About Sites of Meaning
Sites of Meaning is a millennium project of Middleton and Smerrill in the Derbyshire Peak. It marks the seventeen entrances to its parish with boundary stones each inscribed with a text chosen by members of the parish. A public manifestation of private thoughts and feelings at the start of a new millennium.
Started in 1999 and finished in 2006, Sites of Meaning was run by a team of parishioners who raised funds, collected text for the inscriptions, commissioned stones from artists and masons and installed the finished boundary markers. Over two hundred people took part in Sites of Meaning, including: the local community and primary school, schools and colleges throughout the region, regional and national artists and other professionals.
At first funding was raised more or less on a stone to stone basis. But as the project gathered momentum and the team gained experience and confidence, larger funds were sought as projects were designed to involve more of the surrounding community. The Sculpture Residency in 2002 saw Amanda Wray carve a stone for site 8 in the village playground. Other Stones - Other Meanings explored local history and archaeology, and generated poetry through Youlgrave Primary School. InscribeNOW completed Sites of Meaning with a photographic residency and workshops, the generation of publicity and educational material, and a final celebration re-uniting all those who have worked on the project.
With seventeen boundary stones completed an eighteenth stone, to be situated in the village square, was commissioned to celebrate the achievement of all those who have taken part. It acts as a compass for the whole project. Sites of Meaning has now gone public with a website, guides, walks and cycle routes. It is, by definition, always open to the public and has already gained a considerable following and reputation. The fate of the stones lies in the future. But it is a millennium project which, at least parts, may still be around in another thousand years.