O Fa'ma I Fa'ma: A People's Map of Llandudno
O Fa'ma i Fa'ma: A People's Map of Llandudno started as a month long residency in September 2017, but has evolved into an ongoing project involving performance, events and community-wide engagement, including the memorialising of 16,000 years of the women of Llandudno. See https://mapllandudno.org/ for the latest news and a series of interactive maps, interviews and more!
Between mid-September and mid-October 2017, as artist in residence at Culture Action Llandudno (CALL), I walked and met with others “from here to here”, looking for the layered symbolism, stories and opportunities, that draw together the past, present and future of the town. I was interested in drawing out some of the hidden forces, assumptions and processes that are shaping our town and hopes to create some kind of interactive people’s map of Llandudno based on experiences of the town, everyday routes, marking and re-naming along the way. I hoped that by paying attention to embodied ways of knowing and being in a place, something would emerge... and that this would feed into CALL's Shape My Town initiative.
I realised on the very first day, that there wasn't going to be - there couldn't be - just be one map, but many (see the first blog). And that in fact there could be infinite numbers of maps. As Katherine Harmon says:
“The most important thing a map shows, if we pause to look at it long enough, if we travel widely enough, if we think about it hard enough, is all the things we still don’t know”
During the month I travelled on pre-arranged journeys with: Trine Moore, Lisa Hudson, Sabine Cockrill, Jane Matthews, Wanda Zyborska, David Owen, Clive Wolfendale, Christopher Perkins and Francesca Collusi. During those journeys and on other wanderings, I bumped into, walked (for a short time with) and had indepth discussions with approximately 40 residents, visitors and homeless people in Llandudno. At the Dod o Hyd y Canol: Finding the Centre event we got almost 30 nominations for the centre of Llandudno (now more than 60 - see the Centres map). We ran a workshop on 'personal maps of Llandudno' with 28 Coleg Llandrillo students. Wanda Zyborska and I ran a salon-style discussion on monuments and memorials (see the Memorials map). And I have now published Hanes Llanddynes, the story of Llandudno from 16,000 years ago to present, told through the stories of women. We turned this into GRRRLS in the Garej in September 2018. You can see a video here
Here are the maps I've made online: You can use the mobile version on your phone if you want to follow the routes/find the sites...
Because I met so many interesting people (Llandudno is just SO friendly!) and found out so much, my residency continued for a year, including running an Open Space event and GRRRLS in the Garej.
Of course, mapping will never be 'done', and it will - and can only be - a subjective view. I have tried to use people's own words and images wherever possible, to illustrate just how personal our maps are. Rebecca Solnit says " Every place is if not infinite then practically inexhaustible, and no quantity of maps will allow the distance to be completely traversed. Any single map can only depict only an arbitary selection of the facts on its two-dimensional surface." The printable maps I hope to make, together with exploratory text and images would be:
1. Calon Llandudno’s Heart - waymarked by people’s personal centres. Featuring how different people relate to the town today, and how this reflects the origins of the town and its development.
2. Cofebau & Henebion – past, present and future monuments & memorials. Featuring what these say about the town, the power of naming and memorialising, and the processes of decision-making.
3. Venice of the North – past, present and future waters. Featuring springs, tides, sea level rise, stoney shores and watery basements, storms, drainage, baptism and St Tudno.
4. Home Truths – some stories in and out of the bricks and mortar. Featuring personal experiences of home and homelessness in Llandudno.
5. Active Citizens - a week in the life of the town (yn ôl facebook). Featuring stories from "You Know if You are From Llandudno If..." and other Llandudno Facebook sites.
6. Cerdded Atgofion - walks with memories. Featuring routes and memories of people I've walked with.
7. Edrych Ymlaen - some possible futures for the town. Featuring suggestions and ideas of those I've spoken to.
There is a separate website for this project: See www.mapllandundo.org