Rivers Of The World

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Metal has been working with Thames Festival Trust and Nene Park Trust to bring the national project ‘Rivers of the World’ to Peterborough. This project has seen several stages of involvement from 2019 till now, including activities and resources you can get involved with! 

June 2021 – March 2022

Orton Mere and Thorpe Meadows 

Looking for something fun to do outside with family, friends? Want to explore somewhere new or a familiar place through a new lens? Explore Thorpe Meadows and Orton Mere via a series of online and offline activities inspired by The River Nene exhibited banners. 

This exhibition showcased artworks created by students from across the world including, Peterborough, India, Hounslow, Sudan and more. Working with the artists the students responded to the themes ‘River of Life’, exploring the habitats and wildlife found in and around rivers and ‘Polluted Rivers’, exploring how our actions can damage the rivers we depend on and how we can take action to help maintain this precious resource. The students’ ideas have been brought to life through the design, creation and public display of this series of artworks. 12 banners will be exhibited in June – July with a further 12 through July to August. 

Metal and Nenepark Trust commissioned Peterborough artists Madhu Manipatruni and Nisha Keshav to design activities, inspired by the banners, for people who visit Nene park. 

Madhu and Nisha have designed creative and accessible activities, as a way to find new ways to interact with the park. Madhu has designed a senses / colour and texture trail for you to take part in, which allows you to explore via prompts and challenges. Whilst Nisha is taking you on a photography journey through the park by asking you to explore and look at the park from a different angle. 

Even though the exhibition is taken down now,  you can still interact with the activities here. We would love to see your interactions with these activities.

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 the Thames Festival Trust’s flagship art and education project delivered in partnership with British Council, Metal, Nene Park Trust and Nenescape. It is supported by Syntax Poetry Festival and the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme. www.riversoftheworld.org 



From 2019 we have been working with different schools in Peterborough as a part of the rivers of the world school programme. 

In Peterborough we worked 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 worked with pupils on a schools competition. Due to Covid 19 we sent them digital resources and posted materials and resources to their homes. Artists Jeni Cairns and Stuart Payn created worksheets and films to inspire their new work. Art works from each school have been brought together in a series of banners. The banner designs where displayed in Peterborough in October 2020 and also outside of Tate Modern, London, in September 2020. 

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.

You can see the full range of banners by young people in Peterborough and all the partner UK and international cities 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.



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