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Artist, designer and film-maker Karen Ingham gave a public talk at The Lab on her current work, Pembrokeshire Drover as Confluence’s latest commissioned artist.

As well as discussing her process Karen introduced the themes which she is exploring throughout the project: Landscapes as palimpsests continually written and re-written through layers of time. The Pembrokeshire drovers replaced today by ‘droves’ of tourists, who use the old the routes and roads very differently, and the role of the people of Haverfordwest and surrounding areas  in shaping past, present and future narratives in the town and its hinterland.

The palimpsest was originally a wax tablet where the text could be written, rubbed away, and re-written over. Eventually the previous layers of text would begin to show through, creating the sense of a document that was textually and historically multi-layered – the present on the past on the present. The palimpsest is used as a metaphor for multi-perspectives, layers of time and lived experience etched and marked on the land itself. This sense of layering past and present is something that I am exploring in my journeys and observations in and around Haverfordwest and its hinterland.’

– Karen Ingham

In exploring the historic figures of the drovers as the ‘original cowboys’, their routes and journeying and their relationship with Haverfordwest, Karen explained how her conceptual approach draws together the past and present of the town and surrounding area.

Illustrating the ways in which maps are cultural constructs, shaped by dominant social, economic and political shifts, she also asks how contemporary social, economic and environmental changes will affect our future maps, and the ways in which we perceive Haverfordwest.

You can follow Karen’s progress via the project blog.