4th Global Conference
Wednesday 7th July 2010 – Friday 9th July 2010
Mansfield College, Oxford
Visual Demarcations of Social Space in Traditional Japanese Culture
Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan
Japanese society places a high priority on the delineation of social boundaries. In this presentation I will examine how aspects of social space are visually identified in traditional Japanese culture and how demarcations are used to enact relational social space. I will show examples from traditional houses, shops, shrines, and teahouses that use different physical materials and different forms to realise and demarcate visual space. In The Poetics of Space Bachelard writes that “Outside and inside form a dialectic of division, the obvious geometry of which blinds us as soon as we bring it into play in metaphorical domains. It has the sharpness of the dialectics of yes and no, which decides everything” (1958). What is distinctive about conceptual space in Japanese culture is that it is not considered to be an absolute. Rather, entryways and demarcated enclosures are transitional spaces that act to both separate and join, in ways that place emphasis on features of partiality, impermanence and transformation.
Representations of Cyprus: Impressions of Gender and Culture during British Rule (1878-1959)
Loughborough University, United Kingdom
The paintings completed by British colonial artists residing in Cyprus in the early twentieth century raise questions about whether or not such artists’ representations of their experiences in Cyprus are authentically portrayed or simply a product of their imagination. This paper will explore the work of such representations, with particular reference to the notion of Cypriot culture: this is strongly apparent within their works, in the clothing, sceneries and body language. The colonial artists were from the British middle and upper classes, and this paper will discuss how, in their paintings, these artists portrayed Cyprus as an oriental island with compelling landscapes and a single ‘Cypriot nation’; a nation where the two main ethnic groups (Greeks and Turks) lived in harmony, under the gaze of the British observer. In this paper I shall consider the British superiority complex and racial prejudices regarding Cypriots living in rural areas, as is apparent from the travel literature. The paper will concentrate on the work of British artists Gladys Peto, Keith Henderson and William Hawkins. Moreover, I shall examine the work of Greek-Cypriot artist Loukia Nicolaidou and how she depicted her own country. A comparison of their work will reveal any similarities or differences in representing Cyprus and what the popular memory of each artist passes on about Cyprus under British rule.
Transnational Refugees and Participatory Visual Research
Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland
“Visual knowledge (as well as other forms of sensory knowledge) provides one of our primary means of comprehending the experience of other people. Unlike the knowledge communicated by words, what we show in images has no transparency or volition – it is a different knowledge, stubborn and opaque, but with a capacity for the finest detail”. (MacDougall 2006:5-6)
Following a heightened awareness of the importance of visual and artistic approaches to data collection and presentation in the social sciences, and the need for “innovative methodologies to analyse the new governance, the dynamics of forced migration, humiliation, and processes of exile, displacement and belonging” (O’Neill 2008:15), this paper aims to examine the use and potential of visual arts-based participatory practice as a method of enquiry, analysis and (re)presentation for exploring the subjective experiences of asylum seekers living in direct provision accommodation in Ireland.
Participatory photography as research method is a combination of art, ethnography and activism, exploring and representing narrative through an artistic approach and actively engaging participants in the research process. Working through the visual in a multicultural setting allows for a shift away from linguistically dominated frameworks, allowing perhaps for new insights into the complexities of the migrant experience.
This paper will draw on the preliminary field experiences of the researcher, working with a group of asylum seekers in Ireland through visual, narrative and storytelling and working towards the co-creation of a body of work consisting of image and text. The paper will discuss some preliminary findings emerging from this fieldwork as well as the challenges such research poses, namely regarding ethics, reflexivity and representation of data.