Monday, July 04, 2011

I was very pleased to have been invited to participate in an interesting workshop on visual cognition, space and memory in Bologna last week. The presentations at the workshop were fascinating, although largely beyond the core of my research. The people were also very friendly and welcoming of new ideas. I gave a talk arguing for the value of studying new forms of participatory mapping as a way to advance understanding of the authorship of representations of place.

The title of my talk was 'Mapping Experiences and Culture of Opensource Cartography' and the abstract was as follows:
"My talk will consider newly emerging map-making practices - so-called crowd cartography - in relation to visual knowledge and embodied senses of place. I want to think about how scholar interested in visual cognition and everyday spaces might profitably analyse mapping projects, such as OpenStreetMap, considering the nature of collaborative authoring of place knowledge and map-based memories. The discussion with draw on theorisation in terms of sociologist George Ritzer's notion of 'prosumer societies', geographer Michael Goodchild's volunteerist 'citizen scientists' and economic commentator Nicholas Carr's critique on the 'ignorance of crowds'."

It was not one of my most accomplished presentations to be honest – I was talking at the end of a long day in a very hot room and my energy levels was seriously flagging. But if you’re at all interested you can download my slides from here.

The workshop was well organised, in large part, by Francesco Mazzucchelli at TraMe - Centro di studi interdisciplinare su memorie e traumi culturali, at the Università di Bologna.

It was also my first trip to Italy and I really enjoyed a spare day after the workshop to do some exploring through the centre of Bologna. A lovely historic city – best view from the top of the Asinelli Tower (see the typical tourist gaze photo I took of the cityscape at the top of this post).


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