As part of the induction week of university, I took part in the induction project, “Exposure” and was part of the group who investigated Devonport. At first I was disappointed by this choice, but mainly because I knew it would require a lot of walking which isn’t my favourite thing to do. However, over the course of the week I became increasingly fond of the sites in Devonport and the stretch of history that has built it into what it is.
Devonport has a long history with war and military which is evident as you walk around. There are lots of dull, grey tones, especially down near the docks with a lot of barbed wire, giving a physical indication to the naval and military links that it has. This is evident in one of the images I made, where a children’s park is encased by a grey brick wall, making something so innocent look serious. I also noticed the signs around Devonport, things like NO BALL GAMES for example. Although this probably wasn’t intentional, it made me think of the rules and commands that members of the military would face and the sense of order they would follow. There is also the outdoor swimming pool which almost looks abandoned but brings a bit of colour to the yet still dull grey walls surrounding it.
Devonport was largely destroyed during the war and still faces terror today with a recent fire which destroyed many homes. When walking around Devonport you see a lot of building work and reconstruction which shows the development of Devonport. The newer parts of Devonport are very obvious in comparison to the more original parts, which gives it a slight inconsistent feel as nothing matches. The modern buildings are almost futuristic and structured compared to the standard brick houses that stand from years ago. It’s quite an odd sight as you don’t feel like you’re walking around the same place.
The scenery in Devonport was divine, especially down by the sea as you can see for miles, giving beautiful landscapes. The best place for these spectacular views was from the top of guild hall. I struggled up what felt like 100 stairs to the top, but it was well worth it for the views were amazing and I was able to capture new perspective of Plymouth. When I was told stories and descriptions about Devonport, I was expecting a downbeat place with little aesthetic beauty, but it proved me wrong. There was very little contact with citizens of Devonport which was strange as it was a sunny day; it made it feel like a ghost town.
The experience as a whole was good for me as it gave me a chance to meet older people that I will now feel comfortable to speak to and ask for advice throughout my learning experience, something that I sometimes struggle with. It was an opportunity to see some initial work by others and be made to work in a team, something that will be essential if I work in industry in the future. It also gave me a chance to explore and be active – as someone not from Plymouth it was nice to see the areas of which I hadn’t even thought to visit.
Improvements for the week? Well, I think the ideas and intentions of the week are good and have benefits for everyone, however the group I was in was fairly unorganised and faced a few challenges along the way which at times created an awkward atmosphere. This is only a trivial thing based on the personal experience I had. Regardless of this, I feel the older students of the group helped to hold things together and created a great final exhibition for the week.