Iain Biggs: Open Deep Mappings Today – a Personal Introduction

Deep Mappings - Iain BiggsIn this original essay for ClimateCultures, artist and researcher Iain Biggs introduces the concept of open deep mapping as partial, creative explorations sharing a conversational orientation to place that has value in times of social and environmental upheaval: “an open-ended process, something both much more inclusive than attempted by cartography and much harder to describe.”

Iain is an independent artist, teacher and researcher interested in place as seen through the lens of Felix Guattari’s ecosophy, working extensively on ‘deep mapping’, other projects and publications. His essay on Open Deep Mappings is the second in our new Longer feature, where members share original works, or ones that haven’t appeared online elsewhere, and which don’t fit easily into the regular ClimateCultures blog; Longer provides space to explore in more detail creative and critical responses to our ecological and climate crisis. Iain’s essay arose out of a conversation with ClimateCultures editor Mark Goldthorpe following an earlier essay of Iain’s, Open mappings in depth or Business as Usual?.

In the accompanying introductory piece for our blog, Open Deep Mapping: Conversations-in-process, Places-in-time, he reflects on his practice as an inclusive, creative approach to working with and in place, and moving beyond ‘Business-as-Usual’.

Open Deep Mappings Today – a Personal Introduction

Mark Goldthorpe kindly invited me to write this essay, which will hopefully extend the conversation initiated by PLaCE International’s Deep Mapping and Beyond? An Ongoing Conversation. My aim is to give a general sense of open deep mappings, along with some examples. Sources quoted and other relevant material are given in the end notes.


Whenever I write about deep mapping I remember something Clifford McLucas once said: “Whilst I can talk about deep maps, whilst I can imagine such things … whilst I can even dream about deep maps, unfortunately, I have to admit I have never seen one”.1 Twenty years later I largely agree with him, although perhaps for rather different reasons. If by a ‘deep map’ we imagine something belonging to a well-defined category of objects, then I admit there is really no such thing.

Or rather, to borrow from Ursula K Le Guin’s wonderful 1988 essay The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, I could say that open deep mappings provide a container for an inclusive sense of a particular place as the possibility of home, “home being another, larger kind of pouch or bag, a container for people”.2  Ultimately, then, home as the whole biosphere on which people and all other living things depend. Alternatively again, there’s Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks’ version of this notion.

Reflecting eighteenth-century antiquarian approaches to place which included history, folklore, natural history and hearsay, the deep map attempts to record and represent the grain and patina of place through juxtapositions and interpenetrations of the historical and the contemporary, the political and the poetic, the factual and the fictional, the discursive and the sensual; the conflation of oral testimony, anthology, memoir, biography, natural history, and everything you might ever want to say about a place.3   

McLucas himself suggests one important reason for the elusiveness of deep maps as such when, in Point Ten of his There are ten things I can say about these deep maps…, he writes: “Deep maps will be unstable, fragile and temporary. They will be a conversation and not a statement” [italics mine]. The people whose open deep mappings I most admire don’t set out to make definitive statements or self-contained art works, but something more open, provisional, welcoming. Invitations to, prompts for, or aspects of, some form of ongoing conversation or, to put it in Ursula K Le Guin’s terms, a sharing of stories-so-far.

Nor do they worry unduly if their work is referred to as ‘counter-mapping’, ‘cultural mapping’, ‘memorial cartographies’, ‘psycho-geography’, ‘haunted archaeologies’, ‘theatre/archaeology’, ‘experimental geography’, ‘site writing’ or ‘radical cartography’. Unless, perhaps, that renaming is intended reductively, to imply conformity to some preestablished disciplinary or other agenda. All of which is both what makes open deep mappings radical and valuable, but also frustrating for certain academic, managerial and administrative minds. Minds for which the analytical policing of categories and definitions underwrites their sense of authority and power. Nevertheless, what follows here is about open deep mappings understood as conversations-in-process.

Why ‘deep mappings’, not ‘deep maps’?

The 1991 publication of William Least Heat-Moon’s book PrairyErth (a deep map), marks the emergence of the idea of a deep map. A title that appears to contradict my earlier claim that there’s really no such thing as a deep map. However, since that lengthy book is quite obviously not a map in any conventional sense, it has been clear from the start that whatever a ‘deep map’ might be, it is not a map in any cartographic sense. Deep mapping is an open-ended process, something both much more inclusive than attempted by cartography and much harder to describe. In PrairyErth the impression of intellectual nonconformity is reinforced by the playfulness of its sly formal referencing of Lawrence Stern’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a book published in instalments between 1759 and 1767. There are also PrairyErth’s fourteen sections called From the Commonplace Book, each one made up of multiple and very varied quotations. These suggest a whole number of possible conversations Least Heat-Moon (and his readers) could have around the content of each of the chapters that follows these sections. He also happily acknowledges that his text contains only a tiny fraction of what could have been written about Chase County in the Flint Hills of Central Kansas. All of which suggests to me that PrairyErth is an invitation to an ongoing conversation about the multiple aspects of a place understood inclusively and through time.

The term ‘place’ here is best taken in the sense given by the philosopher Edward S. Casey when he writes:If a position is a fixed posit of an established culture, a place, despite its frequently settled appearance, is an essay in experimental living within a changing culture”.4 But also, however, as a space in Doreen Massey’s sense; that is as “a simultaneity of stories-so-far”,5 something which points back to Ursula K Le Guin’s Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction and now relates to the use made of that theory by Donna Haraway in her Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Consequently, I could say that open deep mappings involve articulating multiple individual, social and environmental understandings of, and/or stories about, a particular place in a changing nature/culture, including its relationship to other places both near and far, using whatever means seem most appropriate. Consequently, it would follow that each individual deep mapping needs to find the forms and processes that allow whoever is undertaking it to respond appropriately to their concerns for that particular place.

If PrairyErth is perhaps the most frequently referenced example of a deep mapping in book form, the best-know statement of intent about this approach for the visual and performing arts is almost certainly Clifford McLucas’ pithy text: There are ten things I can say about these deep maps… . This is best understood as a personal manifesto relating to his exploration of the possibilities of digital technologies for deep mapping at Stanford University at the turn of the century. A project that produced an artist’s book and an eight-foot high and forty-two-foot long graphic installation.

Today some of his Ten Things seem a matter of personal preference, a reflection of the particular circumstances that framed his Stalking the San Andreas Fault project in California and not necessarily relevant to other forms of deep mapping. Others, however, in particular Six, Seven, Nine and Ten, remain as pertinent as ever to debates about open deep mappings. Along with the reasons already given here (and at greater length elsewhere),6 I think McLucas’ manifesto, valuable as it is, is one reason why attempts at cut-and-dried definitions of deep mapping should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Another reason is that projects that are clearly in essence open deep mappings took place before the notion of a ‘deep map’ existed. (Only the colonial mentality assumes that simply because something has not been named and written about in its cultural terms that it hasn’t previously existed). In many respects, and with regard to its most comprehensive forms, the aspirations of open deep mappings reflect a desire to find an equivalent to the all-inclusive understandings of place that appear in Indigenous and non-Western cultures. That’s to say, they’re an attempt to articulate an inclusive mentality with regard to place-in-time before anything else. This becomes clearer when we consider the exemplary case of Lewis DeSoto’s Tahualtapa Project, which he finished the same year that The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction was first published.   

The Tahualtapa Project

Between 1983 and 1988 the multidisciplinary Native American artist, teacher and philosopher Louis DeSoto worked on what would become known as the Tahualtapa Project, now exhibited as an installation in the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum. Its notional subject is what today is called Mount Slover, located in the San Bernardino Valley in Southern California. DeSoto’s work is an exemplary open deep mapping, despite having been finished three years before that term was coined. It variously documents, evokes, reflects on, and mourns a complex of cultural and material changes in relation to a single mountain. That’s to say it traces the complex transformations of what the Cahuilla people called The Hill of the Ravens, which they regarded as sacred. A mountain that was first renamed Cerrito Solo by the Spanish, who quarried it for marble, and then renamed again as Mount Slover by Americans, who so exploited its substance to manufacture cement that it is now almost unrecognisable as the hill it once was.

The final work takes the form an extensive multi-media articulation, not only of the forms of material, environmental, and cultural destruction endemic to the history of the USA, but also of DeSoto’s relationship to that history as someone of Cahuilla Native American ancestry. That’s to say it also evokes and engages with cosmological questions, differing religious and cultural notions of self, and various cultural mythologies repressed by the dominant culture as these relate to the mountain’s history. 

In certain respects DeSoto’s work anticipates a much later project like the landscape designer, artist, and eco-curator Gini Lee’s ‘A Deep Mapping for the Stony Rises’ (2009),7 her contribution to The Stony Rises project which, however, focuses more specifically on small-scale qualities of place (see also The Stony Rises Project for Lee’s and other’s talks on the wider project). Both projects might be said to listen to the multiple dimensions of a place’s space in Doreen Massey’s sense. Both projects also serve to remind us that a place is not synonymous with more general terms like ‘environment’. A place always has specific qualities and is lived qualitatively, albeit differently by different creatures. As such it renders the divisions created by academic disciplines largely irrelevant, existing as a complex and unfolding habitat co-constituted by the particularities of such different factors as geology and soil type, climate, avian migration patterns, regional history, local vernacular memory, particular stories and language use, the ecologies of watersheds, social jurisdiction and customs, economics, folklore, and so on.

Further examples

If we accept that open deep mappings are animated by a desire to articulate the most inclusive yet focused understanding that an individual or group can bring to a place, then it is inevitable that the manifestations of that desire will be extremely various. These may result in a highly detailed factual account, as in Tim Robinson’s Stones of Aran. Equally, it may be closer in form and feel to a longitudinal scientific study, for example that of Jennifer Owen’s Wildlife of a garden: a thirty-year study. Or it may resemble the creative non-fiction of William Least Heat-Moon’s PrairyErth: a Deep Map. It may combine a wide range of textual and visual material, including films, maps or artists’ books, as in Patrick Keiller’s 2012 Tate Britain installation The Robinson Institute, or draw on different media to articulate different aspects of concern, as with Silvia Loeffler’s two community based deep mappings of Dún Laoghaire Harbour, Transit Gateway and Glas Journal. It may result in site-specific or other types of performance, as in the work of the experimental Welsh-language performance company Brith Gof or Mike Pearson’s In Comes I, with its strong basis in his natal locality. It may involve the use of digital technology to articulate a community mapping of its place in the world, as with SPAN Arts’ Map Digi Penfro, coordinated by Dr Rowan O’Neill, or else adopt a hands-on deep mapping, as in the Girley Bog Meitheal’s contribution to that County Meath bog’s conservation and management, an approach facilitated by Kate Flood

It may equally engage more specifically with aspects of large or small-scale socio-geographic concerns of an activist nature. Use a satirically-edged tracking of the movement of a child refugee across Europe, as in Tahmineh Hoooshyar Emami’s use of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, in her Alice’s Alternative Wonderland. Or, as in the case of Marega Pelser’s Framing the Transient NoW, adopt a ‘bottom-up’ mapping of the ‘somehow absent’ city centre of Swansea seen from the perspective of local traders, allotment holders, the homeless, a local studio group, the partially-sighted and the elderly. It may rely heavily on drawing to address the conditions, uses, and possibilities of a seemingly ‘empty” site, as with Imogen Humphries’ exploration of Glasgow’s Govan Graving Docks, or involve the use of quite different media strategies to present ‘mappings’ on different occasions and in different contexts, as is the case with Erin Kavanagh’s Layers in the Landscape. It will go by other names, for example as narrative or dialogical mapping, as is the case with Luci Gorell Barnes’ The-Atlas-of-Human-Kindness, or else appear as complex multi-media art installations, as is the case with Indian artists’ work such as Sheba Chhachhi’s The Water Diviner or Gulammohammed Sheikh’s Kaavad: Travelling Shrine: Home. (Two works that, like Lewis DeSoto’s The Tahualtapa Project, beg questions about the relationship between open deep mapping and cultural traditions other than those of Western Modernism too complex to unpick in an Introduction).

The ‘openness’ of open deep mappings

In a conference presentation in November 2019, I questioned whether the time had come to walk away from the whole idea of deep mapping as a particular orientation to creative work concerning place.8 This was prompted in part by the ongoing ‘rewriting’ of deep mapping by a group of American academics who want to co-opt it into the service of the ‘Digital Humanities’. I was concerned that ‘open’, as opposed to ‘disciplinary’, deep mapping,9 would be marginalised by, or else subsumed into, the increasingly aggressive process of instrumentalization being undertaken by institutions maintaining Business-as-Usual10 through their control of the mental furnishing industry.

Subsequent exchanges reminded me that the conversational, the simultaneity of story-so-far telling mentality that creates open deep mappings is very much alive and well, at least in England, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Shetland, South America and Wales. It continues, as ever, in an uncertain and fluid space triangulated between individual need, the sense of creative wonder that informs the arts, and informed, specific, place-based scholarly research. Another positive sign has been the 2021 publication of Candace Fujikane’s Mapping Abundance for a Planetary Future: Kanaka Maoli and Critical Settler Cartographies in Hawai’i, a timely reminder of the ways in which counter-cartographies continue to unpick the limitations and injustices that underwrite colonial cartographies and their social and environmental impact.     

We need to recognise that if open deep mappings are manifestations of a knowledgeable and impassioned engagement in depth with a particular place in all its complexity, they will inevitably challenge the habitual professional dependency on an authoritative approach, methodology, or discipline orientation. It’s just this that distinguishes ‘open’ deep mappings from academic forms pressed into service by Spatial Anthropology, Spatial Humanities, Neogeography, the Digital Humanities, and so on. The difference is critical to their ability to include, as Pearson and Shanks make clear, subjugated, intuited, and anecdotal knowledges, the overheard opinion, the folklore of signs and wonders, and other sources of undisciplined understanding that require consideration if we wish to work genuinely “horizontally across the terrain and simultaneously vertically through time”, so as to produce an inclusive “topographical phenomenon of both natural history and local history”.11

This insistence on the opening-up and maintenance of a freely conversational space (that is, one not subjected to the hierarchies and exclusive presuppositions of academically and professionally defined knowledge) is fundamental to the poetics of open deep mapping. It’s also part of what links it to the wider ongoing cultural shift signalled in The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction. One important aspect of which shift was indicated in 1991 when the feminist philosopher Geraldine Finn wrote of our need to avoid “high-altitude thinking”, and to reconnect to those forms of thinking that remember their “contingent roots in particular persons, places and times”; also of the need to engage in the task of “keeping alive local memory and imagination as a reservoir of meanings, truths, and possibilities for a different future”.12

The lure of what Finn calls ‘high altitude thinking’ notwithstanding, there is of course no reason why academics in a whole range of fields shouldn’t use deep mapping for educational purposes. (I’ve been impressed by its use in teaching architecture students about place). What is objectionable is any reductive co-opting of deep mapping that ignores its creative variety or its historical relationship to the performing, literary, and visual arts in dialogue with research informed by a wide range of different fields of enquiry, both academic and ‘vernacular’. I’ve addressed this issue at some length in the essay Open mappings in depth or Business as Usual?

In the context of an essay addressed to people working in the arts, it may be helpful to add that open deep mappings are associated with, and are as often as not the outcome of, various creative approaches that have been described as being “no longer only art”. Practices in which “methods are recapitulated, ooze out and become feral in combination with other forms of life”; thus emphasising their nature as “cultural entities, embodied in speech, texts, sounds, behaviours and the modes of connection”.13 These ‘feral’ approaches, often the result of acknowledging what I’ve referred to as ‘ensemble practices’,14 are of necessity ‘slow’ ways of exploring a particular place, anything from a bioregion to a local neighbourhood or a back garden, with the aim of being as inclusive as possible while maintaining some sense of overall coherence and relationality.

Contexts and consequences

As already noted, although the term ‘deep mapping’ only appeared in 1991, as an impulse it clearly existed well before it was named. There is an environmental North American tradition that sees a literary ‘deep mapping’ originating with Wallace Stegner’s Wolf Willow: A History, a Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier. Published in 1955, Wolf Willow is often linked to ecological concern with bioregions as espoused by the archaeologist, poet and environmentalist Gary Snyder. Another aspect of the same impulse appears in the form of Critical Regionalism articulated by the architectural historian and theorist Kenneth Frampton, particularly in its later, more ecologically oriented, manifestation.15 A vital element of the same impulse is the shift in relationship between self and environment that has challenged the dominant culture of possessive individualism and its ‘elaborate fantasy’ of the isolated subjectivity, the assumption that underwrites modernist hyper-individualism. In a 1989 paper Edward Sampson insisted that: “There are no subjects who can be defined apart from the world; persons are constituted in and through their attachments, connections, and relationships”. An understanding that, as James Hillman argues, relocates the self as an entity constituted by the communal contingencies of its “actual ecological field”, of its environment, of where it finds itself placed.16       

Paying careful attention to a community’s contingences in its actual ecological field is not simply to be seen as a constituent element of open deep mappings as process. It can also have significant and unexpected practical consequences. As the result of many years of fieldwork, research and face-to-face interviews, PrairyErth makes clear that, with one notable exception, the ranchers who owned the Flint Hills land were united in their opposition to environmentalists’ attempts to protect this unique habitat. Yet we now know that by the time PrairyErth was published in 1991, local opinion in central Kansas had substantially shifted, with the result that by 1994 the Tall Grass Prairie National Preserve was a legally established entity. In her chapter Back to the Drawing Board: Creative Mapping Methods for Inclusion and Connection, the landscape architect and researcher Talitta Reitz reports that one Flint Hill local rancher said that PrairyErth: “had a positive impact, overall. Because I think it raised our self-esteem. We thought: ‘Wow, somebody could see something in us that we didn’t see'”. As a result, Reitz concludes that the book: “added new values to existing relationships between Kansas communities and their environment”.17

I certainly wouldn’t want to suggest that the publication of PrairyErth, a book of six hundred and twenty-four pages, didn’t make an impact on local people. However, knowing something of the demands of everyday life in farming communities, I can’t help wonder just how many local people in Chase County actually found the time to read the book. I would suggest that the fundamental catalyst for change was not, strictly speaking, the deep mapping manifest in that book, but rather the qualities Least-Heat Moon embodied as a conversationalist, as a practitioner of the art of conversation. Namely that what was critical to the change of attitude among the Chase County landowners was his curiosity, humour, knowledge, patience, close attention to his informants, and his deep interest in every aspect of the place, all of which later appeared confirmed in the book. In short, I think Least Heat-Moon’s embodied qualities as a person enmeshed in conversations with others, and in their shared stories-so-far, qualities manifest during the exchanges that led to the making of the book, were what really prompted such a significant local change. If I am right, then we might see the process of open deep mapping as ultimately a particular form of place-based self-education, something that again removes it from the preoccupation of the worlds of art and the academy with quantifiable ‘outcomes’.

Open deep mappings as ‘partial’

As I’ve written before,18 any discussion of what might constitute open deep mappings will be partial in two senses. Firstly, because they are produced or facilitated by individuals or groups that, while broadly sharing an orientation to, and speculative care for, place, inevitably bring their own particular understandings and concerns to it. As with any creative research process oriented by care, conforming to the usual academic notions of impartiality then becomes problematic. While open deep mappings are a form of careful ‘essaying’,19 they are also “an act of personal” (or collective) “witness”, one that is: “at once the inscription of a self” or group and a description of a place; one that’s open-ended in nature and able to desegregate “the boundaries between self and other”.20

Secondly, and in addition to the particular and distinctive witnessing element of each open deep mapping project, there are increasingly important reasons for supporting a ‘partial’ view of open deep mappings in a time of socio-environmental upheaval. Because it is fundamentally a working-through, via an open yet particular conversational orientation, the orientation associated with open deep mapping informs other related socially and environmentally engaged practices. Rather than worrying about discriminating between ‘pure’ open deep mappings and related but ultimately perhaps distinct process-led conversational practices, what is now vital is to both protect and utilise what Jane Bailey refers to as their shared “unstable and conversational”21 focus. Her comments on the recently concluded Jubilee Pool Stories are relevant here, extending as they do her significant insights in Mapping as a performative process: some challenges presented by art-led mapping that aims to remain unstable and conversational.

In that chapter she notes that, when conducted in an interdisciplinary academic research context, open conversational deep mappings continuously raise questions for artists about affect, creativity, and intellectual scope and orientation. In a personal communication she confirms that the Jubilee Pool Stories project, which involved two universities among its multiple partners, was substantially influenced by deep mapping in a variety of ways, notably “in terms of the engagement with people and place, and the multivocal aim”. She adds however that because of its framing it had a greater focus on community, media and celebration than might otherwise have been the case. Referring back to McLucas, she notes: “we managed ‘passionate and partisan’, but not (consciously)politicised’”.22 Rather than assuming open deep mapping to be an exclusive or ‘signature’ activity, these observations signal the importance of our seeing behind divisive categorisations to more fundamental values and concerns, to what our involvement in complex processes enables us to share and learn from each other. 

Rowan O’Neill, who in her doctorate studied the work of Clifford McLucas, refers to a similar need for openness that occurred after she had concluded SPAN Arts’ Map Digi Penfro, an online deep map on which individuals living in Pembrokeshire can record information that is important to them about the places they live in and pass through. An open deep map that might be regarded as typical in its use of text, data, photographs, drawings, audio recordings and short films to capture perspectives, memories, conditions, stories, or data about local history, nature, geology, memories and impressions about a particular place. However, having concluded that project she came to “feel reticent about ‘deep mapping’ as a term”, wanting to get away from using it and from being bound to a digital mapping process. As a result she “consciously formulated” her next project – Cân y Ffordd Euraidd / The Song of the Golden Road – as “an extended sound piece weaving together oral speech, ambient sound, traditional songs and newly created music and lyrics”, in short as a substantive piece in the radio ballad tradition. Albeit one that still drew on the skills she had learned through her previous open deep mapping work. Critically, however, in justifying her adopting of this form she adds: “I feel like the radio ballad has more potential now as something that discussion about futures could be built around”.23

The point I want to make here is that both women suggest that the usual criteria that drive the dominant culture, the criteria of Business-as-Usual, should no longer be the deciding factor when the issue of what it may be that futures can be built around is at stake. What matters might be said to now be that we act in the spirit of Bruno Latour’s observation that, today, “what counts” is not knowing a position on this or that issue: “all that counts is understanding whether you are managing to register, to maintain, to cherish a maximum number of alternative ways of belonging to the world”.24 This is now more the case than ever because, as Geraldine Finn reminds us: “the contingent and changing concrete world always exceeds the ideal categories of thought within which we attempt to express and contain it” – hence the importance of the ‘open’ in open deep mapping – along with the importance of remembering the fact that: “the same is true of people. We are always both more and less than the categories that name and divide us”.25

And with those thoughts in mind I realised when I went into my workroom this morning that I know, without a shadow of doubt, that the Irish poet Eavan Boland’s A Poet’s Dublin, a book of photographs and poems, is a close cousin to an open deep mapping. A book in which, in conversation with her sister poet Paula Meehan, she speaks of “realising that a city could be mapped, not just by cartography or history, but by instinct, memory, passion”.26 That is that the same impetus, the same alchemical working with wonder, listening, poetic insight, fine-tuned attention to what is, and the soundings of deep memory, inform both that book and open deep mapping. And that it is first and foremost with that strange alchemy that we need to work in and with place, whatever we then choose to call the process involved.    

You can read Iain’s introductory post on our blog, Open Deep Mapping: Conversations-in-process, Places-in-time, in which he gives examples from his own practice of open deep mapping. An excerpt from his PLaCE International essay Open mappings in depth or Business as Usual? appeared in our ‘Environmental Justice’ – Taking the Conversation Forward page, as part of members’ creative contirbutions to our Environmental Keywords series.

Iain has previously written for ClimateCultures about Creative Engagements with Ecologies of Place, his co-authored book with Mary Modeen on the possibilities of creative work, ensemble practices and disciplinary agnosticism in seeking alternative and inclusive ways of belonging to the world: Disciplinary Agnosticism and Engaging with Ecologies of Place. And in Queer River and Creative Engagements with Ecologies of Place, fellow ClimateCultures member, artist James Aldridge shared his own insights from that book and the resonances with his projects exploring the value of outsiders’ viewpoints and voices not often heard in discussions on the Earth Crisis. 


  1. Clifford McLucas ‘I Was Invited To This Island’ quoted in Anwen Jones & Rowan O’Neill, ‘Living Maps of Wales: Cartographies as Inclusive, Cultural Practices in the Work of Owen Rhoscomyl (Arthur Owen Vaughan) and Clifford McLucas’, International Journal of Welsh Writing in English, 2 no 1, October 2014, p.120.
  2. Ursula K. Le Guin (2019 – first published 1988) The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (Ignota) pp. 29 & 32
  3. Mike Pearson and Michael Shanks Theatre/Archaeology (London, Routledge) pp. 64-65
  4. Edward S Casey (1993) Getting Back Into Place (Bloomington & Indianapolis, Indiana University Press) p. 31.
  5. Doreen Massey (2005) For Space (London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, SAGE Publications) p. 11.
  6. See Part One of Chapter Three in Mary Modeen & Iain Biggs Creative Engagements with Ecologies of Place: Geopoetics, Deep Mapping and Slow Residencies (London & New York, Routledge).
  7. For Lee’s account of her practice see Chapter Eight: On the curation of landscapes and volcanos in Mary Modeen and Iain Biggs op. cit. pp. 166-188.
  8. In the presentation ‘Walking away? From deep mapping to mutual accompaniment’ at the walking’s New Movements conference in Plymouth, later published in an enlarged version in Helen Billinghurst, Claire Hind & Phil Smith (eds) (2020) Walking Bodies: Papers, Provocations, Actions (Axminster, UK, Triarchy Press). 
  9. A rough and over-simple distinction I made in 2011 to distinguish what I saw as two divergent orientations. See ‘The Spaces of “Deep Mapping”: a partial account’ in Journal of Arts and Communities Vol 2 No 1 (July 2011) pp.5-25.
  10. ‘Business-as-Usual’ is the term used by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone to denote a mentality predicated on mainstream contemporary ‘progressive’ economic values as ‘getting ahead’, a “view of life” in which “the problems of the world are seen as far away and irrelevant to the dramas of our personal lives”. See Macy and Johnstone (2012) Active Hope; How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy (Novato, California, New World Library) p. 15.
  11. Mike Pearson (2006) In Comes I: Performance, Memory and Landscape Exeter (University of Exeter Press) p. 3.
  12. Geraldine Finn (1996) Why Althusser Killed His Wife: Essays on Discourse and Violence (New Jersey, Humanities Press) pp 137&141.
  13. Matthew Fuller (2011) ‘Art Methodologies in Media Ecology’ in Simon O’Sullivan and Stephan Zepke (eds.) Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New (London & New York, Continuum, 2008) p. 45.
  14. Iain Biggs (2021) ‘Ensemble Practices’ in Cameron Cartiere & Leon Tan (eds) The Routledge Companion to Art in the Public Realm (London & New York, Routledge).
  15. Kenneth Frampton, ‘Place-Form and Cultural Identity’ in Design After Modernism, ed. John Thackara (London, Thames & Hudson, 1988) p. 65.
  16. See James Hillman (1994) ‘”Man is by nature a political animal” or: patient as citizen’ in Sonu Shamdasani & Michael Munchow Speculations after Freud: Psychoanalysis, philosophy and culture (London & New York, Routledge) pp. 32-36.
  17. Talitta Reitz ‘Back to the Drawing Board: Creative Mapping Methods for Inclusion and Connection’ in Alex Franklin (ed) 2022 Co-Creativity and Engaged Scholarship: Transformative Methods in Social Sustainability Research (Palgrave Macmillan). Available to download.
  18. See my ‘The Spaces of “Deep Mapping”: a partial account’ in Journal of Arts and Communities Vol 2 No 1 (July 2011) pp. 5-25 and Part One: On not defining deep mapping/slow residence of Chapter Three in Mary Modeen & Iain Biggs (2021) Creative Engagements with Ecologies of Place: Geopoetics, Deep Mapping and Slow Residencies (London & New York, Routledge) pp. 50-57.
  19. On this point see my ‘Essaying Place: Landscape, Music, and Memory (after Janet Wolff)’ in Adeline Johns-Putra & Catherine Brace (eds) 2010 Process: Landscape and Text (Amsterdam & New York, Rodopi). 
  20. Ruth Behar (1996) The Vulnerable Observer: Anthropology that Breaks Your Heart (Boston, Mass., Beacon Press) p. 20.
  21. Jane Bailey (2019) ‘Mapping as a performative process: some challenges presented by art-led mapping that aims to remain unstable and conversational’ in Nancy Duxbury, W.F. Garrett-Petts & Alys Longley (eds) Artistic Approaches to Cultural Mapping: Activating Imaginaries and Means of Knowing (London & New York, Routledge).
  22. Jane Bailey Personal email communication with the author, 01/04/2022.
  23. Rowan O’Neill Personal email communication with the author, 17/11/2021.
  24. Bruno LaTour (2018) Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climate Regime (Cambridge, Polity Press) pp. 15-16.
  25. Geraldine Finn (1996) Why Althusser Killed His Wife: Essays on Discourse and Violence op.cit. p. 171.
  26. Eavan Boland 2014 (Paula Meehan & Jody Allen Randolph eds) A Poet’s Dublin (Manchester, Carcanet Press)  p. 106.

Iain Biggs
Iain Biggs
An independent artist, teacher and researcher interested in place seen through the lens of Felix Guattari's ecosophy, working extensively on ‘deep mapping’, other projects and publications.

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