University of Nottingham
Julian's Bower 

Performing Geographies  Warplands 


This section of the Landscape and Environment website has been developed in colloboration with Professor Mike Pearson (Aberystwyth University), and describes both the 'Performing Geographies' workshop and the Warplands performance and provides a 'how to do it' tool-kit for use elsewhere.


The Landscape & Environment Programme and 'Performance'

Performance emerged as a significant theme of the Programme, not only as a creative practice and mode of representation but also as a vital means of embodied engagement and enquiry, reflecting its present influence as a paradigm across the arts and humanities and social sciences, especially in research and practice concerned with site, space and place.

Such was the momentum that performance was chosen as the theme of the 2009 Landscape and Environment Conference. 'Living Landscapes - An International Conference on Performance, Landscape and Environment' was held at Aberystwyth University, and brought together multi-disciplinary approaches to explore the myriad of ways in which performance shapes and is shaped by landscape and environment.


Director's Impact Fellowship and Warplands

Following the Landscape and Environment Programme's aim to establish a distinctive and engaging arts and humanities research perspective on landscape and environment, the Impact Fellowship has engaged in further activities to develop the dissemination of Programme research to both public and academic audiences.

A work of performance was included as one of the main outputs of the Impact Fellowship, with Professsor Mike Pearson being commissioned to produce the work. The completed soundwork titled Warplands was premiered live at the Royal Geographical Society in London on 1st September 2011. One of the Impact Fellowship workshops 'Performing Geographies' held in June 2011 focussed on the production of Warplands and was held onsite in North Lincolnshire.


'Performing Geographies' and Warplands

The 'Performing Geographies' workshop and Warplands address landscapes in North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire.

The river Trent merges with the Ouse and enters the Humber at Trent Falls, on the border of North Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. The landscape here is isolated, flat and agricultural; the skies are large. On the west bank of the Trent, the land is man-made, created by warping: by letting the silt-laden river waters flood and settle. At Ousefleet is the so-called 'emptiest place in Britain': the only one kilometre grid-square on a 1:50,000 scale Ordnance Survey map that is completely white, lacking any symbols to denote features either natural or constructed. On the east bank at Alkborough Flats, the river has been let back in, to create extensive wetlands in the first major UK example of coastline realignment. Contrasting twin processes: 19th century 'winning' and 21st century 'letting go'. Shifting priorities. A seeming placid place where new and profound attitudes to, and relationships with, landscape and environment are being enacted.

Mike Pearson (2011)

Workshop participants explore Julian's Bower

Performing Geographies

  • Find out more about the workshop we held in North Lincolnshire with leading performance scholars. Watch video clips of the event.




  • Listen to a podcast of the live performance of Warplands recorded at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual Conference on 1st September 2011. Watch video clips of the performance.




  • Learn more about the exercises Mike Pearson employs in his site-specific performance work. Listen to Professor Mike Pearson (Aberystwyth University) and composer John Hardy (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama) reflect on the making of Warplands

Landscape and Environment Programme

School of Geography
University Park
University of Nottingham
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 84 66071