Below you'll find some examples of my work on arts, community and education projects as a freelance artist, writer-in-residence, and researcher.
I was a researcher and a writer-in-residence on Ensemble – a five year project investigating digital technologies and environmental change at Lancaster University. As a culmination of this work, I co-directed Entangled Festival, which took place in Morecambe, UK, and online. My role included commissioning and supporting artists, running a sketchbook challenge on social media, and managing community events and activities during festival week.
My writer-in-residence work throughout the project involved the development and sharing of stories and creative activities for different age groups inspired by the team's research into flooding, biodiversity, soil science and ecosystems.
This project included the development of two digital installations inspired by climate change science, which have been shared at events, workshops and conferences around the UK.
'Persephone's Footsteps' is a reimagining of the Persephone myth, a response to escalating carbon emissions, and a map that can be used to explore any city. As Persephone climbs higher – first to escape the underworld and then to escape the polluted streets of the city – the listener must climb higher to hear more of her story.
'For Hades' is a collection of stories from the surface, gathered by Persephone to take back to the Underworld. Each artefact holds fragments of the literatures of other living beings, from the myths of trees to the stories of snails and seed tales carried by the wind. The stories are explored through touch and sound.
The Lichen Records
(2017 - )
'The Lichen Records' is a project that collects together lichen-inspired stories and an archive of found materials and letters to the future. The project is slow-growing like the organisms that inspire it, and the intention is that it will continue to seed new works.
Works currently gathered include a series of fantastical cut-up stories remade from scientific papers that explore air pollution from a lichen perspective, a lichen-dial where the story changes depending on the quality of the air, a solargraph that shows a lichen's view of the world with the path of the sun etched into the sky, and 'Detours from Lichen Cartography' an artist book of maps accompanied by an audio story. The story responds to the environment and will only grow longer in strong daylight. Each page turn reveals a new city as the narrator tries to find the City of Lichen and recounts their visits to the cities of Stone, Rain, Air, Leaves, Words and Light.
Catch a River
As part of my work on the Ensemble project at Lancaster University, I developed three flood related works. 'The River Library' is a participatory storymaking installation. People are invited to throw story dice into books that hold miniature rivers and to use these as prompts to make up their own stories of rivers and flooding. At Manchester Science Festival the installation resulted in 90 new stories being made by families and the wider project installation was visited by almost 2000 people.
'We are Riverish' is a new fairy tale about a river that floods and about what it takes away and what it brings. Inspired by my own experiences of flooding in 2015, the story was printed on water-soluble paper and left to be found beside riverbanks in Lancaster, UK, and Angers, France.
'The Tide Jar' is a story lantern that is only illuminated in the early evening when there is a full or new moon. This is when spring tides bring the highest water levels and a greater chance of flooding. The lantern is intended to be an unobtrusive reminder that calls attention to the river when daily life can disrupt our awareness of tide times and the lunar cycle.
A record of this work has been included in 'Flooding - a Social Impact Archive'.
A Rat's Tale
This project was a commission for Light Up Lancaster 2017, commissioned by Lancaster Arts City and working with Lancaster Library and Ryelands Primary School, Lancaster.
The work was inspired by the idea of rats getting to tell their version of the Pied Piper fairy tale and involved an installation with interactive digital elements in Lancaster Library, a series of schools’ workshops, in which year 3 and 4 classes made rat tales to be included in the library, site-specific installations in shop windows, and ‘Ratology’ walking tours around the city over the two nights of the festival.
site-specific activities and workshops encouraging people of all ages to make new stories inspired by interaction with elements from folklore, fairy tales and myth. I ran the activities at festivals and in libraries, museums and bookshops. Chester Performs described it as 'One of our most popular workshops of the summer, Claire’s enchanting set-up sparked the imagination of children and adults alike.'
Castle Park Stories: a Heritage Lottery-funded project for Litfest in 2013, working with people from the Lancaster area to uncover hidden histories and share them through creative non-fiction and photography in an exhibition of stories.
Malkin Child, by Livi Michael, is a powerful reimagining of the most famous witch trial in English history, suitable for ages 9+. I edited the book and managed its production for Litfest to mark the 400th anniversary of the Lancashire Witch Trials. As the Lancashire Reads Book 2012, Malkin Child has been well received by both children and adults.
Paraxis: an online publication co-founded with Andy Hedgecock and co-edited with Andy and Carys Bray from 2011-2013. We published unnerving, uncanny and fantastical stories, essays and artwork.
New Fairy Tales: an illustrated online magazine I founded to encourage the writing and enjoyment of new fairy tales. Launched in 2008, our final issue was published in November 2010. To find out more about the magazine, read back issues and enjoy free audio stories please visit the website.
The Fairy Tale Cupboard: A blog about fairy tales that I kept between July 2009 and January 2011.
Field guide to digital fiction: A resource I compiled in 2010 as part of a research project on digital fiction for my MA. It now reads like a little bit of web history, although many of the links are no longer working.