River Cam Project

From March 2016 to August 2017, students at Rowan took part in the River Cam Project, researching contemporary and historical aspects of the heritage of the River Cam.

Our students have had the chance to explore the river by getting out and about as well as researching the local history with visits to organisations including the Museum of Cambridge, Museum of Technology, Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge Central Library. The project has enabled students to develop their understanding of the value of research and many are now keen to use archive, library research and digital media as part of the development of their art. 

The River Cam Project has resulted in our students meeting and engaging with local residents as well as getting involved in other projects linked to the River Cam including Hey Clay and BBC Get Creative. We have also put on our own events and included artwork at our Cambridge Open Studios and Rowan’s Winter Warmer. A special performance was developed by our students for the Michaelhouse Centre in Cambridge where they performed two original songs and compositions inspired by the river.

Throughout the project, tutors at Rowan engaged the students in artworks in response to various trips made to the river. One of these excursions involved sitting on the banks of the River Cam and making watercolour paintings using water that had been scooped up from the river in jars.

Students also created a set of tiles made using clay dug up directly from the riverbank, depicting river scenes.

Inspired by contemporary and historical photographs of Midsummer and Stourbridge fairs, one of the ceramics groups made two large, coiled pots.

The textiles group researched the history of the bridges and houses that people lived in along the River Cam, and made a beautiful wall hanging of the bridges along the river, as well as a scrap book with a selection of drawings from the project.

The River Cam Project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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