Kathryn Lwin is the Founder Director of the River of Flowers, launched in December 2008 while she was Director of the Archway Herbal Clinic. River of Flowers is now a social enterprise in its own right. Kathryn is responsible for Strategic and Product Development and is the main writer for the Wild City Blogs, River of Flowers publications and the website. She also shares her thoughts on wildflowers and other matters on her Twitter page @KathrynLwin. Passionate about the need to preserve wildflowers in the challenging city environment - Kathryn believes that wildflowers and food growing should be an integral part of modern urban design and the sustainable city. Kathryn was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship in 2013 and spent two months in North America, researching innovative and inspiring urban projects growing wild and edible plants in the urban landscape. The cities she visited as a Travelling Fellow included New York, Toronto, Chicago, Milwaukee and San Francisco but Kathryn also visited Montreal and Portland, OR as part of her extensive journey to find examples of great ideas and good practice to share with all. Currently she is working as a creative consultant on Urban Buzz, a three year project launched by Buglife to create eight new Buzzing Cities and in the process eight new Rivers of Flowers.
Peter Lewinson has been a Director of River of Flowers since it became a social enterprise in March 2011. His focus is on Creative Direction. Having started in music through playing drums in church and then training as a graphic designer only to return to music, Peter has been performing at the international level for many years. His record credits are extensive. Peter is a music producer, songwriter, musician and artist who has toured globally since the late 1990s with bands including Massive Attack, Simply Red and Sade. He has also performed with artists from the pop and the jazz world including Courtney Pine, Lisa Stansfield, Corine Bailey Rae, Annie Lennox & Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Professor Green and Natasha Beddingfield. Peter is writing music for River of Flowers and advises on presentations, visuals and talks. He works with his brother Steve Lewinson in a rhythm section, and a production and songwriting team. Peter's interest in River of Flowers comes from a deep respect for the natural world and, having travelled the world and sampled the cuisine of numerous cities, he is highly concerned about the effect of diminishing pollinators on global and local food production. Peter has written original music for the River of Flowers animation on the website, YouTube and Vimeo.
Kerrie McKinnon first joined the River of Flowers in 2014 as the newest member of our design team and in 2017, she became a director. Currently working as a freelance landscape architect, Kerrie has experienced a varied career in graphic design and animation. She is passionate about making a difference through the use of sustainable design to create useful and beautiful public spaces. Her long held ambition is to become a chartered landscape architect to carry out creative work in parks. Kerrie has always been interested in gardening, and especially in growing food. Before coming to London, Kerrie had an allotment, which provided her with plenty of fresh produce for another of her great passions, cooking. Expressing her love of art and a curiosity about health and food once led to Kerrie running a project in which she photographed everything she consumed over 18 months. She will be drawing maps and taking photographs. for our forthcoming book, River of Flowers Guide to the Wild City still in production. Having been involved in designing and planting a section of the Clapham Greenways Project based in the south of London, Kerrie was also involved in mapping the central area of River of Flowers London. She will be helping to initiate the River of Flowers Leeds and will be a key admin for that city.
Alison Benjamin via Urban Bees is a key partner of River of Flowers London. Alison and Brian McCallum founded Urban Bees in 2006 to share their beekeeping interest with other urban dwellers, train people in sustainable and responsible beekeeping and make cities more bee-friendly. In addition, Alison has co-authored three books with Brian, ‘A World Without Bees’, ‘Bees in the City: an urban beekeepers' handbook’, and ‘Keeping Bees and Making Honey’. Urban Bees has a long-standing connection with River of Flowers, Alison gave a talk at our first ‘Urban Meadows Festival’ at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden in 2012, and with Lambeth Council we developed Clapham Greenways as part of River of Flowers London in 2014. Urban Bees was the first bee organisation to help bees in towns and cities by advocating improvement in forage and habitat for wild bees as well as honeybees. Since 2014, River of Flowers and Urban Bees have worked together with communities, charities and corporates, educating and advising people on the importance of bees and pollinators and how we can transform our urban environment and thinking to help bees and pollinators – from planting trees and flowers that offer year-round food, to making and installing homes for wild bees and curating wildflower seed mixes. Alison’s Tedx talk in 2014 set out the multiple benefits of pollinator-friendly cities for us as well as bees. Alison is also a Guardian journalist.
Image of the Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes) by Hectonichus, Wikimedia Commons.
Natalie Jeremijenko was been described as 'probably one of the three or four most dynamic people on the face of the earth' by Wired Science and 'wise, witty and bracingly fierce' by the NY Times. Artist, scientist, engineer, technologist and inventor, Natalie is the founder of the The Environmental Health Clinic (xCLINIC), which addresses the external determinants of health: air quality, food, waste, distribution and energy systems, and creates a context of participation for us to assume our creative agency and 'response-ability' for how and for whom we innovate our shared urban systems or 'The Commons' for the common good. Her work includes dozens of projects spanning nearly two decades. Natalie joined River of Flowers as a director in 2017 after working with River of Flowers since 2015 on various exhibitions and events. These include the curation of the Moth Garden for the MothxCinema and research for The Phenological Clock and Ag Bag Farmacy, which were on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London during 2015. River of Flowers and the xCLINIC also collaborated on creative conversations in the TreexOffice sited in Hackney Park in 2015. In 2016, Natalie took part in an international Skype discussion at River of Flowers' event: 'Do Trees Talk, and if so do they talk to bees?' held at The Cube Cinema, Bristol, following a screening of the documentary film ‘In the Mind of Plants’, a fascinating expose of the secret world of plants. Future botanical collaborations to address air pollution issues are now in development.