Chapter 2 – People

I am actually onto my third analysis chapter now, but here is an old post about the second analysis chapter…oh how time flies!

Hello!

The sun is positively BEATING down here in Glasgow, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ is blasting from the building site, and memories of loch swimming and 6Music Festival gigs are only recently fogging in my mind’s eye from the weekend…

It’s been a while since I’ve written and my brain is a little fuzzy today (turns out your natural alarm clock isn’t always the best thing to rely on…) so rather than wake up and ‘carry on writing my PhD’ I thought I’d have a bit  of free-writing-esque on this here blog, let you know where I’m at, that sort of thing.

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And now you’re back (from outer space…)

Hi!

So in the last 3 weeks I’ve been in Leicester, Manchester, Menorca, Manchester, Leicester, Bradford until finally returning back to the flat in Glasgow.

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Really detailed map illustrating my recent travels…

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of leaving things behind by accident, nearly missing trains, and being many multiple formations of myself in different places at different times. I’ve been a daughter, a girlfriend, an old best pal, an ex, an auntie, a cousin, a student, a new friend and an aquaintance, and it’s been fascinating to reflect on how I am me in those different spaces, all of which have been home for me at different times in my life.

Love Hawk – In Praise of Here

A blog post to come (I know it’s been a while) but I’ve just been on Mull for a weekend for a research retreat and I got back to this email, which I feel really resonates with the weekend and the work I’m doing on the whole. I love this guy; David Hale aka Love Hawk , he’s such a beautiful artist and I want to get a tattoo by him before I leave this world behind me. He’s in the God Squad, which I’m not, but I take from it what resonates with me, as lots of his work does.

 

I’ll leave you with his words for now though.

– here –

This place is woven with stories and reminders that create a mythology called “Place” or “Home” or in reverence, “Ikunu ‘tchaka” the “Beloved Land.”

– here, I rescued a Black Rat Snake and gave it new life -here is where an old Red Oak fell and  I cut it and felt its weight in my long arms – here is the place I remember my son walking the woods and I have witnessed the two growing together – here is where I learned I would be a father – here is where I learned my mother’s father had passed -here is where my wife would sit and nurse my soft son and nourish him with life – here is the place where a fox looked deeply into me and my dear friends’ eyes – here is where the full moon struck a circle at the most opportune time -here I had great Vision- here I washed my sins in the River-  here we helped a Bluebird raise her young – this is the place I sat on the forest floor in my darkest hours and cried –  here I was quiet – here I saw the Grace of my Wife – here I opened my Heart and sang to my Father’s pain and the love in his eyes- here I stood – here I sat- here i walked – here i laid- here i loved-  here –

Filled with all these stories, I mark them down on surfaces placed before me.  These serve as markers, like tags each hung on thousands of tangents that radiate out from me.  All of these people, locations, creatures, experiences, and so-called “things” have tangents which extend back and are anchored in Ancestry.  There are tied taut to the Ancestors; the Ones that have come before; of the People, the Land, the Creatures, and all those So-Called “Things.”

Then, unfurling out from this great Mythology are endless tendrils, growing like Muscadine Vines.  Some find your eye and reach you there, some find your hands and reach you there, some find your home and reach you there, a special few find your flesh and reach you there.  Like a web being woven these Stories extend out from there, knots tied in the Hearts they reach along their Course.  The strongest bonds are made in this way, for the Creator, the great Web Weaver is given Container to tie taut these knots.   From here you carry these tendrils, more tangents, creating a silvery web connected through so many Hearts.
And so, I give thanks for -here-

Shopping Centres, Objects, Consumption and Value

Recently I was spending the afternoon with a Polish woman and her son who I met back in June. We went to an activities for kids in the church she goes to, and then strolled through the park to get some lunch, talking all the while about Poland, Glasgow, moving to a new place, Polish traditions and such.

Walking through the shopping centre (great places to spend time in Glasgow, particularly when it’s raining and for people watching), I came across one of the Open Museums’ travelling exhibits for the first time, pictured below.

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I thought it was fascinating, unusual, and brilliant.

Glasgow in June

Morning all!

This post is going to be about the recent trip I made to Glasgow to talk to a vast array of brilliant, helpful, interesting, exciting and excited people. I had a blast, was very tired and a little ill at the end of it, but I came out of it with a couple of possible collaborations and a flat-! So not a day goes by where I don’t fantasise about my beautiful new house on the hill with its glorious view to the hills beyond the city. I love a view, I grew up with one so moving into a gorgeous home with a new view feels like coming home, but in a new city.

So. Let’s talk about Glasgow. I arrived after the obligatory 5 hour train journey from Leicester (bumachesville), travelled to the place that would be my base for the next week-and-a-bit. I have lots of friends who live in Glasgow which a) means I’m moving to an established network of ace folk which is GREAT and b) means there’s always been somewhere to lay my head whenever I’ve gone to visit. I was staying in the West End, which is a predominantly quite affluent part of the city, and at the subway was welcomed by this piece of public art:

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Musing on Maps

I’m listening to this programme on this sunny afternoon as I work in my turret in Leicester – and thinking about place. (More interesting stuff about memory, place and sound from this brilliant man, Chris Watson, sound recordist here)

I’ve just finished a research proposal assignment for the Research Design and Practice module I took last semester – and it’s forced me to really think about:

a) what am I actually doing this research on?

b) what will it look like?

Although there is still much work (and reading, yes there is that) to be done, and although I need to maintain flexibility and fluidity in this process if things don’t work or things fall through, there is always a need to be able to adapt to change, but as I’ve thought about the design of this project, the themes, ideas and connections explored within this short piece, I’ve become more and more drawn to the ways in which place-making practices through everyday participation change across first and second / third generation immigrant groups in Glasgow.

In the second thing I linked to at the top, we hear an interview with Chris Watson in which he muses on the relationship between sound, memory and place. Thinking about whether the memory of place can be attached to the fabric environment, he talks about intangible ‘atmospheres’ of place. He describes a trip to Venezuela, in which he talks to Wahiro indians about places they regard as special – discovering through this trip and many travels through recording wildlife sounds – the connections that people have universally to landscapes, often, he argues, represented by the acoustics of a place.

Each person’s soundscape of place will be informed by the places they go, the activities they partake in, the languages they speak, their embodied experience of being in place, and the privileging of sight over every other sense means that these soundscapes which illustrate our existence are mostly overlooked, and rarely consciously thought about. Watson advocates more careful listening, so that we can build a picture of the environment we live in, be more aware of the sounds that swirl around our heads, what sounds get swept away beneath the traffic and chatter. Indeed, paying attention is one of the New Economic Foundations’ 5 Ways to Wellbeing

Reflecting my thoughts about interpretation, representation and presenting information to a variety of audiences, as I’m eating lunch Watson stops me in my tracks as I listen saying:

“in order to get people to listen and engage with it, it needs to presented properly…if you want people to listen to it…you need to present it properly, and then people get it. You don’t need any great artistic justification” Chris Watson

Prior to this, I thought I should probably engage in a bit of place-based play myself, in advance of more in-depth methodological experimentation, with fellow researchers and participants in the project itself.

So I pulled out a map of Bradford and Leeds that I’d bought just before christmas in my local brilliant Age Uk charity bookshop / cafe that is filled to the rafters with gems of all genres.

Mind-Mapping, or Introducing Whiteboard – my new best friend

NB – if you have any thoughts or responses to my ramblings here or at any point in posts to come, please let me know / send articles my way / feel free to email me for more…

In spite of aching arms following a difficult trek up from town to my flat with this beast, it is now happily perched on my windowsill (blocking a fairly significant amount of light) filling with thoughts, ideas and words in an array of colours, all with the ridiculously pleasing function of being able to be rubbed out, moved around and played with.

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PEOPLE.

(Ideally I would have an interactive wall onto which I could scribble huge mind-maps which I could then save onto the hard drive and bring up whenever I needed to look at it – as I must admit wiping it off having taken photographs and printed it out is still pretty terrifying.)

My reading so far has resulted in a mind-map which has the words

PLACE ATTACHMENT

COMMUNITY

IDENTITY

HERITAGE/COLLECTIVE MEMORY

PROCESS

all scrawled in large letters, with lines connecting them into some kind of network of dialogue between each theme. I find the process of standing to think massively helpful, and it becomes particularly electric after a caffetiere of strong, black coffee. Thoughts and ideas and connections buzz around my freshly wired brain, as I grab different coloured pens and, in between chewing the ends and pacing around my flat (ideas flow better with movement I find), I connect people to themes, and themes to other themes. But, I’m getting distracted. Clearly the whiteboard has been a little too exciting. Here are where my thoughts are so far, having handed in my first literature review last week (yessss):