During February and March 2013 Ruth and filmmaker Ian Nesbitt went on a
walk following the Metropoliton District Boundary Line of Sheffield
City. 65 miles, 75 hours over 9 days of walking down streams, over
farmland, through industry and up the M1. Following a clearly defined
‘non-route’ regularly meant scrambling up bracken, sinking into bogs,
negotiating industrial complexes and generally being places with a
complete lack of walking infrastructure. They both wrote a diary entry after each day and posted it online without knowing what the other had written.
Once you can suppress the history of landscapes, it is also easier to make the case for their exploitation Bob Johnston
In 2016 they were invited by BLOC Gallery, Sheffield to make an exhibition about the walk. In addition to presenting the map of the walk, they made a short video work shot at the most westerly point in Sheffield and a longer film entitled Field Notes with an audio recording of them reading the diary entries accompanied by video and images they took during the walk (see extract below). Outside of the gallery a large scale work was installed on a billboard showing a photograph of the boggy peat and heather landscape of Howden Moors, where they walked through on day 8.
Throughout The Boundary Walks they had conversations with Bob Johnston a landscape archaeologist based at The University of Sheffield. Pondering on beating the bounds, reading the land, pilgrimage, deep mapping, infrastructure, and reading and listening to the land.
These conversations culminated in a public conversation at Bloc projects in Sheffield and Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle in 2016 (link to video below). Transcripts from these conversations form the basis of a text which will be published later in 2017 as part of In Certain Places 'Practising Place' publication.
In 2016 another journey began, this time they were commissioned by In Certain Placesas part of The Expanded City programme. We undertook a boundary walk around Preston as a way of researching the edges of the city, which is currently undergoing a large house building programme as well as being the first place in the country to start Shale gas extraction. It allowed them, amongst other things to continue their exploration into people's connection, use and access to the land that surrounds us. The commission will continue into 2017–18
Sheffield Boundary Walk was self funded.
Preston Boundary Walk and talks funded by In Certain Places.
Bloc Gallery exhibition funded by Arts Council England, Bloc Projects and Sheffield Towns Trust, Yorkshire Visual Arts Network, a-n and In Certain Places (based at the University of Central Lancashire).