The Common Line

Imagine the longest possible straight line across the landscapes of mainland Britain.  From the south coast of England to the north-west of Scotland. It traverses and connects an incredible diversity of places and landscapes… fields, farms and housing estates, shopping centres, roads and railways, schools, factories and mountain-tops.

Now imagine that line planted with trees. A linear forest with its own life rhythms, ecologies, and will to growth.  This is The Common Line. You can view it here.

By planting trees along its entire length, The Common Line will enable the kinds of connections that can only be generated by joint endeavour and shared concern. We will also inspire different kinds of relations and provocations through the shared imaginaries of digital experience – see that tree line up close and interact with it – hear its hidden voices and entanglements – become immersed in the politics of its places as you walk along or across it… by yourself or with others.

Anyone can become part of The Common Line. Find out more about how to join us…

First steps

Our initial research and development phase has been funded by the AHRC-ESPRC and supported by The Woodland Trust. It will take place in Carlisle between April – July 2018 in partnership with the University of Cumbria. During this time we will be conducting outdoor site investigations, field recordings, interviews, performative walks and in situ digital software and equipment testing.

We are looking for interested people to join us in Carlisle and surroundings for a number of walking, talking and prototyping activities – people who can help us to locate ourselves in the landscape, its histories and narratives, ownerships and stewardships. We would also like to engage with community stakeholders during this time period in order to instigate relationships for the longer term project vision of planting a lot of trees.

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved, or would like to attend a presentation or sharing event.


The Common Line is the original idea of Exeter-based artist Volkhardt Müller, member of the Blind Ditch collective. It is being developed collaboratively with cultural geographer Professor John Wylie, and GIS specialist Dr Steven Palmer from University of Exeter, Blind Ditch artists Paula Crutchlow, Professor John Levack Drever and Cat Radford, creative technologists Controlled Frenzy, and grass roots public art and campaigning body Rural Recreation.

Our aim is to bring the abstract concept of The Common Line into encounters with the reality of places, through shared events, broadcasts, performances and conversations. By combining the eco-social activism of tree planting, with the development and sharing of new digital imaginaries, we hope to facilitate  broad discussions and share different understandings around the ways in which Britain is ‘owned’ and cared for.

We are committed to open and participatory forms of working and conversing, and are actively seeking new dialogues and insights through this project. We are currently looking for arts, cultural and community partners to be part of the next stage of work from November 2018-July 2019.

Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in developing art and research residencies, planting sites and audiences, as well as hosting artists and exhibiting, or otherwise disseminating, the resulting work.


For more information please contact:

Paula Crutchlow – Blind Ditch artist and research associate at University of Exeter for work coming up in Cumbria
paula at


Dr Alex Murdin – artist and producer at Rural Recreation for developing future Common Line sites and hosting events
alex.murdin at