• Amanda Farrar

Volunteer Perspective (ardwick art walk I)

TLC Art Walks in Ardwick: Photography 11th February 2020

I have volunteered at the TLC Art Project for a year and a half now and I thoroughly enjoy my time there. Tuesday 11th February was our first art walk focusing on photography led by Rae, we set off from the Church of Nazarene looking for evidence of nature resilience in the urban environment and capturing them on camera.

During the walk I noticed we were among a lot of nature, from large trees to small delicate flowers. We saw plants growing through the cracks in the pavement, in the trees that have been cut down, there was moss and lichen growing on stone walls whilst wild plants were climbing up brick walls and winding round fences. Nature was all around us; it surrounds us in one way or another, therefore undoubtedly has an impact on the public.

Resilience in nature is the ability to recover from or adjust easily to a disturbance or change and still maintain its function and structure. During our walk we endured several types of weather, it was raining, hail stoning and the winds were howling as storm Ciara was coming to an end. Despite the treacherous weather conditions nature continued to grow and its function remained, enabling us to capture them in its resilience. I noticed that nature does thrive in the urban environment and is resilient enough to adjust to varying weather conditions.

Whilst walking through Swinton Grove Park, we stopped to admire the snowdrops growing, they are winter flowering bulbs that are pure white and so angelic. Whilst capturing them Bernie stated,

“the snowdrops look so elegant especially in this cold weather, the way they droop and I love the colour white, so beautiful.”

In the midst of all the greenery were brightly coloured delicate flowers, the daffodils were blooming around the crocus hiding the fading foliage. The purples and blues of the crocus complementing the brightly yellow daffodils were eye-catching to the viewer.

On our walk, we stopped to look at the holly bushes, the contrasting colour of the glossy green leaves compared to the bright red berries were eye-catching. Andy told us,

“they are female holly bushes as only the female holly bushes produce berries,”

providing food for the wildlife.

Surrounded by nature, I noticed some of the large tree roots were pushing up and tearing apart the pavement that lay on top of the roots, triggered by the tree roots when they do not have the sufficient space to grow underground. The tree trunks expand, and the roots grow stronger, causing the concrete slabs to lift and crack, a common sight in the urban environment. This demonstrates the resilience of nature and how strong the tree is to adjust to disturbances, showing that no matter the circumstance, trees will always find a way to grow. Whilst looking at the tree I overheard Rae say,

“it looks like it’s gonna get up and walk off.”

Despite the weather conditions we all enjoyed the walk, thinking about the resilience of nature in the urban environment, taking photos of our findings, talking about what we could see and sharing knowledge of our surroundings. Andy stated:

“I walk through Ardwick all the time but it’s good to focus on something I wouldn’t normally focus on.”

The week after the walk, I asked the participants if their walking habits have changed within the last week. Three of the four participants stated that they have increased the number of times they walk and the length of time they walk for. Two participants stated that they are more confident walking to places because of the art walk whilst one participant stated that their walking habits have not changed since last week’s walk as they already walk everywhere.

CLICK HERE TO SEE ANDY ATKINSON'S PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THIS WALK

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