The Summit 2012 – Land Journey

Loading

The Project

Emergence Summit 2012: Land Journey

Two elliptical walks across the beautiful and varied terrain of mid-Wales, facilitated to engage participants in a deepened dialogue with the land and their place within it. Curated and designed by artist Simon Whitehead, the five-day walk opened the 2012 Emergence Summit.

Full article

Emergence Summit 2012: Land Journey

Two elliptical walks across the beautiful and varied terrain of mid-Wales, facilitated to engage participants in a deepened dialogue with the land and their place within it. Curated and designed by artist Simon Whitehead, the five-day walk opened the 2012 Emergence Summit.

The plan to organise the Emergence Summit for 2012 was hatched in Summer 2011. Surprisingly this felt like relatively short notice to mount something of this scale especially as we had done nothing like it before. Following the success of the previous one day gatherings the event at Centre for Alternative Technology always had the potential to be more ambitious. Our thoughts were turning to the hosting of the Olympic Games in London in 2012. The vision of carrying a torch for a life-sustaining future inspired this new partnership project with CAT.

The decision to call this ‘a summit’ was a bold one especially for a small arts and sustainability project which had only been going for a year and had so far only organized a number of relatively small-scale events. As we began to dream and have conversations about what form this could take, an idea emerged to organise a land journey or pilgrimage to CAT prior to the gathering itself. CAT is such an extraordinary flagship to sustainability and we also wanted to celebrate the fact it was here in Wales at all! We knew that people might think that we were organising an event in the middle of nowhere – CAT of course is close to the old capital of Wales, Machynlleth. We thought we would make a feature of this by making the actual journey to the destination an integral part of the event itself. All of us on the team had had powerful experiences and worked on projects that involved making a strong connection to the land. This idea captured all of our imaginations and we felt that the Summit would not be complete without an element of the project which connected us to the ground on which we stood and the extraordinary landscape of mid Wales surrounding CAT. It soon transpired that we were now committed to organizing not one event but two in one; a conference and a land journey – and then not just one land journey but two!

The Land Journey therefore represented an integral part of the Emergence Summit. The term ‘summit’ accurately described what we thought we were organizing. The connection with both ideas and geography was not accidental – a summit is elevated, allowing for a birds-eye view, a place of wider vision and potentially of a brief respite from the journey where one can sit and reflect on the work done, effort already expended and the company in which one travels.

We approached the Wales based artist Simon Whitehead with the request to create a concept and route for the Land Journey. Simon’s commission involved him creating two long distance walking routes starting and ending at CAT which delegates walked in the five days preceding the conference. Some words from Simon’s notebook…

Shape of the walks:
Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Greek: élleipsis, “omission” or “falling short”)
In linguistics an ellipsis can be used to indicate an unfinished thought or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence, When placed at the beginning or end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy or longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech
Drawing 2 ellipses to the South and North of Afon Dovey I began to change their scale in relation to the different topographies and territories encountered and with the knowledge that these forms would contain the equivlalent of 5 days walking..
I then worked with available pathways and highways contained within each ellipse and the forms became altered and more collaborative with the shape and and geology…what emerged were 2 Kidney forms, one larger than the other..
Both routes are distinctively different, in ways reflecting the landscapes and cultures of the 2 areas. They also offer up choices and different constellations of endurance, rhythm and experience..

Some challenges:
Walkers walked across beautiful but sometimes unforgiving landscapes often in excess of what their body or equipment was capable of
Mountain Leaders were experienced at working with army recruits but had never led artists interested in sustainability
Feeding forty-five walkers local, ethical and nutritious food at campsites often fifteen miles away from the kitchen in which it was cooked
Managing expectations of those who wanted to make art more than walk and managing expectations of those who wanted to walk more than make art
Assessing and looking after personal safety of walkers in mountainous terrain

Some headline facts:
Dates of land journey; 1st – 6th September 2012
Number of people on land journey; 45
Number of visitors to land journey; 10
Two groups of walkers walked for five days and average of fourteen miles each day
One group walked from CAT out to the mountains and back to CAT in a northerly clockwise direction, the other in a southerly anti-clockwise direction
Each day there were ‘visitors’ and ‘happenings’ in the landscape by local people and invited artists encountered by the walkers without prior knowledge of them happening
Food artists Touchstone Collaboration created a kitchen from scratch at CAT preparing locally sourced, tasty and inventive food assisted by a small team of volunteers
A small support team looked after each route, bringing food, tents, rucksacs etc
A large bell tent was erected each day on each groups’ campsite for evening meetings and gatherings.
Each group was led by two Qualified Mountain leaders and one group facilitator.
Simon Whitehead, land artist and craniosacral therapist designed the routes and organized the creative visitations.
The two walking groups celebrated and feasted together at the start and end of their journey with a specially prepared meal at CAT.
The land journey finished on the evening prior to the arrival of the other one hundred and twenty or so conference delegates.

Loading

Quotes

“The shape of the routes came whilst walking in a small studio and thinking about the land north and south of the Dovey. I was walking the form of an ellipse. It had a certain momentum and offered openings and uncertainties, whilst keeping its integrity…I kept walking.”

Simon Whitehead

“Only a week has passed but the city is steadily rising up to drown the quiet hills. I can feel the land drift from my body like smoke. The walk is becoming a memory. But it’s a memory that has changed me forever. Great shifts have happened in me. I’m noticing changes in my character. Having been so happy with a bare minimum of possessions in all weathers, I now feel slightly bemused by, and less attached to, all the things my house is crammed with. I’m asking myself what I really need.”

Ansuman Biswas

Loading

Pictures

Loading
Loading

Contributors

Fern Smith

fern

Fern was born in London and now lives in Swansea, South Wales. After studying for a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Industrial Relations she formed Volcano Theatre Company with Paul Davies in the 1980’s.

Since then Fern has performed, directed and taught workshops for Volcano and as a freelancer nationally and internationally for 25 years. Fern is co-initiator and creative producer of Emergence.

fern [at] emergence-uk.org

 

Philip Ralph

Philip Ralph

Playwright and actor, aka ‘The One Eyed Man’

Land Journey Support Crew, Emergence Summit 2012


Lucy Neal

Lucy Neal

Instigator, theatre maker and educator, Lucy Neal is interested in the art of social sculpture and how celebratory events act as a catalyst for change. Co-founding director of the LIFT Festival, recent projects, The Trashcatchers’ Carnival and the Tooting Transition Shop explore how artists nurture collective space to imagine a more ecological and life-sustaining society. Co-author of MMM’s Sustainable Ability, she is Happiness Associate on the Happy Museum Project and co-founder of Case For Optimism. Active in the Transition Town movement since 2008, she is currently writing Playing For Time, the Transition Book on the Arts. She was awarded an OBE in 2005 for services to drama.

Designer and facilitator, Emergence Summit 2012

Jenny Mackewn

Jenny Mackewn

Facilitator, Emergence Summit 2012. Jenny Mackewn is an organizational consultant, creative catalyst, constellator, systemic coach, trainer and author working across sectors – ranging from educational and environmental to business. She specializes in catalyzing creative conversation and dialogue and in whole systems approaches to leadership and organizational development. She has recently designed and led pioneering programmes in eco facilitation and eco constellations for schumacher college.

Simon Whitehead

Simon Whitehead

Artist

Emergence Summit Artist Commission, the Land Journey


Miche Fabre-Lewin

Miche Fabre-Lewin

Artist, Touchstone Collaborations

Miche Fabre Lewin, culinary artist and activist, and Flora Gathorne Hardy, artist-geographer, became touchstones for each others’ practice and passions. From this, Touchstone collaborations, an ecological arts and interdisciplinary research practice was born. Their participatory and performative food actions, convivial ceremonies, and Forums for Inspiration are collaborative invitations to enliven our connection to nature, community and agriculture. For Emergence, Miche and Flora are curating Food of the Land Journey in collaboration with Daphne Lambert of Greencuisine Trust. This offering forms part of ThinkingFood, a diverse body of work that originated within the biodynamic movement. In 2013, Miche and Flora will begin a socially engaged arts residency at Hawkwood College to explore Food, Land and Healing. Join Miche, Flora and Daphne on a journey with food which awakens us to a healing and convivial relationship with soil and soul. Every day, every mouthful.


Flora Gathorne-Hardy

Flora Gathorne-Hardy

Artist, Touchstone Collaborations

Miche Fabre Lewin, culinary artist and activist, and Flora Gathorne Hardy, artist-geographer, became touchstones for each others’ practice and passions. From this, Touchstone collaborations, an ecological arts and interdisciplinary research practice was born. Their participatory and performative food actions, convivial ceremonies, and Forums for Inspiration are collaborative invitations to enliven our connection to nature, community and agriculture. For Emergence, Miche and Flora are curating Food of the Land Journey in collaboration with Daphne Lambert of Greencuisine Trust. This offering forms part of ThinkingFood, a diverse body of work that originated within the biodynamic movement. In 2013, Miche and Flora will begin a socially engaged arts residency at Hawkwood College to explore Food, Land and Healing. Join Miche, Flora and Daphne on a journey with food which awakens us to a healing and convivial relationship with soil and soul. Every day, every mouthful.


Ben Stammers

Ben Stammers

Artist. Born and brought up in North Wales, Ben Stammers is a visual and live artist. He also works as a wildlife guide and educator. He has exhibited work and undertaken residencies in various locations throughout Wales and further afield. He has taken part in several walking-based projects, including Crwydro / Marcheurs des bois (2003 & 2005) an exchange with Canadian artists in rural northern Quebec, Vulpine (2007 & 2009) a collaboration with movement artist Simon Whitehead that explored liminal spaces in London & Cardiff through dawn walks with the public, and The Milford Swallows (2008) a joint residency with musician Ceri Rhys Matthews, that looked at migration, adaptation, and global change. Ben’s recent performance works include a live presentation called ‘Bangor Eye’, as part of the North Wales International Poetry Festival in October 2012, and the outdoor performance as part of Simon Whitehead’s ‘Maynard Come Home’in May 2013.

Rosie Strickland

Rosie Strickland

Freelancer. Rosie studied for a BAhons in English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths College, London. Since graduating in 2008 she has lived and worked in Spain, Cornwall and Wales dabbling in various forms of communication and creative practice including writing for Positive News, TEFL teaching, co-organising improvisation workshops, language learning and experimenting with more connected and sustainable ways of living. She now works as a freelance media type for various arts and environmental projects. She is available for work =)

Coordinator, Emergence 2012 – 2013


Pete Telfer

Pete Telfer

Director and founder, Culture Colony

Born in Bangor 1963, grew up in Dyffryn Ardudwy and attended Ysgol Ardudwy Harlech. He was educated through the medium of hitch hiking around Europe at the age of 17. Pete took the foundation course in Bangor (with tutors Paul Davies and Peter Prendergast) and then studied Fine Art/Painting at Maidstone Art College until 1984.

After two years as photography teacher at a secondary school in London Pete became a freelance photographer until he joined BBC Wales’ new Arts Department in 1992. He left BBC Wales to become a Freelance television director in 1995.

He has worked for all the main independent television production companies in Wales, working in many countries around the world. He has made a lot of TV in all genres including over 70 documentaries. In 2001 he set up his own production company ‘Pixel Foundry’ and they have made programmes for BBC Wales, S4C, ITV1 Wales, Channel 4 and BBC 4.

Over the past six years Pete has been involved in developing and setting up the on line cultural network ‘Culture Colony – Y Wladfa Newydd’. This network runs cultural conferences, events and exhibitions and operates from a web site (see below) where content and ideas can be shared by its membership. Culture Colony also creates content for the web site and for other cultural organisations and individuals who may require a video production service.

Culture Colony supports the documentation of Emergence and provides a platform for the projects’ films.

 

Dan Gifford

Dan Gifford

Sound Technician and Video Editor, Emergence Summit 2012

Loading
Loading