Melissa Davies

My artful way asks whether culture must exist in material form to be rooted in place. Does it have to be something permanent or can the simple act of humming a tune inspired by the hedgerow be culture? And can Place be within the individual or does it have to be an environment?

While walking the back lanes of Loweswater, I played with the natural environment and the body, seeing where the lines could be blurred and considering how much knowledge is needed to make cultural contributions to the environment question. Does simply being present qualify you to create? Absolutely!

Into the Vale (poem by Melissa Davies)

If you gather honeysuckle in your throat/do you become the landscape?/Choke on sweetness before it curls/
brown, fades back into the hedgerow/leaving you separate. Distinct. Human.//

If you navigate your way through seasons/by the taste of rain is your tongue wild?/You can’t always stand under trees or fit /your lips to the shape of their language,/even when you crawl into their knots.//

If you crush fog against your teeth/will it be water or words spilling out?/Cold runs between layers of your skin,/blurs lines, draws you deep into valley pools/where—again—you disappear.//

Yet you are writing this. Your conversation/is a landscape with clouds that obscure,/hedgerows that run with honeysuckle./You are a sapling in the wind/and a stone in the braiding river.//

Listen to Melissa reading her poem here:

Answering the three Artful questions

What does creativity/culture mean to you?

I see creativity and culture as something that takes everyday survival and turns it into a life.

What have you missed/new opportunities?

I’ve missed human connection, sharing poems together in a room; the silence before someone starts to read and the seeds of passing conversations that simply aren’t planted over video events. However, I appreciate the accessibility of online, so look forward to the new hybrid way of working going forward.

How can we collectively/artfully better care for our environment?

By using art to bridge the gap between the general public and professionals facing into environmental issues. If more of us understand what is happening or why something needs to happen the effort can become collective.

Lorton Vale

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