My Strange New World

ThumbnailIn May I invited people to contribute to a participatory mapping project called ‘My Strange New World”. The invitations were extended to those I had incidental contact with and included my neighbours, people walking past my house, and some people I was in touch with online.

I wanted to bring together some of the very different ways in which people were experiencing the immediate restrictions by asking them to make a map of what their world was like at the moment. My invitation asked people to include whatever seemed important to them at this time – good, bad or otherwise – and their maps are as simple or as complicated as they wanted to make them. They drew them on postcard sized cards, and on the other side they wrote some of their thoughts and feelings about the time. Here are some of them below – and I plan to show them all in real life sometime soon.

This is the map of my life about now! I talk to Khemi through her window and go shopping! Most of the time I am happy – chilling, but I miss hugging my daughter so much and worry about work and money. But mostly I hope that all my family and friends survive this crazy pandemic.
Clair, Pub manager (my neighbour)

• Highs and lows, swinging moods with extreme levels of happiness followed by anxiety
• Sorrow at the loss of normal life
• Pleasure in the sound of birdsong, clear skies & a quietened city
• Thankful for the routine of work
• Gratitude for continued good health
• Love for my family
• Longing to see my family and friends
• Hope for a better future for the world.

Charlotte Attlee, Mental health worker (my sister)

This map is of a regular ‘lockdown’ walk along a section of the river Avon. This has become a sign, for me, of my lockdown world. It’s hemmed in by Bristol, but offers a view of another world in which the virus is not significant.
Iain Biggs, Retired lecturer (my friend and sometimes colleague)

During lockdown every day seemed the same to me. We built a big den and did a lot of playing outside and every day at 4pm we were aloud an hour of screen time (but sometimes we got more)
Oscar, 11 years old (my friends’ son)

Sad, happy, grateful
Ramona McEvoy, 8 years old (my neighbour)

I think Lockdown has been good and bad. Good because we get to spend more time with our family and have more fun at home. Bad because we can’t see our friends and nothing’s open.
Jackson McEvoy, 10 years old (my neighbour)

The green & the warmth from the street-
The sound of the sheep.
Plenty of tears & plenty of laughter
Talking incessantly sbout campervans for our travels… after
Boredom turns imagination – Brisball in the tunnel
A special invention.
So many walks – idyllic weather
Friends come to call – beers on the wall.
Scary news – too many screens
Broken tooth – dentists are lean.
Lockdown birthdays – Garden BBQ’s burning
Street party…… yearning
The temptation of others is just too much…

Leanne McEvoy, Clinical Psychologist (my neighbour)

Jamie Waite
Wrestling with distance and space on a vast and miniscule level, separation small and large. 2m to 150 miles separating myself and my family and my neighbours. As MC Hammer once wrote “You can’t touch this”.
Jamie Waite, Performer (my friend)

Martha Waite
Covid19/Crona viris is a viris which makes life harder. I HATE this viris going round.
Martha Waite, 8 years old (my friend’s daughter)

Zoomed out!

Katie Delaney, Production manager (my friend)

Susan Pearson
My son and daughter say I am coping well and are proud of me. I think my husband would be too! I am doing it for them.
Susan Pearson, Retired (volunteers with Katie)

Beryl map
I spend hours in the garden. I watch the fish in the pond. I also watch the birds from my chair in the room. I am quite happy and let the rest of the world go by.
Beryl Grimsted, Retired (participant in a group run by Katie)Beryl

Lauren Curl
Most of my forays outside of the house have been a 10 minute walk to my plot – I am so grateful to have this space that so many others don’t have. I’ve made a couple of cycles to my parents’ front garden to say hello and cycled to shop at Lidl and back.
Lauren Curl, Visual artist, printmaker and community engagement officer (my allotment neighbour)

I feel like I’m stuck inside and all of my plans are ruined. At the same time, I’m happy to be stuck inside a nice house surrounded by supportive people in a place where food and resources are plentiful. I need a holiday after this.
Ali Hughes, University student (my son)

As my son became ill, my worries for him and Covid soared and combined with facing the prospect of 14 days isolation, my world felt very small. All of our time in the house with Ali very ill.
Rich Hughes, Composer (my partner)

I feel strong and then weak; very happy and then incredibly sad; blessed and then blighted. Things are pared back but very complex. I’m fine for days and then hit by a wave of sadness because things I cherished have changed. It’s been me Rich and Ali in the house and now Ali’s going and that feels like a wrench. Work feels incredibly vulnerable and I’m not sure how worried I should be feeling about it all.
Luci Gorell Barnes, Socially engaged artist (me)

NoahLockdown has opened the world’s eyes. Personally, I have found a strong man inside myself. It has made me realize how important every moment is. I feel blessed and joyous by what the weird Werburgians have. Also aware of those not so lucky.
Noah, Builder and landscaper (my neighbour)

Lockdown has left me feeling pretty manic at times. I’ve been working as a drug and alcohol support worker throughout Coronavirus, and at times that has been a blessing, but other times has added to the chaos of the moment. I’ve been based at an emergency homeless shelter set up on the harbourside, which I have attempted to depict… One thing that has been wholly positive is Hopetoun Road. I moved in last December, and everything has been amazing – from my housemates to my wonderful neighbours and the house itself. The last thing I have included is my amazing support network. As with everyone else, there have been moments where I have felt a bit crazy/lonely, but I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people that care about me, and have helped me stay grounded – thanks! P.S. I broke my foot!
Owen Pitts, Drug and alcohol support worker (my neighbour)

No 16
Jordi, Owen, Harri and Nicola

Overall I think the lockdown has been a positive thing for myself and the people I know. It’s been a time to slow down and separate from the often relentless drive of modern life. A lot of people, when suddenly given a lot of free time, have to rethink how they spend the days, what gives us happiness and contentment, and what is actually important. So we’ve been eating real good, connecting more with our friends and fam, and generally having a good time on our beautiful planet.
Jordi Day, Bartender (my neighbour)

Slightly stressfful the first week of lockdown due to increased work hours but have really enjoyed the slower pace of lockdown life: good food, lovely weather, lots of exercise and great housemates. Will have good Covid19 memories, feel very lucky and grateful.
Nicola O’Toole, Support worker (my neighbour)

Bored of the bug. Miss pre school friends.
Poppy Williams, 3¾ years old (my neighbour)

Jamie Williams (sober)Good/Bad
BBQs/Worn out by children
No work!/Hungover
Time w/children/No pubs
Plants/Miss my friends
Family/Want to travel
/Anxiety about time scale

Jamie Williams, Advertising (my neighbour)

Flick Williams, PR Comms (my neighbour)

Jamie and Poppy
Jamie, Poppy and Maggie

Will Pegna
On repeat
Ashton Court
St Andrews

Will Pegna, Artist/dancer, works in a gallery (my friend’s son)