I am a Research Associate in Politics at the University of Exeter. The project that I am working on with Dr. Robin Durie and Dr. Katrina Wyatt, titled “Researching with Communities: Towards a Leading Edge Theory and Practice for Community Engagement”, is part of the AHRC led Connected Communities programme. The purpose of our scoping study is to investigate the usefulness of complexity theory for understanding the relations between academic researchers and the public communities they engage with, and more broadly, the conditions for successful community engagement. Challenging traditional conceptions of time is of course a central component of complexity theory. Thus if communities are understood as complex systems, and if complexity represents the most effective means for theorising the connectivity within and between communities and academic researchers, how time is conceived and interacted with will play a crucial role throughout the process of engagement.
Aside from this research project, I am also pursuing my interests in time and communities through a monograph that I am writing for Edinburgh University Press (2012). This book, titled History and Becoming: Deleuze’s Philosophy of Creativity, will examine the work of Deleuze and several of his conceptual forebears (Marx, Nietzsche, Bergson, Péguy and Braudel) in order to address the following problematic: what is the relation between history and the creation of the new? While much work has been done on the importance of Deleuze’s philosophy of time to his political and social philosophy for change, I hope to demonstrate in this book how an appreciation of his philosophy of history is equally indispensable. You can find out more about my work here.
Craig's Lightning Talk:
My interest in the workshop stems from my PhD research, which explores how we might approach the idea of ‘feminist history’ from a historiographical perspective that is not bound to a framework of historical totality, linearity or teleology. I am currently trying to work out an understanding of historical time based upon Dipesh Chakrabarty’s concept of ‘heterotemporality’, and Paul Ricoeur’s notion of historical time as a form of public/social time that is constructed through the overlapping of multiple time frames and concepts, including: ‘calendar time’ (the time of dating and periodizations); ‘generational time’ (based upon notions such as ‘legacy’, ‘predecessors’, ‘contemporaries’, and ‘succesors’); ontologies and epistemologies of the past as ‘trace’; and temporal concepts which ‘temporalize’ certain periods of history -or history per se- such as progress, decline, cyclicality or stagnation. These different overlapping ‘strands’ that constitute historical time, I will try to show, are socially and culturally specific, and always open to contestation and refiguration. I will then ask how this idea of historical time might alter how we think about and construct feminist histories. For example: if we work from a model of historical time as multiple or ‘heterotemporal’ (rather than from a model of temporal totality and historical alignment), in what terms can we speak of ‘feminist histories’ as ‘collective’ histories? And how would it affect our notions of historical agency and judgment?
My ideas at the moment are still being developed, so I am really looking forward to learning from all the different participants’ perspectives on social and cultural time.
Victoria's Lightning Talk
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 a member of the Archaeology Subject Area from 2005, specialising in later prehistory: specifically, the Iron Age of Britain and Ireland. Key themes in my research include aspects of identity (exploring the intersection of age, gender, skill and life-courses in prehistoric communities), and relations between people and place, animal communities and objects. I also study the archaeology and anthropology of death and burial: currently focusing on the chariot burials of East Yorkshire. In addition, I have been involved in the recording and analysis of historic farm graffiti in the Yorkshire Wolds, and this has led to an interest in interdisciplinary research involving buildings recording, archival and photographic analysis, combined with oral history. This latter research has provided the inspiration for my involvement in this conference, and I look forward to sharing ideas with fellow researchers on how we might understand time as key to shaping distinct communities, and how we might explore contrasting rhythms of temporality through material culture.
In association with my colleague, Siân Jones, I will also introduce a new collaborative project on Whitworth Park, which aims to explore how urban communities are constituted in space and time, through their material practices. We are also interested in how the intersection of past and present creates connections between communities over time, and how archaeology can act as a site of memory and identity work.
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 an independent researcher whose academic training has primarily been in the area of Literary Studies and Critical Theory. In 2007 I began volunteering at a people’s history museum in Cardiff called the Butetown History & Arts Centre, where I learnt about life stories, oral history and the possibility of using museums as a vehicle for social change. Since then I have pursued an interest in public history and have recently curated an exhibition about feminism in Bristol called Sistershow Revisited. At present I am very interested in creating on and offline spaces where people and historical information can collide. My approach to this workshop will draw on these concerns, specifically exploring the issue of time within researching, documenting and disseminating vulnerable forms of material culture. As a case study I will draw on the Women’s Liberation Music Archive, a recently launched web archive of music from the UK feminist movements of the 1970s and 1980s. I shall be exploring how the creative actions produced by women in these communities, when digitised, has the capacity to transform the temporality of contemporary cultural memory.
Deborah's Lightning Talk
I am a social historian based at CRESC with interests in the British working class, memory studies and the history of social research. I am particularly interested in the intersections between class, gender, life-cycle and individual socio-spatial trajectories, and wider cultural representations of place in understanding the ways in which memories of particular communities are articulated. In recent work I have been looking at the roles of slum clearance, residualisation and stigmatization in popular understandings of ‘community’ and social change in working class neighbourhoods in England. I have argued that assertions that social and spatial dislocations produced by slum clearance and social mobility produced nostalgia for the old communities are insufficiently nuanced. I have argued that such narratives may be more fruitfully understood as the product of a radical attempt to recover working class experience, which contested dominant representations of the working class as deficient. However, I’m now wondering if this is sufficient. I’ve recently been reading around ‘transactive’ remembering and thinking about how particular audiences shape what gets told. This is perhaps a key missing element in my analysis of community publishing. The relationship between time and community is another important element in shaping social scientific readings/social policy in the post-war period. I am thinking particularly about assertions of ‘traditional’ patterns of working class family life and understandings of lifestyles or environments which seem ‘out-moded.’ Particular (mis)understandings of time and community also seem to have informed area-based regeneration initiatives such as the New Deal for Communities.