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.
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’.