'Tell me your stories. Tell me in place.'
(University of St Andrews)
Paper short abstract:
Two nurses reminiscing at the hospital. One's an anthropologist but that fades to background as the past becomes uncannily present. Place prompts stories, emotions welter up. But a technical hitch puts Hastings Donnan's theory to the text; are story and place as integrally bound as he asserts?
Paper long abstract:
Two nurses walking around the hospital grounds reminiscing. Public places where patients, visitors and staff mingle, and back streets which house the stores, sewing room and morgue. Stories gush forth as place taps into a welter of emotions, to a sense of belonging, and an identity that ceased formally long ago but which never left either of us. We laugh, empathise and learn about each other. One of us is an anthropologist but, somehow, that fades into the background as the past becomes uncannily present in this place and we both become nurses again. This storywalk is different, exciting, because this time I'm a storyteller too. What will that reveal when I listen to the sounds again? The delicious prospect of analysis as adventure. But wait… oh no! I didn't record the event. That sickening fieldwork dread that all is lost but I can't admit to my stupidity. According to Hastings Donnan story and place are integrally bound and you have to know about both to find your way around. So I put that to the test, recreate the storywalk on my own. Does this old building or that street sign evoke the same emotions, the same memories this time? I need to call on others to help; De Certeau, Casey and Basso on place. And that story about the Theatre Sister… which part of it was Geraldine's and which part was my imagination? Elizabeth Tonkin squares the circle through conceptual integration of the cognitive and emotional.
Streetscapes: affective encounters between People and Things