Flowing Streams – Open Call poster with the text ‘Open Call for Interdisciplinary Artists and Practitioners’

About the project

Flowing Streams is a multi-residency project designed and developed by EUNIC Romania. It involves seven cultural institutions operating in Romania, each engaged in supporting one residency:

  • British Council
  • Czech Centre
  • Embassy of the Netherlands
  • Goethe-Institut
  • Italian Institute for Culture
  • Polish Institute
  • Fundația9

EUNIC – European Union National Institutes for Culture – is Europe’s network of national cultural institutes and organisations, with 39 members from all EU Member States and associate countries.

The project was framed by this consortium of European partners, in collaboration with curator Adelina Luft.

In the context of the climate emergency and shrinking mobility opportunities for pan-European exchange, Flowing Streams aims to harbour meaningful collaborations between artists, architects, anthropologists, hydrologists, community organisers and local partnering organisations from Romania. The programme intends to create space for co-learning, mutual listening and exchange of knowledge and practices, centred around the theme of water – the cultural embeddedness of local or traditional approaches to water management and water conservation, the social and environmental sustainability of these practices, and their adaptability to changing environmental, political and economic circumstances.

Romania’s rural landscape represents 90 per cent of the country’s territory, with diverse climates and natural resources. Lack of investment in rural areas has generated scarcity and limited opportunities for inhabitants, but it has also left nature to survive on its own, with many areas still holding old forests, wetlands and rich biodiversity. Sadly, corruption and poor policies to protect the natural environment, connected with lack of ecological education, are threatening the sustainable development of these areas.

Seven European practitioners, selected through the open call, will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the daily life of the Romanian village and explore the context of water specific to each location, hosted and mediated by a partnering organisation. Located in different rural areas of Romania, the host organisations have been running dedicated programmes around notions and practices that recontextualise the rural space and the natural environment through a reorientation of sensibilities and from a new paradigm of ecological knowledge. Through the residencies, participants are encouraged to explore local cosmovisions and practices around water, its relationship with customs, traditions and occupations, by listening, sharing and exchanging with the spaces as sites of interpellation. These encounters are intended to open up new possibilities of reclaiming knowledge linked to a territory, historical memory and ecology, and to map a network of existing or potential socio-ecological practices that restore our relationship with water.

Situating Waters

The ways in which we relate to water today is inextricably linked to a genealogy that takes root in Western thought. From the modern regimes of knowledge and their mechanisms of intellectual abstraction, scientific specification and material containment, dominant cultures have pushed forward an understanding that all water is homogeneous and objective, an abstract and ahistorical entity devoid of any cultural content. This epistemic moment of change that turned water into a thing, particularly its identification as a compound of hydrogen and oxygen by proto-chemists in the late eighteenth century, filtered out any remains of water’s cultural content, evacuating its non-scientific meaning under a universal pretension that all water is the same. Water was rendered as a passive material, a ‘resource’ that needed to be contained and isolated from people, reinforced by modern techniques of management that enabled many of us to survive without having to think much about it.

Overcoming the hegemony of ‘modern water’ involves changes in how we think about it, as well as how we represent, manage, distribute, value and use water, for these are all closely related. The project departs from thinking about ways to recuperate the social nature of waters, its particular situatedness and relationality, asking questions about how waters, as plural and heterogeneous entities, bring people together and what cultures spring from its flows? The invitation implies practising a way of thinking with waters, acknowledging its fluctuating identity that bears the traces of its social relations, along with its many manifestations and meanings given by the different hydrological and cultural circumstances that signify, understand and manage it. As all water is situated and we are situated in relation to water, the project challenges traditional understandings from natural sciences to unveil a cartography of practices that signify and treat water as a social relational process.

Open Call for Interdisciplinary Artists and Practitioners

  • Period of residencies: 10–14 days on various dates between June and August 2024
  • Place of residencies: Rural areas of Romania
  • Who can apply: Interdisciplinary and socially engaged artists, architects/landscape architects, hydrologists, anthropologists, community organisers
  • Eligibility: Citizens and permanent residents from the Czech Republic, Italy, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania
  • Submission deadline: Sunday 21 April 2024 (23.59 CET)


For further information, please contact Tamina Bojoancă at Tamina.Bojoanca@britishcouncil.org.