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  • Writer's pictureJudith Tucker

Welcome to Hideaway

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

At the end of June 2021 Judith Tucker and Harriet Tarlo made their first official Hideaway visit to the Fitties Plotland (chalet park), Tetney Marshes and Grimsby Archives. This was the first of many visits involving archive visits, fieldwork and community engagement as part of Hideaway: painting and poetry from the saltmarsh, a visual arts and creative writing project informed by archival research in relation to environmental and social change, for which we were delighted to have received Arts Council England funding.

The project responded to a part of Northeast Lincolnshire’s coast that might be considered the epitome of a landscape in which the human and non-human are interconnected and entwined. It is a place that invites questions about what is natural, and what is unnatural. Fitties originally means saltmarshes. Harriet Tarlo and Judith Tucker engaged in a series of fieldwork visits to, and complementary research into, the saltmarsh plants of the area. Alongside this, they worked with local communities on the Fitties plotland. Declared a conservation area in 1996, this area has been in use as a holiday resort since the 1920s. There are over 320 chalets and the organic development of the site on the former salt-marsh area along the Humber Estuary, has led to a wide variety of distinctive buildings built on small adjacent plots, from ramshackle shacks to traditional holiday chalets and architect designed modern constructions. Taking the Fitties and its human and plant communities as subject, the project documented this unique location, and work with the residents and guests through a series of creative workshops.

With the support of Dominic Mason and the whole team from 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, over the next 15 months, we worked towards an exhibition at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre; various community events at The Fitties Plotland and at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre; and the production of a new artists’ book. Further group exhibitions ensued as a result of these activites. The key research element of this project consisted of visits to the Alan Dowling archive in Grimsby library and meetings and walks with botanical and environmental art and science experts. This, and our community events, would enable us to consider marsh plants and chalet architecture past and present in Judith Tucker’s paintings and Harriet Tarlo’s poetry, and through our collaborative conversations with each other and with partners from the community and arts and conservation worlds, national and local. These partnerships included Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Dynamic Dunescapes, Dr Nicola Hemmings and the Royal Society, Rachel Graham, lead ecologist from NELC, Adrian Wilkinson from Grimsby Archives,Dr Veronica Sekules of the Groundwork Gallery, Norfolk, Jackson Sage from the Humber Management Scheme, David Power from LincsInspire and Cleethorpes Library, Linda Ingham, local artist and curator and Caroline Carr from the Fitties CIC.

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