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Everyday Life as a Knot of Flows: Collective Mapping for River Don Entanglement

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In partnership with Dark Matter Labs & The River Dôn Project

To facilitate planetary balance, a thriving environment, and a regenerative economy, we may need to shift from seeing our world through objecthood (fixed, nouns) to interdependence (fluid, verbs). Not only should we recognise the relationships that bind us all together, but that each one of these relationships has tangible and/or intangible value to the wider whole.

These relationships are often hidden in plain sight. If we look harder, for example, we can see the river and its capacity to teach (flows of knowledge), to care (flows of inhabitation), to supply (flows of materials), to feed (flows of generativity), to neighbour (flows of proximity), and to create identity (flows of kinship and culture). Seeing River Don as a civic agent through the lens of interconnected value flows allows us to move beyond our current worldviews of commodities, ownership, and value as price. What if we could better see, recognise and value all these flows, in balance and reciprocity? What kinds of methods can we (re)design to recognise and govern our entanglement, to move towards commoning and stewardship?

Medium: Collective relational mapping in the context of the River Don ecosystem.

The River Dôn Project

The River Dôn Project aims to explore the potential of the River Don in obtaining legal personhood status. In challenging the current legal model of ownership, we would create the conditions for new legal, economic and democratic frameworks for the Rights of Nature in South Yorkshire.

By attaining enhanced rights for the River Don, we want to change the way we interact with and value the river - socially, economically, politically and environmentally.

Dark Matter Labs

Dark Matter Labs: In a context of climate breakdown and technological disruption, Dark Matter Labs focuses on accelerating societal transition towards collective care, shared agency, long-termism and interconnectedness. Our daily work ranges from policy and regulation to finance and data, from governance and democratic participation to organisational culture and identity.

We organise our work around what this transition needs, and the things we want to see in the world. To keep that transparent, we undertake open work in collaborative partnerships to provoke alternative visions of the future, designing how they might look in practice, and experimenting in context to reveal how they could work and enable the necessary change.

Don Catchment Rivers Trust

Don Catchment Rivers Trust has been established to help protect and restore the rivers in the River Don catchment area, this includes not just the River Don but also the River Dearne, River Rother and other rivers such as the Sheaf, Went, Ea Beck and many others.

Our rivers are a valuable asset which tell the story of our culture and heritage. They are important for people, wildlife and the local economy, and form an integral part of our landscape.

This event is part of the series of 5 events around the theme of beyond property and ownership. The other 4 events are Verbs not Nouns - The Role of Language in Scaffolding Alternative Worldviews and Futures, Who Owns the Land? A New Theory of Rights & Responsibilities, Everyday Life as a Knot of Flows: Conversations Along the River Don, Who Owns The River Don? Exploring Rights of Nature, Self-Ownership & Reciprocal Stewardship. You are encouraged to participate in them all but it's ok if not. Each event will recap the previous ones and some parts will be documented.

Sheaf and Porter Rivers Trust

The Sheaf and Porter Rivers Trust is about: Restoring Sheffield's wildlife habitats; Creating a City image for Sheffield; Celebrating Sheffield's heritage; River stewardship; Continuous public access; Adapting to climate change.

Part of our 2023 festival strand


How can we respond to the climate crisis and biosphere collapse?