This December, James & Lorna from the PublicArchaeology2015 project have organised an end-of-year walking discussion on the ‘Archaeology of Austerity’. It will take place on Saturday 12 December from 10am.
Details of the event are still coming together and we are open to outside input, so please get in touch on Twitter (@PA2015info), or in the comments section below if you want to be involved in some way.
As you’ll see from the description, we hope to connect with wider digital audiences on the day, so any ideas of offers of assistance in that would be much appreciated.
See you there!
Narratives and counter-narratives; a line through contemporary London
In post-Coalition austerity Britain, there are major discrepancies between the way we are supposed to live, according to social, political and cultural rhetoric, and the way in which we live day-to-day. The former, driven by external forces such as media influence, international finance and a particular kind of centralised social aspiration first defined in the 1980s, centres on legibility, cultural consumption, public ostentation and a privileging of complex cultural semiotics over political concerns and public action. We inhabit this often contradictory society as best we can; it is an organic, precarious and very occasionally subversive experience.
This event, a collaborative walking discussion about the contemporary archaeological manifestations of these complex socio-political and cultural issues will seek to put a running section across the middle of London and attempt to take the pulse of London past, London present, and what it means to inhabit this world for archaeologists and archaeo-sympathisers.
The walk will take place across the landscape of central London, evoking elements of psychogeography, contemporary archaeology, deep time, and landscape history, in a unique event which proposes to not only provide a traditional platform for ‘the public talk’ as information and knowledge-sharing, but will also offer a physical re-experiencing of time and cultural understanding through movement, digital media and live commentary. The walk will begin in central London and will finish at Whitehall, at the end of Downing Street. In between, the route will take in a number of stops (Shoreditch, Bank of England, St Pauls Cathedral, Heygate Estate, Bankside Urban Garden, Southbank, Parliament Square) offering different perspectives on the lived experience of the city, both in the past and in the present, some officially sanctioned, others intentionally not.
At each stop, the participants will either hear from an expert on the area or investigate a site relevant to historic or contemporary heritage. Throughout the experience, participants will gain an understanding of the range of narratives and counter-narratives being enacted across London, often in close proximity, enabling them to fully engage in a summary discussion in a Westminster pub at the end of the route. The route and sites visited have been chosen to allow participants to choose whether to walk the entire route, or jump in and out of the experience throughout the programme. As it is proposed to undertake this event during the depths of winter, this will allow for the need for warmth and participant-comfort!
The event will officially end at 8pm with a reading of the Riot Act.