A Different Lens – Elspeth Penfold

The Margate clock tower with a printed postage stamp and a qr code link
A Different LENS, delivered through Thread and Word, lead artist Elspeth (Billie) Penfold Photo credit: Fred Adams and Elspeth (Billie) Penfold
The Margate clock tower with a printed postage stamp and a qr code link
A Different LENS, delivered through Thread and Word, lead artist Elspeth (Billie) Penfold Photo credit: Fred Adams and Elspeth (Billie) Penfold

A Different Lens is a collaborative project by twelve artists who co-created an interactive walking digital map of Margate in 2020. Each artist was asked to choose an author who is blind or became visually impaired during their lifetime. The initial project brief asked the artists to respond through a story presented as a walk in Margate and a geolocative map. The initial project brief design was to create walking experiences that might illustrate how storytelling makes the inaccessible accessible. You can access the map through this link, which provides an introduction to the project and its connections with The Margate Bookie and Margate Festival 2020. The connection to locative media was initially designed to widen access to the walking experience to enable disabled artists to participate. However, the lockdowns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic meant that the co-creative experience for all contributing artists shifted from being a hybrid experience to a completely digital one.  

Elspeth (Billie) Penfold (MRSS FRSA) is a textile artist who combines walking, weaving and performative storytelling. Billie uses hapticity and psychogeography to explore narratives. She hand-spins ropes which are knotted by participants as part of performative events.  

In 2014, Billie formed a group called Thread and Word that delivers funded arts-based projects through performed poetry. Through this group Billie uses digital media, sound and locative mapping to create hybrid, in person and digital walking events. Billie’s approach to multi-layered storytelling is influenced by her Andean background. Her practice allows for many voices, moving away from a linear view of the world and avoiding a linear interpretation. In 2020 Billie’s Thread and Word project A Different Lens was awarded an honourable mention at the international festival Soundwalks September. Billie has just completed her MA in Creative Events Management at Falmouth University