academics I Nature-based Solutions practitioners I poet-singers I professional comics


Nirmal Adhikari is the programme implementation manager from Kanchan Nepal, a sister NGO of the International Rain Harvesting Alliance. He has practiced rainwater harvesting in mid-hills of rural Nepal for over a decade. His expertise in water resource management in rural communities is complimented by a  Bachelors in engineering.

He will help us consider the scope of using Songlines in the Rain Communities project, a Nature-based Solution he is managing in the mid-hills of Nepal.

On listening to Song on Water, he says: “local women express their own feelings, pain and sentiments. When words come from the heart, I think its priceless. Even the voice texture creates goosebumps”.


Is Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Leeds. His research focuses on nature writing and climate change discourse. He is committed to working with organisations outside academia to develop public engagement activities around environment and the arts. His most recent book is Writing Tambora: British Romanticism, Climate Change, and the Anthropocene.

He will share experiences of the Land Lines project with us.


A passion for indigenous knowledge systems and environmental justice related to conservation of forests and natural resources inspires Musonda Kapena’s work in Zambia. She coordinates the Zambia National Forest Commodity Association (ZNFCA) and is co-founder of the Namfumu Conservation Trust, both are indigenous organizations. ZNFCA is supported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Forest Food Facility Program.

Musonda has over 20-years local and international experience with forest communities promoting indigenous knowledge systems’ role in the sustainable forest resource management and environmental justice. She is qualified in Strategic Management, Forestry and Natural Resource Management and Environmental Education and International Studies & Diplomacy Studies.

She will offer insights on how songlines might be useful in Nature-based Solutions, offering another perspective to compliment the contributions by of  the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance.


Jen Kirwin is an American standup comic (NBC, Montreal comedy festival). ‘Bad Posture’ is Jen’s solo show, where she touches on topics ranging from parenthood to politics and life as an expat.

She previously worked for 6 years at the U.S. State Department (or, the U.S embassy) in Mauritius as the educational advisor throughout the Indian Ocean region.

Drawing on this combined experience, Jen will co-host our workshop, performing the role of compare.


Heads the Contemporary Literature section of the English Department at the University of Geneva. He was educated at the Universities of Copenhagen and Queensland and has taught and published widely on literary geography, literature and the environment, literature and money and postcolonial/world literatures. He is presently completing a large project on Australian literary geography.

Martin will mediate something of aboriginal Songlines’ function, refering to extant scholarship and practice, for our workshop audience.


Is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Bristol, where her research focuses on the representation of farming in modern British nature writing. She is a long-standing member of the Land Lines research team, based at the University of Leeds, and has been involved in several nature writing-themed public engagement activities including a crowd-sourced spring nature diary. Her most recent book is the co-edited collection Walking, Landscape and Environment.

Pippa joins David Higgins in sharing the Land Lines project at our workshop.


Gnilane Ndiaye works as a translator of traditional African knowledge for NIIT NIT (Bring to Light) an association dedicated to safeguarding Black-African cultural heritage. She holds masters degrees in ‘Modern Literature’ and ‘Arts and Culture’ and, as a trained director and producer, has undertaken a variety of commercial projects. Drawing on this knowledge, she has produced numerous, community-based arts and cultural events. She has worked for the Senegalese arts associations Penc and Suxaat, which campaign for women’s and children’s rights, and is the founder of The Hub, Dakar.

Gnilane will mediate Serere and Wolof cosmologies for our workshop, explaining how Nature is understood through these onto-theologies. She will also offer practical insights of work song in the cultures of the Sine Saloum region of Senegal, where the IRHA Rain, Forests and People Nature-based Solution project is being managed in collaboration with APAF-Senegal.



Born in the rural, mid-hills region near Pokhara, Nepal, Sanjib Paudel now lives in Pokhara. Here, he lectures in Nepali language at the city’s university. A holder of a Masters in Nepali Language and Literature, he has published 103 short poems in his  collection Muktak. Motivated by social justice issues, Sanjib is also studying for a Masters in Political Science at Tribhuvan University.

Sanjib will contribute to the workshop, by considering how he might, as a poet, create a songline as part of the Rain Communities project.


As the son of a restaurateur, Yoann’s hospitality competencies were cultivated in dialogue with the dishwater. At school, he was a most admirable bottom of the class, cracking up classmates, rather than fostering teachers’ pride. His Masters degree in English and French Literature (2017) serves no purpose: he is a professional comic. After playing the Banane Comedy Club, in a competition with Thomas Wiesel (2012), he brought a 100,000 viewers of his 15 second comedy clips together on a Facebook page (2012-18). After touring his first show, Seule dans Ma tête (2016-17), and featuring on the Couleur 3 radio show, Les Bras Cassés (2018), Yoann decided to sleep no more. As co-host of the Couleur 3 morning show with Laura Chaignat, his insomniac adventures continued until June 2020. Waking to find sleep murdered yet again, he realized this wasn’t a sustainable formula, suited to longevity. Very much alive, it’s weird to write about himself in the third person. But it goes with the job, this pretense of being mediated by a third party. Signed: Not Yoann Provenzano

Yoann will act as interpreter for the French audience at our workshop.


Is a pasteur, farmer and Griot. He is a member of the Serere community, living in the Sine Saloum region of Senegal. He is pictured talking with Ndeye Rama of APAF-Senegal. She is visiting, as he is one of the farmers participating in the ‘Rain, forests and People‘ agro-forestry project.

We hope that Pasteur Sarr will be able to create a Songline from this experience, drawing on his extensive knowledge of Senegalese and French literature.


As a child, Roy dreamed of working in global development. But after studying English Literature at Oxford, the magic hand of chance, as John Keats puts it, led him into academia. Subsequent to posts in Germany, French-speaking Switzerland, New York state, Singapore, Denmark and Minnesota, he is currently a research associate at the University of St Gallen, Switzerland. Here, he continues to teach rhetoric, as he has done for some 25 years, remaining fascinated by this subject and its use in people’s communication attempts. His own research brings literature and philosophy into dialogue, often focusing on questions of excess and waste. As he drinks water sourced from Lake Constance, he sometimes contemplates how nutrient depletion leads this lake to support fewer and fewer fish stocks.

 In his contribution to our workshop, Roy shares his interest in poetry and song.


Devimaya is a social worker, housewife and farmer. She is also the chairperson of her local Forest User Committee and an active member of the cooperative in her community, Arunodaya in the mid-hills of the Kaski District, Nepal. She co-wrote the lyrics to the Song on Water (audio in the footer of this website) with the local school teacher, Tara Poudel.

She will give feedback on how songs with meaning for her local community might find their place in a songline.


Graduated from a Master in Urban Development (IUG, 2007) and MSc in Water and Environmental Management (WEDC-Loughborough, 2017), Marc has managed numerous development projects in Lebanon, Haiti and Nepal. He is Executive Director of the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA). He participates in the strategic and operational development of the organisation (strategy 2018-2020), project development, fundraising and framing the monitoring-evaluation-impact of projects.

As a dynamic catalyst of community-based, sustainable devleopment, Marc will introduce the work of IRHA and share how Songlines might function as a radical, Geographic Informations Service at our workshop.