space, place and the construct of home

2012 – 2016

I was born and brought up on the North-East coast in Marske-by-the-Sea near Redcar which is just outside of Middlesbrough. Like many other people I have lived and worked in many different locations throughout the country, as we have become a more mobile society. I lived and worked in the South-West in a location just outside of Stroud, a place of mills, hills and valleys. Day after day I would walk my dog over the elevated topography of Selsley Common where I would gaze into the distance, look for my house and look further out across the River Severn to the Black Mountains of Wales. I would think of my day and the people, places and narratives that rooted me in this place and considered this place to be my home, yet without knowing or understanding the processes and actions involved, I had constructed a place where I felt a deep-seated attachment.

I secured a teaching and research position at Norwich University of the Arts and found myself living on the edge of the mediaeval city of Norwich. I knew very little of Norwich, East Anglia or this region and the task now was to find a new home, somewhere to live and work. Drawn to the sea it didn’t take long before I discovered the villages along the coast and this is where I settled to make my home.

This series of prints was made with that task in mind and represents a personal breakthrough within understanding practice-based research. I used my practice to help construct home and place from the space I found myself living in. Over a period of four years I walked, drew, read and made engravings about where I lived. I read research papers and texts which helped deepen my understanding of place and which continue to inform and extend the way I make and think about my work and the way I address the notion of place and where I live.

As part of this process I work with the created and contested territories research action group (CRAG) at the Norwich University for the Arts where I am currently writing about the work I’ve made

home and place prints
home and place - Neil Bousfield