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  • Writer's pictureJudith Tucker

Working with the community: workshops, walks and talks. Hear our recorded talks online.

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

As the archival section of this website documents, we worked with with the Fitties community in order to gather memories, discuss environmental issues, and build an ongoing community archive, as part of the catalyst for our own creative project. As the project developed, we went on to engage in a further series of community events designed to foster understanding and artistic appreciation of our creative work and nurture the creativity of participants of a wide variety of ages and backgrounds in relation to environmental issues and cultural heritage in relation to locale.

Fitties Voices Talk for NELC Heritage Open Day

Our first talk for the Hideaway project was given online on 13 September 2021 by Harriet Tarlo, Judith Tucker and partner Nicola Hemmings (bird ecologist) as part of North East Lincolnshire's Heritage Open Days. This included visual slides of paintings, readings of early poems from archive and interviews, and art/science information about bird and plant life on the marshes. It also allowed us to advertise all our upcoming memory based events featured on the previous page.

Do listen to our talk here

The live audience for this was 45

Improvised and marginal: poetry and painting with a plotland community an online talk at the University of Lapland


16 – 18 February 2022 | ONLINE

We talked about Hideaway at an online conference hosted by the University of Lapland. We included lots of the history and stories that participants have shared with us

Abstract for AMASS Conference

University of Lapland and Galleria Valo in Rovaniemi, Finland, and online platforms

Dr Judith Tucker, University of Leeds

Professor Harriet Tarlo, Sheffield Hallam University

In the paper we will discuss our current and ongoing project Hideaway: poetry and painting from the saltmarsh. This is an Arts Council England funded interdisciplinary project involving painting and poetry informed by community engagement and archival research in relation to environmental and social change. It focuses on the Humberston Fitties near Cleethorpes, one of the last remaining plotlands in the U.K. We are engaging with local communities around Northeast Lincolnshire, typically underserved by creative opportunities. Hideaway works through visual arts and creative writing informed by intensive engagement with the local community and archival research in relation to environmental and social change. The Humberston Fitties represents the threatened phenomenon of urban working-class owned rural space. The self-built chalets, shacks, and sheds of the Fitties lie low behind marshy beach and dunes, always liable to flood. We are interested in the pioneering local saltmarsh plants which may offer a form of ‘soft defence’ for this vulnerable coast. Local historian, Alan Dowling, who we met shortly before he died, left a rich archive of historic materials relating to the Fitties which we shall explore in a creative context. This includes images and texts featuring plant and human life taken over several decades and is a vital resource because it is precisely the relation of environmental change and the climate emergency to class and privilege that Hideaway seeks to explore. As with previous projects it is key that we work through co-creation with the people who occupy and use the landscapes in question including chalet-owners past and present and local environmental experts. We believe the creative arts can help open up conversations about nature and the environment to these new participants; engaging with creative projects can help develop self-confidence and understanding of personal skills and interests. As well as providing inspiration to try out new ideas and take pride in the outcomes and in the heritage of the Fitties plotland and in the landscape and community. We will explore how our work encourages participants to find their own connections with the natural world and explore concepts such as 'nature', ‘the wild' and ‘belonging’.

Seaside and Saltmarshes Fun Day at 2021VisualArtsCentre Scunthorpe

On Saturday 2nd April 2022, the day our exhibition, Hideaway: painting and poetry from the saltmarsh, opened at 2021VisualArtsCentre Scunthorpe we ran events at family fun day and offered a range of activities relating to our exhibition and the Fitties plotland and saltmarsh plants including looking for and responding to the paintings and poetry on the walls and making models and finding key words, colours and images from around the exhibition as well as writing their own poems and drawing imaginary chalets at night.

Participant numbers for this event throughout the day were 56

Where We Live Gallery talks, Sheffield and London

On 5 May, 2022, in association with the related Where We live exhibition at the Sheffield Millennium Gallery, we were able to bring a talk and poetry reading about Hideaway including the Fitties plotlands to a South Yorkshire audience in Sheffield, a place where many local people holidayed regularly on the Lincolnshire coast, particularly Cleethorpes. Over the years, many Sheffield people owned chalets or even settled on the Fitties. In October 2021, we gave a similar talk at the Alan Baxter Gallery London, for an earlier iteration of this exhibition.

Audience numbers for Sheffield 68

Audience numbers for London 54

Talks and Art/Poetry Workshop and talk for 2021 VisualArts Centre Scunthorpe

On 26 May Judith Tucker and Harriet Tarlo visited the gallery for a talk and creative workshop for adults, offering a chance to hear about the Hideaway project and experiment with poetry, art, or both. Twelve participants joined in on a walk and talk through the exhibition and creative writing/drawing workshop inspired by the immediate inside and outside gallery environs

On the evening of 3 June we also offered an online talk in the Conversation Café series offered by the 2021VisualArtsCentre Scunthorpe, giving a chance for participants to chat with the artist and poet about Hideaway, how it came about and about the work resulting from the project.

From the Saltmarsh: art, science, poetry, ecology, Cleethorpes Library

On Saturday 9 July, working with many of the experts and artists we had engaged with throughout the Hideaway project, as well as local partners at Cleethorpes library, we offered a highly successful full day art/science event at the library. We displayed our Hideaway banners in the library and gave a detailed account of our creative work and gave a poetry reading to an accompaniment of projected paintings. We arranged for this event to be professionally recorded so these talks can be linked to via YouTube, in order to provide a lasting legacy. The event was fully booked with 35 participants who joined in lively discussion on matters artistic and environmental, in response to talks from 6 speakers as follows:

Harriet Tarlo (poet) and Judith Tucker (artist) spoke about our Arts Council funded project Hideaway and launched our new artist book from the project, Saltwort, collection of paintings and poems of Saltmarsh plants

Veronica Sekules (curator and environmental activist) spoke on her work running the only gallery in the U.K. devoted to environmentalism and art. Veronica Sekules acted as a mentor for Hideaway.

Nicola Hemmings (bird ecologist) spoke about her work on bird fertility, focusing on endangered saltmarsh birds

Linda Ingham (artist) spoke about her own recent Arts Council funded work Gather working on the plants and birds on RSPB reserves in Lincolnshire and beyond

Mick Binnion (conservationist/ecologist) spoke about the Humber dune system and saltmarsh and his work alongside many conservation organizations, charities and local government.


Poetry and Painting from the Saltmarsh, Humberston Beach

On 27 July 2022, we worked with partners Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Dynamic Dunescapes and ecologist/botanist, Mick Binnion, to lead a creative walking workshop on the plant life of the saltmarsh at the edge of Humberston beach. We explored how heritage and environment work together here, offering tales of The Fitties and an appreciation of the beauty and significance of marsh and dune plants. Participants were able to hear about the Hideaway project and experiment themselves with poetry, art or both. Eighteen participants of varied ages and backgrounds learnt much about the environmental value of saltmarsh and worked hard at a series of creative exercises, producing some great work.

We also contributed creative exercises to two workshops on birds, art and science for adults and children offered by Nicola Hemmings and the Royal Society. This enabled us to market all three events together and to increase participation in a ‘Summer at the Fitties’ season.

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