The Outposted Project was a truly experimental collaboration between myself and poet JLM Morton (Juliette). It came about in March 2020, after the surreal first two weeks of Covid ‘lockdown’. We were both reeling from the impact of school closures, self-employment angst, and the shock of being separated from loved ones… not to mention the globally shared fear of the virus itself. We both felt a desire to connect, despite isolation. We were pretty sure others were feeling it too. After a late night flurry of Whatsapp conversations, The Outposted Project was born.
It all began with an OS map of the Stroud Valleys, which I hand prepared and block printed with a logo I had designed to give the project life. We sent it on a journey to pass through the hands of 28 other local creatives; artists, designers, poets, writers and musicians. The hope was to create a chain of response to unexpected circumstances; pandemic, isolation, or contented solitude... we asked for an entirely personal response. Each artist created and pinned work to the map, or worked directly onto it, before posting it on to a new participant. The map became a kind of shared canvas, or a psychic space, where art could belong in bizarre, disconnected times.
As 2020 progressed, The Outposted Project grew, with three further maps sent off. South London, Brecon and Brighton & Hove were sent out 'rogue'... with no set recipients or direction. Still circulating their respective locations, the map's journeys sped up and slowed down organically, filling up bit by bit, and becoming fascinating canvasses depicting a shared moment in time.
By the end of the project, with over a hundred creatives involved, Juliette and I launched a successful crowdfunding initiative to support a concluding exhibition of the project. This exhibition took place in March 2022, at Three Storeys in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, with live poetry readings, film, music and artwork on display.
The Outposted Project now resides in the safe hands of Gloucestershire Archives, documenting a unique and unforgettable moment in time. You can purchase a limited edition print that I made (seen above) to encapsulate the project, here.