We are looking for contacts, local community groups, interested individuals, routes into funding, places to exhibit, support, volunteers, publicity and people to network with in order to develop our projects.
Please contact us by emailing milesanddacombe@virginmedia.com.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Forward Footing programme of walks, 2015

In the New Year we will be running a series of walks around the Midlands and a little further afield to introduce our Outdoor Art Kits to as many people as possible. The list of walks will be updated on this page as we confirm things; here is the list so far. If you're interested in coming along on one of our walks, please check back to this page, email us or sign up to our mailing list to be kept informed! If you want to come on any of the walks listed below, please email us.

Forward Footing walk dates:

Nottingham, 2 February 2015, 10am-12, meeting at King Edward Park, Sneinton. Organised with Self-Help Nottingham ENDED
Stoke-on-Trent, Tuesday 14th April 2015, 1-4pm with Dan Thompson's London Road projectENDED
Bedford, Wednesday 15th April 2015, with Priory Lower School (sorry this walk is not open to the public)  ENDED
Various venues starting at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, Sunday 7th June as part of the Flaming Skirt Festival, 10am-5.30pm.  ENDED
Birmingham, Saturday 20th June 2015, as part of the Still Walking Festival.
Various venues starting at Ironville, Amber Valley, Derbyshire, Sunday 28th June 2015 as part of the Flaming Skirt Festival, 10am-5.30pm.
Norwich, Eaton Park, Saturday 25th July 2015 as part of Love Parks Week events. Walks will take place from 11am-12, 1-3pm & 3-4pm; sign up on the day.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Forward Footing - Test Walk 3 - Urban Desborough Walk

We found Desborough an intriguing place, so much so that we decided to take a second walk there. We were joined by one walker, Bob, who had heard about our walks from the first group we walked with but he hadn't been with us on Walk 1 and it was great to have a local walker with us, who proved to be a mine of information. Our other walkers came from Kettering, Corby and Northampton. We met at the Revive Cafe, a formerly derelict building which now runs as an excellent community cafe.

Our first intervention took place outside Holy Trinity Church which was originally built for a Methodist congregation. Holy Trinity was purchased and re-opened as a Catholic church in 1972. The church seats approximately 120 people. We were fascinated by the engraved memorial bricks and assume that they were part of the fund raising drive for the original construction. This practice continues to this day in many types of public building project. We were also struck by how quickly names can erode and disappear.

Plaque - Any flat, thin piece of metal, clay, ivory, or the like, used for ornament, or for painting pictures upon, as a slab, plate, dish, or the like, hung upon a wall; also, a smaller decoration worn on the person, as a brooch.

 - A piece of flat metal with a writing on it, attached to a building to remind people of a person or an event.

The object of this intervention was to create a personal commemorative statement.

We discussed where the intervention should be installed and whether it should be left or removed.

After trying out a variety of possible locations, Pam suggested that we should install the intervention behind the wall, out of view from the road and only to be seen by people leaving the church door. This seemed an excellent solution and created an intervention that was both public and private.

We  will be uploading a gallery of all the interventions created at a later stage of the project.

Intervention 2 - "Record"

We wanted this walk to be one in which people were encouraged to really engage with the details of the areas they were walking through as we had noticed that the town had an unusual approach to planning its public and domestic spaces. There was evidence of a rural past, an industrial past, a railway,  The Cooperative Society had had a huge role in the development of the town and a visit to Desborough Heritage Centre gives an indication of the many changes that have taken place.

Record - Any instance of a physical medium on which information was put for the purpose of preserving it and making it available for future reference.

Invervention 3 - "Monument"

During our scoping walk we followed our feet into a garden which had furniture and scrap metal stored in various states of renovation and some "come and see me" out-buildings. The owner came out to greet us and told us that the buildings had once been part of a dairy. During our first scoping walk we had spotted an inspirational location, opposite a factory, and thought this would be an ideal site for a sculptural intervention. We told him what we were planning and he very kindly donated elements for our Monument Intervention. 

Whilst creating this intervention with the group, we formed such an unusual site that a local Police Officer stopped to enquire whether there had been an incident and if we required assistance!

Monument - A structure built for commemorative or symbolic reasons, or as a memorial; a commemoration.
-  An important site owned by the community as a whole.
-  An exceptional or proud achievement.

Intervention 4 "Gallery"

Gallery - A building, an institution, or a room for the exhibition of artistic work.
-  A collection; an assortment.

During a walk through an urban area that is in the process of change and decay it is easy to close our eyes and walk past without wondering or observing, we tend to block out what offends our eyes. Our final intervention was created to counteract this and draw attention to an assortment of the features of Desborough...

- before a very welcome stop in Lucy's Tea Rooms after so much exhausting creativity!

Lucy's Tea Rooms offer the now famous Desborough Doorstop sandwich - just the thing after a walk!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Forward Footing - Test Walk 2 - Canons Ashby

Our second Test Walk commenced from the car park at  Canons Ashby on a glorious autumn morning with a group of walkers from the area, gathered together by artist Sonia Hawes, and we headed off towards the village of Moreton Pinkney.

As we crossed the fields, we introduced our first activity, Collect, with the aim that people would connect with their surroundings, enjoy the colours, textures, sights, sounds and smells and create a collection of memories of the walk.

Collect -  gatheraccumulateassemble, amassstockpilepile upheap upstore (up)hoardsave, massaccrue.

a crowd collected in the squaregatherassemblemeetmustercongregate,conveneconvergeflock together.

he collected her thoughtsgathersummon (up)musterget togethermarshal.

On our scoping walk we enjoyed exploring the village hall and the playing field in Moreton Pinkney, the old pub with its new extension, still not in use, with beautiful trees, a small green and benches for sitting. Soaking up the late autumn sun and the sounds in this space, we all found places to sit to work on our individual parts for the first intervention.

We installed our interventions inside the bus shelter on the edge of the green.

A gallery of artworks made during this intervention will be shared at a later stage of the project.

We all gathered inside the bus shelter for a Private View before continuing our walk.

We were joined by a curious cat

spotted a Comma Butterfly pretending to be a dry leaf

and made plans for foraging trips to collect blackberries and sloes, shared recipes and foraging locations. We also shared memories of other walks, thought about why we walk and how we might encourage others to explore their own surroundings creatively. There is a great emphasis on walking for health, but we find that taking a walk, in a group or on our own is a great stimulus for creativity.

Our next intervention was created at the entrance to a field with a great view of Canons Ashby Priory church of St Mary. We were delighted with the many ways people chose to engage with the activity; one walker decided to use her own "walking pebble" and just hold it up to the view and contemplate her surroundings in a private, personal way.

Pebble - a small stone made smooth and round by the action of water or sandORIGIN late Old Englishrecorded as the first element of papel-stān[pebble-stone,] pyppelrīpig [pebble-stream,] of unknown origin. The word is recorded in place names from the early 12th century onward.

The final stage of our walk 

took us through a beautiful wild flower meadow

giving us the opportunity to wade through flowers and grasses.

"The loss of over 97% of our wildflower-rich grasslands has had a huge impact on bumblebees, which have seen simultaneous dramatic declines. Even with good management, many grasslands have lost their wildflower seed bank so seed introduction is needed to bring the flowers back.
Restoring or creating a meadow will, over time, help to increase the range and number of flowers that it supports, increasing the quantity and quality of foraging habitat for bumblebees.
Wildflower-rich grasslands are the most important habitat for bumblebees as they provide flowers throughout the summer and contain many nectar and pollen-rich plant species favoured by bumblebees."
The Bumble Bee Conservation Trust 

After a wonderful lunch we shared our thoughts about the day and many of the participants felt inspired to try out some of the ways of walking and making interventions with their grand children. This made us feel very hopeful about the value of making the Landscape Intervention Kit - we will be working on a more creative name for the kit, so if you have any suggestions please send them to us!

The National Trust at Canons Ashby have a lovely list of  50 things to do before you're 11¾

Friday, 21 November 2014

Forward Footing - Test Walk 1 - Desborough

Through our contacts at The Green Patch in Kettering we were able to link in with a Health Walk Group that meets every Wednesday morning in Desborough and walks for about an hour and a half. The previous day we had scoped the walk and planned a route, seen an upturned car, walked through a field of ponies, explored a derelict farmhouse and had be halted but not stopped by a closed off right of way.

We planned a number of test interventions, including a mini protest, however once we met the group our route was guided by their knowledge of the area and as time was short we only conducted two of the test interventions - "Befriend" and "Platform".

Befriend - make friends withmake a friend oflook afterkeep an eye onbe of service tolend a helping hand to, helpprotectside withstand byencourage.

The group chose a stopping point where they worked in pairs, shared skills, made and altered arrangements. One participant said "I've never spent so long looking at an ash tree before".

Platform - stagedaisrostrumpodiumsoapbox.

On the second stage of the walk the group had really warmed into it so once we introduced the idea for Platform they spontaneously split off to work in two groups and then compared their creations.

The walk ended with a feeling that we had all discovered and created something, Carole and Jo were encouraged by the enthusiasm with which the group responded to the ideas and their genuine interest in the project.

There will be a gallery of the artworks created after all our Intervention walks have been completed in 2015.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Forward Footing - Experimentation

We began thinking about our new project Forward Footing during a walk in Northampton

We looked at details

thought about platforms

and staging posts for interventions.

We discussed where people might make

 a temporary intervention during a walk.

In Kettering we spent more time exploring urban, everyday spaces

ledges, windowsills, greenery, disregarded areas and signage.

We also explored a range of easily obtainable items that held 'making on the move' potential as we want to create a kit that is portable, fun, easy to use, inspirational and accessible.

We met local people during both walks and shared some of our thoughts and observations to gauge whether we were on the right track with the contents of our kit and how it might benefit a wide range of ages and interests.

We came away from these two walks with a library of ideas for the kit.

We planned that our next three walks would be trial walks to test out some of these ideas. We'll be blogging about these walks and our progress in weekly posts over the next few months - so check in with us again soon!