RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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348 Landscape Becoming and Time. Past, present and future: dwelling in Human Geography and beyond (1)
Affiliation Rural Geography Research Group
History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Owain Jones (Bath Spa University, UK)
Daniel Keech (University of Gloucestershire, UK)
Chair(s) Owain Jones (Bath Spa University, UK)
Timetable Friday 31 August 2018, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Bute Building - Birts Acres Lecture Theatre
Session abstract The dwelling concept was set out by Heidegger in Building, Dwelling, Thinking (1959). It was an intrinsically geographic concept, exploring being in-the-world through landscape, time, memory, culture, mortality, and the spiritual. Dwelling accounts for enfolded space and time in qualitative, experiential terms of becoming-through-experience – ‘poetic habituation’. It challenged rationalism, modernity, scientism. Dwelling had an influence of the humanistic/ phenomenological geographies of the 1970s and 1980s and was further shaped by Ingold’s ‘taskscape’, with foci on practice, relationality, non-human agency. This refreshed version, which left behind some of the more obscure/problematic aspects of Heideggerian dwelling, was taken up in new cultural geographies of the 1990s, which sought more performative and post-structurally infused accounts of becoming-in-place and landscape. Ingold latterly reconsidered his use of dwelling as a cornerstone of becoming, although it remains in use as a concept across the discipline. Interpretations of dwelling seem relevant in relation to the normalisation of socio-political and ecological turbulence. Geographical identities, (multiple-)belongings and ecological (co-)consciousness to be iteratively built up in lived layerings that are mobile. Papers are sought on dwelling and/as: landscape / place; mobility; tourism; gendered dwellings; in the Anthropocene; toxic dwelling; migration / conflict; displacement; rural / urban dwelling.
Linked Sessions Landscape Becoming and Time. Past, present and future: dwelling in Human Geography and beyond (2)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Red Thread Project: Gendered woodland space and collective stitching
Patricia Brien (Bath Spa University, UK)
Picture this, a day in October. Picture this, almost freezing cold weather. There’s a group of women who have just completed their weekly Tuesday women’s circle and have come to sit together to stitch and embroider their experiences of a privately owned but community focused re-wilded woodland on the edge of a Gloucestershire village.
This visual presentation will outline the Red Thread Project, a crafting initiative to insulate and embellish a yurt space used for women’s time spent in the woodland. The materials that were used in the project - gifted woollen felt padding and red woollen thread echoed the artist, Joseph Beuys’s notion of working with felt for ‘spiritual warmth’.
The project provides an opportunity to explore the idea of a gendered dwelling space that is ‘held’ within a community of women through regular ritual circles and other collective activities corresponding to the cosmological cycle. It indicates a collective, voluntary desire to create a physical space and alternative dwelling place away from regular built up environments and domestic homes. This ‘home away from home’ in a woodland supports the experience of ‘regular wilding’ as a form of female bonding and practicing a particular form of gendered eco-consciousness.
The Red Thread Project was a crafted moment in an ongoing community practice of gendering a woodland as sacred female space.
‘Blood in the Soil’: Farming Men’s ‘Farmscapes’ of Dwelling in the UK
Linda Price (Queen's University Belfast, UK)
Across the Developed World suicide amongst farming men over fifty continues to rise; farming communities are no longer anchored in agrarianism and the family farm has become technologically driven. The places to enact an identity as a farming man have become fewer. The gender relations underpinning farm survival and patrilineal succession has seen considerable focus. However, the emotional geographies of farming men and their dwelling place in this new cultural arena requires deeper understanding ‘if’ both positive and negative understandings of their ‘blood in the soil’ are to be more fully understood and addressed. Thus, the ‘farmscape’ conceptual framing is outlined and shown to extend beyond ‘medicalised’ and risk factor approaches to decimation of life/identity via firearm availability which is ‘fragmented, reductive and circumscribed’. Building on the ‘lifescape’ approach of Convery et al, ‘farmscape’ foregrounds both the importance of temporal dynamicity and how farming is consubstantive with being in a locality with lifecourse ‘scripts’ that are embodied. Thus five thematic and spatial scales drawing on ideas of ‘dwelling’ and ‘rootedness’ are outlined. Here dissipation of the mind/body dualism within ideas of self, home, belonging and entrapment, senses, family, nature, geography are intertwined as follows: 1) the sensorial, subjective and internal male farming identity emotionally embodied in the land, soil, nature and weather as farmers ‘who I am’ rather than ‘what I do’ 2) men’s roles as part of the past, present and future family story, often responsible for keeping the blood in the soil through marriage, succession, retirement and farm survival, 3) men’s linking of farming practices i.e. management, animal husbandry/breeding to family heritage, 4) men’s changing roles within rural communities as an increasingly isolated minority with agrarian, social hierarchies, community rhythms and seasonal rituals in decline and 5) the impacts of global agri-economic/environmental policies with increased bureaucracy and pressure on historical traditions of farming.
W e i r d Regionalism Rurality, Futurity, and the Displaced Locality of Rurally-Focused Digital Communities
William Nichols (Bath Spa University, UK)
Recently the politics of place in America became incredibly contentious as a narrative formed about the well-meaning liberal urbanites who lost the election and the malicious, forgotten, ignorant, blue collar and rural Americans who took it from them. At the same time as the reactionaries took over the Whitehouse, the radical leftists took to Facebook and formed a series of communities which revolved around decolonised and deanthropocentric ways of life in rural America. This political movement didn’t arise from any expert culture; in fact, quite the opposite was true. These groups which elevated difference and precarity arose entirely out of the “commonplace” nature of place politics. Instead of creating lengthy documents or debating the nuances of identity politics, these groups began to create images of a rural America that made kin and Comrade with the more-than-human world. They did this by including possums, raccoons, Paw Paws (a mountain fruit), Corn, Aliens and the ominous prophetic Mothman in their production of memes. This movement, which I have termed W e i r d Regionalism uses the meme as a tool to produce knowledge at an everyday level. The presentation I propose examines these images alongside scholars of place, Bioregionalism and dwelling in general. In juxtaposing these themes I posit that digital-social life and theory are merging in uniquely optimistic and unexpected ways; namely that the cynicism of an overly historicised academia is undermined at the everyday level.
Vicariously Wild: Dwelling with wolves in conservation stories
Tracy Hayes (University of Cumbria, UK)
Into the wild I went. Searching for wolves, I discovered wolf-dogs and passionate people, dwelling together in centres designed for the tourists that the staff welcomed. The wolves/wolf-dogs were more wary…
The purpose of this session is to reflect on conservation stories by focusing on the way wolves are presented within them. Conservation stories are used in various ways – to encourage people to visit places, to help them connect with the animals and landscape, and to linger in memories (and photos) afterwards. The task of these stories is to illuminate, enhance and bring meaning to experiences. Conservation stories have a foundation in empirical science, yet embrace narrative, emotive methods to convey information in a manner that resonates with listeners and readers. These are more than just stories, they are peer-reviewed for robustness, with a strong evidence-base and aim to help ‘… bring conservation science to life’. I will share a story from my research exploring publicly-accessible conservation-education programmes in UK and Canada. I have utilised a fieldwork survey model, to capture my emotional response to my encounters, which I have explored through autoethnographical writing. I dwell alongside wolves in these stories as I reflect on the meaning of my experiences.
Landscapes of Faith: Religion, Dwelling, and Tourism in South Wales
Russell Re Manning (Bath Spa University, UK)
Richard Parry (Coleridge in Wales, UK)
The Welsh Government is one of the very few world governments to have created a Faith Tourism Action Plan (2013). Faith tourism in Wales is defined as referring “to places of faith and sacred sites (including the people and narratives connected to them and the landscape that surrounds them), which inspire and enhance visits to, and within, Wales.” The 2013 Action Plan includes the vision that by 2020 “Faith Tourism is recognised as an integral component of the visitor experience in Wales, adding significant value to the destination offer, contributing to the well-being of the visitor and host community and enhancing local, regional and national ‘Sense of Place’”.
Landscapes of Faith is a collaborative project that seeks to develop and deliver this vision through building public, community and church confidence in faith tourism in South Wales.
This paper articulates theoretical (philosophical/theological) underpinnings of the Landscapes of Faith project, through a combination of a ‘confluences’ account of religion as ‘crossing and dwelling’ (Tweed 2006) and a revised Tillichian theology of culture. From Tweed we derive an ‘itinerary theory’ of religion as embodied, positioned, and projective and with Tillich we affirm a participatory understanding of religion as the ‘substance of culture’ (just as culture is ‘the form of religion’).
As such, we develop a distinctive approach to faith tourism that respects both the distinctiveness of religious sites and their integration into communities, both for those who dwell in and those who visit Wales’ landscapes of faith.