What do 28 Art Foundation students think of Llandudno, and how would they map Llandudno? Becks Hardy-Griffith from CALL and I set out to find out yesterday morning.
In an hour and a half, the students, just 2 weeks into their course, came up with some fantastic - and surprising - insights and maps. We talked of the impossibility of an 'objective' map, the subjective, the personal and the political dimensions of mapping, and of the map-as-art.
It was great to hear the views of such a wide range of people: In response to the question 'what one word, image, phrase, symbol or sound (in any language) would you use to describe Llandudno?', their answers were:
So seagulls - wild seagulls - were top of the list (number-wise) the sea/beach, tourism, busy/lively/loud, shops (MUCH more of these later) and a signicant number about the 'pastels or cream/old/lacking umph/beautiful but missing young people. Some mention too of nature, it being interesting, and some more cryptic views 'chess board' and B-way.
So perhaps we should replace the current Hardd - Hafan - Hedd description of Llandudnowith something based on their views (and images). The current one apparently comes from Queen Elizabeth of Roumania, aka Carmen Sylva novelist and poet, who visited Llandudno and fell in love with it (changing her original more negative opinion of it after taking tea with the Mostyns), calling it a “a beautiful haven of peace”. Carmen Sylva who was also admitted to the Gorsedd of the Bards.
Some maps were very personal, charting places and experiences in Llandudno in different ways:
I was particularly delighted that some even got political. (The observant among you may notice that this is Trine, who was my first 'take me on a walk' person is also on the Foundation course)
It was very striking just how many maps featured shopping. Many of the students ONLY knew the shops and the beach. But if you look closely there is a great deal of information in here, about how (predominantly younger) people experience Llandudno, their routes, their relationship with others...
With many thanks to Amanda Hamilton-Williams, Coleg Llandrillo, for the opportunity to run the workshop.
PS Just found this video on youtube about Llandudno - really interesting comments underneath it, another way of mapping Llandudno?