Announcing ‘Deep Mapping the Duddon’

UPDATE: This project is now called “By Duddon’s Side” and is being documented over at

The River Duddon

Photo by casper_chole on Flickr, CC by-nc-nd, click for original

Back in September I was awarded a Visiting Fellowship by the Centre for Mobilities Research at Lancaster University to help support a collaboration with Dr Christopher Donaldson (Lecturer in Regional History and Co-Investigator on the Leverhulme Trust-funded Geospatial Innovation in the Digital Humanities: A Deep Mapping of the English Lake District project, also at Lancaster University). Since then Chris and I have been working hard to link things and amplify things and – following on from receipt of additional funding from Arts Council England – I’m very happy to now be able to announce that for the next few months I’ll be working with Chris, primarily based in the Lake District.

We’ll ‘deep map‘ history and memory in the Duddon Valley, where the Geospatial Innovation research group’s work will also support the Wordsworth Trust to explore different ways of increasing public engagement with the works of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.

In addition to featuring in the work of the Wordsworths, the Duddon Valley was home to prehistoric and Roman remains, medieval longhouses, and ancient farming communities. It has a strong industrial past (mills, quarrying and an iron furnace) and nowadays attracts tourists ranging from fell walkers and mountain bikes through to those taking a more leisurely approach to exploring the area.

I like a good palimpsest of landscape and stories!

Our activities will map how different layers and traces overlap and interact to contribute to community identity and sense of place. Chris is already working with local groups to research a collection of Victorian and Edwardian photographs of the valley. I’ll be helping with this and also developing my own site-specific tools and processes for engaging with the stories of the Duddon Valley. Later we’ll be bringing these together in an exhibition at the Wordsworth Museum (Grasmere) and I’ll be working with Chris and the Trust in designing something that we hope will prove to be multisensory and interactive.

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Duddon Valley

Photo by andrew_annemarie on Flickr, CC by-sa, click for original


Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Additional support from Lancaster University (Geospatial Innovation in the Digital Humanities, Department of History, Centre for Mobilities Research, Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts) and the Wordsworth Trust.

Playing Out

This made me smile a lot; not only from a play point of view, but also the place-making.

Playing Out from Playing Out on Vimeo.

Colony prototype, in Holly’s words

It’s been deadline central around here for the last couple of weeks, so various things have slipped through the blogging net. Fortunately, Holly Gramazio has written a lovely insightful post outlining precisely what what going on last Tuesday:

We went out in a group of four, and wandered around, occasionally passing the bundle between us – just to see what it was like, how the vibrations felt, whether people looked at us oddly or didn’t notice, whether we felt friendly and warm towards the bundle or annoyed by it. In the end we wandered arond for an hour or so, everyone taking a couple of turns with the bundle.

The first thing we noticed was that was that holding the bundle gives you an immense feeling of entitlement. Only you can tell when it’s vibrating; only you can interpret its whims. Is it happy? Which way does it want to go? Does it have a name, and if so, what is it? Holding the bundle makes you feel like these are your decisions to make, even when you know perfectly well that the vibrations are random and you’re interpreting them pretty much as you like. It invests you with power.

Please go and read the whole thing!

Colony prototyping #1

I’ve been developing a project that investigates taking the phenomena I use to generate work such as Uncertain Eastside and 19,264 seconds of qualitative and quantitative data (Curzon Street, 2010) and turning it into a real-time experience as you move through the landscape.

The early stages of this are supported by Fierce’s Platinum development programme and yesterday was a sharing event to which guests were invited to sample the nascent work from the 6 artists taking part and offer constructive criticism and feedback.

Many thanks to all those who walked the streets of Digbeth with me and my bubblewrap-encased GPS receivers and vibration motors sharing ideas and exploring possibilities. Here are a few photos from the day:

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