Subterranean Spaces with Flora Parrott

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Subterranean spaces conjure up powerful geographical imaginaries; the unknown lurks in their dark unfathomable depths; their damp volumes unsettle, disarming with their challenge to visually dominated sensory regimes and discomforting with experiences of confinement and containment. They are spaces of capitalist exploitation and scientific fascination and significance, where bones and material culture are dug up and dated, where sediments enable the recreation of past environments and the prediction of future ones, and where nature and technology come together to exploit resource rich environments and to create powerful environmental imaginaries.

We are really excited to welcome artist Flora Parrott to RHUL Geography as a Leverhulme artist in residence from May-December 2016. Flora will collaborate with human and physical geographers on a project entitled “Knowing the Underground: Science, Exploration and Embodied Engagements with Subterranean Spaces”.

The overall aim of the residency is: To develop a creative practice based exploration of the place of embodied engagement with underground spaces in the making of geographical knowledge past and present. This residency will explore embodied engagements with the underground both in historical records of the scientific exploration of underground spaces but also in contemporary scientific practice conducted in underground spaces. It will do so using archival materials of underground exploration held in the Royal Geographical Society in London (hereafter RGS), field visits with physical geographers to their cave sites to examine the nature of their engagements with underground spaces as well as working alongside RHUL’s human and physical geographers.