You Cannot Step in the Same River Twice

Wed 22 June 2022, 6:30pm - 8:00pm at Online (Zoom)


(Photo credit: © Laura Harrington)

An online discussion bringing together arts and sciences to explore measures of time, environmental change, policy and politics.

About this event

The focus of Laura Harrington’s Visiting Artist project with Radar concerns a past collaboration with Berlin based sound artist and composer Kaffe Matthews. Now ten years old, 'Where are the wild ones?' is an audio-visual opera, which explored the migration of wild salmon along the River Tyne. As part of this project, Harrington and Matthews worked with children from three schools near the banks of the river Tyne and scientists from the Environment Agency North East to weave together stories, music and scientific data. Returning to this project a decade on affords Harrington a frame through which to consider the significant changes seen within the river, arts and environmental policy in a ten year period against a backdrop of overlapping human, animal and geological time scales.

This live, online conversation hosted by Laura Harrington, will bring Harrington and Matthews together for the first time in ten years, along with Professor Stephen Rice, Dr Bergit Arends, Jonathan Shelley and Robert Langford, moderated by Radar Producer, Laura Purseglove. Using the context of this decade old project, the group will explore ideas around measures of time, environmental change, policy and politics as well as change and stasis in arts and sciences.

Ecological Thinking is Radar's commissioning project for 2022/23. The programme of artist commissions and events exploring what creative and collaborative methodologies can bring to ecological study.


Professor Stephen Rice

Stephen Rice is a geographer interested in the processes at work in rivers and the interactions between sediment movement, river flows and river ecosystems. His recent research has focused on the role of animals, including fish, in driving and conditioning land-shaping processes (like sediment erosion and deposition in rivers) using a combination of field investigations and experiments at Loughborough’s River Science Laboratory. Other work in the past has focused on how changes in river bed sediments affect the quality of salmon habitat, how changing river morphology affects fish communities and how the shape and pattern of river networks affect freshwater biodiversity at catchment scales. He is a Geordie who was born close to the Tyne, who’s love of rivers was born in Northumberland and who returns to the Tyne frequently.

Bergit Arends

Bergit Arends is a curator of contemporary art, museum professional and academic. Bergit creates and studies interdisciplinary curatorial and artistic processes with a focus on environment, natural history collections, and visual art. She publishes widely, including on the politics of natural sciences collections and critical engagements in ‘Unequal Earth’ (NaturKultur 2021), The Botanical City (2020), Botanical Drift (2018), Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (2018), and on decolonising natural history museums (Art in Science Museums 2019). Her thesis ‘Contemporary Art, Archives and Environmental Change in the Age of the Anthropocene’ (2017) resulted in the award-winning publication Chrystel Lebas. Field Studies (2018). She has curated contemporary art projects for the natural history museums in London and Berlin (Art/Nature 2019). Bergit is British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Part of her research is the preparation of a publication on montage and the Anthropocene.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley joined National Rivers Authority in 1992 as a fisheries scientist, and been working to manage the fish stocks of the Tyne and the wider North East ever since, having worked with the Environment Agency since its inception in 1996. Over the last 30 years he has been involved in building fish passes, regulating the net fishery for salmon and sea trout on the North East coast, salmon stocking from Kielder Hatchery and monitoring fish stocks. He has worked to engage publics in environmental issues through Citizen Science initiatives, catch recording schemes, and through collaborative arts projects such as Where Are the Wild Ones. Shelley holds a BSc in Marine Biology and an MSc in Environmental Engineering from Newcastle University.

Robert Langford

Robert Langford was 11 years old when he (first) participated in Where Are the Wild Ones as a student at Bellingham Middle School, Hexham. Over ten years later, he is just finishing his master's degree in General Engineering at the University of Sheffield. He is proud to have captained the university sailing team, competing in team racing events across the country in his four years in Sheffield. He'll soon be moving on to working at RED Engineering in Hexham, looking to becoming a fully chartered engineer.

Kaffe Matthews

Kaffe Matthews is a pioneering music maker who works live with space, data, things, and place to make new electroacoustic composition. Site, accessibility and the physical experience of this music for the maker and listener has always been central to her approach and so she has also invented some unique interfaces – the sonic armchair, the sonic bed and a variety of sonic bikes which enable new paths into composition for makers and ways in to unfamiliar sound and music for wide ranging audiences.



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Laura Harrington

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Related Projects

Ecological Thinking

A programme of artist commissions and events exploring what creative and collaborative methodologies can bring to ecological study. Read more