John Clare, “Trespass”

I dreaded walking where there was no path
And pressed with cautious tread the meadow swath
And always turned to look with wary eye
And always feared the owner coming by;
Yet everything about where I had gone
Appeared so beautiful I ventured on
And when I gained the road where all are free
I fancied every stranger frowned at me
And every kinder look appeared to say
“You’ve been on trespass in your walk today.”
I’ve often thought, the day appeared so fine,
How beautiful if such a place were mine;
But, having naught, I never feel alone
And cannot use another’s as my own.

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

“Perhaps if place cannot be made precise, then neither can a person.” Robin Walker.

This exploration of Robin Walker’s architecture and his writings, made by his son, looks like a wonderful evocation of man and Modernism.

http://nomoreworkhorse.com/2015/10/13/talking-to-my-father-film-review/#more-98784

Thinking of Aoife’s map of her ‘Shangnam’ pale, this caught my attention.

Proletarian Poetry

Back home, our area of Coventry was originally named in the Doomsday book, and in the 19th century when still largely unpopulated, was a place for wealthy tradesmen. However, the city spread to this outlying area in the early 20th century and housing estates began to encroach on the land. My parents bought a two bed terrace there for about £1,500 and all around us, mainly families from Ireland bought up their own. In a way, they were the new pioneers, to borrow from Sarah’s borrowed phrase.

But this was a divided area: between those who owned their houses and those who lived in the identikit council alternative; of course it was only divided by banter. We were no sociologists, but we took on stratification when taking the piss out of those who weren’t allowed to paint their own house, where the streets had the same fence, where…

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An epigraph to James Attlee’s Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey reads:

IMG_5461“‘Isolarion’ is the term for the 15th-centry maps that describe specific areas in detail, but that do not provide a clarifying overview of how these places are related to each other.’ From the publicity for the exhibition Isolarion by Sophie Tottie, Lund Kunsthalle, Sweden 2005.

His own Isolarion dwells on the Cowley Road in Oxford and represents a pilgrimage of sorts to and from his own doorstep. He journeys through the census past to discover workhouses and geriatric hospitals, through the busy kitchens of the street’s Asian restaurants, via allotments, football matches and reggae nights, in and out of conversations with friends and strangers: all observations authorized simply by his desire to know his adopted patch of turf and consider how it takes its place in the wider world.

A friend, Wes Williams, gave it to me. Wes has a scholarly interest in pilgrimage and monsters.  He turns up here to advise on miraculous waters. James Attlee, Isolarion: A Different Oxford Journey, University of Chicago Press, 2007.

This evening, the Pale Project Workshop convenes for the first time. We will range in age from an 11 week old baby (hopefully our one sleeping participant), to an explorer in her seventies. The group includes a marine ecologist, several artists, curators, broadcasters, writers, a councillor, a textile artist, a biologist, graduating students and a retired teacher. Our chosen territories range from Dalkey Island, to Shanganagh Cliffs, to Carrickgollogan, to Churchtown, to Seapoint and points in between. We are not aiming to provide a clarifying overview of how these places relate to each other, but perhaps this process of exploring our county on foot and with all five senses open, will anchor the digital maps that appear to slide free from our devices and assert coordinates of their own.

Tonight I’ll be distributing excerpts from Simon Garfield’s, On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does, Profile Books, 2012, and inviting participants to draw in their territories on a master-map of the county’s electoral districts.  PS2 did something similar back in 2009, when they invited 7 artists all living and working in Belfast to be home-tourists and conduct an alternative urban survey of the city’s Cathedral Quarter. Images from Keith Winter’s map are reproduced below.

IMG_5459 IMG_5460

A steady number of applications are beginning to arrive in for The Pale Project Workshops.  I’m already excited by the wide range of territories proposed and the variety of approaches taken.

In A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Rebecca Solnit mulls over a quotation from Plato, put to her by one of her students:

“How will you go about finding that thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you?”

Her answer, in part, is to try and get lost, not just in the wide expanses where the blue horizon seems unaccountably distant, but to try and get lost in known territories.

“Losing things is about the familiar falling away, getting lost is about the unfamiliar appearing.”

These initial applications all share a thirst for learning the truth of estrangement from every-day observations.  I really look forward to working with The Pale Project’s participants and explorers on putting together their field guides to the known, and lesser-known, territories of Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown.

Workshops are on Wednesdays, 6 – 7.30 pm in the dlr LexIcon, starting 30th September.

Deadline for applications is the 21st September 2015. All queries to dlrcocowriter@gmail.com

Rebecca Solnit reflects on “memory and mapmaking, Hitchcock movies and Renaissance painting, and explores the challenges of living with uncertainty.” Penguin, 2005.

The Pale Project with dlr Writer in Residence Selina Guinness

What is “The Pale Project”?

We all know where we live but we don’t always get the chance to consider what it means to inhabit a place or how it might shape our daily lives, habits, our dreams. “The Pale Project” aims to do just that. In a series of dedicated workshops, lectures and public events, this year’s residency will focus on dwelling and thinking in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown.

Who is it for?

“The Pale Project” is open to all curious thinkers and writers: young and old; temporary, new and established residents, the able-bodied and able-minded, and those who feel less so. Together, we’ll undertake a fresh approach to writing by becoming active explorers of our everyday lives.

Why call it “The Pale Project”?

The Pale” describes the area around Dublin controlled by English colonists in the fifteenth century. It is still a loaded term, describing a place where civilised behaviour, property rights and the political might to enforce them, all coincide. The phrase, ‘beyond the Pale’ also carries a charge, describing lawless behaviour, wild territories, and a way of living supposedly beyond the reckoning of “civilised minds”.

A map of 1488 shows the Pale boundary beginning at Bulloch Harbour and running in to Mount Merrion, before turning in to Dundrum, and on across the hills to Tallaght. This line through the county, tracking from the sea to the mountains, will provide our starting point for thinking about what makes us feel settled and unsettled, what makes us feel secure, or excluded or estranged in a place.

What will we do?

The writer-in-residence invites applications from writers, artists, historians, walkers, readers and idlers to two exciting series of workshops, starting on 30th September 2015.

It is expected that participants will commit to both series of workshops.

Series 1: The Pale Project – Field Notes.  September – November 2015.

Participants will nominate their own individual dlr territory to act as their ‘Pale’. This could be a park or an estate, an institution or a set of streets, a mountain, a few fields, a pier or a bathing place. It doesn’t have to be where you live. What’s important is that you enjoy documenting the way life is lived and dreamed there in stories, images, eccentric maps, songs, walks, catalogue entries, byelaws, and good conversations.

Each participant will create their own scrapbook of field-notes about their territory by completing small weekly tasks. These might include mapping items of interest in your territory, recording an interview with a resident, researching a notable death and writing up a charter for new citizens of the territory. The aim is to play with documentary methods to open up new perspectives on everyday life.

Each week, participating explorers will share their discoveries about their Pale and we will explore some of the key questions and ideas opened up by the project.

Series 2: The Pale Project – New Writing.  January – March 2016.

This series of workshops will focus on showing you different ways to use your discoveries about place to write creatively. Armed with your field-notes, you may choose to write in whatever form, and from whatever perspective, suits you best: essays, articles, poetry, plays, scripts, fiction of all kinds, documentary, memoir, diaries – anything so long as words are your primary tool. Collaborations too, are encouraged, across art forms and among participants.

Each week, we’ll be focused on bringing your own words to life with supportive discussion, recommended readings, and exercises in storytelling. Writing the first draft may be an individual challenge, but few books you read are the product of just one pen!

Workshops: When and Where?

When: Wednesdays, 6 pm – 7.30 pm.

Venue: Meeting Room – DLR Lexicon.

Dates: Series 1: 30th September 2015 – 25th November 2015. [No workshop 28th October]

Series 2: 20th January 2016 – 9th March 2016. [No workshop 17th February]

Selection Criteria:

The Pale Project is a collective psychogeography project aimed at mapping a diverse range of locales and experiences across Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown county in 2015 – 2016. It is open to anyone, over the age of eighteen, who wishes to take part. Participants will be selected to provide as diverse a group, and as diverse a geographical spread, as possible to achieve this aim. The Pale Project would particularly like to encourage new residents in the county, and those settled here temporarily, to apply.

Evidence of open-mindedness, creative ambition, and an interest in new ideas and approaches is more important than prior writing experience, though clear expression in English and the ability to stick to guidelines are desirable.

Applicants who have not availed of the dlr Writer-in-Residence programme in the past will be prioritized.

The writer-in-residence and a member of the dlr Arts Office will assess all applications. This decision is final.

Workshops: How To Apply?

Please email The Pale Project at dlrcocowriter@gmail.com, and clearly include the details below in an attached Word document, labelled “The Pale Project – [your name]”.

Paper Applications can be submitted to The Arts Office, dlr Lexicon, marked ‘Attn. Selina Guinness: The Pale Project – Workshops’

Deadline for Receipt of Applications: 4pm, Monday 21st September.

Application Details Required (Answers please in a Word document, labelled ‘The Pale Project – (your name here)’)

  • Your Name:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Address / Contact Details:
  • Tel / Mobile:
  • Email:

Please answer the following questions:

  1. Where would you like to nominate as your chosen Pale? This territory must be within the county of Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown. It should be no bigger an area than you can comfortably track on a walk. (max. 300 words).
  2. Describe why you would like to choose this territory as your ‘Pale’ (max 300 words).
  3. Please outline what attracts you to participating in this project, and what it might mean to you at this stage in your life. (max. 300 words).
  4. If you already engage in a creative practice (writing / arts / crafts / music etc), please describe briefly what you do. (max 300 words). There is no need to include samples of your work.
  5. Have you participated in a previous programme run by the dlr Writer-in-Residence scheme?  If so, please give details of the year and facilitator.

All queries should be addressed to Selina Guinness at dlrcocowriter@gmail.com.

Deadline for Receipt of Applications: 4pm, Monday 21st September.

Map of The Dublin Pale in 1488

What is “The Pale Project”?

We all know where we live but we don’t always get the chance to consider what it means to inhabit a place or how it might shape our daily lives, habits, our dreams. “The Pale Project” aims to do just that. In a series of dedicated workshops, lectures and public events, this year’s residency will focus on dwelling and thinking in Dun Laoghaire / Rathdown.

Who is it for?

“The Pale Project” is open to all curious amateurs: young and old; temporary, new and established residents, the able-bodied and able-minded, and those who feel less so. Together, we’ll undertake a fresh approach to writing by becoming active explorers of our everyday lives.

Why call it “The Pale Project”?

The Pale” describes the area around Dublin controlled by English colonists in the fifteenth century. It is still a loaded term, describing a place where civilised behaviour, property rights and the political might to enforce them, all coincide. The phrase, ‘beyond the Pale’ also carries a charge, describing lawless behaviour, wild territories, and a way of living beyond the reckoning of “civilised minds”.

A map of 1488 shows the Pale boundary beginning at Bulloch Harbour and running in to Mount Merrion, before turning in to Dundrum, and on across the hills to Tallaght. This line through the county, tracking from the sea to the mountains, will provide our starting point for thinking about what makes us feel settled and unsettled, what makes us feel secure, or excluded or estranged in a place.

What will we do?

The writer-in-residence invites applications from writers, artists, historians, walkers, readers and idlers to join a different and exciting series of workshops from mid-September 2015. Participants will choose their own DLR territory to act as their ‘Pale’. This could be a park or an estate, an institution or a set of streets, a mountain, a few fields, a pier or a bathing place. It doesn’t have to be where you live. What’s important is that you enjoy documenting the way life is lived and dreamed there in jokes, stories, images, eccentric maps, songs, walks, catalogue entries, byelaws, and good conversations. These explorations will be carefully guided by a series of small tasks, and supported by readings and guest lectures. From January 2016, participants will be encouraged to create their own writing out of this renewed sense of place.

This workshop is designed for people who may never have written before, but who are curious about the contemporary issues raised by the term ‘Pale’,  and who want to explore experimental and new modes of documentary that track the boundaries of social engagement, geography and the arts.

Contact?

Further details on how to apply will be announced in early September.   In the interim, please express your interest by emailing Selina Guinness at  dlrococowriter@gmail.com.