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Routes & Roots - Mapping the people and places of Bodmin, past and present 

Have you ever stopped and taken a good look at what’s around you in Bodmin? 

A project in the town is looking to explore Bodmin’s stories and heritage, using creative mapping to piece together the community’s people and places, past and present.


Led by artist Becalelis (Bec) Brodskis, working for intoBodmin with weekly creative mapping workshops, Bodmin Routes & Roots is a creative project that looks into the town’s heritage and characters - the routes around the town and the ancestral roots. The aim is to create a map of Bodmin from personal stories of people that have lived, worked or visited the town over the centuries.

Everyone is welcome to join in. Drop-in sessions throughout September are at 81b Fore Street, where you can arrange a time, share a story or observation about Bodmin - as small or significant as you like - and get creative.

Bec told Bodmin Life: “Routes & Roots looks at the routes people took into Bodmin, and the ancestral roots of the town, using personal stories to create a personalised map. Maps are just drawings representing connections between things, they can be made as art or craft - someone recently came in and created an embroidered map.”

In the pop up mapping workshop there are different methods of mapping including virtual reality drawing, portrait mapping, doodling your routes and places of interest on large scale, maps of Bodmin and a giant loom waiting to be made into a weaving.

Bec would really like other community groups to connect with the project and put on the map their interests. He welcomes local people to get in touch to get involved.

“At the workshops people are developing ideas and experimenting with different ways of creating maps,” Bec continued. “I’m encouraging people to explore different ways of representing Bodmin using creative mapping. Maps should not just be the roads and monuments, but the small details that people value within the town.

“If there is enough interest the next step would be to raise enough funding to continue the project over a year and to combine all the different stories and observations into a people’s map of Bodmin.”

Not only is the project a creative stepping stone into the town’s history, it explores the connection between the people and certain aspects of the community. Bec said: “For example, I’m not from Bodmin, but my children’s grandparents and great grandparents are, so it’s very much about exploring who the people of Bodmin are and celebrating the richness of this place. In many ways it is an international community with people from Bodmin having also spread out all over the world.

“Another thing that is really interesting is exploring the relationships between landscape and memory, and how something, an object in the landscape, can trigger a memory - it could be a crack in a wall, or a step on your way home. This project is about locating these details that trigger memories and valuing individual people’s stories, not just the monuments.”

Bec explained that the project encourages local people to ‘break the habituals’ and discover more about this deeply historical town by celebrating their own lives in the community. 

“Many people think they know the ins and outs of Bodmin - all the nooks and crannies - but actually they often only know a bit,” he said. “Through this project, we hope to create walks that go into the heart of Bodmin. One of the reasons for starting this was because I couldn’t find a large map of Bodmin for sale, only the small tourist maps that only point out the large monuments and shops. It would be great to create a map featuring those special objects and things in the street that can be easily passed by.”

“I love seeing people start to treasure their own understanding of value in their lives,” Bec added. 

The project continues throughout September and October. Beyond that, it depends on if enough people are interested to make the project viable. People are welcome to come forward and get in touch with Bec to discuss their ideas or share their stories and memories of Bodmin with the Routes and Roots project.

Mapping workshop doors are open on Wednesdays between 2pm-4pm. Here you can drop in and take a look. To book a one-to-one or group session with Bec, email bec@intobodmin.co.uk . At present the project continues in October but venue and times are subject to change.

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