A couple of things coalesced for me last week. More maps, walking, networks...
On Monday I had a great time walking around Snibston and finding the footpaths that lead in and out of the site. (There is now a Facebook page for the Transform project at Snibston.)
I also met with Nick at the museum, who was fantastic and spent lots of time showing me the maps of the mining seams and how they had been mapped from the mid 1800s until the 1980s, a period of almost 150 years of mining in the area.
Walking back through the fields I had this astonishing sense of the mapped tunnels beneath my feet, layer upon layer of seams cut through the earth, like the floors of a building inverted.
On the maps you can see that the mining seams are absolutely vast, stretching out underneath the town and neighbouring villages.
The maps themselves are beautiful, and incredibly complex. Spiderwebs of tunnels that radiate out, the drawn lines mapped on top of other maps of the surface - the underneath layered on top, a very strange sense of parallel worlds that exist simultaneously in the same place.
Lines and networks stretch out everywhere, below and above ground.
A couple of days later I attended the New Research Trajectories event in Nottingham. Bringing together research students from across the region, the event had a small audience who were also participants in exploring Nottingham on a walk, where we encountered and took part in art presentations and happenings in unusual places. (There is a great write-up and photos of the event on Heather Connelly's blog, scroll down to NEW RESEARCH TRAJECTORIES - Navigation in the City and Online Space event, Nottingham, 15th December.)
I met Jackie Calderwood who has done some interesting work on exploring spaces and walking. She led us in an exercise on "Clean Language", asking each other questions in a set format which revealed deep levels of thought about our own research interests as well as producing extremely concise words or short poems.
We had to write our results on a sticker and also use colour in a grid pattern to express our research interests. We then had to find a place to "disseminate" our stickers.
We visited the incredible Nottingham tunnels, we also experienced work in an old theatre and finished in a room above the Surface Gallery currently being used as a LAB for an artists' collective, where they served us an excellent minestrone soup!
My disseminated sticker ended up with the words "It's underneath your feet". The colours on the grid represented the natural and the urban, reflecting how suddenly, by walking, you can cross from a predominantly urban area into a green stretch of land and countryside. I placed my sticker on the bottom of a scaffolding pole, a place being refurbished which, for me, made it a transitional space.
Lots of connections with my walk at Snibston. And a very fascinating day.