Summer school River Lives and Living Rivers: Towards a transdisciplinary conceptualization - 4 ECTS

World’s rivers are fundamental to social and natural well-being but profoundly affected by mega-damming and pollution. In response to top-down and technocratic approaches, in many places riverine communities practice forms of ‘river co-governance’, integrating ecological, cultural, political, economic and technological dimensions. In addition, new water justice movements (NWJMs) have emerged worldwide to creatively transform local ideas for ‘enlivening rivers’ into global action and vice versa. The Summer School aims to provide PhD students who conduct research on these ‘river commons’ and NWJMs with transdisciplinary concepts and approaches for studying their emerging ideas, concepts, proposals and strategies. The training thereby focuses on conceptualizing river systems in all senses, and capacity-building for (understanding and supporting) river knowledge co-creation and democratisation from the bottom up.

Organised by WASS & WRM (in coordination with WIMEK and WIAS)

Mon 9 May 2022 until Thu 19 May 2022

Duration In-person in different locations (on and off Campus)
Venue Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen
+31 (0)317 48 36 39

With the participants, the Summer School will elaborate on a transdisciplinary science-policy-societal action framework that enables analysing the practices of river ecologies, co-governance and translocal movements. The key dimensions that the Summerschool will work on are: 1) River-as-Ecosociety, focusing on the entwining of biophysical, ecological and socio-cultural use aspects, (2) River-as-Territory, focusing on river governance rules, rights, institutions and decision-making arenas, (3) River-as-Subjects, focusing on nature-human relationships, environmental justice issues and rights-of-the-river, and (4) River-as-Movement, understanding how riverine communities and allies organize and advocate for river co-management and translocal solidarity. The overall objective is to provide PhDs with ideas, information, concepts and inspiration to write a research proposal on ‘River Commons’ and ‘New Water Justice Movements’.

Course set up

The Summer School is composed of self-study (week 2 – 6 May) and intensive interaction during the School itself. The total course load is 4 ECTS:

  • WUR staff and guest speakers will deploy a variety of creative teaching forms: lectures, conferences, debates, discussions accompanied with literature, audio-visuals, group-presentations, live & online river-site visits, podcasts, role-plays, group-work, etc.
  • On Saturday an excursion will be organized to one key river system/site, where students will engage with the river’s environment and interact with riverine stakeholders.
  • Throughout the course, much space will be provided for students to discuss, try out, and reflect on the relevance of the course content for their own research proposals.
  • After the course students write a 4-page document on conceptual ideas for their research proposal

Learning outcomes

After the summers school, participants should be able to:

  • Resume, deepen and reflect on key debates concerning philosophies of human conceptualization of nature, and society-nature-governance interactions
  • Describe the four river dimensions and understand the key issues, concepts and debates of each dimension
  • Identify and illustrate the relevance of each dimension for their own research
  • Relate the four river dimensions to each other as well as to broader, historic philosophical society-nature debates

Target group and max number of participants

The main target group are PhD students of the Riverhood and River Commons projects (see also, but also other PhDs with similar research interests are welcome to join. To ensure intensive exchange and learning, the maximum number of participants is 20.

Course fees

WGS PhDs with TSP 460
All other PhD candidates 630
River Commons & Riverhood PhD's sponsered by project

Cancellation conditions

Participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.