Rivers of the World is the Thames Festival Trust's flagship, year-round, international education programme, delivered in partnership with the British Council's Connecting Classrooms. Since 2006 we have worked in over twenty countries across 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 and Reading.
The educational programme champions art in schools, celebrates cultural exchange, helps build appreciation of rivers and their waterfronts, promotes cross-cultural learning and supports professional development. The two-year programme connects schools with a professional artist that the pupils work in class group team to create large-scale artworks inspired by their river studies.
Now in its twelfth year, the project has been received in over twenty countries around the world, encouraging young people to explore and reflect on local and global issues, and by doing so, gain an international outlook and build the skills they need for life and work in an increasingly inter-connected global society.
"The project allowed the pupils to develop team-building skills and their understanding of other cultures. To have a practising artist come into schools and work with the students is a wonderful experience. Every time we come away with new ideas for projects. Quite a few of these students then go on to study Art GCSE and A-Level and all continue to talk about their experience of the workshops."
Carmen Hannaby, teacher, Coloma Convent Girls’ School, London
"We learned a lot about art and how to care about the pollution in our river. How pollution can cause disease to parts of our body."
Biruk Andewerk, pupil, Bethlehem Secondary School, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Working with the professional artists, the pupils work in class group teams to create large-scale artworks inspired by their river studies. The artworks are then curated and displayed in City Hall and along the Thames Pathway in September as part of Totally Thames where an estimated one million people see the open-air exhibition. The exhibition is also then displayed at participating cities around the world.
Take a look at the countries around the world we've worked in: