What Once Was: Folktales In Reverse

Writer-in-Residence, Photo-Canopy/The National Forest


Taking as my inspiration The National Forest and surrounding areas, and the history of people and place, I created three pieces of experimental fiction. The stories are site-specific, performance-based, in keeping with the oral tradition of folk tales. I made field recordings of each piece in the place that inspired it, allowing the ambient sounds of the spaces to weave their way into the narrative.

The stories take the form of part-confessional, part-folktale, as if told to or by people from the past, those who lived in a deforested landscape scarred by mining and extraction. In these stories, I explore ideas of industrialisation and progress, whilst using elements traditionally associated with folk and fairytales, such as magical objects and happenings.

The forest has always been a place of stories and storytelling, and the reversal of the destruction of the natural landscape which is being achieved through the National Forest project mirrors perfectly this reversal of folktales, and my exploration of our attitudes to technology, progress, and how we live.

The stories formed an installation at the Photo-Canopy 2016/17 photography exhibitionin Burton-on-Trent. I read the work live at the launch, and the digital recordings remained in the gallery for the month-long exhibition. They then became part of the Photo-Canopy/National Forest Archive, and formed part of a later exhibition at the gallery. The stories were published in the book, “Photo-Canopy: Lens on The National Forest”.




one of the pieces takes place and was recorded under this bridge



Inspired by psychogeography and a love of maps, history, buildings and nature, I created Storymaps to encourage exploration of the city, and to weave fiction and facts together in new and dazzling ways.


Notice Nature Feel Joy

fishfossIn 2015, Derby Museums asked Hello Hubmarine to work on a set of stories as part of their co-production of the new Natural History gallery. Collections staff brought exhibits to sessions of Derby Writers’ Hub, where HH worked with members to create and workshop new writing inspired by the exhibits. This led to a publication, Taxidermied Tales, which forms part of the Notice Nature Feel Joy exhibition, and is also for sale in the Museum shop.

As well as leading the Writers’ Hub and running workshops for this project, my story Triptych, inspired by the sun bear from the nature gallery, also features in the book.



Composer Richard J Birkin commissioned myself and photographer Dan Wheeler to work on his project Nightsun, an interactive audio/visual installation that uses a toy music box and a member of the audience to create a magical musical journey.

My story was written in response to Richard’s orchestral composition and Dan’s photographs of the city at night.

Nightsun previewed at Nottingham Light Night, then appeared at Leeds Light Night and Format International Photography Festival.