Desire Lines

An art project, Crow Park, Keswick

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Rebecca Beinart - An art project

What does Crow Park mean to you? Artist Rebecca Beinart is developing Desire Lines, an art project engaging with local communities around Keswick hosted by the National Trust. The project explores the connections humans have with the natural world, and Rebecca will be working with local people to get to know Crow Park from lots of different perspectives. We'll be asking how a special connection with a local green space can influence the way we think about global issues of climate change, ecology and access.

A sheet with bright graphic designs is held like a sail in the wind by the artist with the lake in the background

The Project - Desire Lines, at Crow Park

What happens when we shift our position from viewers of the natural world to cohabitors? 

Rebecca will be working with the community on this project focussed on Crow Park over the coming year, responding to the site’s history as a picturesque ‘viewing station’, it’s role in struggles for land access and the establishment of the National Trust.

This as an exciting opportunity to work with local people to explore urgent contemporary questions about our connection to the natural world, the ways that we ‘frame’ nature, a sense of place in fragmented times, and how we collectively build stories for the future.

The project will create a dialogue between the town, the park and the lake – a series of storied landscapes that hold a tension between change and preservation. Rebecca will work with local groups and visitors to map stories of Crow Park and generate future fictions as a way of reflecting on the past, imagining the future and asking what is important to ‘hold in trust’.

These co-created stories formed the basis for a series of workshops and temporary artworks shared on site and online throughout the project, and developed into a film that was a collaboration between Rebecca and a number of Cumbrian community members and creatives.

A child wearing a striking abstract Crow costume poses in front of a mountain

An opportunity to see the film

If you'd like an opportunity to see the film that artist Rebecca Beinart made in collaboration with Cumbrian community members and creatives click the link

Listen to the project podcast

Project timeline
school children holding brightly coloured paper banners with striking symbols

September 2020

Pupils from St Herbert's Primary School, Keswick, explored Crow Park then recorded what they'd experienced using patterns and symbols.

A sheet with bright graphic designs is held like a sail in the wind by the artist with the lake in the background

September 2020 - banners

Local outdoor gear repair shops donated offcuts to Rebecca, who turned the patterns designed by the school pupils into a prototype fabric banner / sail / cape

A graphic showing a crow and an archaeologists trowel

March 2021

Over three sessions people used real and imagined objects as a starting point for writing, creating an ‘archaeology of the future’ to think through different time frames. In 'Eating the landscape', natural entities were imagined as portals into different ways of seeing the environment, and in 'Writing a Crow' we experimented with a new poem form, the crow, using the percussive rhythm of a crow's caw.

A man surrounded by IT equipment with the coast visible in the window behind him

April

In April Rebecca worked with Cumbria-based sound artist RL Wilson to edit 4 episodes of an 'aural collage' podcast based on conversations with people who live, work and visit in Keswick

A graphic illustration showing a crow

May

In May we worked behind the scenes with Theatre by the Lake to plan two creative workshops run with for young people to explore 'other-than-human' perspectives and help to shape plans for a film and performance planned on Crow Park this summer.

Artist talking to a group of teenagers, demonstrating a bird-shaped headdress

June

Young people aged 11-18 got involved in June, through Keswick Explorer Scouts and Theatre by the Lake, developing costume and narrative ideas for the filmed performance that Rebecca is starting to develop as the artwork that will draw together all the themes and discussions that have taken place over the past 18 months.

four people in colourful capes sitting beside the lake

July

In July community performers worked with Cumbria-based film-makers alongside Rebecca to co-create a performance which will be edited into a film over the summer and shared in the autumn.

Two women wearing facemasks hand stitching costumes

Behind the scenes

We had fantastic support behind the scenes from two textile makers, Maggi Toner-Edgar and Viri Sica to upcycle donated outdoor gear into bespoke costumes for the film. Keswick Alpkit store also lent the use of their repair shop (pictured here). The skill that Maggi and Viri showed in taking tents, cycling gear and paragliding wings and turning them into unique and beautiful capes tailored to each character was really inspiring.

Who is Rebecca Beinart?

Rebecca Beinart is an artist and curator based in Nottingham. She develops projects with a focus on community, ecology, knowledge-making and the politics of public space.

Rebecca makes sculpture, installation and performance, stages collaborative events in public places, and creates public platforms for dialogue. Her projects involve long term engagement with site and evolve through cross-disciplinary collaborative research.

Through her work as an artist and curator she is committed to developing socially engaged projects that respond to participants and places (including other-than-human actors) and consider shared urgencies.

Rebecca's previous work

Rebecca is currently developing Urban Antibodies, a research project that imagines the city as a living organism, looking at sites of toxicity and vulnerability, healing and care – with a focus on plant knowledge and medicine.

Previous projects and commissions include being a shortlisted for Jerwood Open Forest (2016); Imagined Geographies, a commission for the National Trust (2015); The Bureau of Urban Wilds, a commission for UP Projects (2013) and the Wasteland Twinning Network (2012-13).

For the past six years, Rebecca has worked as the Engagement Curator at Primary, an artist-led space in Nottingham, developing a place-based programme of commissions and public events.

a figure crouches by a pan on a smoking campfire beside a wooden hand cart laden with more containers

Visit Rebecca's website

See what other projects Rebecca is working on