27th June, 2010

The exhibition

Last week we held the exhibition at Dance City. After three hours of setting up we opened the doors for the afternoon. Loads of skateboarders who participated in the research came along to see their maps, the photographs and film installations from local skaters-cum-photographers, the history of Newcastle’s ‘legendary spots’, a Mappa Mundi of the city’s skatescene and to annotate a huge floor map of Newcastle.

We had about 100 visitors in all, which is about 25 times more people finding out about the research than would read a journal article (although we are going to satisfy our lords and masters demand for one 😉 ). This was one of the motivations for running the event. Skaters are frequently depicted as the troublesome youth, so along with feeding back our findings we wanted to try and lend some legitimacy to the way they use the city, and offer support to those who back skateboarders.

Given the nature of the research methodology (asking skateboarders to map their Newcastle), and the accessibility of visual outputs we decided to turn Adam’s dissertation into an infographic (which you can see below). We had it printed at A0 for display and some smaller A3 versions to give away.

Geographies of Skateboarding

Larger and full size versions are available on Flickr


18th June, 2010

Big day tomorrow

Maps – mounted

Photos – taken

Floor map – done

Poster – made

Leaflets – written

Tomorrow morning we’ll be setting up and at 1pm expose our research to the public… lets hope the skaters recognise their world.


5th June, 2010


A few things to update.

1. Work is underway on the poster we’re going to produce based on all the maps people have been doing. The idea is to create something which represents the findings of the research we’re been doing and in some way maps the skate scene in Newcastle. We’ll be using our own work, but mainly stuff from the maps people have been drawing. As part of the process Jon has been cutting out people from them, and you can see them here:

Various Skaters' Self Portraits

2. Jon met with people at Dance City to finalise what is going to be included in the event/exhibition. We’re going to mount every single map we’ve got. So, if you’ve done a map it will be on display at Dance City on June 19th – you all will be artists! We are also planning to have a huge map of Newcastle that anyone can draw on and/or annotate with their stories about skating in Toon. The performance space is going to be full of stuff, and we’re hoping it will make for a great afternoon.



18th February, 2010

Some New Maps

Mike has been really busy. Jackie at Native has been hosting him and plenty of people have been in to draw maps. Mike’s also been over to Exhibition Park with slightly less success, but then the weather has been pretty bad.

The plans for the event at Dance City in June are progressing and it looks like it is going to be a great day. We had a bit of a panic when we realised it was in the middle of the World Cup but we’re only clashing with Netherlands vs Japan. There’s going to be a photo exhibit with various themes (including the legendary skate spots of Newcastle and Gateshead), videos, stories and some participatory stuff. Our latest plan is a massive map on the floor which people can write about their favourite spots, what tricks they have done where, where the nearest Greggs/Subway is, who has broken what bones where etc.

In the meantime, here’s some of the lastest maps:

H McN Native 13 2 10

James C Native 13 2 10

Al Shakib Native 13 2 10

Joe V Native 13 2 10
19th January, 2010

The first batch of maps

Some of the maps from our December session in Native Skates.

For more maps, and details of how to submit your own check out our Flickr group
14th January, 2010

Exploring playspaces of Newcastle upon Tyne…

What’s the big idea?

Skateboarders explore the city as you move through, over and across Newcastle. Skaters have a better feel for how the city is, the architecture, layout & secret places, than many other passers-by….even if they are sometimes banned, moved on or segregated. This project explores the skaters’ Newcastle through your images, videos and maps.

Who is involved and why?

Northern Architecture and Dance City hooked up with geographers at Northumbria University. Northern Architecture? – How people use, reinvent and explore buildings and cities is pure architecture.

Dance City? – How you move, explore and define space is as much the streets as it is about the dance studio.

Geography? – Space, place and how you respond to it are classic geography (and we are doing some mapping).

What do we want to find out?

Where do skaters go? When? Favourite sites? How to these change? Where are Newcastle & Gatesheads’ special spaces? Your world.

Where will this lead?

To Dance City in June 2010 (probably the 19th but that is TBC), as part of the North East festival of Architecture, unveiling with a psychogeography map, videos, photos in which skaters get to show off their Newcastle.


How you feel about a place, likes, dislikes, favourites, horrors

What we want to avoid

Researching other people’s worlds can be cynical; so called “extractive research” where experts turn up, collect data, write up obscure, grand articles and are never heard of again. This is about working together, representing and respecting your worlds.

How is this going to get done?

By joining in. Adam Jenson, a geography student and skater at Northumbria University is leading the work, building links, chatting to skaters. Mike Jeffries will be doing some mapping work, mostly in Native Skates (if you’ve been in recently he’s probably collared you to draw something!). Jon Swords is helping with the mapping work too.

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