Places, the sea and short stories

I know, I keep promising write ups of conferences and then taking forever to get round to them….

Well since Cas has mentioned me as an inspirational factor this week, I suppose I had better blog something inspirational!

I will write up the two conferences I have been to, but first I wanted to share something happening at the Brighton Festival. As part of the festival 41 short stories by writer and journalist William Shaw have been posted up (on buildings, benches, buses) where those stories took place. You can read all the stories on the webpage above and they’re really good. He collected them form people, went and interviewed people out and about in the city. This interested me for two reasons… firstly it is like real-world ‘geotagging’, it is a way of sharing a meaningful geography, a persons sense of place and emotional ties, but in the real world… But instead of putting the story/image/history online and sharing the geographical location of it, the location is given the information/art/story…

There is a good virtual example of this here from Liverpool by whatwashere.com. Liverpool is their pilot city- have a click about on the map- it combines ancient and classiscal history with personal narratives and oral history.

Secondly it interested me because Radio 4 interviewed him, and he shared some interesting ideas about the nature of the zone between the sea and the land(you can listen to the interview again here (find Friday May 4th, it is about 5 minutes in)) . For him, it is an odd place, a nowhere place, an in-between place where all kinds of crazy things have permission to happen. According to Shaw, this is why you get so many interesting stories from Brighton at 2am!

 

This idea sparked off with some of the things Sarah-J was talking about in her presentation at our internal conference about the consumption and production of salt in Iron Age and Roman Britain (go with me on this one, they are linked!)… about the periphery, liminal places, water and religion, salt and purity. I’ve thought about the sea and its’ role in the landscape as a peripheral zone, and about water and its’ transformative role. This feeds into my own research about the exploitation of bogs and wetlands in prehistory…It’s not something that is easy to put into written word without subjecting you to an essay, but if you want to chat, lots of you know how to reach me- or engage me in the comments!

I will write up the Landscapes conference, and the ConSci internal conference I was at on Friday, but I’m off to Wales (to Carn Meini, where the bluestones at Stonehenge were quarried from!) to start fieldwork tomorrow. I shall take Clarissa and write whilst up there, and post them once I’m near a wireless connection next!

Finally, if you go to this flickr set you can also see pictures from an amazing experimental iron smelt I attended the week before last. We produced a bloom of iron from the ore! I had so much fun and learned loads- the details are all in the notes on the photos, enjoy!

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