In this talk Phil Cohen will discuss a number of political, conceptual and methodological issues which have arisen from the research and development of A Citizen’s Atlas of London. This project, initiated by the Livingmaps Network, is setting out to train and support citizen mappers located in regeneration hot spots across London, enabling them to use a variety of participatory mapping approaches to explore and represent their own alternative visions of the city’s past, present and future.
To what extent can participatory action research be considered an effective tool for doing citizen social science? How far can an ethno-cartographic approach succeed in releasing the sociological imagination of groups who find themselves marginalised in the political and planning process, disqualified by the educational system, and condemned to an increasingly precarious economic existence?
To address these questions, Cohen will present and discuss a video of two map-making session: the first with a senior citizen’s group, the second with a mixed ability group of children and young people, both drawn from working class and minority ethnic communities in East London’s docklands which have suffered historic neglect by the civic planning authorities, but now find themselves caught up in a process of accelerated gentrification.
Phil Cohen is a Senior Visiting Research at the Institute of Advanced Studies and an Emeritus Professor at the University of East London. He has spent over forty years working with the communities of East London in a wide variety of research, educational and cultural projects, tracing the impact of structural and demographic change on livelihoods, lifestyles and life stories, with a special focus on perceptions of class, gender and ‘race’. He is the author of a widely acclaimed study of the 2012 Olympics and its impact on East London, On the Wrong Side of the Tracks (Lawrence and Wishart 2013) and Archive that, Comrade: Left legacies and the Counter Culture of Remembrance (PM Press 2018). He has also written a memoir Reading Room Only: memoir of a radical bibliophile (Five Leaves 2013) and Graphologies (with his partner, the painter Jean McNeil), a collection of poetry and fiction, published by Mica Press in 2016.
The event is free. Further information and booking:
Hosted by The Centre for Cultural Studies Research, University of East London.
Tickets: £15/7.50 Bookings and full conference details on EVENTBRITE
A day of discussions bringing together different generations of writers, researchers and activists to consider the political and cultural legacies of 1968, and their bearing on the future prospects for a more democratic, equal and participatory society. Our aim is to help rekindle the intellectual excitement that characterised the political counter culture of the Sixties but focused on contemporary issues.
‘1968’, Coming of Age Stories and the Quest for Uncommon Ground. Phil Cohen.
Introduced and chaired by Andrew Calcutt.
To at last create a legacy in which there is no turning back: the politics of memory and hope in uncertain times. With Anthony Barnett, Darren Ellis, Jeremy Gilbert, Kenan Malik, Mike Rustin, Anne Querrien, Lynne Segal. Introduced and chaired by Phil Cohen.
Rethinking the Youth Question: From Learning to Labour to Generation Rent / On the ‘Wrong’ side of the tracks: Class, Gender, Ethnicity and Identity politics / Only Create ! Working Identities and Youth Cultural Industry / In a white unpleasant land: New ethnicities, old racisms before and after Brexit / Queerying the Labourhood: Redundant Masculinities, Gender Fluidity and the sexual politics of the working class city / ‘Nothing about us, without us’: Recognition, representation and knowledge/power in participatory research / Re-placing the local: navigating landscapes of material change in the global city / Living the Dream? East London, Gentrification and the 2012 Olympic Legacy / Spaced Out: Frontline cartographies between map and territory / Me Too? Self Disclosure, Celebrity Culture and the deregulation of moral economy – a feminist perspective / After 68: Political memory and the legacy of counter culture / ‘We are the Writing on Your Walls’: changing media of political discourse from agitprop to ‘fake news’ /
Contributors: Carolina Bandinelli, Anthony Barnett, Debra Benita_Shaw, Penny Bernstock, Shane Blackman, Iain Boal, Avtar Brah, Anna Bull, Judith Burnett, Andrew Calcutt, Phil Cohen, Nicole Crockett, Juliet Davis, Mike Duggan, Alberto Duman, Darren Ellis, Jonathan Gardner, Bob Gilbert, Jeremy Gilbert, Anthony Gunter, Jonathan Hardy, Anders Hoeg_Hansen, Robert Holland, Pat Holland, Debbie Humphry, Syd Jeffers, Debbie Kent, Jina Lee, Ben Little, Aura Lounasmaa, Rob MacDonald, Stephen Maddison, Kenan Malik, Dan McQuillan, Angela McRobbie, Samer Moustafa, Orson Nava, Mica Nava, Darren Nixon, Anoop Nyak, Daisy Payling, Sol Perez, Ann Phoenix, Dick Pountain, Hilary Powell, Anne Querrien, Nora Rathzel, Catherine Rottenberg, Mike Rustin, Tony Samson, Lynne Segal, Ash Sharma, Emma Spruce, Valerie Walkerdine, John Wallett, Marta Welander, Garry Whannel, Alison Winch, Ken Worpolea and Nira Yuval_Davis.
Lunchtime film programme,
Reception and book launch: Archive that, Comrade: Left Legacies and the Counter Culture of Remembrance by Phil Cohen, published by PM Press, and Regeneration Songs: Investment and Loss in East London edited by Alberto Duman, Dan Hancox, Malcolm James and Anna Minton. Published by Repeater Books.
See more at the conference website: http://rethinking1968.today/
With Layla Curtis
Chair: Mike Duggan
Layla Curtis will discuss the research, inspiration and processes behind two of her recent works: Trespass (2015) and The Thames (from London Bridge, Arizona to Sheerness, Canada) (2013). In both works Curtis creates a map of a specific location, but uses two different techniques to do so. Layla’s presentation will contribute to the theme of ‘cultural cartographies’ by demonstrating how artistic practices and technologies can lead to novel and ground-up approaches to mapping the experiences and cultures of place.
Curtis’ mobile phone app Trespass provides users with an oral history of Freeman’s Wood; an area of edgeland situated on the outskirts of Lancaster, England that has been used for decades by local people for recreation. The land is currently owned by an offshore property company who recently erected a metal fence around the plot, barring locals from entering under threat of breaking trespass laws. Curtis recorded interviews with members of the local community as they walked with her inside and around Freeman’s Wood, reflecting on the impact the space has had on their lives, and offering their speculations as to what its future might be. Users of Trespass app are invited to walk these same routes, mapped by Curtis using GPS, whilst listening to the audio interviews. However, the app uses geo-fencing technology to restrict access to most of the audio content – access to all thirteen audio tracks is only granted if the listener chooses to trespass, crossing both the physical fence, and the app’s virtual geo-fence, into Freeman’s Wood.
The Thames (from London Bridge, Arizona to Sheerness, Canada) is a collaged map, hand-constructed from fragments of international atlases and nautical charts, reassembled to form the familiar outline of the Thames. The reconfigured map focuses on the etymology of place names along the shores of the river and, through playful placement of place names from elsewhere, also takes us on a historical journey and explores the far-reaching influence of the Thames. Made in ten parts, the collage follows the river for over fifty miles as it flows eastward from London Bridge to the Thames Estuary. It references many notable journeys, ships, events, people and industries whose stories are inextricably intertwined with this stretch of the river.
Layla Curtis is an artist whose practice has a focus on place, landscape and mapping. Her multi-form work examines the attempts we make to chart the earth, how we locate ourselves, navigate space and represent terrain. Curtis’s work features in notable collections including Tate Collection and the Government Art Collection and has been included in exhibitions at Tate Modern, London; Pavilhão Lucas Nogueira Garcez-Oca, São Paulo, Brazil; RMIT, Melbourne, Australia; and Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Canada. In 2006 she was awarded an Arts Council England International Fellowship to Antarctica and created Polar Wandering, a 27,856 mile long interactive online drawing exhibited in solo shows at New Art Gallery Walsall (2006), and Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast (2008). In 2010/11 she travelled to the Borneo rainforest to create Tong Tana, a moving image work made while trekking with nomadic hunter-gathers, subsequently exhibited at Matt’s Gallery, London (2012). Other residencies include those with Art on the Underground, Turner Contemporary and Akiyoshidai International Arts Village, Japan. Layla is also the founder of www.edgework.co.uk – an artist-led, online platform specialising in selling limited edition prints and publications by artists whose practice has a focus on place.
Date:Wednesday 20thJune 2018
Time: 18:00 – 20:00
Venue:The Nash Lecture Theatre, Kings College London, The Strand, WC2R 2LS
(Note: please sign it at reception to receive a visitor pass)
Cost:Tickets £10.00 and £7.50concessions
With Joel Seath and Kelda Lyons
Chair: Mike Duggan
Children have a right to play, as stipulated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Too often, however, tolerance for play is confined to corrals of adult acceptability: designated areas within the urban fabric. The reality of play (that is, play for its own sake, without adult agenda) is that, as urban citizens in their own right, children will play anywhere and everywhere if conditions are conducive for them to do so. Play is an everydayness of being.
Whilst working at an adventure playground in west London, Joel Seathaimed to raise the tolerance and awareness of play, in part by mapping contemporary accounts and observations of play in both destination places and the in-betweens, and by simultaneously gathering historical accounts of local played-places. This anecdotal lived experience of different generations was reflected back in interactions with adult community members.
Drawing on the thinking of writers of urban studies as well as on that of playwork theorists, this seminar aims to give a flavour of the urban palimpsest, as perceived and mapped, in which play that has been still marks, and in which play continues to take place. As societal positioning on the well-being of children continues to shift, this seminar is an on-going call for careful observation, understanding, tolerance, and respect for children’s play, wherever and however that play happens.
Joel is a playworker, playwork trainer, researcher, and writer. With close-to thirty years’ experience, he has worked with and for younger and older children and teenagers in a wide variety of play, early years and youth provisions, in outreach on the city streets, in forests, and at festivals.
Kelda is a playworker, play consultant, writer and researcher with 15 years experience of doing inclusive playwork with children and teenagers. Kelda does independent and original research on playwork and children’s play in public space, and is a Built Environment Expert with Design Council CABE.
Date: Tuesday 15th May 2018
Time: 18:00 – 20:00
Venue: Room 3.52, Waterloo Campus, Franklin-Wilken Building (FWB), 127 Stamford St, Lambeth, London SE1 8WA (Note: A member of the team will be waiting to sign you in at reception)
Cost: Tickets £10.00 and £7.50 concessions
Tickets available via Eventbrite
with Ben Campkin and Emma Spruce
Chair: Phil Cohen
In his recent narrative history of London as a Queer City (2017) Peter Akroyd writes:
‘London is by nature subversive, suborning previously tight bonds of kinship. That is why it symbolises abstract space and abstract justice instead of the claims of family. Other forms of community emerged, communities formed by those of similar tastes or habits. They could be part of the culture of the street or tavern, or they might be communities of strangers associated with certain footpaths or bog houses. Some of them claimed the city as their own. The city was the haven and the home of anonymity.’
Akroyd’s is only the latest attempt to reduce the essence of the city to its anonymity and in turn make that into an essential figure of gay sexuality. But what if such tunnel visions miss the real patterns of inter-connectedness between urban and gay cultures that are developing on the ground? What if the social complexity and heterogeneity of the metropolis is also to be found in its spatial and sexual politics? We have invited two gay scholar activists to draw on their recent research to queery received notions of London as a playground of gender transgression and fluidity and to explore what might be added to a Citizen’s Atlas from a more grounded and critical LGTBQ+ perspective on cultural cartography.
London’s Queer Spaces: Recent Activism, Policy Support and Contexts (Ben Campkin)
Drawing on evidence gathered through UCL Urban Laboratory’s project LGBTQ+ Cultural Infrastructure in London, Ben will discuss recent activist campaigns to protect LGBTQ+ space in London, as well as the Mayor of London, Night Czar and Greater London Authority’s policies designed to support these initiatives. His talk will discuss the controversy surrounding the UN Habitat 3 New Urban Agenda in relation to the exclusion of LGBTQ+ people as a vulnerable group. A parallel critique is made of some strands in urban studies that neglect queer theoretical contributions. Ben will go on to draw on insights from the emerging field of critical heritage studies to look at the tensions between activists’ and policy-makers’ use of heritage policy and legislation to protect queer spaces, and the practice of making queer space as a radical gesture. Finally, the talk will compare the present situation with the historical example of the Greater London Council-sponsored London Lesbian and Gay Centre and the groups and activities it hosted in the 1980s and 1990s.
Ben Campkin is the author of Remaking London: Decline and Regeneration in Urban Culture (IB Tauris, 2013), which won the Urban Communication Foundation’s Jane Jacobs Award, 2015. He is co-editor of Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness and Contamination (IB Tauris, 2007), the series Urban Pamphleteer(2013-), Engaged Urbanism: Cities and Methodologies (IB Tauris, 2016) and Sexuality and Gender at Home: Experience, Politics, Transgression (Bloomsbury, May 2017). Ben is Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and has been Director of UCL’s Urban Laboratory since 2011.
Mapping Disorderly Stories: Sexuality and Change in Brixton (Emma Spruce)
This talk will bring queer critiques of sexual progress into dialogue with methodological debates over how to map LGBTQ+ urban experience. Brixton is an area of London that is only rarely identified as significant to LGBTQ+ life in the Capital, an erasure that has implications for both urban class analysis and understanding how spaces and places get racialised Emma will begin by presenting an anthology of ‘small stories’ drawn from her ethnographic research, interviews and archival work, which detail Brixton’s rich LGBTQ+ past, and lively present. Layered together, these stories build up an account of Brixton that both reveals, and interrupts, sexual progress narratives in contemporary debates on the processes of regeneration/gentrification in London. This situated analysis, as I will go on to discuss, also generates insights into the transnational spatial webs that LGBTQ+ identification fosters, as well as the concurrent mapping of spaces of intolerance. Emma will conclude the talk by discussing the potential and pitfalls that recent approaches to researching sexual experiences in the city – including cultural cartographies – present for a queer politics of space.
Emma Spruce is a Fellow in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights at LSE’s Department of Gender Studies. She recently completed doctoral work exploring LGBTQ experience in Brixton, which drew on three years of qualitative research to examine the imbrication of local, national and transnational discourses in framing both spaces of homophobia, and spaces of sexual tolerance. Her published work includes ‘Bigot Geography: Queering Geopolitics in Brixton’, in Sex, Time and Place: Queer Histories of London, c.1850 to the Present (Bloomsbury, 2016), and ‘(It’s not all) Kylie Concerts, Exotic Cocktails and Gossip the in The SAGE handbook of feminist theory (Sage, 2014).
Revenue from this event goes towards the development of the Citizens Atlas of London, an online mapping platform for Londoners affected by the major regeneration schemes up to 2050.
During the Cold War the Soviet Union carried out a cartographic project of unprecedented scale and ambition – the detailed mapping of the entire world. Not only strategically vital ports and industrial centres, but cities, small towns and rural areas alike, however unimportant, were plotted and recorded. The Soviet compilers developed a set of standard conventions, symbols and colours for the maps which ensured consistency across the world and enabled a map user to instantly interpret the landscape depicted. This included, for example, annotation which quantified the characteristics of bridges, highways, rivers and forests.
It’s 2049 and London has become a city of perpetual commotion, dedicated to those who like living life in the fast lane. Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, some Londoners have chosen to defend themselves against future shock and put the brakes on.
The second lecture in the ‘OUR KIND OF TOWN’ series will take place on September 27th and be given by Michael Edwards and Anna Minton. We are delighted to welcome two of London’s leading urban analysts and campaigners who have played an important role in defining and challenging the direction of London’s development since the 1960s.
Book now through Eventbrite (short link: bit.ly/LONDON-OPP )
LONDON’S REGENERATION: OPPORTUNITY FOR WHOM?
Drawing on many years of engagement with London’s ‘regeneration’ including Covent Garden, Tolmers Square, Coin Street, Docklands, King’s Cross, Elephant and Castle, Haringey, Michael Edwards will review some of the conflicts between tenants, resident and community groups, the development industry and public authorities since the 1960s in an attempt to separate enduring structural issues from conjunctural shifts. Will New Labour and London First continue to be in charge or is a community led plan for London possible?
Anna Minton looks at London’s regeneration through the prism of housing, tracing the processes which have transformed it from a basic civic right into a financialised asset. She draws on original research to document this transition through a series of political actions and inactions on the part of successive governments, which have allowed property developers and global real estate to manipulate the housing market to their own advantage and immense profit. She examines the predicament of ‘generation rent’ and explores possible strategies to challenge the hegemony of finance and property capital in shaping London’s future.
Michael Edwards studied planning at UCL 1964-6. He worked in Nathaniel Lichfield’s office, mainly doing economic inputs to the Plan for Milton Keynes. He has enjoyed lecturing at the Bartlett School, UCL, since 1969, been involved in various London community actions and in all the hearings on London Plans since 2000, working with the network of community groups JustSpace.org.uk His publications are at www.michaeledwards.org.uk and he tweets as @michaellondonsf
Anna Minton is a writer, journalist and academic. She is the author of Big Capital: Who is London for? (Penguin 2017) and Ground Control: Fear and happiness in the 21st Century City (Penguin 2012, 2009). She is Reader in Architecture at the University of East London and Programme Leader of UEL’s MRes Architecture, ‘Reading the Neoliberal City’. She is a contributor to the Guardian and appears regularly on TV and radio. Her website is www.annaminton.com
OUR KIND OF TOWN LECTURES
This public lecture series has been launched by the Livingmaps Network, to support the creation of an online Citizen’s Atlas of London. The atlas will provide a platform through which communities on the front line of regeneration can explore and map their fears and hopes for the future development of this great city as well as their concerns about its present direction.
Venue: UCL Lecture Theatre 2
Exploring the relationship between cartography and cinematography
In his recent book ‘Cartographic Cinema’ Tom Conley claims that the language of cinema and map converge in creating a mimetic effect, conjuring up an imaginary correspondence between reality and its graphic representation through similar devices. At the same time he argues that while ‘a map underlines what a film is, it also opens up a rift or brings into view a site where a critical and interpretive relation with the film can begin’.
In this programme, a collaboration between Passengerfilms and Livingmaps Network, we are setting out to explore the limits and conditions of that critical space with a panel who are as enthusiastic about movies as they are about maps. The evening will open with some illustrative intersections between story, place, journey, map and movie, and a short panel discussion engaging with Tom Conley’s arguments. After a break this will be followed by a screening of the feature film ‘Lion’ based on the autobiographical story by Saroo Brierley of his journey of remembering and self-discovery.
Phil Cohen is research director of LivingMaps, and many years ago wrote film criticism for Cambridge Review and initiated the Cambridge Documentary Film Festival. He will be leading the #LDNSHOKCTY salon event at the Museum of London later this year which will use interactive workshop situations and time-based media to create a ‘popup museum of the future’ which interrogates the pasts of London’s future and the future of Londons past.
Katherine Stansfeld is a postgraduate researcher whose work focuses on mapping vernacular geographies in places of super-diversity, exploring how, in the context of ‘super-diversity’ and multicultural London, the ‘vernacular geographies’ of different people represent both cultural complexity and shared spaces of encounter and civic culture. Katherine is based at Royal Holloway and is also of PASSENGERFILMS… ‘The car-crash of cinema and geography’.
John Wallett is design director of Livingmaps and a founder member of the East Anglian popup cinema project ‘Moving Image’. He is currently working with the Science Museum Group and Aura Films on a film / ethnography project about exploring deep archives, and will be part of the Livingmaps team delivering the #LDNSHOKCTY salon event at the Museum of London later this year.
Tickets: £10 / £5. Book online now through Eventbrite
OUR KIND OF TOWN PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES: Stretched City: Pushing Against the Current in the Last London
The inaugural lecture in the ‘OUR KIND OF TOWN?’ series will take place on June 21st and be given by Iain Sinclair who explores the condition of perceived ‘groundlessness’ in the stretched city that London has become, by way of memory raids, recovered texts and visionary encounters.
Book now through Eventbrite
Reclaiming London for its citizens
A series of public lectures mapping issues of democracy and injustice in London’s past, present and future.
London has a long history of struggle for democratic rights. It has been the birthplace of many campaigns for social justice, and sustained a political culture in which refugees and immigrants have made vital contributions to the intellectual and cultural life of the city and the nation. However the current disconnect between the everyday experience of many Londoners and the increasingly complex and disorganised systems of governance to which they are subjected, the widespread withdrawal from civic engagement into privatised spheres of personal fulfilment, the weakening of urban bonds which enabled diverse communities to flourish, and the vastly accelerated flows of people, goods and information – all these factors have put in question what exactly it means to be a ‘Londoner’ today.
Livingmaps Network is developing a Citizens Atlas of London, working with community groups in ‘opportunity areas’ identified in the 2050 London infrastructure plan, to create their own alternative map , with the aim of re-imagining London as ‘Our Kind of Town’. As part of this initiative we are organising a year long series of public lectures by leading figures in the movement to rethink what London means to its citizens, drawing on its historical record, its contemporary geography and most importantly, on its future envisagement.
Venue: UCL Darwin Lecture Theatre