Accepted Paper:

'Making sense' of displacement through collaborative filmmaking  
Robert Deakin (Goldsmiths)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses a collaborative filmmaking project engaging with displacement, in a context marked by urban regeneration and gentrification. I show how the shared ‘sense-making’ that emerged through the project made displacement an object of collaborative, experimental and speculative enquiry.

Paper long abstract:

Displacement in contexts marked by urban regeneration and gentrification is an affective and psycho-social process as much as it is a question of physical dislocation (Davidson 2009; Elliot-Cooper, Hubbard and Lees 2019, 2020). While physical dislocation and affective displacement may go hand-in-hand, affective displacement can occur without an immediate threat of physical displacement. As Elliot-Cooper et al. argue, at the core of gentrification induced displacement is a “[rupturing] of the connection between people and place” (Elliot-Cooper, Hubbard and Lees 2019). This paper critically and speculatively engages with displacement, discussing a collaborative filmmaking project between myself (an anthropologist) and Jimmy - a resident of a social housing estate in Poplar, east London, currently undergoing comprehensive redevelopment. Through a series of filmed walks around his neighbourhood, poetry recital, and explorations of his personal archive, the film project considered Jimmy’s estrangement from his urban milieu. We worked iteratively: filming, watching back, filming again, and sometimes sharing the resulting short films on local history Facebook pages. The use of a camera, screens and social media platforms captured and remediated the affective force of Jimmy’s urban milieu, opening up a shared space where we tried to ‘make sense’ of his affective displacement. Drawing on recent calls for a multimodal “anthropology of invention” (Dattatreyan and Marrero-Guillamon 2019) and theoretical considerations of ‘affect’ (Gregg and Seigworth 2010), I show how the ‘sense-making’ that emerged through our collaboration went beyond a representational engagement with displacement and made displacement an object of collaborative, experimental and speculative enquiry.

Panel P10
Housing loss and insecurity: research, resistance and solidarity
  Session 1