On a glorious summer day I wandered across the lush meadows of Blackshaw Farm, north of Leek, Staffordshire, with Ela Niznik, amongst the skeletal remains of what was, for a few years in the 1940s, a US Army base, and then for a couple of decades, served as housing for displaced Polish families. Apart for a few buildings that just about survive as farm storage, most of the dozens of prefabricated concrete, brick and asbestos constructions have either been demolished or remain as decaying framework. Yet the two ladies with us, who lived in the camp as children, could still identify where they and their friends had once lived.
I am collaborating with Ela, a fine artist studying for an MA at MIRIAD, to create a project that will look at Blackshaw Moor camp through two different lenses, hers as a visual artist and mine as a historical archaeologist. This was my first visit to the site. More will follow.