Scree: A Digital Guidebook to Reimagining the Lake District Fells (2021)
Scree is a new digital guidebook, which aims to challenge how we think about the Lake District and other landscapes through experimental hiking routes. In other words, rather than being designed for their peak-bagging or scenic value, the routes in Scree are artistic provocations aimed at rethinking our relationship entirely through writing and art, asking questions such as:
In seeking solace from the landscape, might we end up inscribing our own griefs and traumas upon it?
Nature, really? Whose landscape is this anyway (& who gets to say)?
Peak-bagging, fellrunning record-breaking: why the need to conquer the fells?
How can we best bring our creative energies to the fells, rather than extracting energy from them?
The website launched in draft form in late March 2021, and will remain in-development over the course of the year before launching fully at Kendal Mountain Festival in November. The project will be the focus of a major exhibition at Wordsworth House (National Trust, Cockermouth) in 2022. Participants are invited to submit their work, and the most interesting submissions will be selected for performance or exhibition. Two public ‘Experiments in Hiking and Writing’ courses will be organised in 2022, plus four courses aimed at groups whose voice is ‘less heard’ in this context (BAME, LGBTQ+, those with disabilities, and young people).
Through the Weather Glass Installation Tour (2016)
During 2016 I received Arts Council funding to tour an interactive installation version of Through the Weather Glass around the UK. The book tells a fictionalised version of a cycle trip I completed from Salford to the Greek island of Ikaria (where Icarus supposedly fell). Yet, instead of being narrated in the first person, the ‘novel’ frames the story as the tale of a fictionalised (transsexual) Icarus and her talking bicycle on a quest to an Ancient Greek democracy on climate change being hosted by Zeus in Athens! The performative nature of this exhibition and resultant book made the project ideally suited to an interactive installation, powered by bicycle, which went on tour of UK book festivals and public spaces with Arts Council and Leeds Beckett University funding in 2016. The image here shows the installation in situ in Sheffield’s Winter Gardens, and the project film trailer is shown below. The key feedback from the tour was that it had enabled participants to feel ‘hope’ in relation to the climate change themes the book and installation explored.
Dance / Physical Theatre – OBRA theatre (2015 – ) & Dancing with Words (2019)
I have collaborated with OBRA theatre company, an international physical theatre collective based in the south of France, since 2015. During the first residency, I worked with a group of actors working on adapting Leaf Graffiti for movement. Subsequently I have collaborated on two further residences with OBRA, involving co-writing a movement work in poetry and developing a methodology for teaching poetry through movement, and leading a physical theatre / poetry residential workshop.
More recently I have collaborated with internationally renowned Kathak dancer Dr Mitul Sengupta as part of the Arts Council funded Dancing with Words project, with the aim of co-developing a work of performance in writing / movement, which was performed at Kala Sangam theatre, Bradford, in late 2019: