Jerry Brotton: Making New Worlds

Jerry Brotton: Making New Worlds

I have been coming to Hay for over a decade, but this event today was a first: the audience rushed the stage! Alongside my collaborator, Adam Lowe, we presented a new, three dimensional map of the world, alongside a relief map of the famous Hereford mappa mundi, which is housed in Hereford Cathedral. We talked about how all world maps are partial, subjective representations of the world, based on the research that went in to my book, “A History of the World in Twelve Maps”.

Lowe’s company, Factum Arte, have used data from the Hereford mappa mundi to create a new map of this medieval treasure. But we are also going further: making a world map, 20 x 40 metres, which will recreate the world without water. It will then be flooded, in a stunning moment of environmental awareness. As we finished the talk, people began to come down from the audience to look at the models of the Hereford map and the world map. By the time we finished, the stage was swamped by dozens of people wanting to touch the maps and talk about them. Hay has always been a festival about changing the world; today, we took a small step in making the new world! If anyone wants to see more, check out Factume Arte, the company responsible for making these extraordinary new maps!