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Simon Robinson

Published date
23 May 2019

Archipelagos of Interstitial Ground: Investigating Edgelands in the UK through Photographic Practice

London College of Communication

This practice-led body of research will investigate the multi-layered interstitial spaces that occur in the areas between infrastructure and planned development that have come to be known as edgelands. My photographic practice will be informed by theoretical and historical discourse, through an exploration of existing literature relating to marginal/liminal landscapes.

It will reference current research in the disciplines of geography and planning where the key features of edgelands have been defined. My practice-led research will attempt to extend, and explore the way we see the marginal landscape and extend that understanding at part of a multimodal engagement.

Working on the area known as the Thames Gateway I will create and collect a range of materials from moving image, photography, field recordings, aural histories, and interviews with practitioners and academics, and archival materials, leading to the creation of a series of spatial ethnographic films under the title Estuary England.

These films will form a cross-disciplinary reading of place and be informed by an experiential methodology of both ethnographic and auto ethnographic methods.

The first part of the film series has been widely shown at a number of major conferences including Tate Britain and the British Library, and fits within the a network of contemporary psychogeographic practitioners that are referenced within the thesis and the practice through a series of interviews, as a means to map the current psychogeographic tradition as goes through a period of transitions as it is re-embraced by a series of early career academics, keen to return it to a method of political discourse.

Through examining both landscape theory and my own experience of an embodied approach to landscape, my work examines not only the potential of photography to act as a portal to read and experience the landscape whole, but also the practice and process of making photographs phenomenologically.

These sites will be seen and discussed as interconnected phenomenon, hence the term ‘archipelagos of interstitial ground’. This will be done through a series of photographic studies informed by the work of photographic surveys such as, the Mission Photographique de la DATAR, as well as the history of the photographic survey concerned with the urbanization of the landscape.

The written thesis explores the contemporary landscape photography and New Nature Writing tradition, which I believe are both closely interconnected, through critique and production of new bodies of practice. Through a consideration of my own practice and others’, I demonstrate a web of connections: between landscapes; between practitioners past and present; and significantly, between theory and practice.


Anne Williams

Professor Angus Carlyle

Bradley Garrett