Reactions residency archive

I’ve recently undertaken a residency in the town of Crewe, making new work and showing work around marking, moving and mapping. The residency was entitled Reactions, which took place 8-18 November 2016, at Axis Arts Centre, as part of Manchester Metropolitan University, Crewe Campus’ Curating Knowledge programme.

The story of the residency, including images and text outlining the residency are now archived in the Reactions tab (above).


Image taken as part of the performance-installation Our Right to the City? (Image credit: Sarah Spanton)



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Kopenhagen urban walking: layers, plotting, aerial street patterns and diverse visualisations

After a bit of a hiatus (for info go to: waymarkingthesketchbook) I’m still finding the act of capturing GPS data from walks I’ve taken interesting. Especially when layered onto a range of maps (from GPS Visualiser).

I enjoy seeing the grain and pattern of the streets, the shapes of the buildings, roads, public spaces, green spaces. And seeing how different maps present the same streets visually.

And of course remembering each walk, the paths taken, and seeing it plotted out. This was my first trip to Kopenhagen (April 2015), explored on foot for three days. Here are a some mapped visualisations of the walks.

1. World Topo

Map 13 Track 1 world topo

2. Open Street Maps

Map 11 Track 1 openstreetmap MQ

3. Google Aerial

Map 7 Track 7 and 2, to market-cropped

4. Open Topo Maps

Map 15 Track 2 OpenTopoMap

5. Open Street Maps

Map 6 Track 5 OpenStreetMap-cropped

6. Google Aerial

Map 8 Track 7 and 2, to market close up

7. Google Earth

Map 1 Track 1 Close up #2 Tivoli Gardens

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Dark, grainy textures; Manchester satellite imagery

Seams with fragments (2014) is the working title for a new installation which visualises, documents and re-presents a series of four walks which converged upon and passed close by to Federation House, Manchester and took place on the 27th August 2014. The final work will be part of the group exhibition Bed, taking place at Federation House, Manchester in November, more information to follow.

I’m showing here some mapping images I’ve been playing around with using GPS visualiser.

I love the dark grainy texture of these Yahoo satellite images of Manchester.

27.8.14 Bed Walks - yahoo satellite track 1


Bed Walks 27.8.14 Close Up on Track 1 - Fed House


27.8.14 Bed Walks - yahoo satellite track 1 - zoomed out

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From Kent to Essex and back, July 2014 – #2

More GPS track images and photographs from this walk with artists Daniel Lehan, Josee Dubeau, Sarah Sparkes and Charlie Fox, from Gravesend to Tilbury.

Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #2


Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #1



Image credits: Sarah Spanton


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From Kent to Essex and back, July 2014 – #1

On the 5th and 6th July this year I travelled down to London to take part in Detours2London.

Hosted by counterproductions director Charlie Fox, bringing a group of artists together to talk through ideas around the creation of an urban/semi-urban public trail led by artists in London.

As part of this, on the Saturday a small group of us (Daniel Lehan, Josée Dubeau, Sarah Sparkes and Charlie Fox) set out for Gravesend. And took the ferry to Tilbury, then walked the short distance along the rivers edge to the World’s End Pub and back again.

Here are some photographs taken on the walk, and some GPS track maps.

Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14



Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #8

Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #7


Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #6

Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #5


Exif_JPEG_PICTURE   Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #4 Tilbury Gravesend track 5.7.14 #3

Image credits: Sarah Spanton

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City Scribe: inter-local trans-location in Montpellier

This April, as part of the Walking Talking Project, I was able to go to IETM’s Montpellier Plenary, with its theme of Trans; tranformations, transgender and transborders.

With the parameters set by Walking Talking, we were exploring the notion of transporting the ‘inter-local’. The ‘inter-local’ is the idea that any town, city, region has its specificities, its distinctive qualities. That when artists travel to another town or city to work, that they can choose to engage in an exchange on an ‘inter-local’ level. Engaging in a dialogue between their own specific knowledge and experience and that of the city (and its audiences/artists) that they’re now working in. Inter-local exchange will be a collaborative, open-minded and curious exchange between guests and hosts.

Those of us in Montpellier as part of the Walking Talking Project, were the ‘Yorkshire Guest House’, where we welcomed our fellow international delegates into a dialogue with us, about the region of Yorkshire.City Scribe MontpellierAs a response to the Trans theme of the Plenary I decided to take the City Scribe to Montpellier, where I transposed a walk in Leeds that connected a series of pedestrian shopping streets, shopping ‘malls’, a market, a city square, an arts centre… onto the streets of Montpellier.

Here are some images taken from the walk through Montpellier. See Post #1 for images of the walk in Leeds.


Place de Sparte


Place P. Bec

MOnt #2


Le Polygone

MOnt 3


Allée Jules Milhau

Mont 4


Allée Jules Milhau


Place de la Comedié


MOnt 5


Rue Jacques Coeur

Mont 6


Junct. Impasse Broussonnet

Mont 7


Rue Germain


Rue d’école de la Pharmacie (La Panacée)

Mont 8

Photographic image credits: Richard Sobey


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City Scribe: artistic practice as research and research as artistic practice

I’ve recently been working on a new City Scribe action, whilst in Montpellier, France, at the IETM conference. As part of this project, I spent some time thinking through my motivations and approach to City Scribe.


Image credit: Richard Sobey

City Scribe is artistic practice as research and research as artistic practice. It is a series of interventions into city space. People (audiences) see this work incidentally/accidentally as they encounter it on the street. Sometimes the work is also part of a curated programme.

The methodological approach is centred around the performative actions of the City Scribe. These solo performances are accompanied by a gathering body of additional ‘data’ relating to these actions; GPS tracking, photographic and video documentation, writing, drawing and other mapping activities.

City Scribe’s interventions into city spaces develop a multiplicity of layered experiments exploring a range of ideas;

  • Asking city dwellers to reflect on the social, physical, geographic, spatial and architectural in their cities
  • Exploring an embodied approach to the city – what does it mean to physically ‘occupy’, ‘inhabit’ our city spaces?
  • Exploring a gendered embodiment of public space – challenging perceptions of gender, dealing with the tensions faced when challenging gender conventions, playing with object,  subject and the ‘gaze’, and representations of androgyny
  • Highlighting the everyday rhythms, the flow and movement of people and objects through city spaces, playing with repetition and variation
  • Exploring mark making, inscribing, marking the city space through movement, drawing and using GPS technology – investigating making maps in a range of ways, playing with new topographies, hand-drawn maps, embellishing found maps, connecting with new topographic practices
  • Exploring how men are typically perceived to walk, move and inhabit their surroundings, in different cities around the world – looking at gait, pace, physical stance and attitude
  • Exploring perceptions of the city in terms of the common, the ‘right’ to walk through the city spaces, owning the city as a citizen, challenging the privatization and private policing of public spaces
  • Investigating the city as a physical space for people to run through, climb on, stand still and lie down (sleep) in
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City Scribe marking the city – Leeds City Centre #1

The City Scribe measures, marks and reflects on the city, inviting local people to reflect on it too.

In September 2012, City Scribe took an hour-long journey through the streets of Leeds city centre. The walk linked a series of social and cultural urban spaces together.

4.4.14 g.hybrid closeup #1



Back York Street (Live Art Lab) & Vicar Lane (The Markets), Leeds (Image credits: Adam Young)

City Scribe’s embodied journey through the city is polyrhythmic, exploring an average walking pace, running, walking very slowly (much slower) and also standing still.

4.4.14 g.hybrid closeup #2


King Edward Street (Image credit: Adam Young)

City Scribe was alert and curious about the architectural environment as she flowed through the city.

4.4.14 g.hybrid closeup #3


Lands Lane (Image credit: Adam Young)

City Scribe wears the suit of the everyday male office worker, yet the performer Sarah Spanton is a woman and she challenges the perceptions and the gaze of the people around her in relation to gender, and who can occupy public space and how.

4.4.14 g.hybrid close up #4


Dortmund Square (Image credit: Adam Young)

GPS data tracks were captured, mapping the journey and video and photographic footage of the walk were captured.

4.4.14 g.hybrid closeup #5



Wormald Row & The Light (shopping centre), (Image credits: Adam Young)

This walk took place as part of Sohail Khan’s Aliveness research project, and was supported by fellow performers Adam Young, Ellie Harrison and Sohail Khan.

4.4.14 g.hybrid closeup #6



Cookridge St & Victoria Square (Leeds Art Gallery), (Image credits: Adam Young)

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