Last month the Australian novelist Tim Winton spoke about the importance of landscape in his work, in a speech to the Royal Academy, London.
Winton, a writer who posses the talent to personify physical setting — casting it as a character in its own right — told the audience that “Landscape has exerted a kind of force upon me that is every bit as geological as family.”
“It has real, ongoing power to shape people. It influences our thoughts and habits, our language, our sensory register.”
A new project from the University of Queensland will now make it easier for people to explore the locations which inspired their favourite books, films and plays.
The Cultural Atlas of Australia is an interactive digital map that plots more than 300 locations depicted in over 150 texts.
“Cultural travellers, students and scholars can use the map to plot literary tours, visit film sites, or research landscape and locations in Australian stories,” says co-ordinator Dr Peta Mitchell.
“You can search for your favourite text or author, or browse the locations we’ve plotted on the Google map.” Information on the social and ecological history of each location is also provided.
Anyone can contribute to the atlas, through the website or via The Cultural Atlas of Australia Facebook page.
“We would love to travel to each of the locations and talk with the locals but it would take far too much time and money,” Mitchell said.
“Instead, we’re calling upon locals and visitors to contribute and share their landscape photos of locations we’ve pin-pointed and their personal knowledge about the settings of specific narrative places or events”.
People are also invited to give directions to a location, or information about how the location is significant.
You can check the website out here.
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