Our second BSA Cities and Mobilities workshop promotes and shares ideas around the creative, critical and responsive use of methods in urban research. Inspired by the call to cultivate a DIY spirit in our research practice, the workshop will explore how we can develop liveliness in our methods through making use of new technological opportunities and through the re-imagining of older techniques. Across a series of discussions on approaching cities through different kinds of methods – mapping, listening, creative writing – we consider how urban research can respond to a changing political and social context, including austerity and emergent and old forms of racism, alongside new forms of vernacular cultures and forms of dissent. We will discuss the temporalities of research, relationships of production and co-production and the kinds of interventions we seek to make. We hope that the format of the day – based on the pairing of researchers – will help to produce new discussions and open ongoing dialogues.
Time and Location: University of Liverpool, Management School, 9.30-5.30pm, Tuesday 11th September 2018.
Organisers: Kirsteen Paton (University of Liverpool) Emma Jackson (Goldsmiths)
Booking your place: Booking is essential. Venue numbers are restricted and it is advisable to book early
Registration Fees: BSA member £25 / Non-BSA member £35 / Student BSA concessionary member £20 / Full Time Student non-BSA member £25
Register on line HERE.
Confirmed Speakers: Luke de Noronha (University of Oxford) Camilla Lewis (University of Manchester), Thandi Loewenson (UCL), Jacqueline Waldock (Liverpool) Morag Rose (University of Liverpool) Ruth Raynor (Newcastle University)
Timetable and abstracts
9.45am-11am: Mapping the changing city
Camilla Lewis and Monica Degen- Mapping the diversities of Gentrification: analysing Smithfield Market using sensory and temporal perspectives
Morag Rose (title tbc)
11.15am- 12.30pm Listening, sound and resistance
Luke de Noronha – “Deportation Discs”: reflections on listening to, recording, and sharing deportation stories.
Jacqueline Waldock – Listening to change, exploring the shifting sound cultures of regeneration.
1.15pm -3.15pm Walk
3.15pm- 4.30pm Creative Writing as Method
Thandi Loewensen – Not yet, now now: Excavating a space ship from the Lusaka city dump site
Mapping the diversities of Gentrification: analysing Smithfield Market using sensory and temporal perspectives
This paper provides a sensory and temporal analysis of urban change in and around the Smithfield Market area, the largest wholesale meat market in Britain. Located within the Square Mile of the City of London, this area has recently been included as part of the ‘Culture Mile’, the City’s largest regeneration project in a decade. The derelict west side of the market is being transformed into the site for the new Museum of London, a new Crossrail transport hub is due to open next year and the area is increasingly promoted as a cultural destination for families and tourists.
Analyses of gentrification have already shown how the effects of urban change vary in specific places and how gentrification plays out differently across the globe. Here, we follow Lees’ (2000) suggestion to focus on temporality in order to problematize the notion of gentrification as a uniform and coherent process within one locality. Instead, examining the lived, everyday experiences and practices of the diverse social groups using Smithfield Market, we explore how at times overlapping, at other times contrasting sensory atmospheres and temporal patterns produce uneven expressions of gentrification. In particular, we reflect on why the multi-methods approach used in the study which included ethnography, interviews, oral histories, walkalongs and various analogue and digital mapping techniques were necessary to investigate the interactions between past, present and future sensory identities of the area. The study reveals how gentrification fluctuates in intensity in different places and at different times, constituting a multiplicity of place identities and producing variable forms of belonging and exclusion. The paper suggests that urban research can respond to a changing political and social context by drawing attention to new forms of vernacular cultures emerging in cities using mapping methods which demonstrate the sensory and temporal character of urban change.
Project website: http://sensorysmithfield.com/
Remapping Manchester: Walking Desire Lines and Power Chords
Drawing a line on a map is act of power. This paper explores how that power can be reclaimed by discussing DIY, activist and artist mapping practices. There will be a particular focus on psychogeographical techniques which use walking as a way to engage with, and affectively remap, urban space. It will draw on fieldnotes from twelve years of wandering and wondering with The Loiterers Resistance Movement (LRM), a Manchester based psychogeographical collective. Part of The LRM manifesto states
“Gentrification, advertising and blandness make us sad. We believe there is magic in the mancunian rain. Our city is wonderful and made for more than shopping. The streets belong to everyone and we want to reclaim them for play and revolutionary fun. ….The LRM embark on psychogeographical drifts to decode the palimpsest of the streets, uncover hidden histories and discover the extraordinary in the mundane”.
The psychogeographical derive – or drift – reconfigures walking as a political and creative act. This micro-level, DIY action presents many challenges and opportunities for exploring the city. For The LRM it is a convivial, playful way to work which aims to blur the boundaries between activism, art and academia and you are warmly invite to join us on an expedition as we take theory onto the streets.
Some further reading:
Phil Smith Mythogeography and more http://www.mythogeography.com/
Christian Nold Biomapping / emotional mapping http://biomapping.net/
Jane Samuels Artist maps: http://www.milliondollaryack.com/GhostStations/
Southwark Notes Activist maps: https://southwarknotes.wordpress.com/
Walking Artists Network: http://www.walkingartistsnetwork.org/
And some listening:
‘Er Outdoors by The Geography Workshop / Resonance FM
Luke De Noronha
“Deportation Discs”: reflections on listening to, recording, and sharing deportation stories.
How do we tell the stories of people who have been banished from the UK? How might we tell different stories about ‘foreigners’, ‘criminals’ and ‘bad migrants’, stories which humanise and complicate? Sometimes just hearing someone’s voice, their British accent and their familiar points of reference, tells us more than the best writing can. So much is lost in the process of transcription, and it is important to bring the voice, intonation, expression, the noise into the telling of research. “Deportation Discs” was one attempt to tell deportation stories differently, through music and memory. Mimicking the format of Desert Island Discs was both apposite and unsettling. In this talk, I reflect on “Deportation Discs” and situate it within my larger research methodology. In particular, I question the ongoing ethical questions and risks when sharing intimate portraiture like this. Who is this podcast for? How do my interlocutors and I relate to the project differently? And how might this way of telling might contribute to the interventions I (we?) hope to make? “Deportation Discs” was one attempt to show people who have been subject to the most extraordinary state violence, to give them space to share their remembering. In this talk, I reflect on some of the limitations of this project, discuss how the podcast relates to my broader intellectual concerns, and finally, and most importantly, I question what the anti-racist utility of “Deportation Discs” might be.
2018 The Windrush deportations were wrong – and so are all the others, The Guardian
2016. No Tears Left To Cry, VICE News
Listening to change, exploring the shifting sound cultures of regeneration.
The paper will highlight how conflicting sounds and sound cultures are compounded by the regeneration process. The work will explore a multi-faceted approach to understanding sound in areas of urban regeneration where local residents were engaged in: recording, listening, re-listening, editing and critiquing their sound spaces at a time of significant change. This practice of partnering with local residents provided valuable insights into how regeneration can disrupt communities and radically transform their listening of sonic space. I will also discuss how partnering process also contributed in supporting the agency of residents to inscribe their presence in a multiplicity of ways, in a shifting environment of conflict.
Waldock, J. “Crossing the Boundaries: Community Composition and Sensory Ethnography” Senses and Society Journal, Berg. 2016
Waldock, J. “Hearing Urban Change” in Black L. and Bull, M.(eds.) Auditory Cultural Reader, 2nd revised edition, Bloomsbury Press. pp 151-161 2015
Not yet, now now: Excavating a space ship from the Lusaka city dump site
On 24 October 1964, Zambia gained independence from the United Kingdom. In Lusaka, thousands of people gathered at the newly built Independence Stadium for Dr Kaunda’s inauguration, chanting ‘kwatcha’, the Nyanja word for dawn. Had UNESCO responded to funding requests from one of the country’s most ingenious freedom fighters, Edward Festus Mukuka Nkoloso, the day would also have been marked by a rocket launch to Mars and the start of the Zambian Space Program. Nkoloso and his Space Program, with its accompanying Academy of Sciences and Space Technology, were pilloried in the Western media; Zambians couldn’t possibly have ambitions that high, not yet. Exactly what happened to the Program in the years that followed is unclear. This paper reveals the search for Nkoloso’s space ship, and poses questions about the potential of an architectural practice which operates on the fringe of the real – through drawings, props, costume and performance – to engage disenfranchised communities with policy makers in imagining urban futures.
The search begins at the rumoured former testing site of the program – the Lusaka city dump – where a lingering tender process threatens to privatise the site any day, now now. Here, a fictional city called Mailo – a parallel and possible version of Lusaka, past and present, made Weird – has been conjured through which to conduct our investigation. Through the staging and performance of scenes and characters from Mailo, together with the Chunga Waste Recycler’s Association and the Lusaka City Council, we set out to excavate what pieces of the space ship might remain, and how exhuming and performing scenes from a forgotten history reimagined, might reshape how we think of the potential of the city today.
Speaking, feeling, mattering: Theatre as a method and a model for coproduced research
A group of women in the North East of England; all mothers, all out of paid work or in low waged temporary employment; women getting on and getting by amidst austerity. All attended a family support service that was threatened (and eventually lost) to local authority budget cuts. Over two years we made a theatre play together. This enabled us to explore precarious conditions in and beyond austerity, amongst other things. The result was a grounded but fictional narrative (albeit a story that ‘falls apart’). We made efforts to hold onto the singularity of women and characters, which would become more than a position (‘economically inactive’) in a region (the North-East of England) and a climate (of austerity). Staying with these excesses, in this short piece, I reflect on the theatre-making workshops. In particular I focus on in-depth and well-justified relationships between forms of practice and the spatial ways of knowing they engage; the surfacing of otherwise background conditions for critique and intervention; and relations between doing and thinking, as well as collaborating partners, to show how this method opened a field of possibilities.