Tom Keeley paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes Symposium

America Deserta Revisited

Tom Keeley

In the 1980s English architecture historian and critic Reyner Banham published an account of his travels across his adopted home of the United States, Scenes in America Deserta. This critic-cum-tourist model revealed the eccentric byways of American culture while assaying its range of natural features. At a point when the country’s national character and international standing were in transitional, if not perilous, condition, America Deserta Revisited documented a journey across the United States in the summer of 2011. Engaging the country by train at a time when petrol was at the centre of debate in the American economy and politics, this series looked for the key urban issues facing a country in flux.

The third instalment of the series focussed on the city of Detroit, Michigan; a city that has been described, almost mythically in recent years, as the symbol of post-industrial decline. America Deserta Revisited went to explore whether a new model of urbanism, of ingenuity, could provide solutions for the city’s future.

America Deserta Revisited was made into series of publications, and published as essays for the Italian design and architecture magazine Domus.


Tom Keeley is an artist, writer and researcher concerned with exploring unsung geographies, everyday landscapes and overlooked architectures, often through printed matter. His work is in the collections of the National Art Library at the V&A; and the School of Architecture Library at Princeton University.

tom keeley

To reserve a free place at the symposium (which will take place on May 22nd, 10am-4pm), please visit our eventbrite page.

Paul Evans paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

a slip of the land |

a slip of the language

Paul Evans

The story of the various meanings of the English word ‘landscape’ makes up an interesting example of the “dynamic construal” of meaning. The ‘Seven Wonders’ project, based on Thomas Hobbes 16th century poem ‘De Mirabilibus Pecci – BEING THE WONDERS OF THE PEAK IN DARBY-SHIRE’, is also a dynamic and collaborative structuring of experience, juxtaposing contemporary poetry and painting.

In this presentation I will reconfigure various poetic/painterly juxtapositions, allowing a degree of slippage to create a new geology of meaning. Focusing on three of the 7 Wonders: Kinder Downfall, Thor’s Cave and Peak Cavern, I will present poems and paintings in new combinations, including ‘Phlegmatic’ by Fay Musselwhite and ‘The Ascent of Kinder Scout’ by Peter Riley (which marks 80 years since the mass trespass that inspired the recent ‘right to roam’ legislation). I will use these to discuss the possibility that all landscape may be ‘post-traumatic’ in the sense of geological process.

I will also ask why the Peak District, the world’s second most popular national park (and a site of immense geological trauma) has, somewhat ironically, come to represent a ‘breathing place’: a site of physical and emotional restoration that encroaches well within the city boundaries of Sheffield, South Yorkshire.


Paul Evans is a contemporary artist based in Sheffield. His practice encompasses a variety of creative strategies including drawing, painting and animation. Often working in collaboration with poets, academics and graphic designers, his recent practice reflects a profound interest in the relationship between the human animal and nature.


Paul Evans, The Downfall III (2012), oil on board.

To reserve a free place at the symposium (which will take place on May 22nd, 10am-4pm), please visit our eventbrite page.

Entropy @ Charnwood Quarry : Martyn Blundell and Mark Goodwin at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

In early Spring 2012, Martyn Blundell and Mark Goodwin entered the disused quarter of Charnwood Quarry, near Loughborough. From the quarry rim they worked their way down … passed beneath the M1 Motorway … then entered abandoned workshops and offices …

…  Entropy @ Charnwood Quarry, early Spring 2012  is a film-poem made from that ‘journey’  …

Film duration: approx 9 minutes

Film production: Martyn Blundell

Poetry, vocals and audio production: Mark Goodwin


Martyn Blundell is a video artist who has, since 1995, exhibited his work widely, both in the UK and internationally. In his current video work, Martyn is interested in: ‘prompting reflection on the relationship between then and now, presence and absence; and looking for the emotional traces left behind from our everyday encounters with our environment and our species.’

Mark Goodwin has published three full-length poetry collections, and three chapbooks. Much of his work is about ‘landscape’. Mark has a particular interest in ‘rurban’ rim-lands and the dilapidated. He has exhibited and often collaborated with Sheffield’s Longbarrow Press, through audio-recording poetry outdoors. The following is from Mark’s chapbook, Layers of Un, published by Shearsman Books:

a partly eradicated

stairwell to

a plain of waste

land droning

with a fizz

of worlds’




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

Paul Allender and Eddy Dreadnought paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

Neepsend to Parson Cross: a Migration

Paul Allender and Eddy Dreadnought

This paper presents direct, lived episodes from Paul of his childhood in Neepsend, and rehousing to the Parson Cross estate, a few miles north. Alternating with these memories is commentary from Eddy, which seeks to briefly contextualize them. These contexts include the interacting physical and social geographies of Neepsend over time, the nature of trauma, memory, and the psychiatry of PTSD.

The paper is obsessed with the River Don, and the turbulence of a student death in a raft race. The authors will touch on their ritual performance of ‘abreaction’ for the river, a Deleuzian ‘body without organs’.

The authors will also touch on other local flows and migrations, including the daily flow of non-resident day and night workers and their visitors into this now depopulated and virtually post-industrial area.


Paul Allender works part-time as a Teaching Associate in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield and part-time as an engaged artist on Parson Cross council estate in Sheffield on a Yorkshire Artspace funded programme. He lived in Neepsend in Sheffield from age 0-11 and moved from there to Parson Cross.

He has made a short film about discovering art on Parson Cross.

Eddy Dreadnought is a full-time contemporary artist. Last year he devised a walk around Upperthorpe, posted on the Occursus website, and showed related drawings and a DVD at a PlastiCités event. His favourite part of Upperthorpe is Neepsend, and he is delighted to collaborate with Paul who grew up there.

Eddy’s work can be seen on

Student boat race


Student boat race

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

Julia Dobson paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

Julia Dobson

In 1992-1993 French filmmaker Dominique Cabrera was commissioned to make a series of documentaries on the regeneration of Val Fourré, a densely populated banlieue / ‘outer-city’ area west of Paris. This regeneration project centred on the initial demolition of a set of tower blocks. In contrast to the public discourses which demonised the built environment as cause and emblem of social disrepair and presented  social and economic progress as inevitable consequences of serial regenerations, Cabrera’s  films trace the loss of shared place and collective identity. Viewing regeneration as trauma Cabrera’s  film-making strategies work to assert subjective sensual experience and to play with the constructions of time associated with the photographic and the filmic image respectively to assert a durationality of shared space and the present inscription of memory.


Julia Dobson is Reader in French Film and Performance at the University of Sheffield. She has published on the theatre of Hélène Cixous, performing objects, French film and documentary. Her recent book Negotiating the Auteur (Manchester University Press 2012) includes a chapter on the documentary and fiction films of Dominique Cabrera.

Julia Dobson

Dominique Cabrera, Chronique d’une banlieue ordinaire (1993)

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

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.

Brian Lewis paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

The Meridian

Brian Lewis

‘He wept because he could not prevent himself from departing on a trip when the need took him; he deserted family, work and daily life to walk as fast as he could, straight ahead…’

Mad Travellers, Ian Hacking

This presentation will open with a discussion of the ambulant automatism of the fugueur, with specific reference to Ian Hacking’s Mad Travellers (which reflects on a moment in European culture when ‘compulsive walking’ was recognized as a discrete illness).

It will then consider distinctions (and similarities) between the compulsive walking addressed by Hacking (movement through landscape impelled by trauma) and the speaker’s practice of immersive walking (movement through landscape impelled towards trauma). Through case studies, including accounts of ‘under-resourced’ long-distance walks undertaken by the speaker (culminating in a night walk from Hull to Spurn Point), the presentation will detail the effects of sleeplessness, hunger and exposure (and other ambient conditions) on the walker’s experience of the landscape.

It will also posit a relationship between a psychological estrangement from the landscape (by trauma accrued through walking) and physical immersion in the landscape, with reference to Burke’s concept of the sublime: a region defined by that which is “dark, uncertain and confused.”


Brian Lewis is editor and curator of Longbarrow Press, a Sheffield-based poetry publisher. His creative practice includes collaborations with poets on film and audio works that focus on marginal landscapes. He regularly undertakes extended walks in the east of England with the objective of depleting his physical and psychological resources.


Ph. Brian Lewis, 2013

Book your free place at the symposium (which will take place on May 22nd 2013, 10am-4pm) here.