Explore hidden Leeds city spaces at special book launch
The book, Urban Constellations: Spaces of Cultural Regeneration in Post-Industrial Britain, by Dr Zoë Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Humanities, will be celebrated with the special ‘walking and making’ event: an urban voyage of discovery, open to the public, beginning at 4pm in the Leeds City Museum playground and map area.
The event will involve exploring and participating in the sights and sounds of Leeds whilst wandering through the town, discovering the overlooked elements of the city and working together on an activity to create Leeds in miniature.
The event, supported by the Media and Place research cluster and the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett, is free and includes free drinks and nibbles. To book a place, please go to http://bit.ly/UrbanConstellations and bring along a jam jar and a sense of fun.
Urban Constellations investigates the iconic architecture of cultural spaces in terms of city regeneration.
Zoë explained: “Promising much to their fading locales, these projects locate culture in the space where production once ruled in order to revitalise post-industrial urban provinces.”
Featuring case studies of four cultural regeneration projects in the UK: The Deep in Hull; The Sage in Gateshead; The Lowry in Salford; and The Public in West Bromwich, the book sheds light on the way that these projects transform the way that we consume culture, express wider political and ecological concerns, and offer different views of local history to the ‘native’ and the ‘tourist’. The book also examines the decline of the idea that iconic projects can drive regeneration.
Commenting on the book’s section relating to The Deep in Hull, Zoë added: “As well as enjoying the cinematic spectacle of sea life, we are also forced to confront the fate of nature in the context of climate change and the human impact on the environment. The contradictions of the place; for example, diners eating fish in the restaurant whilst watching other fish swim in the tanks; and letting some fish be eaten by predators whilst preserving other species in specialist labs, registers on the visitor and forces us to confront an urgent and pressing ecological conundrum.”
Zoë explores the cultural sites in terms of their spaces, which dictate the experience that the sites expect their visitors to have. For example, the architecture of The Deep aims to get visitors moving around it in a set way; Zoë disregards this and looks at what happens as a result, giving an alternative reading of the museum’s space which can offer a different experience. She explores the work of two 20th Century philosophers to help the reader to understand, interrogate and explore 21st Century approaches to cultural places and spaces: for example thinking of contemporary architecture as alien life forms and thinking of cities as being haunted by their past and by their future.