We have been working with a small rural community over the past few weeks, exploring ways of understanding their relationship to place and the impact of changes in the landscape, through discussions and creative experiments. We are making content for ‘The Missing Pages’ of an Environmental Impact Assessment through developing a creative methodology for assessing the impact of changes in the landscape on people, place and community. There isn’t a section in an EIA that covers these areas – the current socioeconomic section of an EIA only looks at the impact of any development on population and jobs.
The community that we are working with are very committed to the project and every conversation that we have reveals new layers of understanding about how people feel about the landscape. We are enjoying being led by the research and developing the creative outputs of the project.
We are trying to use meetings as social events as well as project development sessions. The first meeting was a potluck supper with everyone bringing food that they had grown in the glen. A mixture of vegetable dishes as well as lamb and pork arrived and a very funny and generous evening ensued. The second meeting, with our wonderful academic, Claire Haggett was a showing of the project so far with afternoon tea, and a cake making competition judged by Claire. These meetings are serving to create new bonds and relationships within the community, which is recognised and appreciated by everybody.
The group is very interested in the part of the project that will be presented to planners and other relevant agencies. We have a meeting planned with Planning Aid Scotland before Christmas and have been invited to present the project to planning officers in Dumfries and Galloway in the New Year.