Playing with ‘Variations on Mobility’, the four Creative Commissions teams in 2019-2020 have developed their projects along different trajectories traced by the unfolding movements of People, Objects, Texts and Ideas across times and spaces. As small groups composed of academics who have embraced art in their research practices, or artists working in collaboration with scholars across various disciplinary backgrounds, the Commissions engage different Theories and Methods of mobility, working with ethnographic, archival, historical, anthropological, geographical and creative methodologies. The following text and original images represent a short abstract realised by the team to help us follow the path of their creative work.

The Former State Project

What remains of a former state? To answer this question, a geographer, filmmaker and poet follow the route of a six-week ethnographic journey taken in 1937 by British author Rebecca West (1892–1983) through Yugoslavia. Following West’s thousand-page travel-book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941) our aim is to document what remains of Yugoslavia, creating the first film about West and a travel-guide to a country that no longer exists. This project arrives at a time when Yugoslavia remains within living memory and it captures small details and intimate memories of the former state before they are lost. Yugoslavia is remembered differently across the territorial space of the former state and this project provides a comparative study of the seven new states that stand where Yugoslavia once stood. Employing a multi-media, multi-disciplinary approach in the region, it performs a novel yet critical engagement with the geo-humanities and the new mobilities paradigm.

Jack Wake-Walker
Simon Barraclough
James Riding, Newcastle University