The art of geography

Post by Dr Hannah MacPherson, senior lecturer on the Geography BA(Hons) course, who is working on a new book with the College of Arts and Humanities at Brighton.

Hannah art blog photoAs geographers we collaborate with people who specialise in all sorts of different things which makes studying and working in this field amazingly diverse. I’m working with Alice Fox, course leader in Inclusive Arts in the College of Arts and Humanities on a book called Inclusive Arts Practice and Research. The book is about creative collaborations between learning disabled and non-disabled artists, how these collaborations can be used for social changes and as a way of conducting research with this diverse group.

So how does this involve geography?

I teach a module called geographies of disabilities and impairment, one of the things we look at is how people with disabilities can contribute rather than how we can help them. And one of the things we look at in the book is how clay as a material can in effectively listen to the people working with it. We’re very excited to be presenting our cutting edge thinking at London’s Southbank Centre in 2015. I’ll keep you posted about where we’re up to in the run up to the launch.

You can also find out more about the artists working on the project on their own blog: Side by Side.

Southeast Asia to Brighton

Thai dancers at ASEASUK conferenceOur Human Geography team hosted a major conference on Southeast Asia Studies last month.

In collaboration with the Royal Pavillion Museum in Brighton, the conference brought together a diverse group of Southeast Asian scholars, development practitioners, artists and even Shan Buddhist monks, all with an interest in different aspects of Southeast Asian human geography, culture and development.

One of the highlights of the conference was a performance of Thai dance by leading performer Phakamas Jirajarupat and her colleagues (pictured). For me as a Human Geographer, it was fascinating to see what conference participants from Burma, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia made of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion, built as a ‘pleasure palace’ for Prince William in the 18th century. This unique, opulent building reveals much about how the Far East was imagined and represented by its English architects and designers, none of whom had ever visited that part of the world.