The Places that Speak to Us


Workshops & activities

Links to the reports and materials resulting from the activities under the new "The places that speak to us" award are posted here.

Kielder Oral History project

Quantocks Orchard Project

‘What’s the Story?’ Workshop

Walks for the Royal Geographical Society

The ‘Local Places, Global Processes: Histories of Environmental Change’ Network – has received a further 12 months of Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding. The award allows the network to continue its work and extend collaboration to include Georgina Enfield, who led the ‘Cultural Spaces of Climate’ Network. The award is part of the research theme ‘Care for the Future: Enhancing the Role of Arts and Humanities Perspectives on Environmental Values and Change’. The grant funds a series of ‘follow on’ activities and events related to ‘Local Places, Global Processes’ during 2012.

The central research theme of the new project – ‘The Places that Speak to Us and the Publics We Talk With: Shaping Environmental Histories’ – is how environmental discourses are shaped by place in a geographical, social and discursive sense, highlighting issues of translation and communication of environmental experience. Working with our existing project partners – the Forestry Commission, Northumbrian Water, the National Trust and the Quantock Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty management team; as well as a new partner, the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers – the project seeks to enable innovative and productive knowledge exchanges and to facilitate better understanding of cultural considerations that influence responses to management decisions.

The following event and activities will take place during 2012:

  • A ‘What’s the Story?’ Workshop (led by ‘Local Places’ Network core participant Erin Gill): to help arts and humanities researchers increase their influence by translating their work on environmental subjects into print journalism. Date: TBA
  • A Network Book Workshop (led by Peter, David, Georgina and Paul) related to the proposed edited collection that will form the ‘Local Places, Global Processes’ Network’s primary output in conventional academic terms. At the same time, the editors (Peter, David, Georgina and Paul) want to retain the interactive format of Workshop and website discussions, using edited and revised versions of blogs, and combining academic with non-academic perspectives. We would like to produce a book that can serve as a template for site-specific and site-sensitive research activity in the arts and humanities. The envisaged book will carry contributions of varying length, from standard academic chapters – albeit based on interdisciplinary approaches and embedding the experience of place that informed our Workshops – to shorter reflections on Workshop landscapes, and managers’ comments. We also want to include artworks featured at ‘Local Places’ Workshops. At this Book Workshop, we envisage that a number of the selected contributions will be delivered and evaluated, with a view to maximizing connections between contributions and enhancing the overall product. The new award includes a publisher’s subvention of £5,000. Date: September 2012. Location: Halsway Manor, near Taunton, Somerset.
  •  A Forests and Woodlands Workshop (led by Paul) and supported by the Forestry Commission and National Trust, will build on the success of an earlier workshop Paul organized at DEFRA in conjunction with the Independent Panel on Forestry in September 2011. Involving a wide range of academics, foresters and forest managers, researchers, campaigners, NGO representatives, and civil servants, this meeting examined the significance of cultural and social approaches to the value of forests and woodlands in England. The second workshop will reflect on the policy recommendations included in the Panel’s imminent report (April 2012) and bring historical, cultural and social perspectives to key ideas highlighted at the previous DEFRA meeting: concepts of  ownership and management (and the distinction between them), community, access and public values (especially those of contemporary multi-cultural society). Date: TBA. Location: London.
  •  Environmental Visions at Wicken (led by Paul, in conjunction with the National Trust) is a series of contextualizing public lectures and discussions on the general subject of Environmental Visions associated with the Wicken Vision. Inspired by the first of the three ‘Local Places’ workshops and this radical new plan in UK conservation (to extend NT holdings at Wicken Fen to create a major wetland environment covering over 50 square kilometres north of Cambridge), these lectures will address local examples, comparison with similar conservation initiatives in the Netherlands (and elsewhere), as well as the long-term envisioning of changes in climate and values. ‘Vision’ lectures will be held on-site, integrated within NT’s existing programme of activities to maximize public value. A number of these events will be organized in collaboration with the Cambridge-based Network ‘Climate Histories: Communicating Cultural Knowledge of Environmental Change’. Date: TBA. Location: Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire.
  • Local Co-Production and Reception of Climate Change Strategies: a project (led by Georgina, working with Erin) that investigates the local co-production and reception of climate change adaptation strategies adopted by environmental managers. The research context is provided by the published climate change strategies of various project partners (Northumbrian Water, National Trust, Forestry Commission, National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty), some of which are specific to our study sites (Wicken Fen).
  • Fallen Fruits: The Disappearing Orchard Landscape of the Quantock Foothills:  a project (led by Peter, working with Marianna) pursued in partnership with the Quantock Hills AONB service. This case study embedded within a local community distinguished by a particularly strong historic and cultural relationship with orchards, focuses on the loss and survival of orchards within and immediately beyond the boundaries of the AONB area since 1945.
  • Walking Militarized Landscapes: a project (led by Peter, working with Marianna) pursued in partnership with RGS-IBG, will develop two walks (one around Salisbury Plain Training Estate and the other around the Sennybridge Training Area in Wales) for RGS-IBG’s ‘Discovering Britain’ project.
  • Kielder Interview Project: an oral history project that continues lines of investigation and dialogues opened up by the Kielder Workshop (March 2011) (led by David, working with Leona), and will be pursued in partnership with Northumbrian Water plc, the Forestry Commission, and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust. As well as key people among our project partners (such as the Forestry Commission’s Graham Gill, who was a field guide at the Workshop), interviewees will include a cross-section of local people.






  1. chris smout says:

    There is a great deal going on in Scotland which ends-on to these topics. For instance, on July 22 there will be a meeting in Falkland organised by Ninian Crichton-Stewart and addressed by Neal Acherson among others relating to the meaning and future of ‘heritage’ in a world of cuts: on 13 August, the SCAPE Trust is launching in Edinburgh castle a new coastal heritage ‘citizen science’ project which involves a specially designed app for your mobile phone to record archaeological heritage sites at risk on the Scottish coasts (funded by HLF). And there have been rural settlement site projects similarly involving the public. A lot of this is about ‘place’ and sense of belonging, with which environmental and social history is inescapably connected.

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