My work as an artist/researcher has for several years been investigating our relationship and understanding of post-industrial wetland spaces of the North West of England͘ specifically the Greater Manchester and Cheshire wetlands.

‘Haecceity’ /hɛkˈsiːɪti,hiːkˈsiːɪti/

First proposed by John Duns Scotus (1266–1308), a haecceity is a non-qualitative property responsible for individuation and identity. That property or quality of a thing by virtue of which it is unique or describable as ‘this (one)’.

By re-examining how our developing digital technology is altering our perspectives of post-industrial spaces and their future value my observations as both artist and walker will offer reflections of the communities who once lived on the land. Those people who understood fully the Haecceity of place.

‘Haecceity’ offers an opportunity for me to revisit wetland sites within and around Warrington. Research will be conducted at various locations to collect data using a FARO laser scanner. Such scanners are used commercially to digitally map and evaluate spaces offering a fixed abstracted analysis on which all future planning and value of land are based. Contrary to popular belief Mosslands offer geological and archaeological heritage dating back thousands of years whilst at the same time offering solutions to many future ecological and environmental issues relevant to the communities of Warrington. Data and visual information collected during walking journeys will then be compiled to inform a re-imagined view offering a new perspective of hidden yet familiar landscapes offering a dialogue between the past and our future understanding challenging cultural associations of ‘the wasteland’ as somewhere to be conquered and controlled in order to mark progress.

Through this residency I aim to bring together the history of place and a reimagined vision of future understanding and appreciation of these unique spaces and our relationship to them occupying the place where our digital and physical worlds overlap.

This blog will document and follow this journey, my location visits, data collection and stories told along the way, finishing finally with the residency itself.

I would like to thank Culture Warrington for their support in offering me this residency and look forward to working with the team at Warrington Museums in 2018.  #Haecceity 



‘Haecceity is the becoming individual from having been undifferentiated. It is something very concrete, a thickness, like a drawing, and describes a process of individuation, like when drawing.’


As previously explained the concept of Haecceity stems from the philosopher John Duns Scotus, it is further explored by Deleuze and Guattari who use it to describe a change between states – the becoming individual by becoming different from what was before in a process of change or division.


‘A season, a winter, a summer, an hour, a date have a perfect individuality lacking nothing, even though this individuality is different from that of a thing or a subject. They are haecceities … capacities to affect and be affected.’

Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, p. 288



During the last few weeks of drawing in the Museum I have considered the act of drawing and my interaction with both the location of the drawing as well as the material itself.

Through drawing there is a constant writing and overwriting of information. Process is in discussion with the material and these consist of both fact and fiction. Anne Katrine Hougaard explores this idea of Haecceity in her essay on Haecceity, Drawing and Mapping. In this she considers that this discussion of fact and fiction is laid down by physical tools, materials and notational systems, where arranging and composing a material create new relations between objects and concepts.


‘As a methodical way of orchestrating instinct and intelligence, drawing enables the creation of a problem, and can contain a problem and a solution to it. And as an activity conducted over time and an object in a process of transformation, drawing is many simultaneous processes of individuation.’


My drawings in the Museum are very much taking place in the present, however they represent something, which is beyond the drawing. They are therefore a point where differences can grow. Where an exchange can take place between the real world and the imagination.

Anne Karine Hougaard describes this a ‘manifold capacity the drawing makes it possible to negotiate with the world at a distance and to let new worlds emerge at the same time’


Through the many conversations I have had whilst on my residency I have realised that drawing is quite a unique activity in that it allows us to explore ideas of representation, composition, architectural space and imagination simultaneously. It has the ability to affect us through interaction as a creator or audience but it also offers us the opportunity to affect it back by our reaction and interpretation.

‘Haecceity’ then is as I have interpreted it, is an interweaving of the mapped and measured world with the very personal world of our sensuous experiences. Interpretations of facts and fiction playing out on a platform, which is a constant process of Haecceity or individuation, constantly differing from itself and from anything else.

I would like to thank Culture Warrington for the opportunity to work in the Museum over the last three weeks and for all the help and support given so generously by the Museum staff and Gallery assistants.







“A Haecceity has neither beginning nor end, origin nor destination; it is always in the middle. ”

Alan, Taylor, Haecceity (he ke’ti) 1996- The University of Texas at Arlington, http:///,html


A week into my residency and the installation of the first gallery drawing I feel that the drawing and the installation as a whole is now beginning to flow.

As with any new piece of work you have to build an understanding with it and this work has been no different. The first few days felt like it was an archeological dig where I was excavating the drawing physically from the wall. I have found the Limestone much harder to work with than I had anticipated. Compared to charcoal it is much less responsive and demands a new way of approaching mark making. Each piece has its own characteristics, colour and feel which is reflected through the mark it leaves on the wall.

The drawings are very much sites of action where the marks are the beginning of seeing and experiencing a memory or reimagined space.

Listening to ‘Only Artists’  (Radio 4)with Humphrey Ocean and Mark Alexander there was a rather lovely conversation about how marks laid down are the beginning of a conversation; to put down the first mark creates a dialogue from within until something new emerges. This seemed particularly relevant to me as was drawing. Playing with the idea that maybe I am uncovering something that has always been there but has only just materialized in to physical space.


The gallery space itself is quite different to any I have worked in previously it’s location means that it is a transient space, one where visitors expect to move through in order to reach the main collections. Through the drawing I am inviting those audiences to deviate from their expected journey, to dwell and consider an evolving, incomplete work but also to encounter the artist who is present in the space.


Many visitors have been kind enough to take time to discuss the work and my role in the space which has been insightful and interesting helping me to understand how my work is perceived. It has been important for me to remember that I am not trying to create a definitive view, the drawing must remain transient and the audience must be allowed to explore and consider what is beyond the physical marks on the wall.










Over the past few weeks as my residency approached I have been revisiting the mossland locations from within the scan data.

This process helps me to focus on the memory and experience of being in place and then translate this into creating a visual Haecceity.

After several years of working with the Scene software I still need to approach each new data set as if it were the first time I had used it.  Every scan is a new experience and it takes me several weeks of working with it before I begin to capture images I connect with.

As the images progress then they shift from screen data drawings to physical ink on paper/board.  This recreates a 3-dimensional quality and the drawings suddenly become objects to explore.

The decision to use conductive ink to create touch responsive panels was not part of my original proposal.  However, this seemed a natural progression for the project as so much of what my research is about is the multi-sensory experience of place and how we look through many senses.

I am working with friend Leon Hardman, he also works at UCLan and is the brains behind the tech responsible for creating and carrying the sound.  More than this though he is co-author of these pieces and has selected the sounds captured from Risley Moss in response to my images.  Yesterday we began the install at Warrington Museum, the printed panels created at Artlab Contemporary Print Studios @UCLan in Preston will carry sound when touched. The testing has been problematic to say the least as this application of conductive ink is pushing the limits of our knowledge, the space and the materials.

One of the things I love about collaborating is the energy and drive which is created between two artists when their practices overlap.  There becomes a space in different disciplines where something new can be created, it is exciting and challenging, unpredictable and rewarding.

The testing is not complete and we will continue to work on the install over the coming days.  Through this residency and the opportunity gifted by the Museum and WCAF2017 my research and this installation has moved towards a new level of engagement, rediscovering seeing through physical interaction.


An important aspect of my research methods is the partnerships and friendships, which develop alongside the works. Such partnerships often last for many projects and in themselves become a form of Haecceity as they inform and support the subsequent art works I create.

During my residency in Australia at the end of 2016 I met and worked with artist Linda Swinfield. During our brief time together in Newcastle Printmakers there was a recognition and familiarity, which connected through our approach to our respective practices. Ideas around connection to place and memory play a very important role in both of our practices and I would like to thank Linda for sharing with me her very insightful Masters exegesis ‘Haecceity – Family, Object and Memory’ which has offered a new insight into the notions of Haecceity and links to aesthetic and creative characteristics.


‘Thus tracing its conceptual development from object to object in the creative process where one work often evolves out of another, itself from another and into something newer. The object becomes an evolving entity that has been born from itself or an aspect of itself. Haecceity encapsulates this aspect of the object, the work, and its individual existence.”


“Through Haecceity we connect with Duns Scotus’ notion of Individuation, which encapsulates this aspect of the object, the work of art and individual being itself. That each object, individual entity or person has its own specific essences, gives it specific traits or characteristics – the notion of individuality. Without the existence of these properties, the object or person would cease to exist. According to Scotus, individual substances cannot be substantiated; a clone of me is not an instance of me, but an instance or contingence of humanity.”

Linda Swinfield – Haecceity – Family. Object and Memory 2009.



One new element of the residency installation being created will be the potential inclusion of sound to the gallery space.

Sound and touch play a massively important role in experiencing mossland/wetland spaces and with this in mind I am working with a colleague and fellow artist from UCLan Leon Hardman to try to create interactive panels which will sit along side the site specific gallery drawings. The panels will be screen-printed with electro-conductive ink which when wired up to a small touch board will respond to touch and carry sound. Currently this is still being developed and tested but I am hopeful that we will have panels ready for installation at the beginning of the residency.


This week I have been back out at Risely Moss with rangers Mark and Gaynor collecting sounds and moments. Their knowledge of the site and connection and understanding of place informed the choices and locations for collecting the sounds.

I had no preconceived ideas around what I wanted to record instead accepting and allowing the site to offer moments as we walked and then trying to respond to those discoveries and offerings. We were not disappointed; Risley gave us a clear still day where even the soft sounds of bird’s wings fluttering in the undergrowth could be detected followed by a crisp cold day where the wind gusted over the mossland bringing with it new sounds and a dynamic movement which felt like the moss was breathing.

We followed deer and fox trails across the mossland listening to the vegetation and ground beneath our feet as we walked.

The distant drone of the motorway always present was forgotten as we focused in on the living waters and subtle sounds of the vegetation as we moved through it.

There are many ways to cross the mossland spaces of Warrington and Greater Manchester – walking, running, flying and driving. Risley encapsulates all of these with pathways for both man and animal visible, flight paths of migratory and resident birds in constant use, airplanes and helicopters routinely interrupt the stillness and then finally motorway and railway all of which cross and intersect the once expansive mossland. This visual and audible patchwork of sensory experiences combine to engulf those who pause for a moment to listen and look.


And this returns us to Scotus’ idea of Individuation and Haecceity as without the existence of all these properties, the uniqueness of place would cease to exist.


“A Haecceity has neither beginning nor end, origin nor destination; it is always in the middle. It is not made of points, only of lines. It is a rhizome.”

Alan, Taylor, Haecceity (he ke’ti) 1996- The University of Texas at Arlington, http:///,html



When I chose the title of this project it was with a view to describing the Haecceity of the chosen locations in response to the brief of the WCAF theme – ‘History of the Future’, for me it was the ‘this-ness’ of place, which I wanted to convey with the new work. However, as the project has developed I have realised that Haecceity exists in both a spiritual and physical sense and that it can in fact relate to the creative process itself.

Over the last few weeks I have revisited four mossland sites within close proximity to Warrington in preparation for my residency in March at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery. Cadishead, Little Woolden, Risley and Delamere, each one of these sites is familiar to me and yet with every visit a new discovery is made.


Cadishead and Little Woolden are two former peat extraction sites, which once formed part of the historic Chat Moss mossland. These sites formed a considerable part of my Masters project ‘Sensorium’ in 2015 and were fundamental in the understanding and development within my practice.

Delamere I have already written about in a previous blog post, a unique site, familiar to many but has the capability to surprise and offer unseen spaces if you are prepared to look.

Risley Moss is the closest of the chosen sites to Warrington and is protected as a SSSI site. This site has a complicated past and has been misunderstood for many years however, its care is currently entrusted to two wonderful rangers Mark and Gaynor who work endlessly to ensure that the legacy of this special place is not lost or forgotten.

Last week I had the very great pleasure to spend a day in the company of Mark and Gaynor who generously shared their passion, knowledge and a good deal of their time showing me why Risely Moss is so special.

The communities of Warrington are inextricably linked with this moss, which was formed 10,000 – 15,000 years ago during the last ice age. For decades it has witnessed many changes and accommodated demands placed on it by its occupiers but now it is being allowed to regain some of its former glory.

It is breathtakingly beautiful, bold and dynamic yet fragile and transient. I was overwhelmed as I was guided around the site, this was not the place you think you see from the main viewpoint or the pathways created to offer walkers a space to easily navigate. This was a place that demands your attention, every sense of your body must engage to navigate and keep yourself away from the pools of water, which sit quietly hidden away between tall grasses and reeds.

You become acutely aware of the sounds and light, moments of focused light drawing your eyes to areas around you, which would ordinarily be easily missed.

Periodically there are visual clues in the ground where animals and man have crossed, or where traces of the past surface. A visual palimpsest, which reminds us of the hidden narratives held within this mossland and the narrative, which is still playing out as communities work to restore the site to its former state.