Psychogeography Symposium – Taking it to the Streets: Empowering Interactions with the Urban Environment

23rd Feb 2016 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Business and Law building

Taking it to the streets

Dr Andrea Capstick, Bradford University,  Morag Rose, University of Sheffield and Phil Smith

This symposium explores the concept of psychogeography, the practice of attentive walking used by a diverse range of writers, activists, artists and performers, in the context of the Imagining Better exhibitions strand. Framed with an introduction to the concepts from Roy Bayfield, sessions will include:

  • Confessions of an Anarcho-Flâneuse – Morag Rose, University of Sheffield

“The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) is an open interdisciplinary collective interested in exploring and sharing our love for Manchester. We embark on psychogeographical drifts to decode the palimpsest of the streets, uncover hidden histories, challenge power structures and discover the extraordinary in the banal. We aim to nurture an awareness of everyday space, (re)engaging with and (re)enchanting the city. This talk will share field notes from our experiments in anarchaflanuerie and introduce a range of tactics that we use to transform the streets into a playground as we search for new ways to look at, feel and remap Manchester.”

Morag Rose is a PhD student in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at The University of Sheffield. Her research focuses on psychogeography, gender and walking in Manchester.  In 2006 Morag founded The Loiterers Resistance Movement (LRM) a psychogeographical collective dedicated to exploring, enchanting and critically engaging with urban space.  They organise monthly public dérives (drifts), and other events including games of CCTV bingo and giant cake maps.  In 2016 they will be hosting an exhibition at The Peoples History Museum. Before starting her PhD Morag worked in community development and voluntary sector infastructure across Greater Manchester. She remains involved with a number of community groups and campaigns

  • The view from Room 21: storying care home life with dementia as ‘a wounded city revisited’ – Andrea Capstick, Bradford University

Room 21 is on the second floor of a London, UK care home.  Over the years it has been occupied in turn by Peter, Shirley and Frances, all of whom had a diagnosis of dementia.  Central to the narrative biography of each of the three residents is a European city where he or she lived decades earlier. For Peter, it is wartime Amsterdam; for Shirley, post-war Berlin, and for Frances, the most recent occupant, Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring of 1968.  Andrea’s research explores the intersections between these historically ‘wounded cities’ and the experience of living in a present-day care home. It is argued that the bio-psycho-social model of dementia has not sufficiently problematized the socio-historical domain, and that drawing on arts and humanities perspectives helps us to locate the experience of living with dementia in a whole-life context.

Andrea Capstick leads the MSc Dementia Studies programme at the University of Bradford, UK.  She holds a doctorate in education for her work on the use of film and first-person narrative biography in dementia education.  In 2012 she was awarded funding by the UK National Institute for Health Research (School for Social Care Research) to study the impact of participatory film-making for people with dementia living in long-term care.  She has additional research interests in the reactivation of trauma in the context of late-life dementia.

  • Psychogeography Now – Dr Phil Smith, Plymouth University

“Looking back to the ideas and practices from which ‘psychogeography’ emerged, and examining them through the prism of very recent developments among radical walkers and psychogeographers  – what Tina Richardson has called ‘the New Psychogeography – I will try to draw out what from the legacy of ‘psychogeography’ is most valuable and where it might take us now. I will look briefly at different phases of psychogeographical activity in the UK – from the literary and the occult, through the struggles of the neo-situationist groups of the 1990s, to the playfully serious ludibria of Fabian Thomsett and Stewart Home. I will celebrate the recent explosion of publishing around these ideas and practices, particularly the work of McKenzie Wark, and bring things up to date with a quick review of what the recent exponential growth in radical and aesthetic walking might mean. I will finish by suggesting some of the challenges and opportunities that are now there to be met not only by ‘the New Psychogeographers’, but by anyone who avails themselves of a unprecedentedly deep resource of ideas and tactics of far greater range of imagination and technique than ever before.”

Phil Smith (aka ‘Crab Man’, ‘Mytho’) is a performance-maker, writer and ambulatory researcher. He specialises in creating performances related to walking, site-specificity, mythogeographies and counter-tourism. He writes and performs ‘mis-guided tours’. Phil’s publications include ‘A Footbook of Zombie Walking’, ‘Walking’s New Movement’, ‘Enchanted Things’, and ‘Mythogeography’. As a playwright over 120 of his plays and adaptations have been produced and toured globally and have been seen by over 3 million people. He is an Associate Professor (Reader) at Plymouth University.

Booking is not required

Presented by Edge Hill Arts

This event is part of a wider programme of events taking place at Edge Hill over the coming months as part of the Festival of Ideas 2016, a diverse range of events exploring culture, health and society. The main theme is Imagining Better – envisioning ways for communities, arts and healthcare to develop and flourish, even in times of austerity and inequality.

Details of all events can be found here