Thursday, 28 August 2008

Visiting the New Castleford Pedestrian Bridge

Today a few of our group went to Castleford, where a new pedestrian bridge had been opened recently, as part of the Castleford revitalisation program. It had been featured recently on Channel 4's Kevin McCloud and the Big Town Plan. In our group was of course Brian, who held everything together and knew all the people who had some relation to the bridge, as he had been a main advisor in this project. There also was Jenny Marsden, one of the writers in this project, and Porl Medlock, an award-winning photographer.

Photosynth of Castleford Footbridge, seen from South-East.

We walked across the bridge, and my task was to record the coordinates on GPS. The picture here shows the GPS track of two roundtrip walks across the bridge. The bridge itself is not seen in older satellite photos, hence just the image of the river.

GPS Tracks of Castleford Footbridge.

The footbridge is not very far located from the road bridge which bears a lot of vehicle traffic.

Another Photosynth of the Castleford Footbridge. Scroll to the right to see the old road bridge over the Aire.

Jenny then interviewed the "champion of the bridge" Wendy Rayner who mentioned that now there is even Salmon to be seen in the River Aire, since the heavy industry had disappeared from the river banks. Back on the bridge, Brian talked to a few teenagers who were enjoying the foot-bridge.

Brian's interview of the teenagers.

We then went to the Sagar Street Gallery to see an exhibition by Heather Parkinson, a painter who is also a friend of Brian. Her pictures display a connection with water - she was interviewed by Jenny.

Photosynth of Sagar Street Gallery, Castleford. It is located south of the foot bridge

This was the first "action" day in which we collected images, video, and data. I captured all the sounds with the in-ear microphones for true head-related stereo.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Second Meeting

Today, Brian and his son Jacob visited me at Leeds Met. We discussed issues regarding web site, blog, and content. This blog here will be the development blog, documenting the evolvement of the project, whereas the "main blog" would be set up after securing appropriate funding. In January, it is planned to officially launch the project and its web site.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

First Meeting - Booking Flights

Today, Ruth Dass and myself visited Brian Lewis in Pontefract, to discuss the project and the travel. Each of us told a little about their individual story, so as to get acquainted better. Brian gave an introduction to the beginnings of the project, shown here in this video:

We then tried to coordinate the flights. I had been a bit fast: the day before, after a few email correspondences back and forth, I had booked my flight on Emirates Airways through the web site, which seemed to offer great rates. However, when we tried today to get the remaining flight tickets, we encountered a few hurdles: on Southall Travel, there was no more any offer for my particular flight route. Instead, the lowest fare was almost 200 pounds higher than for what I had booked. So we tried directly with Emirate Airways, and yes, there were flight tickets available at the same low price. However, I had to overcome several obstacles: the Emirates flight booking site appeared to be very "impatient"; I had entered the data quite slowly, and after about 10 minutes I encountered a "session expired" and had to start all over again. Then, after entering all 3 passengers, there was a problem regarding the payment: Emirate Airways does only accept credit cards, not debit cards, for the online payment. Also, the credit card must be in the name of one of the passengers... this was a major issue. After finding the local office of the Emirate Airways in Manchester (is well hidden on their web site, as no direct contact phone number is provided on the main page), we try to book the flights by phone. Yes, they accept payment with a Maestro Debit Card - but the flight price is more than 200 pounds higher than on the web! We receive the advice to book online and use the option of picking up the airline tickets at the airport in Manchester. Finally this works ok, and after one more "session expired" we finally have booked additional 3 flights. For some reason, these three could already reserve their seats... while I was not given this option. This will teach me not to book early and use an intermediate travel agent!