The creation of this blog began as a way to document a project this fall semester as I am taking a class called Pedagogies of Place at Earlham College. We were given the task of stepping outside of classroom to engage with our local environment through a series of place-based experiential projects.
With three topics to choose from, I was drawn to the idea of micro adventures after watching a short video about Mountain Bikes and Bothy Nights from Alastair Humphreys. As described in the video, “a bothy is a simple shelter…for the use and benefit of all who love wild and lonely places. I thought it would be fun to recreate, in some fashion, the idea of a bothy as an escape from whatever might be weighing on your shoulders.
This project was to be supplemented by a book that fit within our category of choosing (eg. micro adventures). This book was relevant in helping us draw text to project connections as we developed and experienced our projects. I picked Edgelands: Journeys into England’s True Wilderness as I was intrigued by “…the edgelands — those familiar yet ignored spaces which are neither city nor countryside…”
It was as simple as pitching a few tents in two different location on campus and inviting others to join me in spending a night away. I was interested in defining these places by the idea of ‘edge lands’ and therefore picked two spaces that I would define as different environments, yet both edge lands in that camping in these locations put them in the realm of neither city nor countryside. My first campsite was the Stout Fire Pit and I categorized this as open space, a place that was still on campus, but withdrawn from the central campus buildings. My second location was the heart and I defined this as a developed space as it is a place where much interaction happens.
Another part of the bothy experience is the presences of a bothy book. Coming from a background of Expeditionary Learning (EL), I find great value in solitude and reflection as it is one of the design principles of EL education. After spending the night out with students, I asked them to reflect on their interactions with place. As Alastair Humphreys shares, “the bothy book has no role just the unsaid concept of respect for the space and other individuals.”
This blog will act as a documentation of the reflections I gathered while participating in this project. If you read this and have interacted with one of this places, I encourage you to share your story and I will add it to this blog as it acts as a place for sharing of reflections. Please email your thoughts at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. The books that I created for this project will be left in the places by which the project took place and I hope that their pages will continue to be filled with words from the people who visit them.