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.
Professor of Archival Studies and Director of the Information Management and Preservation MSc programme. I have written extensively on archival and historical topics. My most recent publications include an essay on ‘Brussels Sprouts and Empire’ for a book on the philosophy of gardening and another on the place of trust in archival discourse. The principal users of archives, both locally and nationally, are a genealogist, whose motivation are little explored but seems to encompass a search for identity and temporal belonging within a connected community. What do such intensions mean in our plural urban society? Is it simply a curious nostalgia or is there a genuine desire for identity that is located in more than present time? The use of archives has long been recognised as raising significant questions about the sense of time. Contemporary archival literature posits a view that archives are always in a ‘state of becoming’, because their interpretation is always influenced by the present, by location and the user’s perspectives and interests. If this is the case then it raises fundamental questions about what is meant by concepts of authenticity, accountability, veracity and trust that are not trivial, particularly when set in the context of events such as the war in Iraq or the decision to close local libraries. In democratic societies it can be argued that the archive acting fiduciarily and protected by the rule of law is an essential bulwark for our liberties as it holds the evidence to call those in authority to account.
During my time at Sheffield Hallam University (Centre for Education and Inclusion Research) I have been involved in a variety of research projects broadly connected with the wellbeing of young people and/or lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) communities (regarding health inequalities, health related education/services, and so on). As a Sociologist, I am particularly interested in the social influences on wellbeing (e.g. experiences of heterosexism and homophobia, perceptions of ‘belonging’ and ‘acceptance’, etc.), and specifically the relationship between sexual identities and perceptions and experiences of ‘community’, and the implications of this for health and wellbeing. Within this, changing experiences over time become important: growing (legal) equality in the UK for LGBT communities contrasts starkly with experiences among older LGBT groups who may have experienced criminalisation and/or ‘treatment’ for their sexual identity and/or practices. How do these historical contexts (still) affect people’s ongoing identity development and expression, their wider wellbeing / ‘quality of life’, and the development and experience of ‘community’ and ‘connectivity’ more generally (including political activism, ‘scene’ spaces, and forms of social support)? I am interested in exploring these ideas with regard to broader social wellbeing – which my lightning talk will address – and within the context of wider debates about socio-cultural change, community connectivities, and temporal belongings.
Slides from Eleanor's Lightning Talk
I am currently a 2nd year PhD student in International Politics at Aberystwyth University. Prior to this, I lived for a long time and studied occasionally in Lawrence, Kansas, a mid-sized university town where my interest in time first emerged (although had I been paying closer attention, it could easily have sparked an interest in community as well). My research builds on this interest, and I am generally intrigued by all things time (philosophy, sociology, history of—in particular if anyone can explicate a mechanical clock escapement...), and a few specific things about community such as political, phenomenological, and identity facets. My hopes for the workshop are to 1) be part of a broad interdisciplinary discussion about time, and 2) to develop tools to pursue an inquiry of the relationship between time and community. With regard to the latter, I am particularly concerned with whether the following hunches are plausible: 1) that communities self-constitute in and against time, and 2) that they are (often/always?) political projects which depend on some disciplining or taming of a Western concept of time.
Andrew's Lightning Talk