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‘The Way it Was, Never the Full Story’: Creative practices in the geo-humanities that manifest alternative stories and positions to the dominant narratives

   Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

  Mr Daniel Shipsides, Dr Frederic Huska  Monday, February 27, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

​​Creative practices have always played a central a role in constructing narratives of history and place. In Human Geography, the growing study and appreciation of this phenomenon has been termed the Cultural Turn. Much of what we understand of our sense of place is informed by the creative contributions of art, film, music, theatre and literature. However, the presence, and often the agenda, of a dominant narrative, driven by the conditions of global capitalism with its tendency to polarise, exclude and nationalise discourses, acts to deny or overshadow the alternative or other stories that then rarely see the light. Within this also, is the creative industries’ complicity towards constructing place as a site of consumption (Urry 1995). The need to examine the construction of dominant spatial narratives and generate counter or other narratives is vital but nuanced.

With the growing appreciation and acknowledgement of artistic research in the Geo-Humanities (Hawkins, 2021), this topic looks closely at the roles and methods of such practices in telling stories that situate beyond the dominating story. It draws from counter-hegemonic theory (Mouffe / Laclau, 1985. Kioupkiolis, 2019), decolonial thinking (Mignolo et al, 2018) and emancipatory geographies (Springer, 2017) to pose; What role does, or can, art practice have in addressing or countering the issues of the dominant narrative? What methods might be developed to empower the stories (micro-histories, micro-geographies) that are lesser told? What is the position, value and ethic of speculative strategies, fiction and creative licence within this process?

Furthermore, the prevalence of the ‘archive’, sometimes explicitly in the form of a ‘national’ archive, as being the legitimising source or repository of “data” has also underwritten the claims of dominant narratives and the official memory. This prompts launching stages for questions asking; what role does the historical and geographical archive play in constructing the dominant narrative? What other forms of ‘archival record’ might we understand as valuable repositories of information and source material for creative research?  What other techniques of ‘archival method’ might be brought to the archival record to manifest an ‘an-archival method’ - a method that seeks to address the inherent hierarchies of dominance?

This project will explore and manifest the role and method of art practice which draws from material, vernacular and archival histories and/or geographies in unearthing and generating counter-narratives within or against the narrative of a dominant hegemony.


Hawkins. Geography, Art, Research; Artistic Research in the GeoHumanities. 2021.
​​Thrift. Non-representational Theory. Space, Politics and Affect. 2007.
​​Hanulla. The Politics of Small Gestures: Chances and Challenges for Contemporary Art. 2006.
​Hanulla. Life, A narrative - essay on identity, Microhistories, Konstfack. 2016.
​​Cotter. Reclaiming Artistic Research. 2017.
​​Haraway. Situated Knowledges. 1988
​​Merewether (ed) Archive. Documents of Contemporary Art. 2006.
​Bacon (ed). Arkive City. 2008.
​​Foucault. Archeology of Knowledge. 1969
​Derrida. Archive Fever. 1995.
​​Urry. Consuming Places. 1995.
​ Mouffe / Laclau. Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. 1985
​​Little / Lloyd (ed), The Politics of Radical Democracy. 2012.
​Martin(ed) Hegemony, Radical Democracy, and the Political. 2013.
​Moufee / Laclau (ed.) Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community. 1992.
​​Mignolo, W. D., & Walsh, C. E. On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. 2018.
​​Kioupkiolis. Common and Counter-Hegemonic Politics:Re-Thinking Social Change. 2019.
​ ​Springer. Anarchist Roots of Geography – Towards spatial emancipation. Simon. 2017.

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