The river in a landscape of creative practice: Creative River Journeys

Document Type

Journal Article


Edith Cowan University


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communication and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications




This article was originally published as: Stevenson, K.J. (2013). The river in a landscape of creative practice: Creative River Journeys. Landscapes: the Journal of the International Centre of Landscape and Language, 5(2), Article 20. Original article available here


In my current PhD study, Creative River Journeys, I use the metaphor of the river as a data capture tool when interviewing artist-researchers about their experiences of conducting creative practice within a university context. My use of the river functions as a metaphor for the creative process. I have adapted the River Journey tool from its previous use as a map of teacher identity and professional development, and in a project about children’s musical experience. This PhD project follows a long tradition of using the river as a metaphor. For example, the river has been used in a narrative therapy approach for substance abuse recovery, in teaching leadership, and in educational psychology. In this paper, I explain my use of the river as a metaphor in the Creative River Journey PhD study, and examine the use of the river in other contexts, those outlined above, and also Csikszentmihalyi’s theories of creativity and flow, Andy Goldsworthy’s sculpture, and the poetry of Andrew Taylor and John Kinsella. I close the paper by briefly touching on my own use of the river as a metaphor in two autobiographical poems.

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