Unraveling Water; Whirling Washing Machine

  • Sarah CrinallEmail author
Part of the Children: Global Posthumanist Perspectives and Materialist Theories book series (CGPPMT)


A waterway is a stream of water that flows down the landscape into another body of water. I write of rivers, creeks, saltwater bays, oceans, swales and puddles. Pollutants entering a waterway are carried downstream and affect the health of the water elsewhere to the original site. My early waterway-health lessons for Waterwatch were delivered in a linear fashion. Cascading downstream like a waterway, I hoped to wash students closer to our (Melbourne Water’s) slogan aim at the time: Together, toward a sustainable water future. This linear form of sustainability education, or education for sustainability, involved educating learners in how to determine and maintain the health of waterways, which flowed from upstream downward. The expectation was that participants might act toward a cleaner waterway system. Sending the healthy water downstream, alters the health of water downstream for the better. This channel of knowledge sprung from the source toward an estuary mouth, out to sea, like the linear waterways we educated for. I began to wonder what students of the water might do if we left them to do nothing by a river? What if they, the river and the human, were given space to seep into a relationship with each other? The water that inspires me now is no longer the leaf floating downstream in one direction. I am perched upon a leaf. I am (upon) a spiracular, eddying inquiry.


  1. Barad, K. (2012, Summer). Intra-actions: Interview of Karen Barad by Adam Kleinmann. Milan, Italy: Mousse Magazine, 13. Retrieved from
  2. Carter, P. (2004). Material thinking. Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Davies, B. (2013, May). Jean’s story. Paper presented at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Illinois, USA.Google Scholar
  4. Deleuze, G. (1994). Difference and repetition. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.Google Scholar
  5. Horton, J., & Kraftl, P. (2017). Rats, assorted shit and ‘racist groundwater’: Towards extra-sectional understandings of childhoods and social material processes. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Scholar
  6. Hultman, K., & Lenz-Taguchi, H. (2010). Challenging anthropocentric analysis of visual data: A relational materialist methodological approach to educational research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23(5), 525–542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Keough, M., & Quinn, G. (Eds.). (2014). Understanding the Western Port environment. Melbourne, Australia: Melbourne Water.Google Scholar
  8. Mazzei, L. (2003). Inhabited silences: In pursuit of a muffled subtext. International Journal of Qualitative Inquiry, 9(3), 355–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ministry for Conservation. (1973). Understanding Western Port’s portrait. Victoria, Australia: Ministry for Conservation.Google Scholar
  10. Neimanis, A. (2017). Bodies of water. Sydney: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  11. Neimanis, A., Chen, C., & MacLeod, J. (Eds.). (2013). Thinking with Water. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Pacini-Ketchabaw, V., & Clark, V. (2016). Following watery relations in early childhood pedagogies. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 14(1), 98–111. Scholar
  13. Rautio, P. (2013). Children who carry stones in their pockets: On autotelic material practices in everyday life. Children’s Geographies, 11(4), 394–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Rautio, P., & Vladimirova, A. (2017). Befriending Snow: On Data as an Ontologically Significant Research Companion. In M. Koro-Ljungberg, T. Löytönen, & M. Tesar (Eds.), Disrupting data in qualitative inquiry: Entanglements with the post-critical and post-anthropocentric (pp. 23–35). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishers.Google Scholar
  15. Shapiro, M. A. (1975). Westernport Bay environmental study. Victoria, Australia: Ministry for Conservation.Google Scholar
  16. Somerville, M. (2013). Water in a dry land: Place-learning through art and story. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Somerville, M. (2017). (Becoming-with) water as data. In M. Koro-Ljungberg, T. Löytönen, & M. Tesar (Eds.), Disrupting data in qualitative inquiry: Entanglements with the post-critical and post-anthropocentric (pp. 35–49). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishers.Google Scholar
  18. Sterling, S. R. (2001). Sustainable education: Revisioning learning and change. Devon, UK: Green Books.Google Scholar
  19. Vitale, C. (blogger). (2015, 15 March). On an ungrounded ooze: Dark vitalism, Deleuze, and Ben Woodard’s philosophy of radical disgust, decay, and dissolution. Networkologies. Retrieved from
  20. Wagatsuma, H., & De Vos, G. (1984). Heritage of endurance: Family patterns and delinquency formation in urban Japan. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  21. Woodard, B. (2012). Slime dynamics: Generation, mutation, and the creep of life. Hants, UK: Zero Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney UniversityPenrithAustralia

Personalised recommendations