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Melting Metropolis: Embodying Urban Climate Through Art, Space, and Time 
Kara Schlichting (Queens College, City University of New York)
Chris Pearson (University of Liverpool)
Melanie Kiechle (Virginia Tech)
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Chris Pearson (University of Liverpool)
Bryony Benge-Abbott (University of Liverpool)
Chris Pearson (University of Liverpool)
Panel Workshop
Climate Change and Knowledge
Room 5
Thursday 22 August, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Helsinki
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Short Abstract:

This workshop interrogates everyday experiences of urban heat. It explores how the urban heat island effect has unequally affected urban communities since the 1800s. It uses historical and creative methods to formulate new perspectives on changing urban environments in an age of climate breakdown.

Long Abstract:

We propose a workshop with two sessions drawn from our Wellcome-funded Melting Metropolis (MM) project on everyday histories of urban heat islands: a panel on sensorial environmental history and an outdoor practicum exploring embodied ecologies through art. In the first session, historians Pearson and Schlichting will introduce the sensory-climate histories of postwar London and New York City. Research Artist Benge-Abbott works with embodied ecology as a framework for investigating human-nature relationships as porous and interconnected to living systems and landscape. She will introduce MM’s arts-based community engagement. Our interdisciplinary focus on accelerating climate change and community responses speaks to the conference themes and aims of “histories beyond history.”

Urbanites face - unequally - overlapping challenges due to seasonal hot weather, rising global temperatures, and the urban heat island effect. We seek to illuminate health and environmental histories of summer heat through urbanites’ interaction with cityscapes. Summer weather is invisible to the eye and difficult to trace in archives. Yet historicizing climatological environments illuminates a “sensorial urbanism” in which bodily perceptions are inseparable from the environment. Through art and historical research this project humanizes the effects of climate, bridging system-wide disasters and bodily experience.

In the second session, Benge-Abbott will share an experimental, mindful mark-making practice called Wild Drawing, guiding participants to explore drawing as a method to express a sensory experience of built and climatological environments. All materials will be provided.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 22 August, 2024, -
Session 2 Thursday 22 August, 2024, -