Reading on Thames Festival

What’s the point of Rivers, anyway?

a project by Amy Sharrocks 

Events and talks on rivers, people and modern city life

What’s the point of Rivers, anyway?

Curated by Amy Sharrocks and Reading University in collaboration with The Museum of English Rural Life, 2 Rivers Press, Barton Willmore and Reading CIC for Reading on Thames Festival.

Saturday 16th & 17th September 2017


16 September 2017

River Writing

Follow the Thames from its meeting with the Kennet at Horseshoe Bridge up to Kings Meadow and reflect on the vivid imagery in Ian House’s poem ‘Masterstroke’ reproduced in individual phrases along the riverside in Sally Castle’s evocative hand-lettering. Search out the whole poem using the postcard guide to help and see the river in a whole new light.

Saturday 9 September – Sunday 17 September


Pick up a postcard self-guide for 50p from Reading Museum.


11am – 12.30pm

Cry me a River: water as metaphor

We use water every day to describe our thinking and our feelings… our ideas dry up, we are flooded with emotion, we can go with the flow. Diverse writers and thinkers come together to explore the language of water from Roman times to the present day. From Virgil to Beckett and Ballard, from poetry to philosophy, this

discussion examines the importance of fluidity in our thinking.



Murky Depths

A history of the Thames at Reading looking at the darker side of life by the water: crime, death, ritual and fear. Writers and researchers will take us below the surface of the river to what lies beneath and questions what we are journeying on, exploring what we try to keep hidden, alongside our fear of going out too deep.



Children’s Workshops

Exciting and hands-on workshop to support outdoor learning for children.


All talks and events are FREE and will take place in the marquee on

Christchurch Meadows, Reading





Events and talks on rivers, people and modern city life

Saturday 16th & 17th September 2017

17 September 2017


Fry’s Island Swim

9 – 11am

The Fry’s Island Swim will be a 750m swim around Fry’s Island at Caversham Lock, opening up our glorious river Thames for a morning swim. Just a

generation ago, swimming the Thames here was commonplace. Intrepid sailors travel across faraway seas to chart new island; we will discover a swimming lane right here for the circumnavigation of Fry’s Island. Join artist Amy Sharrocks and 50 other swimmers for a celebratory swim to bring this brilliant festival to a close and put the river back at the heart of our city. Ever wondered what it was like in the water?

Once around the Island!



What’s the point of Rivers, anyway?

We consider Reading past, present and future, looking at how the city has

developed so far, examining the current state of urban water and exploring the challenges and vulnerabilities that we face. What are our present successes and future water needs? What do we want from our river? We talk to swimmers, artists and urban planners about how to navigate a way through modern city life and how we might build great city living for all of us.


2 – 4pm

Children’s Choir





Boat Procession on the river



All talks and events are FREE and will take place in the marquee

Christchurch Meadows, Reading



11 September 2017

What’s the point of Rivers, anyway?


drinks reception



You are warmly invited for a drinks reception at the Crowne Plaza, to talk all things water. This event offers space to build connections between researchers, artists, academics, scientists and town planners, to support ways to face unpredictable futures, to address questions of population tides and city structures and to consider Reading as a river city. Please join us for an early evening drink to talk permeable boundaries and a more fluid economy within concrete city walls as we attempt a stronger collaboration with the water that surrounds us, and help us raise a glass to the breadth of talent and endeavour here.


[image: Amy Sharrocks: Museum of Water]