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Living with Rivers 2022: the first international action dedicated to rivers


In June, IFGR is launching an original international action dedicated to rivers. Over five months, it is giving pride of place for this first edition to the rivers Rhone, Saint Lawrence and Senegal. An event with a unique format to bring together the general public and experts to combine emotion and knowledge, and science and culture, with a clearly announced goal: that of better understanding and protecting rivers all together.


Listen to the voices of rivers

For more than five years, IFGR has been a reference in actions carried out in favour of rivers. It can draw from numerous works and a large network of international and multidisciplinary experts to gain knowledge, inform and spread awareness of the challenges of preserving water resources and rivers in particular. IFGR is also a facilitator of solutions at both the local and international scales.

This year, it is launching Living with Rivers, an original project, in order to give a voice to rivers and those who live with them. The organisers want to weave a narrative “in the stream” between the general public and experts about rivers, considered as living beings. To protect rivers and adapt to climate change, it appears crucial to involve as many people as possible, local populations and actors in the scientific, political and economic spheres.

The purpose of this project is to astonish. Today, it’s necessary to forge the link between knowledge and emotion – Erik Orsenna, Chairman of IFGR

The goal of Living with Rivers is to change the way in which populations see rivers, and facilitate actions. Indeed, the future of life strongly depends on the future of rivers which are both a mirror of our society and the implacable reflection of the challenges facing us: food resilience, health security, energy management, mobility, preservation of biodiversity. Rivers form a vital link of the overall water cycle. They are above all wonderful characters capable of telling the story of our planet and what we are doing with it.

It’s important to realise that the water we throw away becomes someone else’s drinking water. […] So, our drinking water was someone else’s drinking water before – Professor Vivianne Yargeau, Director of the Chemical Engineering Department, McGill University

The event, destined to become biennial, is aimed at :

  • informing the public with the intervention of experts and practitioners,
  • fuelling dreams by giving a stage for artists,
  • encouraging participation and giving rise to the concrete solutions that portend the future born from collective intelligence.

Three rivers, three images … but a common message!

Living with Rivers is opening in Lyon, on the Rhone, since it is where the adventure began. Lyon is the place of birth and residence of IFGR, historically supported by la Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR). Each edition of the biennial will give pride of place to different rivers. The Rhone is the “host” river of the 2022 event, and invites the rivers Saint Lawrence and Senegal to interact.

To do this, IFGR has gathered many partners in the Organisation Committee, including the country representatives of its Rivers Committee: CNR, the Water Agency of the State of Geneva for the Rhone, the Montreal Port Authority for the Saint Lawrence, and the OMVS (Senegal River Development Organisation) for sub-Saharan Africa. There are also the World Meteorological Organisation, the Musée des Confluences in Lyon and several communication partners*.

And since mobilising also means rally together, Living with Rivers can count on the contributions and relays of a large number of institutional, cultural and associative organisations, all already committed to enhancing river heritage and the good management of these natural habitats.

One only has to listen to the noise of the river, its movements; it has its own song – Ablaye Cissoko, composer, singer and kora player

An interactive and international event

The event will start in digital mode, on the site and social networks as from 20 June: productions of artists, explanations from experts and river managers, and instant historic and remarkable information on the three rivers will be merged to impress, astonish, teach and immerse the visitor. It is a way of getting to know all the dimensions of rivers and invite the general public to express its relationship with rivers through quizzes, photos and stories. To what end? That of launching a global conversation to create a collective work on rivers.

The high point of this event will be the closing event of Living with Rivers scheduled for Thursday 27 October at the Musée des Confluences, in Lyon. A museum at the confluence of two rivers, the Rhone and the Saone, and knowledge that fosters dialogue between the sciences to explain natural history and humanity.

Organised jointly with the Musée des Confluences, this interactive and international evening will bring together scientists, important observers and artists to make a universal plea for rivers. It will be held in phase with the museum’s new temporary exhibition, “We, the rivers” (from 21 October 2022 to 27 August 2023) and will be broadcast live in France and abroad via social networks to project the international reputation of Living with Rivers.


Meet from 20 June on and social networks #livingwithrivers Instagram and Twitter. Discover the first voices of the rivers!

* Dissidentia for visual identity, 2P2L and YouBLive for the audio-visual and live digital production, and BCW for the website design. 

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