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May – Jun 2014: Sensing Place


The way in which we perceive our environment involves all of our senses, but throughout history it has been the sense of sight that has traditionally dominated the ways in which we represent the world and the ways in which we think about our sensory engagement with it. From paintings and pictures to film, media, television and contemporary screen culture, it is the eyes that have it. This series of events will take a different focus and start an exploration of the way in which we engage with our environment through multiple senses, including but not restricted to sight.  Academics, artists and writers will deal with sensing as a way of actively engaging with the world, and mapping the spaces and places around us.  Featuring not only talks, but exciting multi-sensory walks and encounters with both city spaces and countryside locations and concluding with a grand-finale gala night of poetry, conversation and general merry-making this is intended as a rapturous conclusion to our year of practising ‘Humanities in Public’.





Monday 12th May 2014Reach for the stars: On haptic perception and the atmosphere, Professor Tim Ingold

Monday 19th May 2014Sensing Place Symposium with Dr. Tim Edensor (MMU) Dr. Victoria Henshaw (Manchester) Dr. Toby Heys (Manchester School of Art, MMU) and Dr. Sara MacKian (Open University)

Monday 2nd June 2014Senses of Place Poetry Gala Featuring: Sean Borodale, Deryn Rees-Jones, Michael Symmons Roberts and Jean Sprackland

Convened by:


Dr. Tim Edensor teaches cultural geography at Manchester Metropolitan University.  He is the author of Tourists at the Taj (198), National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life (2002) and Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality, as well as the editor of Geographies of Rhythm (2010) and co-editor of Spaces of Vernacular Creativity (2009) and Urban Theory Beyond the West: A World of Cities (2011).  Tim has written extensively on national identity, tourism, industrial ruins, walking, driving, football cultures and urban materiality and is currently investigating landscapes of illumination and darkness


Dr. David Cooper is Senior Lecturer in English Literature within the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at MMU Cheshire where he teaches twentieth- and twenty first-century literature. His research focuses on literary geographies: the exploration of the way in which modern and contemporary writers represent space, place and landscape; and the use of geographic thought and practices to open up new ways of approaching literary texts. He is the co-editor of Poetry & Geography: Space & Place in Post-war Poetry (Liverpool University Press, 2013); and he is currently writing a critical monograph entitled Lake District Literary Geographies (also for Liverpool University Press) which draws upon a range of spatial theories to examine post-Romantic representations of the Cumbrian topography.


Dr. Gavin MacDonald is Senior Lecturer on the Film and Media Studies degree at Manchester School of Art. His research deals with mapping and movement in contemporary art and visual culture, new media art and theory, and critical and theoretical approaches to space, place and movement. His doctoral thesis looked at the ways in which GPS has been used by artists. He has recently been the recipient of an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund award to investigate the Liverpool art organisation FACT’s work with augmented reality and wearable computing in cultural heritage contexts.