“We are magicians. We can make the invisible visible, But we have to do our homework.”
Our walk with Dominique Tessier and Janet Batsleer starting at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Brooks Building, looking at old maps of the area immediately outside the department, which has changed dramatically. Dominique also gave us three important names: Brooks, Birley and St Mary’s, with which to trace the history and changes of the local area.
A short walk from the building revealed thickly layered, rich, complex histories of different communities. We were also struck by the way in which new developments and buildings can seem to obscure what came before, but how quickly these histories push back through; a painted over sign, a significant name, a piece of waste ground. Working with Dominique, we began to became attuned to how to look in order to understand.
In this session, we worked with a desire to de-centre academic knowledge, and to look, walk and experience the area immediately outside our department building through the eyes of community historians and activists who understand its longer historical context.