Special Issue "Layered Landscapes: Cultural Investigations in Northern British Edgelands"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Visual Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Ysanne Holt

Professor of Art History, Department of Arts, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: visual and material culture in Britain; cultural landscapes; the rural north
Guest Editor
Dr. Rupert Ashmore

Senior Lecturer in Art and Design History, Department of Arts, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: documentary photography, cultural memory in northern British and European communities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite contributions to a Special Issue of Arts that will bring academics from the broad field of visual culture studies and practitioners from fine art, performance, photography, or digital media to the discussion of northern peripheral landscapes in Britain—either geographical or socially marginal. The issue brings relational perspectives and a focus on the edges—between space, sites, practices, and disciplines. Our concern is with landscapes not only layered with complementary or contradictory narratives, myths, and histories, but on spaces existing in a number of different registers, whether experienced through a geo-political, socio-economic, or nature/cultural lens.

Dr. Ysanne Holt
Dr. Rupert Ashmore
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Arts is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • northern cultural landscapes
  • visual and material culture
  • peripheries and edgelands

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Entangled Borders, Edges, and Peripheries
Abstract: This paper proceeds from a view of both landscape and place as continuously 'in process' and formed from the over-layered and interdependent relations between nature and culture, the human and non-human. It considers engagement with this relational view amongst recent and contemporary artists located in perceivably isolated, largely rural UK border regions. It raises questions about the value of their forms of practice in the social, cultural and environmental contexts of locations frequently disregarded as marginal and isolated, but currently with much political significance, and considers their potential for a vital reframing of our sense of the future.

Sounding the Sound—Silver Sediments, Stars, and Stories
Abstract: 'Walking the Sound' was an exhibition of new work created by Bevan as part of the AHRC interdisciplinary project, 'Orkney: Beside the Ocean of Time'. Concentrating her activity on a section of the Stromness West Shore, the artist selected a sample area, rich in geology, natural and social history, and a source of inspiration for many artists and poets. She worked closely with a multidisciplinary group including geologists Carina Fearnely, John F Brown and anthropologist Richard Irvine, to examine layers of time and change from a range of perspectives, from the slow geological shift of deep time to our more rapid human development and intervention. With 'Sounding the Sound' the project continues, the focus shifting from land to sea. Working with data collected from marine energy mapping, the artist and scientists are collaborating with a composer, writer and filmmaker to create new work in response to this fluid space of 'Hoy Sound'.

Scores for Dwelling
Abstract: The body-in-movement, the dancing body, is where new patterns, connections and pathways through can be awakened, cultivated and encountered. This article explores how moving along old and new paths and water ways through the Scottish Borders might generate alternative world making scores for dwelling in Scotland in the 21st century.

Reframing the Horizon within the Flat Ontology of the Constructed Photograph
Abstract: Emerging from the artists constructed photographs/walking projects in the north, this paper considers the tension between the photograph as a fixed composition of the world, and the dynamic image constructed from data. Whereas, arguably, the traditional photograph exhibits a stable relationship between world and image, the constructed photograph shifts the focus onto the underlying algorithmic processes of construction. This focus on the relational nature of the constructed photograph shifts our gaze from the horizon to the vertical as we consider the relational nature of data as image.

Stolen Voices: Audio Salvage on the East Coast of the UK
Abstract: This article will present the methodology from an ongoing artistic research project, Stolen Voices which uses 'eavesdropping' to connect performance, place and sonic investigation. The urgency of the investigation is fuelled by concrete concerns found in heightened forms at the border/margin of the country: the uncertain future of the UK's relationship to Europe; the effects of climate change on coastal landscapes; the waning of industries like manufacturing and coal extraction; the development of globalised logistics. For this Special Issue the methodology, which draws on performance documents and critical frameworks from sound studies, performance studies and further afield, will be detailed and reflected upon as a way of thinking through our contemporary condition.

The Reactivated Past: History, Documentary and Possible Futures
Abstract: Pressing contemporary economic, social and environmental issues have prompted the 'reactivation' of historic documentary photography and film, through major national exhibitions, retrospective publications, and the reorganisation and re-presentation of documentary archives. This paper focuses on recent and re-activated portrayals of the de-industrialised coastal landscapes of North East England. Situating “the past in the present” is a strong trope within both North East documentary and docu-drama from the 1970s onwards; this paper seeks to identify the precise value of contextualising contemporary issues with images and narratives of the past, and whether is it possible to pinpoint specific communicative outcomes of 'understanding historical context' through the visual.

Boris Groys, Cultural Projects, and the Permanent Reimagining of North Edinburgh
Abstract: This article draws on Boris Groys' claim that contemporary life is mediated and understood via an ongoing, cyclical loop of speculative, unfinished cultural 'projects'. It uses vingettes and stories drawn from interviews with residents from the region of North Edinburgh, where a number of neighbourhoods have seen regeneration projects begun and abandoned over the last two decades, as well as visual analysis of architectural renderings from those projects, to explore how particular kinds of liminal edgelands are produced via constantly reimagined futures.

An Interview with John Kippin (Independent Artist)
Abstract: The photographic record of the Outer Hebrides reveals a number of tensions between the past, present and possible futures, and between mythical narratives of an authentic Scottish national identity and the blunt realities of contemporary socio-economic conditions. John Kippin’s conceptual landscape photographs are sites that open up, layer and problematise the recycled signs, social and cultural conflicts, and wider economic perspective of the British landscape. This interview focuses on his work in the Outer Hebrides in 2018.
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