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TAKE PART: Reconfiguring Ruins Workshop at NewBridge

Posted: 18 May 2015

Reconfiguring Ruins: Materialities, Processes and Mediations
Workshop – Expressions of Interest

Monday 8 – Tuesday 9 June 2015
The NewBridge Project, Newcastle upon Tyne

Reconfiguring Ruins brings together the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the Open University, Newcastle University and Sheffield University, The NewBridge Project in Newcastle and the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) in London.

We invite artists whose practice is concerned with the theme of ruins to participate in a free workshop as part of Reconfiguring Ruins: Materialities, Processes and Mediations.

The workshop will investigate how ruins are re-configured across time, space and media; it will include a series of talks, presentations and critical discussions, as well as site visits to ruins, chosen for the contrast between their location and the different cultures that surround them.

The workshop will feature Dr Nick Rush-Cooper discussing the mediations of the ruins of Chernobyl in videogames and Professor Bridget Bennett discussing ideas of home and crisis through neoclassical architecture in early America.

Reconfiguring Ruins co-investigators, Dr Adam Stock and Dr Mark Pendleton will be talking about research connected to the project. Dr Adam Stock will be focusing on ruins and apocalyptic temporalities in literature and film; Dr Mark Pendleton will explore Japanese ruins, including Hashima – an island made famous in the West as a location in the James Bond film Skyfall.

Dr Thomas Edward Wainwright will lead a site visit to Dunston Staithes, exploring our relationship towards decaying structures and their potential future uses. There will also be the chance to explore part of the Locus+ archive at their offices, formerly the Northern Constitutional Club.

NewBridge artist, Ben Jeans Houghton will lead a walking tour of ruins around Newcastle using Google maps and an accompanying downloadable audio album.

Expressions of Interest:
The workshop will take place at The NewBridge Project, 12 New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AW on Monday 8 June 1-6pm and Tuesday 9 June 9:30-5:30pm.

If you are interested in participating in the workshop please email with a short paragraph outlining your interest in taking part (300words max).

Deadline: Wednesday 27 May, 5pm


More information on Reconfiguring Ruins: Materialities, Processes and Mediations:
Funded by an AHRC ‘Care for the Future’ Developmental Award, Reconfiguring Ruins brings together academics from the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the Open University, Newcastle University and Sheffield University to work across disciplines, geographies and media. Our project partners are the New Bridge Project (NBP) in Newcastle and the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) in London.

Our project aims to critically reflect on the contemporary explosion of interest in ruins across the arts and humanities by re-connecting the theoretical and methodological metaphors which draw on ruins and ruination (e.g. ‘excavation’, ‘archaeology’, ‘palimpsest’) with the materiality of the ruin; the processes by which ruins emerge, change, and are sustained; and the different kinds of actors that engage with ruins.

The aesthetic of ruins privileged in the romantic concept of Ruinenlust (illustrated by, among others, Tate Britain’s ‘Ruin Lust’ exhibition, March-May 2014) captures a particular Western gaze on ruins as a concept, site and process. Our cross-disciplinary and cross-period approach questions the meaningfulness of ruins from other perspectives, and asks whether the imagination of ruins can be a generative and pre-figurative means of engaging with future change as well as thinking about interactions with the past. Conversations at workshops in London (12-13 January 2015) and Newcastle (4-5 June 2015) between academics, artists and practicing archaeologists, among others, will form the basis for a range of critical and creative work.

More information on partners/presenters:
Dr Adam Stock is Co-Investigator on the ‘Re-configuring ruins’ project, in which he’s looking at apocalyptic ruins in fiction and film. His book, Modern Dystopian Fiction and Political Thought is due to be published by Routledge in 2016. Previously, he has published on topics related to the history of ideas, science fiction, modernism, and utopian/ dystopian literature. Adam is Network Facilitator for the Leverhulme International Research Network ‘Imaginaries of the Future’.

Dr Mark Pendleton is a cultural and social historian and Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield. His research interests include modern and contemporary Japanese history, the politics of memory in East Asia and transnational histories of gender and sexuality. As a co-investigator on the ‘Reconfiguring Ruins’ project, Mark is researching the haikyo (ruins) boom that has emerged in Japan since the 1990s.

Dr Nick Rush-Cooper is a cultural geographer with interests in the experiences of landscape, subjectivity and practices of knowledge production. His PhD Exposures: Exploring Selves and Landscapes in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was undertaken whilst working as a tour guide in Chernobyl. Current research examines the process by which ral world spaces are ‘translated’ into computer game spaces and how, in turn, computer game spaces shape cultural and embodied knowledge.

Bridget Bennett is Professor of American Literature and Culture at Leeds University. Her wide-ranging work moves across the disciplinary boundaries of literature, philosophy and cultural history and beyond. Bridget’s last book was entitled Transatlantic Spiritualism and Nineteenth-Century American Literature (2007). More recently, Bridget’s work has focused on ideas of home and crisis. Her new AHRC-funded Research Network project is entitled ‘Home, Crisis and the Imagination’. It examines how home and crisis are interlinked in the imagination, and will investigate the extraordinary power that home has as both a physical location and an object of representation. By investigating moments of crisis through the analysis of home, the network will show not only how ‘the’ home makes meaning through lived conditions but also how the home is itself a frequent site of crisis.

Dr Thomas Edward Wainwright has a background in architectural design and temporary installations, having worked in Berlin and New York on research-led projects, and a doctoral degree in applied architectural research. He has experience in working with leading artists, architects, planners, designers and educators to produce projects, research and provide analysis, writing and design services to all sectors of the built and physical environment.

Reconfiguring Ruins is supported by an AHRC ‘Care for the Future’ Developmental Award.