Over the years, Robinson’s writings have incisively documented what he calls the ‘ABC of earth wonders’ – Aran Islands, Burren, and Connemara. During this process Robinson has addressed the historical and geographical tensions that suffuse the Irish western landscape. However, attempting to place any sort of label on Robinson presents the largest challenge in a collection of essays devoted to his topographical writings and mapmaking. The aim, then, is not to define Robinson in some absolute binding way but, rather, to unfold the intricacies of the places that define his work and in so doing reveal his substantial influence on contemporary Irish culture. Christine Cusick and Derek Gladwin begin by offering an overview of Robinson’s work and demonstrate the need for such a collection since critical attention on Robinson’s work has gained momentum in the last several years. They then more closely investigate Robinson in two broad sections: one about his cartography and writing, and the other about the ways in which the writers in this collection engage with his work.
Reading Tim Robinson through Gluaiseacht Chearta Sibhialta na Gaeltachta
Jerry White explores some of the possible connections between Robinson and the debates in the 1970s about the Irish language movement. White examines the very beginnings of Robinson’s mapping career, drawing on both the historical narrative of Gluaiseacht Chearta Sibhialta na Gaeltachta (the Gaeltacht Civil Rights Movement) and early editions of Robinson's work and documents pertaining to this early Irish language movement through figures such as the film-maker Bob Quinn and the political journalist Desmond Fennell.
Kelly Sullivan looks into Robinson’s monumental works Stones of Aran and asks whether it is possible to collect all the contradictions of the human world – geology, biology, personal history, myth and politics – into ‘a state of consciousness even fleetingly worthy of its ground’? Sullivan contends that the driving imperative of both Pilgrimage and Labyrinth form an aesthetics of ‘not-knowing’ coupled with authorial self-doubt about representing place.
The deep mapping projects of Tim Robinson’s art and writings, 1969–72
Nessa Cronin argues that Robinson’s overall work can be regarded as a practice of deep mapping. With a focus on two sets of artworks from his early career (Moonfield and To the Centre), as well as short prose writings and essays in The View from the Horizon, Setting Foot On the Shores of Connemara, and My Time in Space, Cronin’s essay explores the fragmentary connection that Robinson draws between these two stages of his life and career.
Moya Cannon offers a reading of ‘Orion the Hunter’, a work of short fiction dedicated to Robinson’s late friend John Moriarty. Rather than formulate an argument about Robinson, Cannon’s own poetic sensibilities push her exploration, by way of ‘Orion’, into the ways in which Robinson developed as a cartographer, writer and cultural figure in Ireland.
Karen Babine argues that the genre of ‘creative nonfiction’, or the Montaignaian essay, is largely missing in the Irish context. Babine maintains that Robinson and Arthur represent two exceptions of creative nonfiction writers who are still thriving, and who both operate almost exclusively in the nonfiction genre (though each has published small exceptions in fiction and poetry).
Unfolding Irish landscapes offers a comprehensive and sustained study of the work of cartographer, landscape writer and visual artist Tim Robinson. The visual texts and multi-genre essays included in this book, from leading international scholars in Irish Studies, geography, ecology, environmental humanities, literature and visual culture, explore Robinson’s writing, map-making and art. Robinson’s work continues to garner significant attention not only in Ireland, but also in the United Kingdom, Europe and North America, particularly with the recent celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of his monumental Stones of Aran: pilgrimage. Robert Macfarlane has described Robinson’s work in Ireland as ‘one of the most sustained, intensive and imaginative studies of a landscape that has ever been carried out’. It is difficult to separate Robinson the figure from his work and the places he surveys in Ireland – they are intertextual and interconnected. This volume explores some of these characteristics for both general and expert readers alike. As individual studies, the essays in this collection demonstrate disciplinary expertise. As parts of a cohesive project, they form a collective overview of the imaginative sensibility and artistic dexterity of Robinson’s cultural and geographical achievements in Ireland. By navigating Robinson’s method of ambulation through his prose and visual creations, this book examines topics ranging from the politics of cartography and map-making as visual art forms to the cultural and environmental dimensions of writing about landscapes.
Protest movements are continually appropriating new technologies. This chapter examines the early stages of computer-mediated communication (CMC) use and emphasises that this was a crucial period which determined frameworks of technology use. It explores how the technological changes have influenced environmental politics. The chapter also examines the broader implications of CMC use for social movements. CMC is facilitating the decentralisation of the environmental movement and the rise of grassroots activism. Cyberspace, and the use of CMC, constitute a contested terrain for environmentalists. The increasingly high profile of environmental internet activism in the mainstream media has focused attention on the use of the technology for subversive purposes, and has given their opponents cause to constrict activists' use of CMC. The chapter concludes by examining the possibilities for online activism.
The politics of cyberspace is of importance both for the future use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) and within traditional political arenas, commerce and society itself. Within Britain there are many different political groups that have a presence online and utilise CMC, including for example members of the far right, human rights advocates, religious groups and environmental activists. This book examines the relationship between the strategies of environmental activist movements in Britain and their use of CMC. It explores how environmental activists negotiate the tensions and embrace the opportunities of CMC, and analyses the consequences of their actions for the forms and processes of environmental politics. It serves as a disjuncture from some broader critiques of the implications of CMC for society as a whole, concentrating on unpacking what CMC means for activists engaged in social change. Within this broad aim there are three specific objectives. It first evaluates how CMC provides opportunities for political expression and mobilization. Second, the book examines whether CMC use has different implications for established environmental lobbying organisations than it does for the non-hierarchical fluid networks of direct action groups. Third, it elucidates the influence of CMC on campaign strategies and consequently on business, government and regulatory responses to environmental activism.
Environmental activists have utilised diverse tactics in the attempt to assert their influence upon the decision-making process and society. This chapter begins with an examination of the use online tactics for environmental activism and the reticence to engage in such use. It considers the use of computer-mediated communication (CMC) as a substitute for the mainstream media on which people have relied, and hence for the production of digital alternative media (DAM). Concurrent to the use of any tactics, environmentalists usually consider the ways in which they will publicise their actions prior to and after the event. CMC has been used to extend existing tactics into the realm of cyberspace and in developing new forms of action. The chapter concludes by exploring whether these changes in online tactics and alternative media production enable environmental activists to be more effective in achieving their aims and targeting their adversaries.