Tag Archives: Simon Rowe

ETHNOGRAPHIC ENCOUNTERS | 3 FEBRUARY | BISR

Ethnographic Encounters  – A One-Day Colloquium
Birkbeck Institute for Social Research

Starts 03 February 2017 – 10:00
Finishes 03 February 2017 – 16:00
Venue Birkbeck, University of London, London WC1B 5DQ
Payment and booking required
In this age of migration, social life – and especially urban social life – is increasingly shaped by patterns of globalisation and mobility that give rise to increasingly complex forms of diversity and inequality. Understanding encounters across proliferating lines of difference is therefore a vital challenge to social research. Such encounters occur in multiple domains, in particular in everyday life, and in specific spaces, especially in cities. In this context, urban space is linked or hyperlinked to several culturally and spatially non-proximate elsewheres, even for those whose everyday geography is intensely local, cramped. And small spaces contain multiple, incommensurable linguistic registers – as signs, messages and meanings travel – creating ever more complex configurations at the nano scale. People moving through this landscape need to learn to translate, much as ethnographers do – opening up ethical, political and also epistemological dilemmas.

Ethnography, with its granular attention to everyday lived experience, to the social meanings attached to the different elements of difference, and to the spaces which shape these – with its focus on what people do when they come together – offers the best vantage point for understanding encounters across lines of difference. But ethnography itself is also a form of encounter. This colloquium explores the ethical and epistemological issues arising in the ethnographic research encounter. It asks what are the limits to the forms of knowledge generated in the ethical encounter? What tools can be used to stretch these limits?

Confirmed Speakers:

Ben Rampton – Linguistic Ethnography and Intercultural Encounter
Ben has worked within applied and social linguistics to both ground linguistics in ethnographic observation and develop forms of ethnography that are able to attend to micro- or nano-level patterns of linguistic exchange, focusing on contexts (including the classroom and inner city streets) of intensified ethnic and linguistic diversity.

Sami Everett – Phenomenological ethnography, multi-lingual fieldsites and traffic in material cultureè
Sami is a researcher at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, working ethnographically in Barbès, Paris, on the role of trust in religiously diverse urbanism. He previously worked on the multiple dimensions of Parisian Jewish identification to North Africa. His research practice has involved multi-lingual ethnography in complex settings, and tracking how intercultural and interreligious encounter is mediated through localised market relations.

Ruth Sheldon – Ethics and Neighbourly Encounters
Ruth is a sociologist and postdoctoral researcher in DPS working on the Dangoor Foundation “Ethical Monotheism” project. Her new book, Tragic Encounters, is an ethnographic exploration of Jewish-Muslim relations among students, while her current research explores the ethics of neighbourly encounters in Hackney.

Rachel Humphris – Ethnographies of Home Encounters
Rachel is an anthropologist. She completed her DPhil student at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford and is now a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Superdiversity (IRiS) in Birmingham whose ethnographic work living with Romanian Roma families in Luton explored the concept of the “home level bureaucrat” and the “home encounter” between the local neoliberal state and migrant mothers.

Mette Louise Berg and Simon Rowe – Collaborative Visual Ethnography of Superdiversity
Mette is an anthropologist and a Senior Lecturer at in the Thomas Coram Research Unite at UCL IoE, who has worked on Cuban migrants in urban Europe and more recently on a collaborative ethnographic research project in Elephant and Castle, alongside ethnographic photographer Simon Rowe.

 

This event is open to all, but places are limited. Registration and payment are essential
£35 Standard | £25 Birkbeck Staff | £15 All Students & Unwaged

Book your place

If you cannot afford the fee, please get in touch with the BISR Manager, Madisson Brown, on bisr@bbk.ac.uk

Organiser: Dr Ben Gidley, Birkbeck, University of London

This Colloquium is supported by the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, a hub for the dissemination and discussion of social research in London and beyond.

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Fieldnotes: Visby

Last week, Ida Persson, Simon Rowe and I spent a few days in Visby in Gotland researching and documenting one “promising practice” in local-level migrant integration, for our EU-MIA project. The project we looked at was called Demokrati för Barns Framtid. It puts on positive activities, including sports based, for local migrant and non-migrant children and young people.

We had an inspiring time, having fun with the children and young people, and being treated with enormous hospitality by Claudien Tuyisabe and Inger Harlevi, our contacts there. We met and interviewed Lisbet Palme, a supporter of the project, on the small island of Fårö, where filmmaker Ingmar Bergman lived and died.

We also learned something of the interesting Hanseatic history of Visby, revived today in the Hansa city league, a striking example of trans-national city-to-city co-operation, part of the Council of Europe’s Cultural Routes network. We are very grateful to Kseniya Khovanova of the Cultural Routes project for introducing us to Visby.

Some photos below, and some media reports first. Here is the local newspaper report: Continue reading


Nostalgia and diversity: Understanding integration at the local level

This was published in the COMPAS Blog in May 2013.

Bermondsey, Ben Gidley 2013

They never call it Bermondsey any more
A couple of weeks ago, in Bermondsey, South London with my colleagues Ole Jensen, Simon Rowe and Ida Persson, we met a man called Albert, at the entrance to his council flat. Born on Christmas Day 1926, Albert had lived his whole life in Bermondsey (apart from his national service at the end of the war, spent in Scandinavia). He had lived over half a century in his current flat, since it had been built as part of the massive post-war social democratic housing expansion whose legacy completely dominates the landscape of South London. He worked as a drayman at the Courage brewery, brought up three daughters and a son – and slowly watched his neighbourhood change almost beyond recognition.

The Metropolitan Borough of Bermondsey was merged into the London Borough of Southwark in 1965. Its town hall had been bombed in the war, and Bermondsey no longer exists as an administrative unit. “They never call it Bermondsey any more”, Albert insisted. At its height, the docks employed huge numbers of men; the Peek Frean biscuit factory employed thousands of women. The docks closed one by one from the 1960s, the brewery closed in 1981, and the biscuit factory houses work units for creative businesses. The council estates are no longer sites of utopian hope but now carry the stigma of residualised poverty. A tidal wave of gentrification ripples down from the riverside, and the UK’s decade of mass migration has transformed the demographics. Continue reading


For Pete Pope

The past weekend marked a year since the passing of my friend Pete Pope, community activist, custodian of local memory, merry prankster, cyclist, leaflet distributor,  ale-quaffer, kind soul, and free man of the parish of Deptford. Pete was one of the first people I interviewed when I started out as a researcher at the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, as part of the Creekside regeneration programme evaluation. I’ve spent hours interviewing him, most often in his regular haunt the Dog and Bell, where the half the interview below also took place. He was incredibly kind and generous with me, and I know he was to many others too. I miss him. 

Here are some edited extracts from the transcript of an interview with Pete which I conducted on the Pepys Foreshore and in the Dog and Bell on 16th March 2004 as part of Cacao’s Pepys Portrait Project, a life story/portrait project conceived by Simon Rowe and Francesca Sanlorenzo, from which the photo (by Simon) also comes.

Pete Pope, by Simon Rowe and Francesca Sanlorenzo

“I grew up down Surrey.  I grew up in Farnham in Surrey.  But I knew from an early age that the only way to get on in Farnham was to get out of Farnham, you know.  And the kind of social world is split into two camps, which became the stayers and the goers, as it turned out, so I sorted that one out very quickly.

I came to Deptford in ’82. Okay I’d been at Rose Bruford Drama College in Sidcup. I was living in Kilburn. I was living in private rented accommodation and the landlord just decided to double the rent.  “No way, no!” And because I had been to Rose Bruford, it had the kind of student grapevine basically. And through the grapevine I discovered that Pepys Estate, which at that time was a GLC estate, was officially classified as hard to let, and you just have to go to the GLC office down on the Old Kent Road and say crudely I want to get a flat and I’ll take Pepys, and you get “Oh yes, great fantastic, bless you”.  So that was it and at a fraction of the rent.

I had to have a low rise because, as much as I’m fascinated by the geography and love views, I’ve actually got no head for heights on a long-term basis.  If I was up at the top of a tower and I woke up one morning with a hangover and the wind was blowing, I’d just be walking over the ceiling howling, you know.  So I got myself a second floor flat and that was it: I’m stuck there. Continue reading


Pepys Portrait Project

From Cacao’s tumblr:

Pepys Portrait Project London, 2004 - Present

Pepys Portrait Project

London, 2004 – Present

HIGH-RES 1/12/12 — 7:22pm SHORT URL: http://tmblr.co/ZihICxEfi7ug FILED UNDER: #Pepys Portrait Project

Pepys Portrait Project

Pepys Estate was built in 1965, a modernist high rise GLC estate, seen as one of the best housing estates in London. The estate symbolised the utopian dream of a better future for working people. Since then, the reputation of council housing has changed, and tower blocks are associated with social problems.

The population has become more diverse. As part of the regeneration of the estate, some blocks have been demolished and their residents rehoused; others have been sold to private developers for luxury homes.

Since 2004, Cacao has been documenting the lives of the people in the estate, revealing the different worlds behind their doors and windows. From photographs of residents and their homes, we have built a portrait of a changing estate. The project interweaves the images with their stories, a diary documenting an account of the social life of the estate over the four decades of its life. Through these images and voices, the residents express universal truths, hopes, dreams and fears.

In 2007 Simon Rowe continued the photographic exploration of the Estate as part of a personal project Local Authority. (www.simonrowe.co)

See also:

 ‘What’s so great about SE8’? Continue reading