Written by: The Greensand Country Team
This project led by Community Arts Officer Sally Christopher had a broad remit to engage with local communities and groups, with a focus on creative outputs. These outputs included engagement with camera clubs, photo competitions, online photography courses, sound recordings, and delivering an exhibition of the photographs taken. The project engaged with both adults and young people, to further augment the local community interest with the landscape.
The project managed to combine working with existing groups along with increasing engagement with new groups. In addition to running workshops and competitors for digital camera users, equivalent courses for camera phone users made the skills more accessible to those outside of the camera club networks.
Sound recordings and exhibitions of the photographs further expanded the scope of the project and allowed Greensand Country to be recorded for future research aurally and visually.
We are proud that nearly all numerical targets for each output were met or exceeded, particularly the popularity of our workshops that exceeded targets by 150%.
Benefits to People
The project benefitted a wide variety of people, from camera club members to young people. Engaging with young people has been a particular success of the project as they previously would only have a passive role in observing these landscapes. By including them in the recording of natural and cultural heritage, they have been able to play a direct role in recording its current condition and thus charting the changes we expect to see in the future.
Landscape photography has traditional been focused on camera groups with specialist equipment and knowledge. By expanding the scope of that training to include camera phones, the project has opened up the possibility of landscape photography to those that previously had little understanding or experience.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
As a result of this project heritage is now better understood and recorded. This is true for both the natural and cultural heritage of Greensand Country. Archiving the images and sounds across multiple platforms has enabled us to use the projects creative outputs as a resource to chart how our heritage changes over time. In effect, the project has created a broad baseline from which future projects can chart the changes that happen within the natural and built environment.
Whilst there have been no physical improvement works to the landscape as a result of this project, it has increased the accessibility and understanding of the unique landscape within Greensand Country. For example, one of the winning entries in the photo competition (picture of Cooper’s Hill attached below), shows the prevalence of heathland and thus helps to spread a greater awareness of habitat diversity.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
Give more time for the publicity to attract and engage more people, particularly young people. We could also have tied the photography into other areas of the NLHF programme, such as photographing the physical works before and after. This would have given the volunteers involved a greater sense of how their photography would contribute to the impact the NLHF programme was having across the landscape.