Department of Geography

Past events

Ruins of industrial culture: Absence-presence, affect and industrial ruination in the Miners' Welfare

Wednesday 20 February 12:00 until 13:00
Global Studies Resource Centre, Arts C
Speaker: Jay Emery
Part of the series: Geography Research Seminars: Beyond the Fringe

Chair: Ben Rogaly

Convenor: Divya P Tolia-Kelly

This talk begins with a brief overview of my research into the affective and temporal dynamics of belonging among working-class mining families in the Nottinghamshire coalfield. I will spend a short time outlining the academic contexts of the research, my approaches, findings and contributions. Following this introduction, the main portion of the talk focuses on my research on the affective intensities and absence-presences evoked by creative and embodied engagements in and with Miners' Welfares in the Nottinghamshire coalfield (High, 2014; Mah, 2012). Attracting geographers interested in the spectral, embodied and affective dimensions of memory, ruins of industrial workplaces have served as fertile spaces for animating geographical imaginations, methodological experimentation and politically engaged rumination (DeSilvey & Edensor, 2013; Edensor, 2005; Hill, 2013). However, solely focusing on abandoned factories, mills, and so forth, suggests that industrial culture was confined to workplaces when, in fact, it 'extended out from the shop floor into the industrial communities in which they were located' (High, MacKinnon and Perchard, 2017). Moreover, whilst embodied knowledges of industrial ruins should be welcomed, the promised critical affordances of ruins are yet to be forthcoming. I suggest this is because of a lack of social, historical and critically-reflexive knowledges of ruins as spaces embedded in classed processes of industrial ruination. This talk documents the shared and personal histories, memories and absence-presences of working-class industrial culture in the Miners' Welfares of the Nottinghamshire coalfield, UK. Once thriving centres of social and community life for miners as well as their families, Miners' Welfares have slowly been erased from transforming coalfield landscapes, with those remaining in liminal states of living ruination. I conclude by arguing that from the relationships between social affective memories, industrial ruination and class inequalities of post-industrialism emerges a fragmented and localised politics of anger, apathy and alienation.

All welcome.

Coffee/tea and cake is provided.

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By: Martin Wingfield
Last updated: Thursday, 20 December 2018