Green Spaces and Ordinary Folk


Jane Samuels (Chair)

Jane Samuels is a writer, visual artist and teacher from Manchester. Her work is grounded in place, walking and psychogeography and her written and visual work explores walking methodologies, the inherent power structures that play out in place, and the human relationship with urban and rural environments. In 2019, Jane published a chapter in the book Psychogeography and Psychotherapy: Connecting Pathways, and has collaborated on text books and essays in human geography, most recently contributing to the 2021 textbook, Creative Methods for Human Geographers, in a collaboration lead by Morag Rose. Jane’s visual work features in a number of books, and she has been a judge for the ADC Industry Awards for New York Creative Week. Jane has taught in collages and prisons, and runs art workshops and walks. She is particularly concerned with social inclusion and equity. Jane is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Place Writing.

Sarah Jasmon

Sarah Jasmon lives on a boat on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Lancashire and writes novels, short stories and creative non-fiction. An associate lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University for several years, she is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Geography in which she explores the canals and waterways of Manchester in conjunction with a traverse of her own life on the water. ‘In Search of the Port of Manchester’, a creative non-fiction piece, was published in the Port anthology from Dunlin Press in November 2019. Since September 2021, Sarah has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow, based at Manchester University. She is one quarter of WomenTalkPlace.

Marcelle Newbold

Marcelle’s poetry explores place and inheritance. Pushcart Prize nominated and winner of the Poetry in the Arcades competition in 2020, her poems have been published in online and print magazines, and in recent anthologies by Black Bough Poetry, Maytree Press, and Indigo Dreams. She is managing editor of Nightingale & Sparrow, and coordinator for Gloucester Poetry Festival. Marcelle lives in Cardiff, Wales where she trained as an architect.

Hayley Flynn

Hayley Flynn is the creator of Skyliner, an anti-tour specialising in walks inspoired by Manchester’s hidden heritage. Winner of Best Arts and Culture Blog in the UK, and Best City and Neighbourhood blog, Flynn was the UK’s first and only City Curator (National Trust), mostly writes about cities and their eccentricities, and loves to be amongst the wilderness that’s to be found in those places.


Watching Feet from my Boat Window

During lockdown, the canal on which Sarah Jasmon’s boat is moored became a destination for locals following the one-hour-a-day walking directive. This paper will consider the shift in perception of canals from industrial backwater to leisure space over the past 50 years, the differing layers of tow path users and their relationship to the place, and the experience of being a boater on the rural canal and a walker on the urban side of the water.

I Feel Guilty About the Birds

One of the many types of access inequality that was highlighted during the pandemic: when told to ‘stay local’ – was access to green spaces. Great for those whose ‘local’ involved parks and meadows, and gardens, and breathing spaces, and access to sky and earth. Unfortunately places of inherent spirit, that are proven to lift the spirits, are most readily available to those on the edges of urban, or within wealthy urban, or with easy access to places of wild. In this paper, Marcelle will explore wayfinding with the semi-urban, how a connection back to the earth can be found without endless vistas and stretching out for miles:

‘We experience external spaces continually, and with open eyes, ears, and senses can we fulfil the innate need to be part of the natural world. For those who do not have access to green and wild spaces, those living in urban spaces, wayfinding techniques can be used to settling within the earth, to reconnect, and draw comfort from acute observation. Trees in seasonal bloom, bulbs pushing through, a bush full of berries, the noise of starlings on their favourite roof, help to geo-locate ourselves, mark deep time, and ground ourselves in nature, which can help lead to an inner calmness as the ancient reconnects.’

What is Skyliner?

Skyliner was set up to promote and preserve Manchester’s heritage by documenting unspoken stories, unearthing unique historical research, and exploring and capturing unseen sights. This first took the form of many collaborations with photographer Andrew Brooks; working together to present the stories of redevelopment sites across the region – think Urban Exploration only with permission. Skyliner has garnered a reputation as a go-to source of knowledge and inspiration for residents and visitors of Manchester. A specialist in long-form journalism, Hayley will introduce the concept behind Skyliner, her interest in alternative tourism, and issues such as loss of public space.

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