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University academics participate in Reading-on-Thames Festival

River Thames at Caversham

The University of Reading is delighted to be supporting the inaugural Reading-on-Thames Festival organised by Reading UK CIC.

This is a new arts and cultural festival for Reading and was born out of the ideas, enthusiasm and momentum from Reading’s Year of Culture in 2016. It aims to put Reading’s waterways back at the heart of the town as the backdrop and inspiration for an inspiring eight-day arts programme from national and local cultural groups.

As part of the festival, academics from the University of Reading will be participating in a series of events curated by artist Amy Sharrocks in collaboration with Barton Willmore, Museum of English Rural Life and Two Rivers Press. ‘What’s the point of Rivers, anyway?,’ discusses and debates city life in Reading, looking at how we use our river, what lies in wait in the murky depths and tracing how water has shaped our thinking over centuries.

Murky Depths (Saturday 16 September, 1-2.30pm)

Dr Andrew Mangham, Associate Professor, Department of English Literature and Dr Emma Aston, Head of Classics, Reading University:  

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 be-low 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.

What's the point of rivers, anyway? (Sunday 17 September, 3pm)

Joanna Clark, Director Loddon Observatory, Associate Professor of Geography & Environmental Science at Reading University:

Considers Reading past, present and future, looking at how the city has developed so far, examining the current state of urban water, exploring present challenges and future vulnerabilities. What do we want from our river? How can we negotiate between concrete and water?

We talk to swimmers, artists and urban planners about how they navigate a way through modern city life and how we might build great city living for all of us.

In addition, Amy Sharrocks, John Haxworth (Partner at Barton Willmore), and Nigel Horton-Baker from Reading UK have kindly invited staff from the University of Reading to ‘River City’ a drinks reception 7.30-9.00pm at Crowne Plaza on Monday 11 September to launch the beginning of the first Reading on Thames Festival.

Still time to register for the drinks reception RSVP here.

Further details about the festival

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