follow y/our river : a manual for deep mapping in the Lower Lea Valley


“Follow y/our river” is a research project that explores the relationship between people and watery landscapes.

As part of our photography group’s teaching, Tamara and I partnered with the river Lea and the lower Lea Valley as our classroom site for a transdisciplinary approach to landscape photography and to invite our students to discover our river or their own river.

Our aim was to focus on the liminal edges of the river as spaces where urban and rural, human and non-human mix in a productive state of entanglement. To conduct fieldwork along the river using various approaches, such as photographic, geographical, ecological, and experiential methods, to develop a narrative about the Lea Valley.

On the wall of the msdm studio is an index card with a quote from Joseph Campbell that states, ‘Follow your bliss.’ This quote is the inspiration for the title ‘follow y/our river.’ It reminds us of the importance of pursuing what we are passionate about and being purposeful to our community. Campbell’s ideas are relevant to anyone on the path of transformation and self-development, and this project invited our students to  consider the life-shifting implications of following their bliss. By connecting to one’s river, we can recognise that it has been waiting for us all along, and this is the river of our bliss.

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TITLE: Follow y / our river lea-minal edges: a manual for deep mapping in the Lower Lea Valley
AUTHORS: paula roush and tamara stoll with Y2 Photography at the School of Arts and Creative Industries at London South Bank University
Editorial design: paula roush + tamara stoll
Photography and artwork: Abbie Collom, Alex Gafney, Amy Morgan, Desislava Doneva, Elizabeth Hogan, Eloise Gallimore, Isaac Firby, Jennifer Civera, Jo Webb, Massi Montford, Megan Wilkinson, Neo Hookey, Sohail Ehsan, Stéfan Weil, Tilly Edgley, paula roush and tamara stoll
MEDIUM: instruction book
PAGES: 120
DIMENSIONS: 21 X 14.8 cm
PAPER: uncoated matt recycled paper 120 gsm
BINDING: Wiro Binding

COLOUR: black and white
PUBLISHER: msdm publications + road less travelled press
YEAR: 2023
First print run: 100


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