Carrlands is a research project designed to aid public appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of landscape through active participation and engagement. It draws attention to and illuminates the historically and culturally diverse ways in which a place is made, used and reused, and the complexities involved in interpreting landscape.

Carrlands attempts this in a series of especially composed audio works that offer guided orientation at a number of places rarely visited but which have their own unique characteristics, qualities and attractions. These works are complex integrations of spoken text, musical composition, with subtle instructions to users and invitation to action.

The texts are in the form of creative writing for solo voice. They draw together, and integrate, insights from archaeology, geography, natural history and folklore with the detailed and first-hand experiences, opinions and memories of local scholars and inhabitants. The writing process involved conventional library and archive research; on-site fieldwork to examine and explore the topographic details; collaboration with academic colleagues to elicit other disciplinary interpretations; interviews with local inhabitants to gather memories and experiences of these locations, leading to the recording of voices of different ages, genders and accents. The interviewees – including regional experts and those who have lived and worked in the carrs, the ‘insiders’ – are occasionally quoted verbatim without credit; responsibility for editorial content however rests solely with the author. There is a purposeful blurring of personal, expert and popular sources and voices.

Carrlands also includes new texts by the author, including elements of personal biography and family history. In this, it builds upon and extends techniques of writing used in his recent volume In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape (2006, Exeter: University of Exeter Press).

The musical compositions provide a dramatic matrix for the texts, whilst evoking the unique nature and atmosphere of these seemingly empty lands. They include elements of orchestral and electronic music, sampling from archival sources and effects that recall former sound-worlds in these places. Echoing the even-bedded geology of North Lincolnshire the music is laid down and constructed as a series of strata or layers.

The overall effect is of text and music is to suggest depth and complexities in a landscape that can at first appear flat and commonplace.

Portable Document Format iconPDF download of The Carrlands Project (opens in a new window)

Download the audio files:

To download, right click on the audio file you're interested in and choose 'Save link as'. Each file is approximately 15 minutes long (10Mb, .mp3 format). A normal click will open and play the file in your web browser.

Carrlands is supported by:Arts and Humanities Research Council

University College of Wales Aberystwyth

Landscape and Environment