Mapping in Arts and Humanities Research - Two Workshops and a Symposium - June 14th, 21st, and 27th,

King's College London and University College London

June 14 2017 - June 27 2017


Theories and practices of mapping have been increasingly prominent and influential in arts and humanities research in the past twenty years. The histories of art, architecture, film, literature, and other cultural forms have been retold from geographical, spatial perspectives, across disciplinary lines, by Giuliana Bruno, Denis Cosgrove, Tom Conley, Thomas Da Costa Kauffmann, Rob Kitchin, Franco Moretti, Ricardo Padron, and Todd Presner, to name just a few. Drawing on rich influences in geography, sociology, architecture and urban planning, these scholars and others have used maps to rethink art, culture, and the humanities, or vice versa. As such, mapping has become one of the key tools by which arts and humanities researchers have collaborated and innovated, and by which they have interacted with the social sciences.

Many arts and humanities researchers today seek to incorporate maps and mapping in their research, and yet provision of training and opportunities for critical reflection are rare in this specific cross-disciplinary area. This is despite the fact that digital technologies have made mapping increasingly feasible and sophisticated, in technical terms, even for those without specialist cartographic training. Mapping has also become increasingly informative and rewarding methodologically – e.g. what Todd Presner calls “thick mapping” - as a complement to, or, for some, even a replacement for, certain, more traditional aspects of research.

Accordingly, in June 2017, KCL and UCL will jointly host a series of workshops and a symposium in order to provide opportunities for experimentation with, and reflection on, maps, mapping, their usefulness and value, and the complex and challenging issues they raise.

Generously suppored by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.


The Workshops

Workshop 1) Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, 10am-3pm, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, Room K4U.12, King’s Building, Strand Campus

Workshop 2) Wednesday, June 21st, 2017, 10am-3pm, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, Room to be confirmed

These workshops will be aimed primarily at current PhD students in any arts and humanities or social science discipline, from across the UK, but with a limited number of places also set aside for postdoctoral researchers and others. To attend the workshops, it is necessary to register in advance, and it is also necessary to sign up to attend both workshops (rather than one or the other) as they are designed and will be delivered as a pair. No special expertise in mapping techniques or map analysis will be required. PhD students at any stage of their studies may reserve a place, whether they have a lot of experience with maps or very little.

The workshops will be led by the event co-organizers, Dr Mark Shiel at King’s on June 14th and Dr Roland-François Lack at UCL on June 21st. In these, Shiel and Lack will present their own research with maps, but they will invite those in attendance to pre-circulate and bring along and share maps with the group. The workshops will be practical, interactive and computer-based, relying on demonstrations and small group work. Hence, the workshops will provide an opportunity to present, examine, speculate on, and discuss a wide variety of maps in detail, benefiting from a variety of case studies and interpretations.

Attendance at the workshops is free of charge and light lunch will be provided. There is a limit on the number of places in the workshops - a maximum of 40 people, but some places are still available. Registration in advance is required.

Please register for the workshops here:


The Symposium

On June 27th, 2017, KCL and UCL will co-host a one-day symposium with the aim of examining the use of maps in arts and humanities research and connections between mapping in the arts and humanities and in the social sciences. The symposium will be open to all. Providing an opportunity to reflect on the strengths, limitations, and methodological challenges and problems posed by maps and mapping, this symposium will feature approximately 8 short papers by a variety of scholars and a keynote address by Professor Shannon Mattern of the New School for Social Research, in New York. Mattern is the author of The New Downtown Library: Designing with Communities (2017) and Deep Mapping the Media City (2015), both published by University of Minnesota Press, as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. ( )

The Symposium will be free of charge, although advance registration is required at the Eventbrite page below (please note the workshops and the symposium have separate Eventbrite pages and it is necessary to register for both separately, if you intend to attend all events).


Symposium Programme

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Venue: G22 Lecture Theatre, Pearson Building (North East Entrance), Main Quad, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

0930-1000 Welcome and opening comments, Roland-François Lack (UCL) and Mark Shiel (KCL)

1000-1130 Panel 1

  • Karen Smith (PhD student, Film Studies, KCL) – “Mapping London’s ‘Flea Pits’ from the 1970s to the 1990s”
  • Anna Viola Sborgi (PhD student, Film Studies, KCL) – “Mapping regeneration: London’s Docklands and screen media”
  • Jina Lee (PhD student, University of the Arts, London) – “Drawing ‘New Maps’ of New Malden: Ethnographical enquiry into the Joseonjok people by means of drawing practice”

1130-1150 Coffee break

1150-1300 Keynote Address, Shannon Mattern (Associate Professor of Media Studies, New School for Social Research, New York), “Mapping’s intelligent agents: From machine learning to echolocation”

1300-1400 Lunch

1400-1530 Panel 2

  • Maud Borie (Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geography, KCL) – “Visualizing the intangible? Exploring the potential of GIS and creative practices to map (for) resilience”
  • Michele Ferretti (PhD student, Geography, KCL) – “Invisible Cities: Repurposing machine learning and coding practices in the context of spatial data”
  • Arooj Khan (PhD student, Sociology, University of Birmingham) – “Mapping children’s lives and geographies: how far have we come?”

1530-1550 Coffee break

1550-1710 Panel 3

  • Rod Stoneman (Professor Emeritus, John Huston Centre for Film and Digital Media, National University of Ireland Galway) – “A New map of Rome”
  • Maurizio Cinquegrani (Lecturer in Film, University of Kent) – “Cinematic landscapes of the Holocaust in Poland”

1710-1750 Roundtable

1750-1800 Closing comments and thanks


To register for the symposium, please visit:


About the organisers

Mark Shiel is Reader in Film Studies and Urbanism in the Department of Film Studies at King’s College London. He has published widely on the subject of cinema and cities, most recently his monograph Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles (Reaktion Books/University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Roland-François Lack is a Senior Lecturer in the French Department at UCL, where he teaches nineteenth-century literature and twentieth-century film. He is the author of numerous works on Lautréamont, Kristeva, Tel Quel, and the nouvelle vague, and he is the author and curator of the celebrated website

The organisers gratefully acknowledge the support of the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, which is in turn funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

These events will also form part of the first year’s activities of the new London Urban Media Research Network, a collaboration of KCL, UCL, the LSE, and Birkbeck College aimed at coordinating and increasing research activity on the interaction of cities and media, broadly defined.