Escaping with Magwitch 24-28 May 2021
After a long winter in lockdown, two artists, Carol Donaldson and Stephen Turner, are set to escape to the North Kent Marshes in a small inflatable boat called Magwitch, named after the prisoner in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations who was imprisoned in a hulk on the Medway Estuary at Stangate Creek. Unlike the ‘real’ Magwitch, they have no plans to escape abroad, but rather they will stay to study the wetlands and wildlife on their own doorstep, camping in remote locations for five days in May 2021.
Stephen Turner, whose work explores our difficult relationship with nature and Carol Donaldson, who wrote the book ‘On the Marshes’ will embark from the Queens Stairs in the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, their route guided by tide and current and by meetings with marshland dwellers as they progress toward a landscape of seeping ooze beyond Folly Point, to Horrid Hill, Bedlams Bottom, Ladies Hole and Barksore Marsh – all part of the last wilderness in south east England.
Treading lightly on the land, they will question their own presence in these fragile edgelands, as well as the wider potential threat of huge urban development on all sides. They both have an abundance of knowledge to share with each other & with a wider audience. In her book ‘On the Marshes’ Carol reflects on her time living in a caravan on a marshland nature reserve and sets off to meet other fringe dwellers tucked away in creeks and inlets. She explores the reasons people are drawn to the area and the conflicts between marsh-dwellers & corporate Britain, private ownership & conservation. This enhances, enriches and expands upon Turner’s interest in being amanuensis (or scribe) for the tides, terns and turnstones to provide mute nature with a voice.