Edgelandia: a new national arts project celebrates the places at the edges of the map

NEWS | POSTED ON 29 April 2019
From salt flats to flood zones, abandoned villages to eroding coastlines, Edgelandia explores the remarkable places on the edges of the map: between land and water, wild and reclaimed, real and imagined.

The project commences this month in Teesside with Brine Field by artist and poet Thomas Pearson (25 May-9 June). Twelve white obelisks will appear amid the reed beds and wet grasslands of the RSPB Saltholme nature reserve as part of Pearson’s response to the local environment, history and industrial heritage. A booklet of poems accompanies the sculptural installation, and is designed to be read by visitors on site. Pearson’s grandfather and great-grandfather both worked at the nearby ICI chemical works. Pearson says, “It has been fascinating to use words and sculpture to explore the site’s connections to iron, salt, ships, chemicals – and now birds. I’ve also really enjoyed weaving in some threads from my own family history.”

Writer, narrative/game designer and academic Hannah Nicklin also teases out family connections in her audio piece Gibraltar Point, which is set on the extreme south-eastern point of the Lincolnshire coast and takes the form of a conversation with her mother about rising sea levels, environmental activism and freedom of movement. She describes the work as “part poem, part memory, part windy day, part interview, part monologue, part walk along a beach with a dog in Lincolnshire”. Nicklin’s piece is available to stream and download from edgelandia.com alongside a third commission by artist, writer and composer Nick Murray. Walk With Me to Derwent draws on the history of the lost Derbyshire villages of Derwent and Ashopton, submerged beneath the waters of Ladybower Reservoir in the 1940s, and is a moving meditation on loss and memory that recalls the ‘point-and-click’ video games of the 1990s.

Edgelandia is a four-year initiative conceived by literary arts company Penned in the Margins and will present three new commissions each year, spanning literature, performance, music and sound art, visual arts and digital media. Director Tom Chivers says, “Edgelandia is about creating artistic ‘disruptions’ that change the way we think about place and reveal rich, complex histories. I want to discover hidden stories and forgotten landscapes in locations that don’t usually receive a lot of attention. I’m excited to work with artists from right across Britain and from a broad range of backgrounds and artistic practices”.

Brine Field opens on 25 May at RSPB Saltholme and is supported by the River Tees Rediscovered Landscape Partnership, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players and awarded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Gibraltar Point and Walk With Me to Derwent will be available online at edgelandia.com. The next set of artworks will be announced in July, with one being commissioned by open call.

Notes to editors

Edgelandia explores the remarkable places and people on the edges of the map: between land and water, wild and reclaimed, real and imagined. A new, four-year project from award-winning arts producing company Penned in the Margins, Edgelandia will tell the hidden stories and forgotten landscapes of Britain through a series of artistic ‘disruptions’, each set in a unique location – from salt flats to flood zones, abandoned villages to eroding coastlines – and will span literature, performance, music, visual, sound and digital arts.
edgelandia.com   @edgelandia

Penned in the Margins is an award-winning independent publisher and literary arts company, founded by writer and producer Tom Chivers. Their pioneering productions include Kalagora (2011) and No Dogs, No Indians (2017) by Siddhartha Bose, the medieval re-imagining Fair Field (2017) and solo shows by Hannah Silva, Ross Sutherland and Antosh Wojcik. They joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio in 2015.
pennedinthemargins.co.uk   @pennedinthem

Nick Murray is an writer, artist and composer working in performance and digital spaces. He uses his work to investigate loss and memory in physical and digital environments, playing with site-specific installation, game and sound art. His interactive work has been shown at Somerset House and reviewed by Motherboard.
nickmurray.horse   @terratrouve

Hannah Nicklin is a writer, narrative/game designer & academic working at the confluence of video games, activism, & digital art. Her work is about finding the best forms & techniques to allow a story & its characters or participants to flourish in a compelling & original manner.
hannahnicklin.com   @hannahnicklin

Thomas Pearson is a poet, musician, designer and architectural conservationist from the north-east of England, based in York. His work concerns history, buildings and places. His writing has been published by the University of Leicester, Block and the Architects’ Journal. His drawn work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts. Readings have included solo poetry evenings at Eleven Spitalfields gallery and poetry tours around the site of London’s hidden river Walbrook. He has written and produced two albums of electronic folk songs. He was lead designer and heritage consultant, for Arup, on an award-winning project to refurbish the Grade II* listed Engineering Building in Leicester.
nospinoza.co.uk   @nospinoza