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Close ‘en-counters’ of the geographical kind

13th May 2016

A new exhibition exploring how young people perceive and map the city’s geography will launch at The Holy Biscuit during Newcastle’s Late Shows, starting tonight.

Developed by Northumbria University academics in partnership with the Holy Biscuit and Juice Festival, ‘en_counter’ is an exhibition of mapping and artwork which provides insights into Newcastle-Gateshead’s geographies. It forms part of a two-year research project by Jon Swords and Mike Jeffries, from Northumbria’s Department of Geography, and Sebastian Messer, from the University’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment. The research is supported by the Juice Festival, and examines how young people understand the city, their place in it, and their vision for the future.

The academic team has collaborated with artists Christine Egan-Fowler, Ben Jones, Jess Dolby and Adam Goodwin to provide mapping workshops in schools and youth groups. The maps from these workshops reveal hidden worlds and perspectives on the city, and have prompted the artistic responses which form the exhibition. ‘En_counter’ will launch during the Late Shows – Newcastle-Gateshead’s annual festival of after dark culture – ahead of a general exhibition at the Holy Biscuit Gallery in Newcastle, which will run until June.

Jon said: “Working with the Holy Biscuit is a fantastic opportunity for us to create artistic encounters drawing on the meticulous and thoughtful maps from the young people we’ve worked with. How cities are mapped is intensely political, and we hope by revealing the worlds of young people their perspectives will be valued and integrated into future visions of the city.”

The results of the first year of research will be launched in October 2016 as part of the Juice Festival. Together with New Writing North, the team will produce a manifesto for the city in the form of an atlas including, and based on maps made by young people. If you would like more information, or want to get involved, there is a project website: or email

‘en_counter’ is taking place at the Holy Biscuit, Clarence Street, Newcastle. Call 0191 447 6811 or go to Late Shows opening: 7-11pm, Friday 13 and Saturday 14 May / General exhibition: 11am – 4pm, Tuesday 17 May – Thursday 2 June.

The University offers a range of courses in Geography with the department ranked Top 30 in the UK based on research power following the results of the Research Excellence Framework 2014. To find out more about studying at Northumbria go to: or sign up for one of our upcoming Open Days by clicking here.

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