Weeknotes 22: Matlock

  • On a roll now… three weeks.
  • As part of trying to find new field sites for the Co-designing Forests project, this week started with a visit to Matlock Moors. Bella and I spent the day there walking around and through the site. There were quite a few areas which had recently been cut, which made me think of the ways different actors might get involved with what happens next and how it is re-forested.
    • Interesting seeing the different kinds of woodland that made up the site. Lots of pine obviously, which gave way to birches around the edges. Then big patches of Rhododendron, which was being cut in many places (I assume to prevent it from spreading).
    • The trails were a mix of large wide fire roads and single track, which was mainly unsurfaced, and often pretty boggy. It got me thinking about the experience of the forest if you were less mobile — limiting you to the fire roads which were pretty bleak; dead straight and mainly in the plantation forest.
    • I put together a little threaded tweet to summarise our walk, there is obviously more than this, but I was in a rush to write something up when I got back, and I quite liked the idea of a speedy tweet thread to capture some thoughts on the day:

  • On Tuesday I met with Graham from Clean Air Burngreave who took me on a short history walk around the North of Sheffield. We talked about the EASA project and how we might collaborate on that in the summer, and he very generously introduced me to some of his colleagues in the Sheffield Ramblers.
  • Wednesday I left very early in the morning to Swindon for UKRI training for the Forests project. I met some wonderful people, who have funding on the same scheme and discussed some of the ways we might collaborate in future. Very much looking forward to keeping this network going over the next few years.
  • Long drive back Thursday. Two nice references from the way home:
    • UrbanNext series ‘New Deal Landscapes’. Specifically Session 8 with Danika Cooper and Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió Session 6 with Neil Brenner and Kai Heron. Nice reflections that there are now so many imaginations for the end of capitalism and of green new deals (and their spin offs), the problem is not with imagination, it is working out how to put these into practice. Made me think about speculative design, and some of the ways of conceiving it I was trying to develop in my thesis. I want to take some of these idea into a studio brief, which I tentatively want to call ‘Its not easier to image the end of the world than the end of capitalism, its just hard to make it happen’, with the idea being to take different imaginations of alternative futures and start working out micro interventions for producing or prototyping them. TBC.
    • I always love Blindboy, but his latest episode was wonderful, combining ‘mental health tips’ with mythology, storytelling and creating biodiversity. I came home and bought some native wildflower seeds immediately.
  • Thursday night I spent at Bolehills shifting wheelbarrows of top surface so that it is ready for the opening jam in a few weeks. The core locals have done so much this winter and the track is looking amazing.
  • I feel like I’ve barely been at my desk this week so today is all about catching up and making plans. And writing this.
  • ‘Till next week.

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