The Canterbury People’s Map

Rob Turner is currently the Resident Armchair Artist at The Beaney in Canterbury. 

I believe maps to be important documents reflecting cultural interests and changing social attitudes and I also think the personality, the views and the interests of a person drawing a map must always indirectly leek out however precise and accurate the map is! This particularly shows up on older maps without standards and systems, so the information appears a little free form, even random. So I have decided to draw a map of Canterbury with multiple authors, with multiple views and interests, to create a map with the people of Canterbury. This will be made with visitors to The Beaney and decisions about what is included is led by people who are growing, living , working or visiting Canterbury.

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The first workshop established the basic lay out of the city, and as visitors started to add personal details in the relevant locations it became instantly apparent that this was going to an unusual map.

One of first entries, was from a couple who told me they visited Canterbury annually and always stayed at the Parrot Pub every time, and had done so for several years. They lightly sketched out the building and its location. Someone added a parrot at another workshop later.

canterbury peoples map detail ii

A mother and daughter worked for a long time drawing the animals they see on a riverside walk they go on regularly after preschool .

Someone contributed their new business ideas, including signage and shop front designs for kiosks outside both Canterbury East and West  stations.

A large party of French teenagers arrived and wanted to sit down and draw what they had seen earlier in the day. One boy got out his mobile phone and copied a photo of Canterbury Cathedral he had taken earlier in the day. They also drew Cafe Rouge because any lost strays from the group are picked up there at the end of the day.

People were indicating where they bought cups of coffee after they had been to gyms or on their way home from work. Favourite restaurants and venues for reunions were appearing .  So the map was already developing into a series of personal stories as well as locations for favourite places.

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