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Maps that Shift and Grow: Five Alternative Ways of Mapping Britain
Wed 10 May 2017, 18:00 – 20:00 BST
Time and date: May 10th, 6pm (note that this event has been rescheduled)
Venue: Development Planning Unit at UCL, 34 Tavistock Square, London WC1H 9EZ (map)
Price: £5 / £10
Chair: Phil Cohen
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Just as any chart of the night sky represents only a fraction of what really exists up there in the illimitable space beyond our planet, so too any published map of Britain will always be merely an outline of what is most obvious – what can be picked out with least difficulty. Beyond that, there will always be numberless constellations of ideas: vague glimmerings which, once the eye is trained upon them, sharpen into intriguing universes.
In this seminar, Joanne Parker (University of Exeter) will explore five alternative maps of Britain that exist within the lines of our “official” maps: the caver’s map of Britain, the canal map of Britain, the aeronautical map of Britain, the ley-hunter’s map of Britain, and the megalithic map of Britain.
She will consider how these maps divide up the country, irrespective of political borders and conventional categories of ‘rural’ and ‘urban’; how the maps shift and alter with the discovery of new sites and routes, and what importance they hold today for drawing communities together.
About the speakers
Joanne Parker is Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature at the University of Exeter. Her research focuses on the relationships between literature, folklore, history and place. Among other things, she has published on the medieval revival in the South West (Art and Soul, 2014), on creative responses to prehistoric remains (Written on Stone, 2009), and on the Victorian fascination with King Alfred (England’s Darling, 2007). Her most recent book is Britannia Obscura: Mapping Hidden Britain (Jonathan Cape, 2014/Vintage 2015) and she is currently part of the ERC-funded Past in its Place project, looking at ‘sites of memory’ across Britain, including the folklore of gibbet sites, novels about Hadrian’s Wall, and popular beliefs about prehistoric sites.
Megan Barford is head curator at the Greenwich Maritime Museum and was recently awarded the Boydell and Brewer Maritime History Prize for her work on 19th Century Naval Hydrology.