Friday, 19 August 2011

Noëlle in Newcastle

Mostly I’m deep in thistles, chasing themes through archives. But I was in Newcastle for 3 weeks in May/June this year, thanks to a residency at the Lock-Up Cultural Centre. Dark and stormy nights alone in the old jail had their challenges, but that aside, I had a great time, a creatively productive time. I walked miles with my camera and notebook—and totally fell in love with Newcastle. I’m a sucker for port cities and those industrial powerhouses of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries now doing the hard slog to reinvent themselves.

Newcastle, June 2011

I was in Newcastle to work on a jazz-infused collection of poems, monologues and short pieces about language in a digital age called Hello the Fine Stranger.

And—as is often the case with residencies—I got the idea for, and began, a new project: Newcastle Florilegium. It’s too early to say exactly what form/s this work might take, but it involves the city’s weeds and what I’m calling ‘folkscience.’ 

Some Newcastle weeds

As part of the residency I ran a workshop on writing the monologue for the Hunter Writers’ Centre, and, piggy-backing on the truly fantastic (in every sense of that word) exhibition Happily Ever After, I did an in-progress presentation of my 50-minute monologue/performance essay Good With Maps at the Lock-Up.

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