don’t have to be part of the Rivers of the World or Story of Water programmes to benefit from the resources available. You can download the worksheets by Jeni and Stuart here and there are links below to their films. Follow the links to find a whole host of other inspiring art activity films. There are also links to resources that help make the link between art, rivers and climate change. Let us know if these are useful.