A New Literary Geography: Establishing a Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands.

Lead Research Organisation: Cardiff University
Department Name: Cardiff School of Planning and Geography

Abstract

This project is an interdisciplinary demonstration of the power of literary geography to offer insight into the vital connections between people, literature and land. The project will create and evaluate an interactive website, The Digital Literary Atlas of Wales and its Borderlands (DLAW). The DLAW will innovatively map twelve classic and contemporary fictions set in Wales in order to challenge outdated approaches to literary geography, and demonstrate the potential of 'new literary geography'. This will be undertaken in order to: 1) encourage the critical and active reading of fictional narratives; 2) promote understanding of how literature can help strengthen individual and community identity; and 3) enhance cultural tourism.

The first phase of the project will create the DLAW. In line with existing approaches to literary mapping, the DLAW will begin with mapping geographical reference points noted in novels. However, these 'distant maps' will be supplemented with 'deep' mapping data, or detailed localities information (including Census data, local histories, and cultural events, in statistical, visual, and written form) about each chosen area. The project will work closely with the Wales Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISERD) who co-ordinate this data and will support its translation onto the DLAW. Coupled to this, the DLAW will offer the reader the opportunity to position themselves within the location by mapping walking routes which explicitly outline the connections between fiction and places. These routes will be supplemented with directions, author commentaries, narrative excerpts, critical discussion, images and sound. The DLAW will also introduce a new way to engage readers with literary geography through superimposing excerpts from fictions onto images from the mapped routes. By engaging with technological developments in web design and geographical mapping, readers will be able to 'scroll' through these placed stories on their computer, as easily as turning the pages of a book or atlas. Due to the digital nature of this resource, users will also be able to follow these augmented routes in a practical sense too, walking them in real places, maintaining virtual support from a wifi tablet or smartphone connection. Active at the end of phase one, the DLAW will be an open access public resource, democratizing access to literary maps, narrative debates, and real places. The DLAW will function as a site through which all individuals will be able to re-imagine their relations between literature and geography.
The second phase of the project will critically evaluate the benefits of the DLAW, both economically and culturally. This phase will be split into three parts. Firstly, the project will appraise the cultural potential of the DLAW to encourage reading and stimulate interest in particular localities. 18 focus groups will be recruited to examine how the DLAW changes the ways in which readers engage with fictions and their geographies. Secondly, 12 literary tours will be undertaken with the focus groups, 2 of which will be public events, managed and publicized by Project Partner Literature Wales. These events will take the form of walking tours held with the authors of the fiction or academic experts, and give the public the opportunity to engage with the fictions, experts, and locations in practice. During these tours, participants will be interviewed and surveys undertaken to evaluate the cultural and economic value of the DLAW. Thirdly, online surveys will appraise the interest generated in fiction and location through the DLAW. The broader insights on the power of literary mapping to change the ways we read, write, and experience literature, and the cultural and economic benefits of doing so, will have impact beyond Wales. The third phase of the project will communicate these insights in policy reports, academic papers, international festivals, conferences, open public events, and the DLAW itself.

Planned Impact

This project will secure positive impact to publics in Wales, and open pathways to secure positive impact to publics beyond Wales, through demonstrating how innovation in literary geography can secure a wide range of social benefits.
To plotline communities, the project will offer distant and deep maps of localities to enable a fresh interrogation of their own, and others' history, landscape, and literature;
To local communities in general, the project will stimulate a reconsideration of the importance of literature in generating a sense of community identity and pride in literary heritage;
To disability groups within a community, the project will secure benefit to those with restricted vision through offering specialised audio engagement with fictions (including excerpts from novels, author interviews, and expert commentaries), and for those with restricted mobilities, the site's augmented reality (including scrolling stories in virtual reality and GIS mapping) will enable engagement with literature and landscape in new, empowering, ways.
To writing and other education groups within local communities (including lifelong learning and school groups) the project will perpetuate a sense of community identity and pride, as well as ownership of the DLAW, through offering individuals the opportunity to contribute their own micro-fictions to the ongoing cartographies of the DLAW;
To walking groups, the project will secure benefit through offering literary walking guides that can stimulate and sustain active lifestyles;
To libraries and publishers, the project will secure long term benefit through stimulating interest in books, guides, and maps associated with the DLAW;
To book clubs, the project will offer a new way to engage with literature and enhance enjoyment of the written word;
For literary organisations such as the Welsh Books Council, the project will provide sustained interest in Welsh literature.
For the general public the project will secure benefit through providing specific educational events (literary tours, managed by Project Partner Literature Wales) to contribute to the knowledge, skills, and quality of life of participants;
To businesses and the Welsh economy, this project will create financial impact through attracting tourists and other visitors to an area through the promotion of local literature via the DLAW;
For organisations such as Literature Wales, the DLAW website will diversify and strengthen the educational and cultural support available to all their public events, offer a legacy that can record and capture the 2017 events for future access and use by all, and reposition the organisation as a key contributor to literary tourism;
For institutions such as Visit Wales and the Welsh Government, the project will generate impact through understanding the role of literature in enhancing and reinforcing a sense of pride and place at the local and national level, and through doing so, feed directly into cultural tourism policy by offering briefing papers which outline new ways to understand and evaluate literary tourism and its economic benefits at the local, national, and international levels.
By demonstrating these long term social benefits at the local and national level, the project will provide evidence for the scalability and transference of the ideas behind the DLAW to other areas of the UK and beyond, as well as the potential to diversify the DLAW to include new genres, literary forms (e.g. poetry), and other cultural media (e.g. songs and films). In these ways, this project will secure a range of sustained benefits beyond the lifetime of the project that will have a lasting legacy on both economies and communities in both Wales, the UK, and other countries.
 
Title A Personal Map of The Hiding Place, George Sfourgaras 
Description Interpretation of Trezza Azzopardi's The Hiding Place 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Amy Sterly's Missing Piece 
Description Interpretation of Alys Conran's Pigeon 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Cardiff University student's Motive and Opportunity 
Description Interpretation of Menna Gallie's Strike for a Kingdom 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Cartographic Imaginaries 
Description Exhibition of Literary Atlas artworks, across 6 venues in Wales 2019/20 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Ongoing. 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Cartographic Imaginaries Catalogue 
Description Exhibition catalogues for Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition tour 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Cartographic Imaginaries Public Workshops 
Description Public and School events to engage with Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition, Literary Atlas website, and produce microfictions for website publication 
Type Of Art Creative Writing 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Literacy, cultural production, individual confidence 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Et in Arcadia Ego 
Description Interpretation of the literary geographies of Aberystwyth Mon Amour, Malcolm Pryce 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Iwan Bala's Enlli: A Learning Aid 
Description Interpretation of Fflur Dafydd's Twenty Thousand Saints 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title John Abell's Hiraeth for Beginners 
Description Interpretation of literary geographies of Tristan Hughes' Revenant. 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Joni Smith's Concrete Ribbon Road 
Description Intepretation of literary geographies of Lloyd Jones' Mr Vogel 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Liz Lake's Endnote 
Description Interpretation of literary geographies of Christopher Meredith's Shifts. 
Type Of Art Artefact (including digital) 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Locus' The Blue Hawk 
Description Interpretation of literary geographies of Niall Griffith's Sheepshagger 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Measuring the Distance, Rhian Thomas 
Description Interpretation of the literary geographies of Border Country, Raymond Williams 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Sean Vicary's Sitelines 
Description Intepretation of Alan Garner's The Owl Service 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Title Valerie Coffin Price's A Rioter's Walk 
Description Intepretation of literary geographies of Amy Dillwyn's Rebecca Rioter 
Type Of Art Artwork 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Part of touring Literary Atlas exhibition 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description The research has realised the following objectives:
1. To develop and launch a new, innovative, cultural resource for academics and the public: Literary Atlas website www.literaryatlas.wales
2. Obtained further funding to commission artistic cartographies of the 12 main novels featured on this site
3. Secured further funding to tour these artworks in 6 venues across Wales in 2019/20
4. Secured further funding to run a range of public workshops at these venues to publicise, promote and engage a range of publics with the Literary Atlas resource
5. Encourage literacy through offering the public the opportunity to contribution their own microfictions to the Literary Atlas website
6. The project is in the process of critically evaluating the Literary Atlas's contribution to enhance engagement with literature, promote community interest in identity
and geography, and stimulate the cultural economy

In doing so the project will:
1. Demonstrate the economic and social capacity of literary geography to positively affect communities;
2. Practically develop a sustainable resource for the public and scholars in the growing field of literary geography both
within and beyond Wales;
3. Create an intellectual space for collaboration between scholars in literary geography, a field currently defined by its 'gaps
and disconnections' (see Hones, 2014);
4. Conceptually develop literary geography by implementing insights from cultural geography;
5. Practically broaden literary geography by including a range of materials such as texts, author interviews, expert analysis,
and place data;
6. Technologically progress literary geography through the pioneering use of online developments for reading texts,
introducing 'scrolling' fictions;
7. Democratize literary geography by including an invitation to readers to add their own micro-fictions to the DLAW;
8. Deepen literary geography through the cartographic representation of qualitative and quantitative localities data;
9. Practically realize the economic potential of literary geography by creating walking tours based on the DLAW, with
support from Project Partner Literature Wales; and,
10. Effectively promote interest in local literature, identity and geography by encouraging the public, scholars, and writers to
identify their geographical relations and reflect on them in new ways.
Exploitation Route A basis for a new literary geography, combining deep mapping, multimedia, exhibitions, interviews, theory and public engagement.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Research has been disseminated to public through exhibitions and workshops. More than 30,000 people have attended the exhibitions, and more than 200 in bespoke workshops to engage with the Literary Atlas resource. 6 galleries in Wales (including the Senedd, Cardiff Bay, and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth) have directly changed their exhibition calendar and engagement activities by hosting these exhibitions, and utilised the project's expertise to enhance their public workshop activities for hard to reach groups. Venues have also benefited from the project expertise by introducing public tours to the exhibitions, at which project staff provided docent/expert insight
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Title Literary Atlas 
Description Literary Atlas of English language novels set in Wales 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Spin out artworks commissioned and touring exhibition with public workshops in 6 venues in Wales in 2019/20 to publicise and engage public with Literary Atlas. 
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Exhibition display partnership 
Organisation Bangor University
Department Pontio Arts and Innovation Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Work with organisation to plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Planned, curated, displayed, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Impact No exhibition attendance data, 40 attended workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Exhibition display partnership 
Organisation Galeri Caernarfon
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Work with organisation to plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Collaborator Contribution Plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Impact 2000 attended exhibition, 30 attended workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Exhibition display partnership 
Organisation National Library of Wales
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Work with organisation to plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Collaborator Contribution Plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Impact 3000 attended exhibition, 50 attended workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Exhibition display partnership 
Organisation Oriel Davies Gallery
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Work with organisation to plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Collaborator Contribution Plan, host, and publicise Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Impact 3000 attendess
Start Year 2019
 
Description Exhibition display partnership 
Organisation Swansea Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Work with organisation to plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Collaborator Contribution Plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Impact No attendance figures for exhibition available, 30 attended workshops
Start Year 2020
 
Description Exhibition display partnership 
Organisation Welsh Assembly
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Work with organisation to plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Collaborator Contribution Plan, curate, display, Literary Atlas's Cartographic Imaginaries exhibition and public access workshops and tours.
Impact No visitor numbers available as yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description BBC Radio Wales Arts show 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Guest on BBC Radio Wales Arts Show, to discuss Literary Atlas activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Literary Atlas Author meets Artist 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Cardiff Literary Festival Session
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Literary Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Welsh Literature panel, Hay Festival
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Public Exhibition Tours Cardiff 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public attended tour encouraging engagement with local literature and culture, prompted by Literary Atlas. Sparked discussion, and writing, with option to post on Literary Atlas website. Attendees reported increased interest in local literature and culture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Public Tour (x12) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public tours of local literature sites, informed by insights from Literary Atlas
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Public Workshops Aberystwyth 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public attended workshop encouraging engagement with local literature and culture, prompted by Literary Atlas. Sparked discussion, and writing, with option to post on Literary Atlas website. Attendees reported increased interest in local literature and culture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Public Workshops Bangor 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public attended workshop encouraging engagement with local literature and culture, prompted by Literary Atlas. Sparked discussion, and writing, with option to post on Literary Atlas website. Attendees reported increased interest in local literature and culture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Public Workshops Newtown 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public attended workshop encouraging engagement with local literature and culture, prompted by Literary Atlas. Sparked discussion, and writing, with option to post on Literary Atlas website. Attendees reported increased interest in local literature and culture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Public Workshops Swansea 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public attended workshop encouraging engagement with local literature and culture, prompted by Literary Atlas. Sparked discussion, and writing, with option to post on Literary Atlas website. Attendees reported increased interest in local literature and culture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales
 
Description Royal Institution talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Royal Institution public talk, Literary Atlas
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.literaryatlas.wales