Expressive Mapping in the Clyde and Avon Valley
MapCRAFT was a project that explored cartographic traditions and heritage by encouraging people to make maps of their own that express their perspectives of their surrounding landscape. It encouraged people to express the details of the landscape that are important to them, as well as encouraged people to be creative and have fun with cartography.
We worked with several different groups, including small adult groups, primary school classes and the 2nd Motherwell Cub Scouts. The groups created maps that pipointed landmarks in their area that they felt were important to them, from where their houses, churches and local football pitches were, to their friends' houses, historical structures and schools. The maps they produced were presented in many different styles.
The first style of map we explored was the traditional topographic map. Without paying attention to scale, some of our participants created maps of their local landscape, filling the pages with symbols and labels to represent how they viewed their local area. Others created maps that mapped out the story of William Wallace and his travels through the Clyde Valley, using symbols and notations to point out landmarks of importance to his life. Others still collaborated to fill in stories of fruit growing in the Clyde and Avon Valleys on a pre-printed first edition OS Map of Carluke and Lanark Parishes.
Map showing a Summer Holiday in Scotland and England.
The next style was inspired by how other cultures view mapmaking and the landscape. By exploring indigenous methods of transmitting geographical information, participants were encouraged to interpret their local landscape in new and different ways. Some of the maps were inspired by the works of Aboriginal Australians, people of the Marshall Islands, Native North Americans among others. The maps inspired by these indigenous cultures were largely abstract works of art where the participants re-interpreted their local landscapes through the lenses of stories and geographical connections, rather than topology.
Examples of indigenous mapping techniques that inspired some creative maps of the Clyde and Avon Valley. Participants also created maps based on historical mapping types such as the T and O map of the Medieval period, or the Tabula Peutingeriana, which is a stylized road map of the Roman Empire. By re-imagining the Clyde and Avon Valley through the eyes of past peoples, participants found yet another way to understand their local landscape.
Detail of Medieval Map by Mathew Paris showing Clydesdale. Finally, participants created maps that expressed a reaction to their landscape. At Hoollet Row in Chatelherault Country Park, after surveying the remains of the Miner's Cottages, volunteers collected artifacts such as broken pottery, bricks and glass along the banks of the Avon water and created an expressive plan of Hoollet Row . This map combined elements of the local landscape as well as items that could have belonged to the people living at the Hoollet Row during the last century.