An Introduction to the Project

Duke’s Wood Project began in 2012 as a long-term research interest, looking at the history and socio-political significance of Duke’s Wood and the fascinating industrial heritage of the area. Duke’s Wood is now a nature reserve boasting a rich and thriving ecology, but once played host to a large-scale secret military operation – the drilling and excavation of our most prized yet politically contentious natural resource – crude oil. It was this unlikely coming together of two seemingly opposed things - heavy industrial and ecology - that attracted us to the site and has continued to provide a basis for detailed critical reflection.

So compelling was the story of Duke’s Wood, as documented in the extensive archive within the Duke’s Wood Oil Museum, and recalled by the museums curator’s Kevin Topham and John Lukehurst, that we began to imagine ways that a contemporary art project might respond to the place and extend its fascinating narrative.


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