Saturday, 27 September 2008

Moot at Malham

Today on Saturday, Brian and myself went to Malham, to create videos and other documenting material from the sources of the Aire. Brian pointed out several very interesting facts about these sources: that the water would not flow directly, but would first sink into the ground, then unearth at another location, before becoming the Aire.

We saw the impressive Gordale Scar and walked over the hills to enter the cove from above. It was a beautiful day, "Indian Summer" with blue sky, but a fresh and "crispy" air. There were a number of tourist visitors there, but somewhat less than expected. It seemes that the summer season already is over.

Janet's Foss, near Malham.

Gordale Scar

Malham Cove

Overall, we walked a distance of 5.8 miles.

Walking around Malham Cove.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Grant from Rusking Foundation!

We are very grateful to the Ruskin Foundation who is now supproting this project with a small grant. This will contribute to some of the travel expenses of our team.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Participants Meeting at Old Broadcasting House

On Wednesday evening, we organised a meeting for those who will participate in the travel to India. Brian, Jenny, Jane, Beccy, and myself were the ones who actually will be on travel, Louise and Jake also joined this meeting as they represented the people who will represent the Yorkshire link during our absence. Adam and Ruth were not able to attend. We discussed the plans and schedule for the travel and the workshops in India.

As I showed this web blog, I realised that there seemed to be an issue in the case of a slow internet connection: the Google map did not show up properly, and the Photosynths just showed part of the photosynth web page instead of the synth itself. Not sure what this was - could have a reason in a temporary outage during the page build-up (due to a faulty wifi connection), and then the Javascript just could not work properly to create all the page elements. Some participants mentioned that they had seen the same on their computer... so I will have to revisit this issue. Maybe simply shorten the blog to show fewer entries (e.g. only the last 3)?

We also planned the upcoming Moot event in Malham, which had originally been scheduled for Sunday but was moved to Saturday now. Hope the weather will be fine!

Monday, 8 September 2008


Travelling to India requires for us Westerners to receive a couple of immunisation shots. Some details are available on the web, for example here:

Today I went to my NHS surgery and received two sets of shots: one for combined Hepatitis A/B, and another for Pollio/Typhoid/Tetanus. A 2nd appointment would be in 1 week, a 3rd one in 3 weeks. Also, I will start taking malaria tablets before the travel - I do not want to take any risk.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

[poem:] Brian Lewis: The Weir

Like hampton's Geordie worm that wraps
its tail round Penshaw Hill this river
holds to Yorkshire, wont let up: It entraps
the best we have flowing ideas. Shiva giver
destroyer returner the girls in Boticelli dance
in Primavera three women seen as one
in spring time all are here united by chance
flowing silk like water alone

Heve water overlaps itself and folds
on water, gauges at the bank and bites
above the mud into wet earth, penile it holds
to it for a second then withdraws clods come away grass fights
for survival but as each blade separates
from its cousin the earth and water marry
as churned mud the varying states
of nature are all and earth
and fire
breath assure

She saw eight cormorants standing on a bank
one morning as she sent her husband off to work
We talk of nature but birds can blank
you, they watched her at her door a stork
of . How nature once had died

notised I look into the flow and watch
a skin of water feather and then fold upon itself
I catch
my breath that a shelf
of bank will fall before this seasons out
unless its buttressed. It will decay
in incremements I think about
last May when heavy rain just washed away
Toll Bar and parts of distant Hull

I am the guardian of the bridge. Its moods
are mine, we share a similar space. Sky
earth and woods
I dont know why

But listen to the sound. You sleep through
visitors day. I never hear it. When the weir that;
is silent then I hear. The town and each platt
of water speaks to me and the sheet
beauty holds me

Is this our earth's last gasp? The sacred Aire
here's sacred to Bulgaria. Here two links join
the body urges for the sea. Its dare
to thrive or will.
bright-light fine
whisp of water up'm in sad mud
no food

I look down on the battering log that struck
the weir boards, board headed snout and the face
that Northmen mounted on their long ships. Stuck
in the rigmarole of history I try to place
it in the same context. Not always Raider
Rapes, Pillage and Burning
a trader
trader setting out from Yorvik

[poem:] David Wilders: River Aire - From its Source to Castleford

Malham Tarn, North Craven Fault, Aire Head Springs,

The storm, the might, the rain
The deluge, the sodden, the saturation

The overspill, the energy, the flow, the movement, the descent, the rivulet, the brook, the creek
The birth, the source, the origin

The erosion, the gnawing, the earth, the sand, the loam, the gravel

The movement, the direction, the cutting
The raging, the meandering, the twisting

The by-pass, the oxbow, the flora, the fauna
The quickening, the widening, the banks
The scraping, the valley

The hue, the colour, the debris
The slowing, the deposits, the silts
The clays, the alluvium
The sediment, the planes, the flood, the Ings

[poem:] Julie Boden: Inuit snow Song

The ice is melting fast, my love,
and sighs of seals sing low
as waves grow heavy with ice, my love
and sea dissolves the snow.

And no one knows the words, my love
to tell these winds of change;
they blow bewildering fast, my love
to turn our homeland strange.

How can they tell our world, my love
in words they do not know ?
The Greeks had many a word for grass
but all our words are snow.

Oh how will our descendants see
this world our words could blow
like powder from a looking glass
to tell us all we know?

To tell us all we know, my love,
to show us what will be.
Oh, who will tread our footsteps, love
when all returns to sea.

The ice is melting fast, my love.
The sighs of seals sing low.
My heart grows heavy with ice, my love.
Come sing your words of snow.

My heart grows heavy with ice, my love.
Come sing your words of snow.

[poem:] Ray Hearne: Might Stay Fine

Didn’t it rain?
every kind of hard rain
didn’t it pour?
till it couldn’t spill more
didn’t it sile?
Brother Noah big style

but didn’t it shine
like a silver wine?

like a silver wine

and now it might stay fine
it might stay fine

it might stay fine
says the primer
for the part-time rhymer
spinning me another line
it might stay fine

Shock and awe showers
flattening the sunflowers
it got so dark
nearly to the black mark
sky-high glowers
falling on the kow towers

but didn’t something still shine
like a silver wine?

like a silver wine

now it might stay fine
it might stay fine

it might stay fine
says the primer
for the part-time rhymer
spinning me another line
it might stay fine

A see-through wall
river-full and all fall
down like cloaks
a Krakatoa wave broke
from a nightmare time
when I couldn’t see a thing rhyme

but didn’t love still shine
like a silver wine?

like a silver wine

and it might stay fine
it might stay fine

it might stay fine
says the primer
for the part-time rhymer
spinning me another line

it might stay fine

it might stay fine

it might stay fine
says the primer
for the part-time rhymer
spinning me another line

it might stay fine

it might stay fine

[poem:] Ray Hearne: Going for Growth

Under a high heel of virtual concrete and steel
overshadowing all I can see
puthers of unsubtle dust rim the wheels
of the vehicles rolling interminably
going for growth mother, going for growth
mother, you and me both know that going for growth
isn’t everything money men swear it to be
in the sight of the shanty-town citizenry

Motorway, freeway, expressway or carriageway
making away with what’s left of the day
junk-sellers, bank-tellers, umbrella-fellers
hair-gellers with little or nothing to say
save ‘going for growth,’ mother, ‘going for growth’
mother, you and me both know your ‘going for growth’
isn’t half the carved up cake it’s cracked up to be
when it comes to the shanty-town citizenry

Barrio, rookery, slum and favela
the sons and the daughters of too many lies
kissing the cheeks of their own little children
are seeing the same look in each other’s eyes
‘going for growth’ mother, ‘going for growth’
mother, you and me both know your ‘going for growth’
isn’t even a slow road to where we should be
in the eyes of the shanty-town citizenry

Licking the long lips of valleys, young rivers
are tonguing the notes of a new poetry
clinging to zephyrs and mangos and tamarinds
hum-along melodies are ribboning free
going for growth mother, going for growth
mother, you and me both know that going for growth
’s never more than slogan for day-glow TV
or a joke to the shanty-town citizenry

going for growth mother, going for growth
there’s a whole other show now for you and me both
in the voices like millions of tributaries
singing out for the shanty-town citizenry

it’s the song of the voiceless, between you and me,
to the tune of the shanty-town citizenry

(Feb – April 08)

[poem:] Siobhan Mac Mahon: Ancestors

How have you forgotten us
so soon? Trapped our stories
beneath your supermarket floors -
those vacant corridors of misery
and half price goods.

At night, beneath your hasty monuments
to greed and haste,
we tap our stories out,
incant the ancient mysteries
our voices carving symbols in the air.

Beneath the tarmac of your busy feet
we breath, our stories filling
stone cold caves with light
and warmth, our voices rising
as in flight

At night our bone deep stories stir
the silence of the hidden henge.
Gathering precious relics from the past
we hold the circle fast
to sing the future in.

(August 2008)

[poem:] Michael Yates: River

Sacred River

It's all about the living water - The way that water lives its life - Where it comes from where it's going - Under ground and under skies - It cuts its way through rock and time - Runs its way down to the seashore - In tidal conscience fills the ocean - In vaporous presence fills the skies

A River Runs Through Us

Weir down there!
But we’re up here
on the murmuring bridge
the mumbling bridge,
the tourniquet
for the deep wound
cut by the water.

Me mam said:
When she was a girl,
the foam flew fierce
up off the Aire,
up in the air,
rotted her nylons,
ravaged her knees.
(“Don’t say ravaged,”
says me dad,
“it’s not a nice word.
But it doesn’t do it now,
so I’ve heard.”

Weir down there!
And I’m up here
on the curving bridge,
the swerving bridge,
single strong shackle
holding the brown burglar,
the intruding river.

Me dad said:
When he was a nipper,
the river stunk.
says me mam,
“is the past tense of stink”)
but now, he says, it’s fit to drink.
Well, almost, I think.
And: only if there’s nothing better.
But then – rivers!
What would I know?
Rivers only run through things.

They don’t like stopping.
Not round here.

Something useful for travellers

I hope everyone is looking forward to the trip,

to help make our travel go as smoothly as possible I am reccommending a book:

Cultureshock! A survival guide to customs and etiquette-INDIA by Gitanjali Kolonad

price £11.99

[poem:] Rebecca Stirrup: 3/4 Water

My glass of water is rare. I can see right through it and the world opposite is turned upside down – precise but for a spreading out. I have drunk it carelessly – twelve steps away I can refill it and do the same again. The water in my glass is polite and still.

When I crossed the river the spray flecked across my face; I was safe on my bridge so it seemed gentle. But looking in the mud surface – the mud we are could dissolve there so easily. Perhaps that is why the water is dark. It has on its mind to erode people as well as soil. It would love to touch my feet and pull me in. The rain is making it fat, and its appetite is growing for solid food.

Poems! these are the ones we have so far.....

Here are a few poems that have been created in the context of this project (they have been placed in separate entries, for better indexing):

Brian Lewis: The Weir
David Wilders: River Aire, From its Source to Castleford
Julie Boden: Inuit Snow Song
Ray Hearne: Might Stay Fine
Ray Hearne: Going for Growth
Siobhan Mac Mohan: Ancestors
Michael Yates: Rivers
Rebecca Stirrup: 3/4 Water

News from Atanu in Anand about our trip

This is a roughly edited extraxt from an email Atanu sent to Brian and I with some further ideas and information about our Indian trip in November:

News for the proposed Meet after discussion with the Core Advisory Committe (Piyush, Dr Jadeja, Surendra, Falguni, Asha and Me)
Here are my comments in response to your queries/comments.
We would like you to interact with our students and probably have a sort of workshop/talk about the issue of climate change and how that can be integrated within the larger scheme of teaching English in Gujarat. How can it be, for example used creatively (for creative writing purposes), what would be the issues when you try to deal with a politically and often ethnically sensitive issue like 'joining of rivers' or disapperances/ displacement of communities due to climate change and man-made interventions (like dams etc). We could also arrange meetings with faculty members in the departments of humanities and social sciences for small one-day workshops/seminars/talks. This could include departments of architecture, sociology, fine arts, and social work. You could of course add to this list. We are also planning to have two workshops (as you have suggested) on different aspects of two rivers (Mahi and Tapi) - folklore, myths, songs, poems, cultural sites, communities, paintings and oral forms where you could give your own inputs about the UK rivers. These could be sort of cultural exchange programmes where the rivers 'talk'.

We could forge a joint education work with various relevant departments (if they are willing) with H M Patel Institute acting as a sort of monitor for such projects. We could also have H M as the nodal agency for forging relevant tie-ups. This could be included in the project proposals for funding, and when the funding is made available, in consultation with the UK group, we could tie-up with various sectors - both academic and non-academic (for example, NGOs)
No problems provided that you let us know which departments you would like to work with. We could tie up with some departments as mentioned above as well as have a workshop with Falguni's or my students.

Two Indian run river workshops at which we will be present

Visit days (cultural)
This could include cultural and architectural sites around the rivers, Mahi and Tapi, as well as local places of interest ,e.g. Gandhi Ashram, Pavagadh (declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site and about 70 kms from V V Nagar), Baroda Museum etc
(One day? Two days? Will talk to my friend Kavita and I am sure that we can arrange something.
SEWA (Self Employed Women's Association)
No problems since this is just a one-day affair
Thamna Health and Eduacation Trust
No problems
However, I feel that so many things packed together could be fatiguing. However, we will take it as it goes.

Developmental information about the project

Voiced from Gujarati and Yorkshire Rivers

Climate Change and Our Heritage

Objective: To use the arts to consider climate change in Yorkshire and Gujarat

Aims: We aim to use the Arts to discuss climate change and pollution. In the developmental stage we will do this by working with invited writers and workers in both the UK and India. In the second stage the project will broaden out for greater community involvement, particularly through adult Gujarati speakers and primary schools in the UK. We will achieve this through:
  • web-based communication

  • developmental creative writing workshops

  • community arts workshops

  • web-based communication between workshop events on two continents.

Our subject is climate change. We will apprach this through three main issues, food, water and energy. Management of these three will produce a change in Cultural Modelling. The workshops we run will take climate change as their focus and develop web based communication technology. There is potential to develop partnerships with the exchange of writers, artists and arts and media innovators between the UK and India.

We welcome:
  • partnerships especially higher education partnerships

The project also considers:
  • language and translation

  • the common ground between cultures

  • we expect and welcome debate on the limits of communication and the technology of communication.

Two Phases

Phase I Development – ACE Funding Sought
October – December 2008

In this first phase we will develop a team through experimenting in workshops. This will enable people to take skills uniting our common themes -climate change and pollution- to communities in both Yorkshire and India. This will directly relate to the evolution of the interactive technology; that is, the website we will create.

Phase II Consolidation – funding not sought at this time
January – March 2009

This second phase of the project will benefit local communities via continued workshops and exhibitions. Please reference Appendix A.

Climate Change and the Indian Connection

Climate change is an issue of vital importance which affects our communities with increasingly far-reaching consequences. This project has developed out of recognition that it is important to make contacts with community groups in other countries, because of the need to develop an international response to climate change.

Development Plan

Five Initial Workshops: We are trying to put together a strong core of experienced writers and artists in the developmental stage. The five initial workshops will train up a strong team of writers who will then continue to work with schools and community groups in the Consolidation Phase. To ensure the high quality of these initial workshops from which all other work will stem, we are using writers and artists who have proven records as key tutors. For example:

Barton on Humber: Karen Maitland, Penguin author
Rotherham: Ray Hearne, South Yorks. Songwriter/Poet
Aire: Becky Stirrup, Creative Writing Tutor
Castleford and Nidderdale: Brian Lewis, Writer, Arts Consultant

Workshop leaders will also be working with printmakers and painters. The project will incorporate many art forms, including painting, poetry, photography, film, writing, pottery, story-telling, folk-singing, heritage and travel writing. All of the painters, photographers, publishers, sculptors, crafts people and multimedia workers are experienced and have had exhibitions. The Indian workshops begin on 1 October 2008. We want the UK workshops to take place at similar times, so we plan to start workshops in October 2008.

Website: The IT component is a learning tool which links communities across continents. The website is a convenient place for two groups, who are working together thousands of miles apart, to collaborate on a single arts project. It is also a convenient place for people all over the world, and especially the UK and India, to find out about the project, see the results and become participants themselves. The website will showcase of the project.

The website will support the project by acting as a single repository for:
  • Profiles of the artists and others involved

  • A Calendar of events

  • Descriptions of upcoming events

  • The outcomes of past events (written word; e.g. poetry, photographs and other imagery, video, audio etc.)

  • cross continental communication and participation via; comments, forums

Forum and comments: The Gujarati and English editor will both need to check the forums and comments sections of the site regularly to ensure that nothing inappropriate is posted.

Communication: Primary communication will have to be in English, therefore the Gujarati editor will need to be able to communicate in both languages. English text will be translated into Gujarati by the Gujarati editor and then posted by the overall editor.

Promotion: Someone needs to contact relevant blogs and websites (arts, environmental etc.) to get news out about the site. This needs to happen at intervals during the life of the site. Similarly, someone needs to contact relevant organisations offline.

Exchange – UK to Gujurat

We propose that members of the general team, Brian Lewis, Jenny Marsden, Adam Ghodiwala, Jane Weatherby and Beccy Stirrup go out to India for ten days in November 2008. We will be present at two Indian run workshops out there, as well as running several workshops of our own over a ten day period. These will be developmental workshops, essentially a test-run. We will then communicate back to UK workshops via the website. We will be talking to educational leaders in India, schoolchildren and their teachers (teacher training) and university tutors in English and Educational facilities. We will work with communities in India to establish contacts and help create work and ideas we can bring back to the UK. During the 10 day exchange we hope to communicate with over 500 people, mostly through workshops.