Selected Papers


A feeling for water: the body and the paddle.

Adapted from the original publication:

Wattchow, B. (1999). A Feeling for Water: The Body and the Paddle, Journeys: The Journal of the Victorian Association of Outdoor Educators, 4(2), 26-32.

I wrote this paper while making a canoe paddle from a few carefully selected pieces of timber in my workshop on our small farm outside Bendigo using the handtools my grandfather had left me in his will. Through the process of making the paddle I wanted to explore the potential of making, or actually producing, something that I used in daily work as a canoe guide and outdoor educator. I also wanted to explore what we may be losing when we rely too heavily on ‘off the shelf’ outdoor products. This is a story about technology and technics – about how our experiences of the outdoors are both visibly and invisibly shaped by the items of equipment we use.

PDF: A feeling for water


River … I follow river.

Adapted from the original publication:

This was one of the earliest papers I wrote as an academic. I had built a fleet of beautiful canoes and had been guiding university students on Australia’s River Murray for a couple of years. A recent graduate from the program, Arthur Curl, asked me to help him and students at his school build their own canoes and to join them for a week on their long journey down the Murray that summer. This paper charts my thoughts about that experience and my own evolving relationship with the river landscape.

PDF: River … I follow river