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Territoires Emergents / Emerging Territories 2009

Luce Choules

© Thomas Nicq 2009

Les images uniques contiennent des informations rassemblées sur le terrain. Ces photographies individuelles éclairent une rencontre personelle et ouvrent une reflexion sur the questions plus vastes soulevées par une région ou un lieu.

Territoires Emergents / Emerging Territories 2009

Virginie Laurent / Anna Katharina Scheidegger / Victor Costales & Julia Rometti

© Thomas Nicq 2009

© Thomas Nicq 2009

© Thomas Nicq 2009

The residency finished in August, the publication is at the printers and the exhibition has opened. In addition, I will be exhibiting the publication and giving an artist’s talk in the Education Room at the Royal Geographical Society Explore 2009 event in mid-November.


Additional works from this residency are featured on the Guide To Here site.

Spatial Arrangement 005: scene
Spatial Arrangement 005: location
Span 001

Exhibition prints (1 & 2) simply attached to the walls of the gallery with map pins.

Both images show reclaimed landscapes – significant areas in a network of waters that encourage biodiversity in the region. There are many sites of natural and scientific interest in the Parc Naturel linked by the water flowing in, temporarily held, and flowing out of Nord Pas-de-Calais.

ISBN 978 1 907296 00 0
Title 59230


The publication Confluences features in the exhibition Territoires Émergents. After the exhibition, the publication will be used by the Arts and Culture department of the PNRSE in its education programme – the purpose of which is to make connections between the natural areas within the park and its relationship with the communes that inhabit it.

See Centre Régional de la Photographie Nord Pas-de-Calais for more details about this publication, or Fieldwork Folio to see the layout and publishing details, alternatively it is available to buy here.


Click the link here to download the 12-page PDF.


Click the link here to download the 2-page PDF.

Although the mining activity on this site ceased in 1989, the collection of buildings for the pithead have been preserved for visitors. Being an early riser (especially when I’m camping), I turned up way too early so I went to explore the town and surrounding countryside. When I returned a couple of hours later the gates were open and I found myself joining a ‘tour’ of the site – although it wasn’t any old tour. Instead, I found myself with government officials, council planners and representatives from institutions and organisations making plans for the site to be used for arts and culture activities. Brilliant.

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This was the highlight of the tour around Arenberg – the P-88 worker’s train and the staircase that led to the viewing platform about a hundred meters above the pithead. From the top you can see across the park for hundreds of kilometres and really get to see how it all fits together.

There are several well-established cycling and walking routes in the Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut – I visited them all during my six-week residency in the park. One of my favourites took me under the pithead winding gear frame at Sabatier.

For more information see the PNRSE website.

This was an amazing place – a truly resourceful initiative to allow water to reclaim this former mining site and transform it into a lake for swimming and rowing. On the outskirts of the site I managed to find some of the remains of the mining activity – heaps that are prone to outbreaks of fire.

As part of the ongoing series of work Logged, I looked for log piles in the forests as I cycled through the park. Rather than documenting the loss of the tree, in these works I am interested to record the piles in their seasoning mode. I made a series of studies which will be made into multiple-image works at a later date.


The railways crisscrossed this region at the height of the mining activity, but as the industry declined, the railways revised their routes and many lines disappeared into trees and vegetation. It reminded me of the potential for green cycling routes such as the Avenue Verte from Dieppe to Forges-les-Eaux, a great example of traffic-free cycling in northern France.

Whilst I have traversed the park for water, I have also made work under the themes of Landmarks, Barriers, Stronghold and Orientation. For more information, please visit my Mappalogue site.

Towards the end of the residency… a timely reminder of where I had started off…

A full kit list of all items accompanying me on my residency can be found on my Kit List Correspondent site.

Rustling and fluttering of the maize crops.

Small snapping sounds from swaying wheat fields on warm hazy days.

Dry grasses whispering along the verge.

Rushing of air through clumps of shrubbery in the middle of nowhere.

Creaking of huge trees in the forests.

37 Hedgehogs
31 Rabbits
22 Toads / frogs
59 Birds
2 Moles
1 Beaver
2 Mice
3 Rats
1 Fox
1 Chocolate bar
14 Unidentifiable
11 Dead smells
Bugs mainly black beetles (too many to list here)

My main contacts at the the Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut were Agnès Lavergne (Education au Territoire et Culture) and Audrey Legendre (Médiation Éducation & Culture). The meetings were structured to give information about the PNRSE’s activities regarding areas of biodiversity and ecological areas of special interest. They also helped to highlight concerns around representation of the PNRSE with regard the boundaries of the park and the people who inhabited it.

My contact at the Centre Régional de la Photographie Nord Pas-de-Calais was Pia Viewing (Directrice), the initiator of this ambitious and complex international project. We discussed the documentation and representation of the activities in the park and the extent to which these boundaries affected the inhabitants of Departments 59 and 62.

I also worked with artist Dimitri Vasemsky who was working on another project in the park supported by the PNRSE, ville de Mortagne du Nord and Directions Régionales des Affaires Culturelles (DRAC). I documented his journey in the park – a performance piece involving sailing and paddling a restored Canadian single-masted canoe on the closed section on the Scarpe river from Vred to Mortagne du Nord.

In total there were approximately 15 meetings.

GALLERY Centre Régional de la Photographie Nord Pas-de-Calais (CRP)

PROJECT Territoires Émergents / Emerging Territories

RESIDENCY Parc Naturel Transfrontalier du Hainaut see page #1
(Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut, France, and Parc Naturel des Pleines de l’Escaut, Belgium)

TIME-SCALE May – September 2009 (cycle-tour: July & August 2009)
Exhibition: October–December 2009

Yesterday, I found out that my application for the Emerging Territories project with the Centre Régional de la Photographie Nord Pas-de-Calais was successful.

I presented my work to a panel of nine people, all partners for the project, in France on the 2nd December 2008. The panel included:

Président du jury: Éric Poitevin, photographe | Philippe Bazin, photographe | Gallerie Acte de Naissance, Valenciennes représentée par Philippe Betrancourt, président | Musée des beaux-arts de valenciennes représenté par Madame Emmanuelle Delapierre, directrice | Le Conseil d’Architecture, d’Urbanisme et de l’Environnement du Nord, représenté par Madame Fanny Frigout, directrice-adjointe | Le Parc Naturel Régional Scarpe-Escaut, représenté par Madame Agnès Lavergne, responsable éducation au territoire, culture | Les éditions Filigranes, représentées par Monsieur Patrick Lebescont, directeur | Fabrica, Interreg Project Leader, Brighton, représenté par Monsieur Matthew Miller, co-directeur | La Galerie les Filles du Calvaire, représentée par Madame Christine Ollier, directrice artistique | Le Centre Régional de la Photographie Nord Pas-de-Calais, représenté par Madame Pia Viewing, directrice.

For more information, see the publicity leaflet and application details below