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Desire lines: Art, Edgelands and the Urban Wilds

Thursday 17th October, 10am - 4.30pm

Thursday 17th October
10am - 4.30pm (registration 9.30am)
Unit 25, Bury Old Rd, Manchester, M8 5BN

This day-long symposium will examine the significance of edgelands and other ‘wild’ urban spaces, as sites for artistic inquiry, intervention and social interaction.

Coined by the environmentalist, Marion Shoard, ‘edgelands’ describes areas of semi-urban, semi-rural land, characterised by “rubbish tips and warehouses, derelict industrial plants … against a background of unkempt wasteland, frequently swathed in riotous growths of colourful plants, both native and exotic”[1]. Traditionally overlooked and uncelebrated, this type of terrain is increasingly becoming the source of artistic inspiration, as evidenced, for example, in the dystopian paintings of George Shaw, and Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley’s recent book, Edgelands. Moreover, artists have also embraced such marginalised sites as important social spaces and potential community resources.

Drawing on Buddleia’s recent work in North Manchester, Desire lines will examine the ecological, social and cultural value of edgelands and urban wilds, and the motivations and methods of artists who work within them. Case studies will include Buddleia’s artist in residence, Andrew Dodds’ explorations of the post-industrial Irk River Valley, and the artist collective Public Works’ plans to transform a semi-neglected park in Cheetham Hill into a new type of common. Further examples will also be provided by Nottingham-based artist, Rebecca Beinart, who will discuss her involvement in the international Wasteland Twinning project, and her own engagement with the ‘urban wilds’.

The symposium will take place between 10am and 4.30pm (registration 9.30am) in Unit 25 – a shop in Cheetham Hill, which Buddleia has transformed into a temporary community space. The day will include an opportunity to view the Desire lines exhibition, which features work by Andrew Dodds and Public Works; a bus trip to the Irk River Valley; and the launch of Public Works’ temporary community café in Cheetham Park.

Tickets cost £25 and include lunch, refreshments and bus travel.

Click here to book a place.

A limited number of free places are available for North Manchester residents, e-mail: [email protected] for details.

Car parking is available in the Tesco car park in the shopping centre.

For more information, e-mail [email protected], or phone Elaine on 07854894731.

[1] Edgelands by Marion Shoard, Published in REMAKING THE LANDSCAPE, edited by Jennifer Jenkins (Profile Books, 2002)

Click here to visit the Buddleia website for more information.