Does your discipline engage with matters of space and place?
Most do, albeit at a variety of scales, in myriad ways and for many divergent reasons. In his 2012 book, The Memory of Place, Dylan Trigg suggests that an interdisciplinary ‘place studies’ has emerged in recent years at the intersection of philosophy, geography, architecture, urban design and environmental studies. But in our experience the ambit of place studies is even wider, for our group also includes SHU place-researching academics from education, management studies, law, sociology, psychology, real estate and performance studies.
The interdisciplinary SHU Space and Place Group was set up in 2012 by Jenny Blain (Sociology), Luke Bennett (Natural & Built Environment), Cathy Burnett and Carol Taylor (Education) to explore the common ground between our various interests in space and place. It meets 3-4 times a year to discuss conceptual, methodological and practical issues around the question “how do we make sense of the spaces and places within which stuff of interest to us happens?”.
We are always keen to welcome new voices into our conversation and we’ve organised our (informal) ‘conference’ on 11 May 2016 as a way of widening participation in the Group’s endeavours. It will also showcase what we’ve already achieved through our group’s open and creative collaborations.
There will be talks in the morning (see bottom of this post for the abstracts):
9.00 – 9.20 REGISTRATION
9.20-9.30 INTRODUCTION TO THE SPG AND THE DAY
Luke Bennett – Senior Lecturer, Department of the Natural & Built Environment,
09.30-11.00 SPATIAL REPRESENTATIONS: FOUR VIEWS OF PLACE
Chair: Carol Taylor, Reader, Sheffield Institute for Education, SHU
9.30 – 9.50 Joanne Lee – Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design, Sheffield Institute of Arts –Exploring a vague terrain
9.50 – 10.20 Chi-Yun Shin – Principal Lecturer in Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University –Liminal Zone: Rooftops in Cinema
10.20 – 10.40 Kaeren Harrison – Senior Lecturer, Department of the Natural & Built Environment, SHU – Place and interface in late 20th century mass housing
10.40 – 11.00 Val Derbyshire – PhD Candidate, Department of English Literature, School of English, University of Sheffield – In Pursuit of the Picturesque: Places and Spaces within the Works of Charlotte Smith (1749-1806)
11.00 – 11.20 COFFEE BREAK
11.20 – 12.50 IN-PLACE: IDENTITY, CREATIVITY AND LEARNING
Chair: Ian Ellison, Senior Lecturer, Sheffield Business School
11.20-11.40 Jenni Brooks – Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, Psychology and Politics, SHU – Constructing identity: finding a space in someone else’s workplace
11.40-12.00 Jenny Slater – Lecturer in Education Studies, Sheffield Institute for Education, SHU – Conversations around the toilet…
12.00-12.20 Andrew Middleton – Head of Academic Practice & Learning Innovation, SHU –Vernacular, interstitial and dominant spaces: what they mean for learning at university.
12.20-12.50 Eve Stirling – Senior Lecturer, Interior Design, Sheffield Institute of Arts – Social media places as sites for creative production.
12.50 – 1.10 GROUP DISCUSSION ON THE MORNING PAPERS
1.10 – 2.00 LUNCH
2.00 – 5.00 EXPLORING THE HEART OF THE CAMPUS
In the afternoon session we intend to explore SHU’s new Heart of the Campus area, and use a variety of contrasting research methods to do so. The group attempted something similar at the former Southbourne building in 2013, and one of the papers arising from that – Jon Dean’s study of the assignment management zone and its sociality – has recently been published in the journal Qualitative Inquiry http://qix.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/11/19/1077800415605050.
All are very welcome – please forward to anyone interested in participating. We will circulate a full programme once finalised and give directions on how to book a place. The event will be free to attend,and places are limited, so early booking is recommended.
There are no car parks and extremely limited on-street parking near Collegiate Campus. We recommend parking in the city and walking or travelling by public transport to the campus.
If you’re a blue badge holder, you can arrange parking at either campus by phoning 0114 225 3868. The HOTC building has several blue badge specific parking spaces right next to the main entrances. The Moot Suite has two entrances, one upper and one lower; access to the former is on the regular ground level, the latter has a wheelchair-specific lift to negate the few steps.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (BST) – Add to Calendar
Heart of the Campus Building, Room HC 0.03 (The Moot Suite), – Sheffield Hallam University Collegiate Campus, Collegiate Crescent, Sheffield S10 2BP, United Kingdom – View Map
HOW TO BOOK
Here’s the Eventbrite booking link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/shu-space-place-group-workshop-day-tickets-23241847993?ref=estw We have a limit of 40 places, so please book early to avoid disappointment. Light refreshments and a sandwich lunch are being kindly sponsored by the Department of Psychology, Sociology & Politics. A cafe is also available on site for more exotic purchases.
Session 1 : SPATIAL REPRESENTATIONS: FOUR VIEWS OF PLACE
Joanne Lee: Exploring a vague terrain
Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design, Sheffield Institute of Arts (SHU)
This paper will present recent work on space and place emerging from Returns, a collaboration between artist-researchers at Sheffield Hallam University and Nottingham Trent University, which developed from Topographies of the Obsolete, an international cross-disciplinary initiative focusing on post-industrial landscapes. An artists residency for the project enabled me to make a photographic exploration of surfaces and artefacts found at the former Spode ceramics factory in Stoke-on-Trent; this prompted a return to previous research I’d pursued on places lying in between use, and as a result I went on to discuss and reframe a series of actual and conceptual terrains vagues in my Pam Flett Press independent serial publication. Since then, having recently moved back to Sheffield, I have been walking and photographing urban lanes in the city in order to consider how close visual attention to their most infra-ordinary aspects both reveals and transforms the complexity of these sites.
Principal Lecturer in Film Studies at Sheffield Hallam University
Liminal Zone: Rooftops in Cinema
At the beginning of the climatic scene of the 2010 comedy action film Date Night, Tina Fey’s Claire Foster tells the mob boss Joe Miletto to give them a minute as they’re “trying to do a rooftop thing”. Although it is never clear what the character (a suburban, married woman) meant by this rooftop thing, this remark constitutes the film’s self-conscious or self-aware moment, as it leads to a spectacular appearance of the NYPD helicopter at the count of three. And it is the rooftop space – whether it is a set or real location – that allows this showdown. With its uniquely liminal quality (in-and-outside-ness) and inbuilt riskiness, the rooftop space is a cinematic site that articulates or facilitates a tipping point or crisis in the narrative or action, whether it is chases, murders, suicides, secret meetings, celebrations or protests. Paying attention to the consistent qualities such as generic patterns (be it in superhero films or romantic comedies), or particular narrative modes associated with rooftop space, this paper explores the rich relationship between film and rooftop space.
Senior Lecturer, Department of the Natural & Built Environment, SHU
Place and interface in late 20th century mass housing
Over the last fifty years housing development has been increasingly dominated by mass delivery through private sector speculative builders. This suburban housing typology has attracted extensive criticism including that it is ’anywhere housing’ and lacks a ‘sense of place’. There is however little empirical research into place within this residential context. The use of Lefebvre’s spatial triad; lived (spaces of representation), conceived (representations of space) and perceived (spatial practice) will be used to explore how residents, public and academics perceive the relationship between place and the public private interface: defined as ‘components of the urban order where interior becomes exterior, enclosed becomes open, social becomes spatial, public becomes private.’ (Thwaites et al 2013). A qualitative case study will be developed, using research techniques including morphological analysis, photo-elicitation and resident narrative, to explore the interface/place relationship in five residential developments from the nineteen seventies to the present day. This research is being undertaken for a PhD based in the Landscape Department at the University of Sheffield.
PhD Candidate, Department of English Literature, School of English, University of Sheffield
In Pursuit of the Picturesque: Places and Spaces within the Works of Charlotte Smith (1749-1806)
Charlotte Smith was a poet, novelist, playwright and author of educational works for children. Within her life, she hardly ever left the area surrounding the South Downs of Sussex and many critics have described her as a regional writer. However, Smith covered an enormous range of places within both her novels and her poetry and her writing takes her readers upon a global journey across continents. Many of these locations all have one aspect in common: their picturesque and scenic nature. Looking at some of the landscapes described in Smith’s works, this paper will analyse these scenes and will consider the methods by which Smith’s artistry within her novels and poetry formed part of this wider movement of visual culture of the Romantic era, depicting places which were not necessarily real, but rather artistic renderings of them. This artificial construction of landscape within her texts then, strangely, seems to lead to the realism of Smith’s novels being made more realistic by virtue of their reliance on artists and their works.
Session 2: IN-PLACE: IDENTITY, CREATIVITY AND LEARNING
Senior Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics, SHU
Constructing identity: finding a space in someone else’s workplace
Personal assistants who provide support to physically disabled people in their workplaces occupy a potentially problematic space. They are physically present in their employer’s workplace, and yet to perform their duties effectively, they must become ‘invisible’. They have little autonomy over their work, which is solely to facilitate the independence and work of their employer. Our new research project explores the role of workplace PAs by tapping into the experiences of PAs themselves, the disabled people who employ them, and the disabled people’s employers. How do workplace PAs negotiate their professional identity when they may not be introduced in meetings (other than as ‘the PA’), and their names are not written in minutes? Their employer’s colleagues are not their colleagues. They have no relationship with their employer’s employer – no IT login, no swipe card, no contract. They are present, and yet no proof of their presence exists.
Lecturer in Education Studies, Sheffield Institute for Education, SHU
Conversations around the toilet…
Around the Toilet (https://aroundthetoilet.wordpress.com/) is a cross-disciplinary, arts-based research project, funded through the AHRC, which explores the toilet as a place of exclusion and belonging. Although the toilet is often thought to be a mundane space, for those who lack adequate or accessible toilet provision on a daily basis, toilets become a crucial practical issue which can create and reaffirm feelings of exclusion and regulation. Disabled people, for example, frequently report that ‘accessible’ toilets are not accessible enough, while other studies show that diminishing numbers of public toilets can prevent older people leaving the house. Toilets can also present a stark visual and material enactment of a gender binary in ways that can be problematic for trans, genderqueer or non-binary people. Thinking around toilets and their function as material as well as socio-cultural environments presents an opportunity to consider forms of identity in multi-faceted ways. Researchers on the project are based across three universities (Sheffield Hallam University, University of Sheffield and University of Leeds), and community organisations (Queer of the Unknown (a performing arts collective) Action for Trans* Health and The Loiterers Resistance Movement). In this talk we will reflect on the findings of our project and the arts-based methodologies that allowed for potentially ‘awkward’ conversations.
Head of Academic Practice & Learning Innovation, SHU Learning Enhancement & Academic Development
Vernacular, interstitial and dominant spaces: what they mean for learning at university
The University is committed to developing its understanding of learning spaces fit for the future. But what spaces are we talking about and what do we understand learning to mean? This short presentation will ask us to consider learning, what it means and what it looks like by using Hamilton’s (2000) idea of vernacular literacies as a way to value what Cross (2007) referred to as natural informal learning. We will compare ideas about liminality, translocation and Third Space with notions of the dominant, formal, institutional space. In amongst these ideas of space, learning and literacies, we will examine interstitialility and the lived connections found and made by students as they experience learning through their course. By understanding learning as it is experienced in and across formal and non-formal spaces, a university can begin to foster a deeper learning engagement.
Senior Lecturer Interior Design / Programme Leader MA/MFA Design, Sheffield Institute of Art (SHU)
Social media places as sites for creative production.
My work currently focuses on the hyper-layered nature of social media use by students studying on Design courses at a university in the UK. It explores data across Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, as sites of creative productions. Social media sites are places of creative production, where the ecosocial systems of student and design company converge. The relationship between the trainee designers studying in a university and the trained designers in the external industry is changing. The mass socialisation of digital and online communications has meant that content is authored, curated, critiqued and reconfigured by a mass of users. Through the collective efforts of the users – posting, liking, commenting and sharing – connection and collaboration takes place. There is a context collapse between creative learning, production and working practices. I present these digital places that connect students and creative industries through their hyperlinked ecocsocial environments.
Image source: http://www.shu.ac.uk/eventservices/venues/heart-campus