Field trips: cultural geographers, ecocritics, environmental historians
In July, I went on the Invisible College field trip which tied in with the Royal Geographical Society annual conference in Edinburgh, round Kilmahew woods and the abandoned St. Peter’s seminary in Cardross. This was part of a long-term investigative research project into the site and surrounding woodland – with surveying projects, art residencies, radio installations, and Japanese garden mapping. The Invisible College project website is accruing materials online here, with details of progress so far on the NVA website. (The phrase ‘invisible college’, first used by natural philosopher Robert Boyle, has been picked up a lot in writings on interdisciplinarity since it was used by Price (1963; 1986) and Crane (1972) in the context of the sociology of science, citation networks and collectives of experts across disciplinary boundaries.) Michael Gallagher’s audio tour, which we listened to on the day, is available as separate conversations here.
In September, the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE), Composting Culture: Literature, Nature, Popular Culture, Science, included a walk lead by archaeologist David Mullen around British Camp, discussing contesting land histories (and some literary links). Immediately after this, I went to a meeting of the Local Places, Global Processes network – a research project on the AHRC Landscape & Environment programme. Between discussions of the project’s forthcoming book (ed. Coates, Moon, and Warde) – which uses three sites to analyse global discourses of the environment in practice, policy, and scholarship, and also includes a new oral history project in Kielder forest – there were a couple of walks around the Quantocks and what was nicknamed ‘Colsworth’ country. In the sessile woodland around Nether Stowey we walked around an ancient dogpound and also the mill and stream Dorothy Wordsworth used to frequent. It was identified by one walker as the the site of this Bryan Adams video.