“The Garden City Outskirts Project will be a year long research and development period spent exploring and rediscovering key areas around the town of Letchworth Garden City based in North Hertfordshire. The focus areas will be those located around the perimeters of the town that lay between the urban codes and regulations of the town and the open fields of the countryside beyond. I will be looking for areas that show evidence of use and occupation, where human meets ‘wild’.
The study will examine these areas through an analytical approach, adopted through the role of ‘explorer’. Evidence will be collected in the form of photographs, films, drawings, maps, audio commentary, as well as personal accounts by local residents that may have specific experience of these places. Through this collection of evidence I aim to build narratives or portraits of this marginal landscape.
Alongside this contemporary analysis, I am interested in the narratives of history and its relationship to the current use of the landscape. Through this scientific role I wish to adopt, the archaeologist will be a key influence. I will spend a proportion of my time working alongside, interviewing and studying the work of local archaeologists in order to examine their own methods of building portraits from this landscape.
Throughout this duration of time spent at these islands or archipelagos I will keep an online blog that records my daily experiences, finds and observations.
The material collected from this period of exploration will then be used as a way to engage the local residents with the landscape that occupies the perimeters of their everyday lives. The findings will be organised into an exhibition as a series of narratives created through interpretation of the findings, presented through a number of different mediums, namely drawing, mapping, photography, audio and film.
As well as this multi media exhibition, there will be an artist talk that will discuss the period of research and the experiences gained as an ‘explorer of the edge’ of their town. There will also be invited talks from collaborators that were involved in the research. (local artists, archaeologists, residents, etc).
If films are made, special screenings will be arranged to show them.
All of the areas that were studied will be given a page in an artist book with an introduction and map along with documentation of the finds located there.
There will also be a walking tour in which small groups of residents at a time may be taken to the different locations and invited to carry out their own explorer discoveries, through maps, notes, drawings and photography. ”
My plans are all based around this initial idea and at the moment I am trying to get together with local organisations in the hope that they would like to have some involvement. Looking forward to a meeting with the Chief Executive of the Letchworth Arts Centre next week and the following week the Chief Executive of the Letchworth Heritage Foundation. Also trying to get some contact with the museum curator and the museum service archaeologist. Hopefully I can get some honest feedback on my initial proposal before I take it any further. I hope I will have positive things to report soon!