Researchers ask: what’s in a place?
The researchers, led by Dr Lynne Hibberd, are investigating how people interact with the places they inhabit. They will be asking people visiting the RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s Spring Gardening and Wildlife Weekend on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 April to become part of their research, which explores what it means to say: “We are here”.
Dr Hibberd explained: “We want to find out what does it mean to belong to a place? How do we carve out spaces for ourselves, and places that we call home? We will be encouraging visitors to think about their daily routes and practices, and how we might go off track in familiar places. We will be bringing with us a You Are Here tent, giving them a chance to see work by design students at Leeds Beckett and practice minor acts of subversion: we’ll be kitting people out with equipment to make their own seed bombs, and getting them thinking about how plotting our own routes can enable a deeper engagement with both familiar and unfamiliar places.”
The team’s research is exploring how we make sense of our world – whether it is through regional identities, daily habits, homemaking practices, music choices or gardening preferences. How do we articulate who we are and what we’re about? How do we use the media to help us express ourselves, move around areas, connect with people and create?
Other activities that they will be leading across the weekend include upcycling items into garden crafts, making bird feeders, asking what people’s homes would look like if they could grow their own place from scratch, getting people to choose three places that represent the true heart of Yorkshire, and asking for stories about rhubarb for their research into the fruit as being central to Yorkshire identity.
Dr Hibberd added: “Our theory is that rhubarb plays a role in Yorkshire that it doesn’t anywhere else in the world; so every person in Yorkshire has a tale to tell about rhubarb.
“Maybe you moved here because of the work that rhubarb provides, you grow it in your own back yard, or you’ve given up trying to dig the stuff up? We’ll have our ‘You are Here’ tent at RHS Harlow Carr and will be asking people to share their rhubarb ramblings and other stories about the significance of place.”
The events are free, suitable for all the family, and all materials will be provided.
National Gardening Week is taking place this year from 13-19 April. It was launched four years ago by the RHS and since then it has grown into the country’s biggest celebration of gardening. Thousands of people, gardens, charities, retailers, culture and heritage organisations and groups get involved and this year there are more than 200 events taking place across the UK.