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Two days in Askam. Scrapmaps at the Community Centre.

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We moved into Askam Community Centre for a couple of days, with a bag of paper, fabric and other recyclables from the Scrap Store. The idea was  to make maps of parts of the village with local children and their families, to introduce ourselves and the Still Waters project and find a few people who might like to help out with the next bit. We worked from photographs, Alex's sketchmap and the children's own knowledge of Askam.  Jim's animation and Lindsay's photographs ran on a loop, and it was good to hear our visitors point out the same paths and tracks that we've been exploring, and hearing their stories overlap ours. The Community Centre is a beautiful and well-equipped former school building, run by volunteers and used by youth groups and others. We'll  be back with our exhibition, which is likely to consist of a screening and Lindsay's photographs.  The work from this weekend will be in there too.   Next, we will be asking Askamites to record their walk

The Alexanders, by the Alexanders. Lindsay's exhibition, and some workshops.

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  Click here  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ycr4TLYyotGVlGACkASzzl8kCLCrGB4X/view?usp=sharing to see a short test sequence shot by Jim last week in the Sir John Barrow cottage.  It's a grey day. Black Combe is in the distance.  You see the Alexander family members planting their stakes and nets in the estuary. They work steadily, with concentration; they've done this many times.  Appropriately, Jim's mum and dad have been involved in the process, making props and costumes.  More will follow. We are in Askam this weekend, Alex, Jim and me are running craft workshops for families in the Community Centre, building collage maps of parts of the village   We will have this clip with us and some of Lindsay's Askam photographs, which will be on display in the cottage on fridays and sundays for the next few weeks. Be sure to visit, it's a beautiful show, Here's a sample.  

Lindsay's photographs, James' animation.

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  A busy and varied sunday at the Cottage, with visitors seeing  Lindsay Ward's exhibition of Askam photographs  and watching animator James Alexander at work on his film. Lindsay is presenting a sample from several months of visits to the ponds and the estuary. The show will be on display in the cottage for the next few months, and more will be exhibited in Askam Community Centre at the end of the Still Waters project Lindsay's pictures look at the remains of  the mining buildings alongside the ponds and overgrowth that have gradually encroached on the spaces between them. They capture moments in the life of land catching its breath over decades. We see r eflections and shadows, surfaces and skylines; all is still, all is active.  Historian Iain McNicol opens the cottage on fridays and sundays. Come and see. Jim's story is of a moment in the social history of the village. His family are as much a part of Askam as the trees, the pier and the tides. The story concerns fricti

Jim At The Cottage...Body Building

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Jim was back in the cottage today doing more lighting and motion tests and building further figures. He's looking at a cast of 4 or 5, and another took his place in Alex's set today...clothes and clay will follow, We had a steady flow of visitors to see Iain (below) and us and look around the building.  These sessions are a great way of  letting people into Jim's process and establishing the cottage as a place where interesting stuff goes on...it;s a great curiosity for many, and children in particular like the scale and other-worldly time capsule  feel. And it's a nice place to work. It's  been a good day. Here's the results of the test...limbs, clay hands and face working nicely... https://drive.google.com/file/d/1stqCMrb2msp55TjiGEziwPyzSDmruZV-/view?usp=sharing  

Int. Pub Room. Askam. 1919.

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Int. Pub Room. Alex's set for Jim's animation, by the light of a mobile phone.  This is modelled on the Lots pub AKA The Askam Hotel, and is the location for a pivotal scene in Jim's  family drama. The last set photo shows the smaller exterior model, and after that we see Jim and Alex planning with aid of tinfoil figures and a pub table. We will be at the Cottage on tuesday to do more building and tests, and maybe some music, so keep an eye out for a poster. E xt.

Space Foraging. Alex Blackmore's Map of Askam.

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  Alex Blackmore's Askam map, unlabelled, in advance of a bit of research / elicited evidence gathering. Space Foraging. "the rigid memorialisation of the past can inhibit conceptualisations of place that emphasise change and flux, potentially making it more difficult for people to accept and adjust to current and future change."  (Mining Memories, Rebecca Wheeler. Exeter 2014 ) Thus no place is static but partakes continuously of its own change by recalling its past and projecting its future ..  The lack of any formal heritage site here suggests an absence of any hierarchy of evidencing. T here is more than one narrative here, not just one materiality, not just the human experience.   Land has agency. It has its own story, evoking and remembering the past , and our actions within it.  Walking, engaging, talking within a place makes it a conduit for  vernacular histories. The landscape - shifting, familiar, accessible, dangerous - transmits nuance and intricacies; with th

From Lindsay Ward: Walking in others footsteps and making our own.

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Photographer Lindsay Ward is visiting Askam and the ponds and the estuary, gathering images for an exhibition....here is a selection from her latest visit ... Following our field trip to The Ponds with Kev Alexander in February I made a note to return just as the green starts to make a froth on the trees, altering the light and vistas. Cue a sunny Sunday, end of April, my family accompanying me.  A funny thing really, having been introduced to the landscape by Kev, I found myself retelling some of his stories of industrial history and local kids' den building exploits. Borrowing his lore to explain the slopes, scarps and waters to my family while they were exploring it and adding their/own own family history to the place. The wild garlic was in full leaf, softening the hard edges seen in February, and the creep of greening plants and trees created a sense of a landscape re-wilding. Looking forward to a sunset visit in coming weeks, to see what the lengthening shadows produce.