I am professor of Postcolonial Studies in the School of Environment and Development at the University of Manchester. Although my academic background is in Geography, for the last 20 years I have been based in a multi-disciplinary institute teaching and researching international development theory and practice. My research has focused on colonial and postcolonial analyses of international development and on diasporas and migration. On these issues I have edited a number of books including Participation: the new tyranny? (2001), Development Theory and Practice: critical perspectives (2002) and A Radical History of Development Studies (2005). Much of this research has explored how eurocentric, particularly colonialist, ideologies and practices continue to pervade the workings of the international development industry. What has emerged from this work has been a growing awareness about the centrality of time to explanations of difference and inequality. More recently, therefore, I have been carrying out historically informed research on how different conceptualisations, imaginings and uses of time shape global inequalities by examining the spatial mapping of different temporalities. More specifically, I examine how temporalities, of ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’, are associated not solely with different historical moments but with particular people and places. I am also interested in identifying the variety of ways in which these hegemonic temporalities are being resisted.
I am Research Fellow at the ESRC Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham. I work on two projects: the Real Times qualitative longitudinal study, which examines the continuity and change of third sector organisations over time, and the pilot ‘Street-Walking’ mapping project that aims to find groups and activities that go unregistered (and, subsequently, tend to be neglected in the policy field). By third sector we tend to mean a diverse range of non-profit activities undertaken beyond the market and the state, for example, by charities, social enterprises and less formal community-based groups and associations.
My doctoral thesis was on the third sector’s engagement with government employment initiatives (Sociology, University of Manchester). Before this, I worked on a three-year project that examined the extent of (funding) crises in women’s voluntary organisations. Years later, recalling the frustrations of compiling (often dated) directories in which organisations were pre-defined, I developed TSRC’s ‘Street-Walking Mapping’ pilot study to look beyond formal organisations with institutional structures (that appear on regulatory lists).
With an attempt to suspend definition and preconceived ideas of what these activities might look like, geographic boundaries were used to manage the project. As the title suggests, the project involves going out on the streets in search of (third sector) social activities and groups that use shared space – many of which may not have a name or explicit structure. Understanding community and ‘shared’ space are important features of the research, including the role of space in bringing people together and the tensions that can play out.
I am a social geographer engaged in interdisciplinary research and based at the University of Aberdeen. Currently I am based in the dot.rural digital economy research hub, which reflects my interest in rural and peripheral areas, and in July I move to the Gaelic department at the University to pursue my interest in the social geographies of the Celtic languages. I gained a PhD (geography) from the university of Aberdeen in 2009. My doctoral research examined the social identities of Gaelic speakers employed in the Gaelic language industries in scotland. In the course of exploring issues of community, identity and difference with Gaelic speakers in Scotland, I have observed a temporal dimension at work. The increasing hybridity of the 'Gaelic speech community', itself connected to processes of de- and re-territorialisation, is disrupting previously taken-for-granted notions of Gaelic speakers sharing a common past or shared future. This workshop topic challenges me to better conceptualise and attend to the role of temporality in negotiations of belonging within the Gaelic speech community. It raises questions over how memory, inheritance, inter-generationality and tradition are worked to legitimise some Gaelic-speaking identities, but disavow others. As well as provoking new ways of understanding identity formation/ascription, this also raises questions over how differential histories of places are reproduced to support particular claims for Gaelic language promotion and government support. I think the workshop represents an opportunity for me to start grappling with non-linear notions of time and community in this minority language context.
Marsaili's Pecha Kucha Talk
I have been based in Archaeology at the University of Manchester since 1997. My research has crosscut disciplinary and period boundaries, drawing on archaeology, social anthropology, history, and cultural geography, whilst ranging from the Neolithic to the present-day. The main enduring theme is the relationship between material culture, time, and various forms of identity (community, ethnic, national and diasporic identities). My recent projects have focused on: heritage, modernity and the nation-state; the production of social memory; the experience of authenticity; and the theory and practice of conservation. A new research project, jointly led with Melanie Giles, focuses on the urban public park as an arena in which class, ethnicity, taste, citizenship, health, leisure, memory and place have been produced and negotiated in the past and present.
The workshop is an exciting opportunity to explore approaches to the interconnections between time and community. I am interested in how communities are constituted in time and space through material culture and practice. I hope to offer insights into the ways in which community connectivities and time intersect in the form of memory-work. My presentation will focus on how historic objects, monuments and places facilitate forms of community connectivity across time and space, producing a tangible sense of immediate connection to the past and allowing people to negotiate networks of belonging. This will complement the presentation by Melanie Giles on temporalities of practice and the production of community connectivity, which is another important strand in our joint project.
Slides from Sian's Lightning Talk
I am in the first year of an MRes in Social and Cultural Geography at Manchester Metropolitan University. My studies so far have focused on heritage walks around Manchester, critiquing official narratives and seeking alternative routes. I am also really interested in blurring the boundaries between academia, activism and my professional life.
I founded and facilitate The LRM (Loiterers Resistance Movement) a Manchester based interdisciplinary collective of artists, activists and academics interested in psychogeography, social justice and public space. It is a not-for-profit community group which curates walks and other events which reframe the neo-liberal city as a site of subversive play and critical engagement.
The LRM seeks to unravel the myriad stories that contribute to the city and the historical, political and economic forces that shape space. Our work is also interested in emotional responses; how places make us feel and how active participation can positively transform its development. Our conception of history is rhizomatic and thus the derive is our favoured tool for exploration. The city is also a sensory experience and walking offers a direct connection to the ghosts under the pavement.
I have worked as a Community Development Officer for the past eleven years and have been employed by GMCVO (Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation) since November 2007. My role involves providing training, consultancy, information and one-to-one support to a wide range of groups, specifically community hubs i.e. places that generate social capital.
Morag's Pecha Kucha Presentation
I lecture in geography at the Open University. I have a long term interest in environmental issues that has gradually morphed into a concern with earth processes – and the question of how to live as best we can on an inherently volatile planet. My take on community always involves a working across difference, and I’m interested in the way that the dynamics of the earth are amongst the things that can make us different – or cause estrangement. Just as there is a great deal of mobility across the surface of the earth, I like to think about the way different groups or communities have made it through long and often turbulent environmental histories as a kind of journey through time. So that we might come to see all communities, one way or another, as bearing the trace of their tussles with a changeable earth, stretching all the way back into deep, geological time. But I’m also drawn to the very mundane, ordinary ways that people help each other in times of crisis. Put these two themes together, and I think there’s potential for rethinking community for times of rapid climate change – especially as we encounter 'others’ whose lives have been thrown off course by environmental stresses. So I’m interested in exploring ideas about how notions of belonging and hospitality towards others might be enlivened by a stronger sense of the way every community is always already a kind of sedimented set of struggles with earthly volatility. My talk is titled Community and the Time of the Earth: from Katrina to Climate Change
Nigel's Keynote Presentation