Symposium – Critical Engagements with Engagement. CFP

The next occursus symposium will take place on Friday 26th July, 10am – 4pm at the Bloc gallery, Sheffield. The symposium will not focus on specific case studies, but will consist more of the discussions and debates which surround public and artistic engagement.

The topics we would like to cover in this symposium include, but are not limited to:

Public engagement with higher education; what is at stake when creative practitioners facilitate change in communities; the relationships between the practices of artists and urban policy makers; the line between public engagement as a democratic tool for society’s voice and as a mould for society’s form; public engagement in industry; public resistance in public engagement; the public’s role in academia; the ‘participatory turn’ and its relational, dialogical and collaborative aesthetics; conceptualising publics; how cultural context inflects public participation; temporality of public engagement; sustainable public engagement; acrimony in public practices

If you would like to submit a proposal for a 20-minute paper, screening, small exhibition or other intervention, please email Dr Amanda Crawley Jackson ( by July 15th at the latest.

Listen to Emma Bolland’s intervention at Post-Traumatic Landscapes

An audio recording of Emma Bolland’s intervention at the recent occursus symposium on post-traumatic landscapes is now available to listen to here.

Emma Bolland’s EVERY PLACE A PALIMPSEST (Part Two) focuses on Prince Phillip Playing Fields (municipal playing fields located on the borders of the Scott Hall and Chapeltown areas of Leeds) and incorporates texts by John Newling, Gordon Burn and David Peace.

Presented at CADS, Sheffield, Wednesday 22 May 2013. Recorded by Brian Lewis.

Programme for Post-Traumatic Landscapes Symposium, May 22nd

  • 10am – Open & coffee
  • Post-traumatic landscapes? Amanda Crawley Jackson
  • 10.20am – Neepsend to Parson Cross. Paul Allender and Eddy Dreadnought
  • 10.40am – The Meridian. Brian Lewis
  • 11am – America Deserta Revisited. Tom Keeley.
  • 11.20am – Discussion
  • 11.40am – Regeneration as Trauma. Julia Dobson
  • 12pm – Cyprien Gaillard’s work in Glasgow. Suzanne Robinson
  • 12.20pm – Discussion
  • 12.30 – Entropy at Charnwood Quarry. A film by Martin Blundell and Mark Goodwin
  • 12.45 – Discussion

1pm –  Free Lunch

Choose from a selection of:
A Selection of Freshly Baked Soft and Seeded Rolls

Authentic Mixed Samosa Selection V
Chicken Yakitori Skewer H
Yorkshire Crisps
Creamy Lancashire and Roast Vegetable Quiche V
Mini Peppered Steak Pie
Selection of Yorkshire Cocktail Sausages with Barbecue Dip
Selected Fresh Fruits
Mini Cake Bites
A selection of mini cakes including chocolate brownies, flapjacks, tiffin and
lemon drizzle cake.

  • 1.45pm – The Baroque Melancholy of Hashima. Mark Pendleton
  • 2.30pm – a slip of the land / a slip of the language. Paul Evans
  • 2.50pm – Discussion and coffee/tea & biscuits
  • 3.10pm – The Ghosts of Furnace Park. Luke Bennett
  • 3.30pm – Every Place a Palimpsest, Part 2. Emma Bolland
  • 3.50pm – Closing discussion
  • 4.30pm – Close

The symposium takes place at CADS, 5-7 Smithfield, Sheffield, S3 7AR.

Exhibition of works by MilkyWayYouWillHearMeCall at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium

PALIMPSEST presents work by ‘MilkyWayYouWillHearMeCall’ a collaboration between Emma Bolland, Thomas Rodgers and Judit Bodor. Using texts from 1980, a novel by David Peace which re-imagines the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper as a starting points, they are making visits to key sites referenced in the book, enacting research as ‘performance for camera’, walking and talking, collecting a forensic flora of ‘edgeland’ botanical specimens, and mediating their experiences through the lens of Peace’s texts. The outcomes of this project are open-ended, and include drawings, photographs, sound works, film, performance, and texts. In addition to an ongoing series of exhibitions, the project has been presented at Redrawing The Maps, a week of events contextualised by the John Berger ‘Art and Property Now exhibition at Somerset House, London. Emma Bolland will be presenting ”What Is A Book If It Will Not Be A Book’, referencing the creation of a creative codex for the project at Impact8, an international conference of print at The University of Dundee.

The research blog for the project can be found at:

Emma Bolland paper at Post-Traumatic Landscapes symposium


Emma Bolland

The paper will focus on Prince Phillip Playing Fields; municipal playing fields located on the borders of the Scott Hall and Chapeltown areas of Leeds.  This was the site of the murder, and subsequent discovery of the body of Wilma McCann: a victim of Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ The paper will examine the anonymity of the site, and the exploration of the idea of the ‘non-space’ as an attempted erasure of traumatic histories; referencing the writings of Gordon Burn and John Newling and their examination of Gloucester City Council’s demolition of 25 Cromwell Street; the home of Fred and Rosemary West. The author’s history and ‘pre-history’ of a continuing personal and creative relationship with the site will locate the experience of site as mediated through the lenses, mythologies and narratives of contested memories, media representations, and pre-existing themes of landscape and trauma as central to her practice. The conclusion will examine the site’s position in relation to the author’s on going collaborative project  ‘MilkyWayYouWillHearMeCall’, (the project blog can be found at ). The paper will be contextualised by an exhibition of visual work from the project.


 Emma Bolland is an artist and writer. She resumed her visual and written practice in 2004, after several years as a professional musician, focussing on narratives of danger and sexual risk filtered through the site, landscape, and contemporary and folk myth, using media including drawing, installation, film, text, performance and sound.

To reserve a free place at the symposium, please visit our eventbrite page.

The Baroque Melancholy of Hashima: Post-traumatic landscapes symposium

The Baroque Melancholy of Hashima

This presentation is a joint iteration of our performance project Hashima, begun in 2012, and continuing with AHRC ‘Care for Future’ funding. Combining the work of a performance theorist, geographer, geologist, environmentalist, historian of Japanese culture, and visual artist, the project is based on a series of field trips to Hashima, Japan, a former site of intensive offshore coal-mining and once the most densely populated spot on earth.  It is perhaps best known in the popular imagination as the base of the mysterious, oedipal villain in the recent Bond movie Skyfall. Our field trips allow us to gather materials to be reworked into a number of creative outputs, including postcards, improvisational scores, site-specific performances, soundscape, and installations. Underpinning the project is a collective concern with the future of ruins in a traumatised landscape. More specifically, we want to rethink the meaning of ecological horizons through a non-sentimental encounter with a human and non-human past, present and future. While we do not ignore the specificity of Hashima, we want to draw out its allegorical value as a site of monstrous transformation and futural possibility.

Presenter Biographies:

Professor Deborah Dixon works at the boundary of the arts and sciences, including looking at “monstrous” geography and BioArt, where artists take living tissue as their artistic medium. She teaches in the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Carina Fearnley is a Lecturer in Environmental Hazards at Aberystwyth University and a specialist in Disaster Risk Reduction. She focuses on the role of understanding and communicating uncertainty, risk, and complexity to develop resilience to natural and environmental hazards.

Lee Hassall is a performance artist, course leader in Fine Arts at the University of Worcester and a PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University. His research proposes reclaiming a sense of the visual within the study of landscape and explores and contextualises articulation of the visual in relation to the performative.

Professor Carl Lavery teaches theatre and performance at Aberystwyth University. He has authored several books on space and performance, and is currently involved in a number of AHRC funded projects exploring the relationship between community, ecology and environment.

Dr Mark Pendleton is Lecturer of Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield. A social and cultural historian, he is interested in how people relate to the past through memory texts, sites and practices. He is currently working on a large-scale research project on modern and industrial ruins in Japan.

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

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.