In a special piece for PLACE 2020, Virginia has produced ‘Grafton’, a spoken-word segment which also combines field recordings and subtle music fills.

Virginia made this audio essay after reflecting on the natural environment she encountered whilst camping and walking near the river. “I made ‘Grafton’ when I could return to the river after lockdown restrictions lifted a little and while we still had hot days. Located in the Upper Thames Valley, on the upper reaches of the river, the piece focuses on Grafton, Chimney and Shifford.”

“That evening I camped at Grafton Lock. The previous lock keeper Keith Webb was here thirty-nine years. According to the Environment Agency the river was ‘closed’. But in lockdown it’s most definitely been open to the birds and animals that share it. I reflected on all these things while I camped in the lock garden, walking out on the weir the following morning to breathe the negative ions. The tune I have added is a local one, recorded up the road at Clanfield. Clanfield lies between Grafton and Shifford.”

Listen to the piece here:

PLACE 2020 explores, through myriad mediums, how ideas of ‘place’ continue to shift and change as the world adjusts to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. PLACE 2021 is a collaboration between the Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, Hinterland Creative Nonfiction Magazine and a selection of acclaimed writers, artists and film-makers.