Karyn and I are on the way to a three-day workshop in Pemba, an Island of Zanzibar, from the 24th -26th July. It is focused on building resilience amongst coastal communities to changes in coral reefs. We are going to work together with the project team of Mwambao to facilitate community planning in ‘resource management planning’ using various visual methods as a way to share sustainable community marine resource management experiences. The workshop will be conducted in Wete and will be attended by Fisheries staff and fishermen from the community of Fundo village and its vicinity. This visual workshop was triggered due to the experience we gained from working with Ali Thani of Mwambao in Mauritius, and due to the foresight of Karyn Morrissey, Senior Lecturer, European Centre for the Environment and Human Health who applied for the funding for us to attend the workshop as part of the PML/Nerc funded project called Coral Communities.
This time last week exactly, I had just finished making aquarium-based coastscapes with this community from Anse la Raie in Mauritius. More to come later but let’s just say, my dream of working with participatory video, QGIS and viviariums is completely coming to life through a project titled Coral Communities.
This element of tagscape is under development with many partners and is led by Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
The work focuses almost entirely on seascapes and is funded by The Natural Environment Research Council. There is much to develop so watch this space and the hashtag #coralcommunities. Photographers Andy Hughes and Jason Parsons are helping the hashtag come alive as well as making a film about how to do the coastscape community work. Read more here – one our first pieces of press.
Here is an overview of the project.
I have 5 forestscapes and 3 parkscapes growing at home. I made one of them. I am tending the others for people. Do I now make my own seascape… In December I have been visiting aquarium shops. I wasn’t allowed to take photographs but the wonderful National Marine Aquarium did let me.
A press release on what we’ve just done today!
Children cycled through the woods, learned about the nature on their doorstep and made mini woodscapes around a fire
On Tuesday 5th July, 14 exhilarated children from Trevithick School rode through the historic Crenver Grove at Praze-an-Beeble. Different stops were made en route at specially-created bike parks – some of which were secret stops and shelters that Dave Davies from Sustrans and artist Dominica Williamson had prepared for the children.
Before they started Davies taught them how to check their bikes for safety and how to ride the woods safely. Each stop they made was an invite for them to view a different aspect of the woodland and a chance for them to gather objects. Dave Readman of Cotna, a tree identification expert, explained the different aspects of the wood and the children were then encouraged to draw and collect objects based on these.
At the final stop, a shelter in the woods with a camp fire, the children put their newly-learned skills and awareness to use and created small woodscapes – miniature ecosystems with materials found in the grove. Through collecting objects such as plant matter, stones and soil, as well as assembling words and colours, the children developed their sensory skills whilst also contributing to nature.
‘I felt lost but then free,’ one child said when asked to think about how her head, hands and feet felt after riding and exploring the grove. Many of the children agreed their cycling skills had improved and they were excited to see if their woodscapes grew.
Data collected through this workshop will appear on maps about the woods, which are to be exhibited in Crenver Grove in the autumn. The children, their teachers and families will all be invited to see how their contributions evolved. The maps and woodscapes will also travel to the Royal Geographical Society’s International Annual Conference in London on 1st September.
Dave Davies of Sustrans and artist Dominica Williamson collaborated in Crenver Grove, managed by www.sustrust.co.uk, to bring this workshop. The workshop is part of a Leverhulme Trust Plymouth University project called Tagscape – www.tagscape.co.uk.
It is the first event in the woods since the passing of Pip Richards, the Director of Sustrust. ‘It is a fantastic woodland for the community’, says Dominica, ‘A wonderful gift that Pip has left.’ Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer or use the woods for an event.
A contaminated site by Ryan Putt and company, 11th Feb 2016
Location: Devon Great Consols, Copper mine, Tavistock, Devon
A group of MSc Environmental Consultancy students visited the contaminated landscape of Devon Great Consols for the first time. In addition to photographing the landscape, student Ryan Putt is collecting their perception of the scape over time – here is data from the first visit. Two weeks later he collected more data to see whether there are differences – an interesting comparative study.
‘Below are the responses from the group regarding their perception of the landscape. I think they mirror some of the images quite nicely. I think weather conditions and seasonality play a significant part in perception – it will be interesting to see if their responses change if the conditions in a couple of weeks are worse, as today it was beautiful.’
Peaceful, Chilly, Historical, Birds, Relaxed, Dirty, Excited, Nice, Impressive, Big, Mystery, Derelict, Scarred, Grubby, Rays, Tranquil, Lost, Airy, Scenic, Haven, Secluded, Slopes, Pretty, Post-Industrial, Chilled, Serene, Nice, Baron, Deserted, Expansive, Colourful, Patterns, Cool, Undulating, Nostalgic, Weird, Wide.
‘Second visit to Devon Great Consols today, with overcast conditions, frequent misty showers and a fierce wind – the weather was a stark contrast to the beautiful winter sun greeting our first visit. The context of the day was also quite different, with each group (the course were split into seven groups of four) giving a talk on a particular contamination topic – including the uptake of arsenic into plants and animals, the pathways of contaminants into the home environment and the availability of arsenic within the mining spoil heaps. An interesting day, with the perceptual data below.’
Dreary, Misty, Bleak, Polluted, Tranquil, Long Views, Winter Walks, Historic Valley, Babbling Streams, Mysterious, Birds Twittering, Historic Valley, Dangerous.
Woodscape by Ryan and his grandmother, 13th Feb 2016
Location: Boundary of Dartmoor National Park, Devon
The below vivarium was considered and built during the duration of the exhibition ‘Tagscape: Come Map with Me’ by MSc Environmental Consultancy student Ryan Putt and his grandmother.
It is a semi-Natural Broadleaved Woodland, part of a larger connected corridor of woodland patches that run alongside the boundary of Dartmoor National Park. The ‘Lud Brook’ weaves through the woodland, passing through the villages of Moorhaven and Bittaford (close to Ivybridge).
Ryan was asked to build a vivarium and collect data. He decided to keep the data unstructured and captured some incognito perceptual data whilst his grandmother took control of the making. He also recorded the process via images with his phone.
Yesterday Evening (Feb 12th)
“I’m thoroughly looking forward to it, it should be really interesting”
Throughout and After the Process
“I could sit here all day and watch the woodland. You’re always on the edge, expecting something to happen. It’s always changing. I love it here, every season adds a different element of beauty”
“Look at all the lovely moss. The bluebells will look excellent in spring. Just you wait until summer, it’ll be beautiful. I feel connected with nature”
“It’s quite cold but I think it’ll be worth it. The vivarium is going to look great”
“It’s all muddy and leafy and wet. Lots of moisture around”
“I haven’t been down this path in years”
“That was nice, I really enjoyed that. On a nice hot summer day it would be even better. It certainly makes people aware of their environment”
“You can see the diversity of species. I think we’re really captured the woodland here. You can smell it too! It’s earthy”