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  • Meghann Ormond

Creative Community Mapping Practices @ CIG 2021



Francesco Vietti and I are delighted to be invited to be part of the 'Art and Geography 6: Creative Community Mapping Practices' session at the Conference of Irish Geographers this week together with Jackie Bourke, Danielle Lynch and John Ruddy, Dorothy Smith, and Jen Jack Gieseking as a discussant. It's part of a series of sessions organised by Karen Till, Rachel McArdle, Gerry Kearns (Maynooth University,) and Nessa Cronin (NUI Galway).


This 'Art and Geography' session is one of four sessions focusing on 'Community Mappings: Making Histories and Landscapes Visible'. Mapping is an empowering practice in which artists, geographers, community leaders and others collaborate with local experts to give shape to experiences, stories, ecologies and places often marginalised in or made invisible through mainstream discourses. Creating alternative geographical imaginaries challenge existing norms that ignore the ongoing legacies of colonialism, racism, environmental damage and other forms of oppression and spatial injustice that harms our shared worlds.


Abstracts for this session include:


“We have a voice, but no one listens”: using creative mapping to communicate teenager’s experience of the urban landscape | Jackie Bourke (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland)

Abstract: This presentation will share research on the use of creative mapping methods to communicate teenager’s urban experience to policy makers. Public space is an important place for young people. It is the site of their everyday walks to school, to the shops, to hang out and to socialise. But in this space of “liminal and fuzzy zones”1 their presence can be perceived as threatening and they are often marginalised. As a result, little is known of their expertise on their urban environments.

The presentation will look at creative mapping as a process to empower young people. It draws on research through which teenagers shared insights into the creative process as a way to refine, and communicate, emplaced spatial knowledge. The study was located in Cabra, a 1930s inner Dublin suburb. Using creative mapping, a group of Transition Year students (N=19) captured their experience of their neighbourhood. They identified places and objects of significance which enhanced or impaired their experience. This presentation will describe the outcomes of a meeting with local politicians and community leaders where the participants highlighted the absence of young people’s voices in urban planning policy, and used their creative mappings to suggest future planning initiatives. This research was funded by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme.


Transformative encounters: Guided tours and guidebooks as tools to move beyond the limits of multicultural tolerance | Meghann Ormond (Cultural Geography, Wageningen University, The Netherlands) and Francesco Vietti (University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy)

Abstract: In bringing people together that otherwise might have little more than passing contact with one another, tourism has been widely appreciated for its educational potential to transform mindsets by exposing both ‘tourists’ and ‘locals’ to diverse perspectives on, and ways of living in, the world. While acknowledging tourism’s role in marginalising, objectifying, exploiting and exoticising immigrants’ bodies, labour and heritages, we also recognise its potential as a critical pedagogical tool in civic initiatives seeking to transcend the limits of multicultural tolerance discourse in order reduce growing xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment. Our contribution explores to what extent guided tours and guidebooks can effectively be used to move beyond the treatment of one another as ideal types and instead to foster Arendt's notion of 'visiting' as a form of civic learning. We draw on our participatory action research experiences with two Europe-based global citizenship-inspired counter-mapping initiatives that bring together migration and tourism in novel and creative ways – 'Migrantour' guided walking tours and the 'Roots Guide' guidebook – in order to reflect on the representational and structural opportunities and challenges these initiatives and the pedagogical formats they assume have encountered as they work to foster greater recognition of common ground between people of diverse backgrounds, confronting and reshaping dominant narratives that frame immigrants’ lives and heritages as dissonant to dominant local and national identities.


Mapping Dublin’s North Inner City | Danielle Lynch & John D Ruddy (Dublin Institute of Technology)

Abstract: Festivals create opportunities to draw on shared cultural practices and traditions, and act as occasions for expressing collective belonging to a group or place. Increasingly, arts festivals develop work that explores or responds to the geography of a particular place. As part of this process, festival organisers collaborate with artists to commission new work that engages with local themes. In 2018, artist John D. Ruddy and historian Hugo McGuinness collaborated with The Five Lamps Arts Festival to map Dublin’s North Inner City. Over a number of months, they collected stories from people living in the area and combined these accounts together with detailed illustrations and historical facts. The commission resulted in a series of richly illustrated maps and a walking tour that captured the unique character of this historic part of the city. Mapping Dublin’s North Inner City is an evolving project that continues to engage in several ways with the geography of the area through The Five Lamps Arts Festival. This session is presented by TU Dublin PhD student, Danielle Lynch, and artist, John D. Ruddy. The session includes a summary of the academic literature on geography and festivals, followed by an insightful presentation on the project. The presenters will reflect on the creation and production of this mapping project and the important role that it continues to play in allowing local people and visitors to engage with the geography and the history of the inner city through The Five Lamps Arts Festival.


This is Our Place – A Survey of Dalymount Park A ma

pping journey in three stages | Dorothy Smith

Abstract: Dalymount – Mapping a Unique Architectural Space was run collaboratively by Dorothy Smith and Jackie Bourke in 2018. We utilised interviews, drawing as a means of engaging with place and photography to map architectural space and emotional attachment to place. Resulting in video piece Dalymount – Bigger than the Game and Dalymount - The Colouring Book* . This is Our Place, A Survey of Dalymount Park is a soon to be published hand drawn map†, informed by the above research, that uses carto


graphic tropes to explore and record the palimpsest of the stadium’s physical materiality, and attachment it engenders. Our Place - Dalymount Park is a companion publication to the map that can be appreciated independently. The drawings from the map are reproduced along with two commissioned essays‡ that contextualise the map in the spheres of art, drawing, placemaking and identity. The drive to create the map lies in a conviction that Dalymount Park is an important place; an asset for the locality, the wider city; an increasingly inclusive place around which a sense of community, shared identity and values have evolved over 120 years. Mapping says ‘this place matters’. What can a city provide to help connect disparate people and make them feel at home? What are the structures that work for and against this instinct and need. Dalymount Park challenges current prevalent development norms and speaks of value systems and temporalities that are particularly relevant at this time when the rethinking of our neighbourhoods and cities is critical.


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