Luke Bennett paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

The Ghosts of Furnace Park

Luke Bennett

Seeing is in part a matter of projecting, and the blanker, the more mundane the space, the more we project onto it in order to animate it and render it meaningful. But, no one reading – no matter how thorough – ever fully captures the site itself. We hunt out and take that which nourishes us. We ignore that which is tasteless to our particular palates. We all search only for treasures that we hope – or expect – to find there.

This paper will present a subjective account of gazing upon a plot of derelict land in the centre of Sheffield, of the personal ghosts summoned in the attempt to commune with other ghosts that the archive tells me I should find at this site. The piece will show how onlookers and those engaging with such sites are haunted by the ghosts of other places, and the spectre of things that may or may not be present at the site under examination. This is a sideways haunting, but a haunting none the less. It is a disturbance of thought that has very real – and very practical – effects upon the land that such anxieties afflict.


Luke is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of the Built Environment, Sheffield Hallam University. His research interests are centred around the intersection of materialities, ideas and practices in the built environment, with particular focus upon dereliction, urban exploration, metal theft and practices of land ownership.

Luke’s blog is at:

Luke Bennett

Book your free place at the symposium (which will take place on May 22nd, 10am-4pm) here.

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