Different Ways to Access Space

Panelists

Sarah Butler (chair)

Sarah is a novelist, with an accompanying practice in socially-engaged, place-specific writing. Fascinated by the relationships between stories, places and communities, her work explores identity, belonging, landscape and home. She has a particular interest in urban spaces and urban change, and is one quarter of Women Talk Place.

Julia Webb-Harvey

Julia Webb-Harvey is a doctoral candidate at Falmouth University, using her creative practice as a writer to explore J M W Turner’s 1811 Tour of Cornwall. Julia also completed her MA Professional Writing (2018) at Falmouth University. Recently Julia has been working on a writing/research project, Under the Eaves, with The Museum of Cornish Life to decolonise objects within the museum’s collection and reveal their hidden stories. In 2010, Julia published a book Hurt, with the charity Mosac, following her work as a psychotherapist working with the non-abusing parents/carers of children were sexually abused. Julia says her first love was geography, which fuelled a desire to travel widely, on land and sea. Julia is a sailor, gig-rower, and walker (wandering mostly with her dog, Bessie).

Nirmal Puwar

Nirmal Puwar is Reader in the Sociology Department of Goldsmith’s College, University of London, where she has lectured for over ten years. She has authored Space Invaders: race, gender and bodies out of place (2004). The concept of Space Invaders has been developed and discussed in a number of institutional sectors. Puwar has co-edited 17 Collections, including: Post-colonial BourdieuOrientalism and FashionIntimacy in ResearchLive Methods and, South Asian Women in the Diaspora.  A number of her writings have been translated into different languages. She was Co-Director of the Methods Lab for over ten years, undertaking projects to re-think, stretch and connect the very walls of the academy beyond the academy. She takes a critical historical approach to ‘public engagement’ and has worked collaboratively using creative methods.

Nicola Bishop

Dr Nicola Bishop is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature who researches a wide range of topics, from middlebrow culture, British sitcoms, the lower middle class, crime fiction, suburbia, office work, and ecocriticism. Underpinning her interest in all of these areas is a focus on place and the affect it has on shaping our experiences. Her latest work focuses on rural television programming – a genre that she finds herself watching most nights with her partner because their viewing interests are not compatible (cosy crime versus action thrillers) but their shared enjoyment of running and dog walking in rural landscapes means they can watch this sort of TV without falling out.

Abstracts

Exploring Turner’s Cornwall

“The Cornish landscape that Turner travelled in, across the moors, along cliffs, inlets and bays has not changed geomorphologically, yet the place that Turner represented in his paintings has changed dramatically.”

Julia Webb Harvey’s research has taken her into the archives to analyse Turner’s disorderly sketchbooks to query his route (and where he did not go). Turner chose nine locations to create full paintings, but his sketchbooks detail the full imprints of his tour, in sketches, worked compositions, and scribbled lines of verse. Following the footsteps of Turner’s 1811 Tour of Cornwall, in dialogue with his creative outputs and the ghostly traces of him, Webb Harvey’s work interprets what he saw and represented, contrasting it with her experience of being in place – in the Cornwall of today. 

One Mile Walk: Decompositions/Recompositions

The announcement of a City of Culture unleashes possibilities for changing cities, as well excavating and re-harnessing heritage, some of which may be currently undervalued or even invisible. Place making ensues in the process of making cities through how the city is announced by a spectrum of makers, including politicians, economic corporations and cultural leaders. In this context, what does an academic as Writer As Resident do? Where do they/we find themselves? Who do they/we position themselves with? How do they/we navigate long standing and newly forming boundaries of city making. How does the academic make the city in the capacity of being a Writer as Resident?

Engaging with Green Spaces on Television

Rural-focused programmes have seen steady growth since the turn of the century, and the format generally takes a place + personality approach, with local knowledge being drawn from interviews with talking heads and supplemented with sublime landscape footage. The genre also includes innovation; from the exploration of Scandinavian-style slow television in All Aboard: the Canal Trip in 2015 to use of the 360-degree selfie cameras during lockdown to make Winter Walks (both BBC) in 2019.

This paper argues that the place of such programming should be re-evaluated in light of the Covid lockdowns and the growing awareness of the limited access many people still have to rural spaces. It also looks at recent studies about the mental health and wellbeing impacts of viewing ‘nature’ on screen, and the widening inclusivity that television can have for a diverse range of audiences in encouraging confidence in accessing rural landscapes, and the benefits it can have for those who struggle to experience them at first hand.

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