Shaping place, sensing place

Michelle Stefano (Maryland State Arts Council)
Stephanie Hawke (Newcastle University)
Block 2, Piso 1, Room 82
Start time:
19 April, 2011 at 16:30
Session slots:

Short abstract:

Who makes 'sense of place' and how does this happen? What is the role of culture, history and heritage, both tangible and intangible, within this process of 'place sensing'?

Long abstract:

This panel examines the roles people play in constructing 'sense of place'. Papers will draw on international examples and a diversity of literature and theory from human geography, environmental psychology, sociology, and leisure, cultural and heritage studies. Key topics will explore how sense of place is constructed and, more particularly, how culture or heritage contributes. Recognising that intrinsic to sense of place are the notions of belonging, pride and identity, amongst others, papers can ask: are such notions always negotiated in terms of history, heritage or more general temporality? Whilst the physical environment of place might provide an aide memoire for the continuity of personal belonging, how do people draw on contemporary intangible elements of place distinctiveness, such as dialect or music, to place them in the past and in the present? At the core of the activity of place sensing are the connections people create with respect to certain localities, natural and built landscapes, and communities. It can also be suggested that these 'places' are given significance through shared memories, expressions of identity and particular cultural practices, entities that evolve in response to larger societal forces. Through a holistic view, it can, thus, be suggested that senses of place are embedded in a whole range of interconnected relationships between people and the physical, economic, social, cultural, political, and environmental contexts within which they interact.