RGS 2016 sessions

Very happy to have had the confirmation through for a total of four sessions I am co-convening with Anita McKeown from NCAD, Dublin, at this years Royal Geographical Society annual conference. 

The first is a triple session, The Nexus of Art and Geography: practice as research, the second, Sensory orientations: transversal practices and dissemination within art and geography. Abstracts and programme below. 

The conference takes place Tuesday, 30th August to Friday, 2nd September, all information here.  

The Nexus of Art and Geography: practice as research

Spatial practices are not unique to geography, historically artists have engaged with materialities as social practice (Courage, 2015; Kester, 2011; Lacy, 1998) physical environments (landscape painting, perspective) and exploring and shaping concepts of time and space (virtual worlds, telematics/telepresence). Both fields share experiences of spatial and social turns in theory (Soja, 2008; Bishop, 2006; Bourriaud, Massey, 2005), and practice (Mel Chin; In Certain Places; M12; France Whitehead) with theoretical, methodological and epistemological impacts.  

The artistic and spatial turn across arts and geographical disciplines is maturing and the conversation is not an exclusive, but mutual conversation. Artistic practices utilise geographical methods; Cartography, GIS, Spatial Inquiry, Participant Observation and share research interests with geography e.g. Information Modelling, a cultural and emotional engagement with place. Equally, geographers are utilising arts-based methods (Hawkins, 2012; Rose, 2011); visual and performative methods and methodologies e.g. Photography, Compositional Analysis, the Situationist’s dérive, to expand their understanding of the world and make connections to synthesise knowledge between disciplines.

This panel, taking inspiration from the nexus theme of the RGS-IBG 2016 annual conference, aims to bring together ‘artist-geographers’ and ‘geographer-artists’ to present on the perspective of practice-based/practice as research, engaged in nexus discourse towards social-ecological resilience.

·         Art without artists? An experiment in facilitating community-led arts commissioning, Phil Jones, University of Birmingham

·         A translocal approach to dialogue-based art, Rachelle Viader Knowles, Coventry University

·         Qualitative representation in the space between arts practice and geography, John Stell, University of Leeds

·         CRYSTALLINE - The Arctic Circle, Siobhan McDonald, artist

·         Interrogating Territory: Borders, fictions and contradictions, Anne Gough, KTH - Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm

·         Brokering Connections: public art as a nexus of knowledge production, Elaine Speight, In Certain Places and University of Central Lancashire

·         Mapping the Scottish Borders: collaborative art practices, Inge Panneels, Northumbria University

·         Mapping Systems, Frances Halsall, National College of Art and Design (Dublin)

·         Bodies of Water, Amy Sharrocks, artist

·         Visualising Changing Identities, Communities and Labour Practices on Dublins’ Docks, Moira Sweeney, Dublin Institute of Technology

·         Expeditions as Art: Impacts of Fieldwork by Artist-Geographers in Our New Ecological Reality, Andrew Ranville, artist

·         Breaks, flows, interruptions: Discovering new questions through collaborative research, Sally Labern and Bobby Lloyd, artists, The Drawing Shed


Sensory orientations: transversal practices and dissemination within art and geography

This session presents a curated selection of papers that represent a breadth of arts practices that operate at the intersection of geographic study in the field, addressing the vital question of what is the potential for these practices to disseminate complex geographic ideas and engage individuals on a human-scale with the physical world?

The practices are sensory and embodied and variously visual, tactile, sonic, gustation, even olfaction. This session curates a range of practitioners active in research to collectively present insights into how artistic practice re-configures spatial narratives through collaborative co-performances of ‘making-sense’ producing cognitive maps (Lynch, 1976); the mental organisation of sensory experience.

As individuals navigate their daily lives they mark the environment through their own spatial practices and narratives. These interactions are often in contrast to spatial narratives developed over time through city planning, urban design and geo-political ideologies. This ongoing organisation and re-organisation transforms space dynamically and continuously into places of meaning and value (De Certeau 1984; Tuan, 1977) challenging static understandings that may come from institutional or political ideologies. Over time this enables collective constructions and re-constructions of space; socio-politically, culturally and economically.

Agile and adaptive these practices appropriate when necessary social forms and are cognizant of a range of theoretical and practical disciplines. Their critical inquiries develop creative, dynamic and complex methodologies combining ‘action with vision’ (Wright, 2005;136). Their multiplicitous trajectories (Massey, 2005) include scientific and social science research paradigms, interdisciplinary methods, human and non-human co-constituents. Collaborative by nature and design, their ‘intervention-orientated enterprises’ (Wright, 2005;136) serve to migrate and cross-pollinate ideas to traverse disciplinary frontiers.

Through their creative tools and practices the artist’s explore and exploit ruptures in physical and conceptual spatial narratives by their interactions with residents, environments, technologies and even mountains. 

·         Breaking the Frame: Spatial Ideology and Resistant Practice-led Research Approaches, Lucy Livingstone, University of Northumbria

·         Transient Space: Re-interpreting Place Through Augmented Soundscapes, Andrew Hill, artist and University of Greenwich

·         Guide74: a mountain recording activity, Luce Choules, artist

·         Collaborative Narration –An Artist’s Practice, Jane Dudman, Newcastle University

·         (Re)Art (Re)Geography (Re)Performance, Charlie Rawson, artist