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The One Hundred Year Plan Film

FRANCIS, Anna and DAVIES, Rebecca (2022) The One Hundred Year Plan Film. [Video]

[img] Video (The 100 Year Plan Explanatory Film)
100 Year Plan_final.mp4 - Other
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Abstract or description

The Portland Inn Project, an artist and community led organisation based in Stoke-on-Trent, led by artists Anna Francis and Rebecca Davies have worked with the community of a neighbourhood in Stoke-on-Trent where the project is based, to write a One Hundred Year Plan for the area. In order to share this work quickly and succinctly The One Hundred Year Plan Film was made. This has been a useful tool to share at conference and with partners. Anna Francis wrote the project plan and script, and worked with Emmy Award winning Film makers Junction 15 to realise the short film.

The Background
When The Portland Inn Project began to work with Artist Beekeeper Andrea Ku in January 2021, our neighbourhood, like the rest of the world, had been through almost a year of some of the most unprecedented and challenging times.

Mapping ecologies
Initial questions which Andrea asked included: What do people like about gardening or the outdoors, what would a 100 Year Plan for the Portland Street area include, and how do you think the community and garden will look in 2121? Andrea Ku, Portland St Community Sessions, 2021.

Through physical gardening sessions each week, the community got involved in growing plants from seed, improving the green space where much of our activity takes place, and via drone photography, we were able to gain an overview of how our neighbourhood connects up to the wider environment and local green infrastructure.

This was useful in demonstrating how greening our small back yard spaces can provide important stepping-stones for wildlife to move through the neighbourhood, from one green space to another. Andrea talked to the community about seeing our back yards as a buffet for pollinators to visit on their way to the larger green spaces. Drone footage enabled us to gain an overview of the neighbourhood, to see where the green parts are, but also the physical distance enabled us to gain perspective, about how we connect up to outlying areas, enabling us to feel less marooned in our small community island and more connected to the wider city, and then out to the world.
From survival mode to future thinking

As a result of Covid, like most small communities and organisations we found we were dealing with a situation with so much uncertainty. One result of this was that thinking ahead to the next month or next year felt almost impossible, as we found ourselves in survival mode. Conversely, however, the invitation to jump ahead and think about what might be happening in 100 years time created a space of respite – a sense that beyond the pandemic there would be a future, and that far from being a time of stasis, there may be things we could be doing and planning for now that could have an impact on that future time. The notion of a 100 year plan lifted us out of crisis management and enabled us to think about our place in history, and to feel empowered to move forwards again.

Planning the Garden
Over lockdown, one of the places I visited on a weekly basis with my two young children, was the nearby Capability Brown designed Trentham Estate. One of the things that has always inspired me about Brown’s landscapes is that when he was designing them, to some extent it could be seen as a method of time travel. He would never see the outcome of the groundworks he was putting in place, or see the trees he was planting at full height, he was designing these landscapes for us – in the belief and hope that the results would be enjoyed by future generations.
One of my favourite quotes about gardening speaks to this idea;
‘To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.’

It sounds as though it could have been said by Capability Brown, but in fact it was Audrey Hepburn.

In considering a 100 year plan, we have begun to think like Capability Brown. When I visit the Trentham Estate, my children and I love to explore the different areas of the garden; the wooded area with the foxgloves that appear in Late Spring, the formal Italian Gardens, with the tunnel of Rose Arches which in high summer provide opportunities to look at and smell the individual blooms, and the hill side close to the HaHa, where the giant redwoods tower above you, giving a full sense of the history of the place.

Our project as a Landscape Garden
We have become aware that our project, just like Brown’s Landscape Gardens, require that we attend to the individual moments, like that encounter with the rose, just as much as we may have an overview over time and space about the full layout of the garden. For our community members, sometimes all they may experience of the project is that moment with the rose, they may never see the full design, and they may not want to, but to some extent, those individual moments are as important as the big picture. Thinking about the project in landscape gardening terms, has been critical in helping us to find perspective over what could at times feel like an overwhelming amount of work and need. Like a garden, we can develop the landscape of our project piece by piece. Change and development of course, just like the making of a garden, is incremental and iterative, and while we can make plans and work on particular areas of the garden, there can of course be external and unforeseen factors that mean what we intend may not always be what happens.

Our Garden
Here is some of what we have learned about our garden, through thinking about the 100 year plan.

Creative Civic Change has enabled us to do a lot of the groundworks that our Garden needed, but like all gardens, the job does not end with the groundwork. Gardens are never finished, they are living spaces and must be continually nurtured. Like most gardens too, all of the work cannot be done at once, and some parts of the garden may need to be revisited and looked after year on year, while others may almost look after themselves, growing slowly and steadily like the redwood.

When it comes to choosing plants for our garden: annuals are the show offs of the garden. The Busy-Lizzies and Begonias shout for attention, and can be relied upon to create an immediate and impressive display, however, once there relatively short-lived flush has passed, they die off quickly and have to be taken up and discarded.

Perennials on the other hand, come in many shapes and sizes, and you can usually find a perennial to suit all manner of contexts in the garden. The best thing though of course with a perennial is that if you choose carefully, and find the right one for your aspect, they will come back year on year, without too much extra investment from you.

Then there are the self-seeders. What is pleasing here is that you might have one pot of calendula in one place, and then for many years after that you will find calendula springing up unexpectedly in all areas of your garden. They are very good value, nasturtiums, for example, are particularly easy to grow for novice gardeners, with their unusual circular leaf and cheerful orange flower, they work well in a salad, but in addition, with a little extra care, you can harvest the seeds, so that everyone in the community can have a share before long.

In the next few years we aim to plant trees in our garden too, and have begun to think about what a community orchard might offer to an area like ours where food poverty is a considerable concern, and access to healthy food in particular.
The 100 year plan then, can be a physical and geographical plan for our community landscape, but it works just as well as a concept over time. Our Garden is an ongoing work.

Item Type: Video
Uncontrolled Keywords: regeneration, community development, long term planning, landscape design
Faculty: School of Digital, Technologies and Arts > Art and Design
Depositing User: Anna FRANCIS
Date Deposited: 18 Apr 2024 14:45
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2024 14:45
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