Office Hours with George Legg

I attended Dr George Legg’s office hours this morning to discuss a productive slant for our project. As the leader of our First Year core Liberal Arts module “Lives of London” he had a wealth of suggestions to give me that will shape our research.

Psychogeography and general theoretical approaches

  • Guy Debord and the situationists. their thing is literally about finding uncertainty in the city, perfect for us! They coined the term “psychogeography”, meaning “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.”
  • Merlin Coverley, Psychogeography (Harpenden: Pocket Essentials, 2007). An explanation of the origins and contemporary significance of psychogeography.
  • Tim Cresswell, Place — a short introduction. On how different people personalise different places.
  • Yi-Fu Tuan, Topophilia: A Study of Environmental Perceptions, Attitudes, and Values. Affective bond between people and place, examining environmental perceptions and values at different levels: the species, the group, and the individual. This book searches for environment in the city, suburb, countryside, and wilderness from a dialectical perspective, distinguishes different types of environmental experience, and describes their character.
  • Joe Kerr and Andrew Gibson, London From Punk to Blair — two chapters, “End of the Line” and “Secret City, Psychogeography and the End of London”.
  • Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space. Another canonical French work on space.

Moving in London.

  • Simeon Koole, ‘How We Came to Mind the Gap: Time, Tactility and the Tube’, Twentieth Century British History 27(4)(2016), 524-554. This will provide a good theoretical apparatus for us to expand on, and perhaps apply to the other modes of movement we’ve been talking about.
  • Jon Day, Cyclogeography: Journeys of a London Bicycle Courier. A memoir combined with literary criticism on experiencing the city by bike.
  • Richard Bramwell, UK Hip-Hop, Grime and the City: The Aesthetics and Ethics of London’s Rap Scenes — chapter ‘On the Bus my Oyster Card Goes Ding De Diing De Ding Ding — Transforming the Space of London’s Public Transport’

Transport and the boundaries of the city.

  • Iain Sinclair — Orbital. Not a super radical theoretical reading, but rather reflection on the M25 being the boundary of London.

Some things to consider when narrowing down our project.

  • Possession of the city through transport.
  • On one hand, transports role in defining the city, and on the other, transport mediating our interaction with the city.
  • South London having subpar rail connections compared to other parts of London.
  • The fact that the perimeters of London are much more racially diverse than the centre.
  • Could take into account gendered fluxes of movement.
  • The Tube, Alistair Pegg, TV show 2012 (can be accessed via Boxer Broadcast using k-number). Thinking about the tube, its different speeds and moods (overnight, rush hour), the jobs it creates (maintenance, fluffers).
  • The cycle superhighway, its routes, its interaction with other routes of transport.
  • An experiment: take a certain bus route, mapping the different people getting on and off at each station. Could do this for each mode of transport?
  • A team trip to the TFL museum?
  • A zine sounds like an exciting and creative idea!

This was a very productive meeting, I’m excited for us to read up on some of these topics and finalise an original and productive slant for our project. A couple of team-members will be meeting Dr Sophie Blackburn on Friday to discuss further possibilities.

Note: Today Katie submitted a Minimal Ethical Risk Form for our project.