Top image: Sophie Lindsey (left) and Di McGhee waiting for the Piel Island Ferry
I came to Barrow with the idea that I could map the research process in some way. Using a simple mapping app I began by mapping those planned journeys for research purposes. In tandem I also began to record, with drawing, any specific sites of interest that may become sites for making. These sites relate to my interest in the relationship between people and place and how this sits or conflicts with views of industry and with social situations and issues. I have found Barrow to be particularly diverse in both these areas.
As my collection of mapped journeys has grown, I have begun to focus on smaller journeys associated with the making process, linked to gathering materials and to moving around the studio when making. The highlight has been an exploratory trip to Piel Island, that was in fact and island to island trip. I have planned a further trip (weather permitting) where I can bring together journey mapping and making mapping.
Image below: Di McGhee working in the Main Gallery at Art Gene
During this residency I have concentrated in exploring the area on foot, so that I can gain a better understanding of the place. This has allowed me to consider details as well as more general, overarching aspects of the town. I have been particularly interested in the use/under-use of public space. From the number of brownfield, gap sites to the deliberate street furniture, both of which are underused. I have been looking to create a dialogue between them to consider what the functions of these spaces are, and what they could be.
I am also considering my use of walking as a way to research and connect seemingly disparate sites. Barrow is a unique context with Nature Reserves and Sites of Scientific Interest in such close proximity to nuclear submarines and other trappings of industry, which completely contradict each other. Despite this, they both seem very separate with one almost failing acknowledging the other. I am interested in whether these can be considered equally, as both are so significant to the place.
Image below: Photograph by Sophie Lindsey, taken while researching gap sites.
Image below: Photograph by Sophie Lindsey, taken on Peil Island (Piel Castle’s information panel).