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Mediating Multicultural Places: the role of images and representation
Orly Orbach (Goldsmiths)
Katherine Stansfeld (Royal Holloway)
Friday 18 September, 13:00-14:30, 15:00-16:30

Short abstract:

This panel examines the significance of visual depictions of place produced in multicultural and super-diverse environments. It asks how these images relate to 'lived places' (Berdoulay 1989, Rodman 2003) and what new spatial identities are formed, reworked or rejected as a consequence.

Long abstract:

The panel brings together papers that critically examine how multicultural places are represented through images, maps, moving-image, plans, display and exhibition, and the implications of this for the lived experiences, cultural identities and spatial belonging of those who inhabit these places.

Both geographers and anthropologists have recognised the potential of the visual (Rose, 2016; Schneider 2008, Feld 2010) and public displays to make visible marginalised narratives and intervene on the world (Driver, 2012). Yet these interventions can produce unintended and complex implications for individuals and communities involved in these representations. What do institutionally-mediated representations mean for vernacular human-material interactions in superdiverse contexts (Vertovec, 2007)? What are the consequences when strategic essentialism is deployed to creatively construct a singularity of place; or when celebratory images of diversity mask complexities of conviviality and dynamics of capital and urban change?

Papers might explore what the abstractions and visualisations of place tell of lived experience, and how are they used to alter spatial boundaries and belonging. We question how cultural, political and spatial identities are reworked, or else resisted or contested through the visual. What new productions of locality may emerge? What do these images reveal in terms of how multiculturalism is normalized or questioned?

Indicative themes include:

-Public expressions of collectivities

-Representations in and performances of multicultural places

-Lived experiences of everyday multiculturalism

-New forms of belonging

-Curated or chance moments of conviviality

-Reconfigurations of cultural heritage displays

-Contested cartographies and boundary shifts

-Singularities/ multiplicities of place

-Institutionally-mediated representations of super-diversity