Events – February 2016

Here’s our selection of a few events coming up in February that relate to some of the themes explored on the blog as well as link to conversations that are happening contemporary human geography.



John Akomfrah: Vertigo Sea. Arnolfini. Open all of February.

A powerful video installation currently running at the Arnolfini gallery. Covering themes of violence, our relationship to the sea, slavery, ecological concerns, as well as the pressing contemporary debates around migration. Arguably, it also demonstrates the power of film to move us and affect us in a way that words cannot. Read more about the exhibition in this Guardian piece by Adrian Searle.

Find out more here.



Imagined Landscapes. Opens Saturday 6th February. Admission prices may apply (students go free!).

Sharing the RWA gallery space with two other exhibitions exploring ideas of place, Inquistive Eyes and Simon Quadrat’s solo exhbition, Imagined Landscapes showcases work about our relationship to landscapes and new imaginings of what place means. Many of the pieces featured experiment with various materials too, exploring the materiality of our world (earth, stones, feathers) alongside our ideas of what landscape is. Imagined Landscapes also features the some:when project by Society and Space alumni and artist Jethro Brice.

Find out more here.



‘The Cube Project: Pro-environmental behaviour change by design’ – Cabot Institute talk. Biomedical Building, E29. Wednesday 10th February, 3pm.

This talk by Dr Mike Page from the University of Hertfordshire covers ‘the Cube Project’ – an initiative that builds low carbon micro-homes. It will also discuss issues around our relation to the environment and our living habits, possibly raising some interesting questions about what we consider to be ‘home’ space. (Note: nothing to do with the Cube Microplex. That’s a different Cube Project).

Find out more here.



BBC 6 Music Festival 2016 & Fringe. Various venues around Bristol. Friday 12th February – Sunday 14th February.

Whether you managed to get tickets in those few minutes or not, there is still plenty going on all over Bristol as part of the Fringe. Lots of music and varied events to choose from – lots of free ones too!

Find out more about the Fringe here.



James Wheale: Musical Tastes. Watershed. Saturday 13th February, 2pm. Tickets are £4.

As part of the BBC 6 Music Fringe, the Watershed is hosting an afternoon combining food and music which asks how what you listen to could alter the way you taste certain foods. This event raises some really interesting questions about sensations, embodiment, and affect which are all hot topics in contemporary human geography. Also, you get to eat, listen to music, and you can go to the cinema afterwards. What a great Saturday. Booking is required! Act fast!

Find out more here.



Starling Murmurations. Various sites around Somerset. Various days in February.

A little further afield all around sites in Somerset, these spectacular displays of huge flocks of starlings moving as one are occurring this month. If you manage to catch a sight of them, maybe consider how this demonstrates an ideal politics, destabilizes the idea of the unified whole, and displays Deleuze and Guattari’s ‘rhizome’ in all its wonderful more-than-human glory. Or just watch them. The best places to find them are the Avalon Marshes and surrounding nature reserves such as Shapwick Heath. Call the Avalon Marshes Starling Hotline on 07866 554142 and listen to the answer message to find out where you might find them.

Find out more here.


Enjoy February!

Research impact: participating in and understanding religious change

By Stephanie Denning

What does it mean to change the world?  As humans we are constantly changing the world – we build houses and create towns and cities out of countryside, we drive cars that pollute the atmosphere, and bend nature to our will – or at least try to.  To varying degrees geographers are concerned with each of these things.  On occasion I tell people that human geography, which is my discipline, is concerned with people and place.  Whilst this could be accused of being anthropocentric, this does make human geography undeniably relevant to society.  I focus here on a small avenue of human geography – the geography of religion – and how research in this area can have impact in the world through action and gaining understanding.


Many are afraid of or reluctant to accept change.  People have assumptions that change is negative, difficult, and destroying.  Others push for change, for a better future, for possibility, for difference.  Change is inherent to the geography of religion.  Religion is already both changing, and changing the world – negatively and positively.  There is an ongoing concern of religious extremism and terrorism across the world, when at the same time here in the UK is it faith-based organisations who are increasingly responding to food poverty through foodbanks and other charitable initiatives to alleviate poverty.  For example, the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the UK notes in its 2014 report that many of the volunteers at charities responding to food poverty in the UK by providing food (for example food banks) are Christians.  Yet statistically church attendance has been falling since the last century.  The geography of religion can give impact to the world by bringing greater understanding of these issues, and providing a means for approaching religion and faith in society, and for greater understanding of people and place.


Currently in the second year of my PhD in Human Geography, my research looks to actively participate in changing religion as a means to understand religious faith.  As a Christian myself I am helping to establish and run a church-based project to combat hunger of school children in the school holidays through the national network, MakeLunch.  Methodologically I combine ideas of action, participation and observation to be both a researcher and participant.  Whilst the project forms an integral part of my PhD it could, and indeed does elsewhere, exist independently of any research.  This is changing the world at a very small scale already for the people involved in the project, both volunteers and children attending the lunch club in their school holidays.  As volunteers we cannot help but be changed by our experiences, both with each other, and in endeavouring to help people in need.  In turn, the children attending the lunch club, I hope, have fun during the play session with art and sports activities, and have full stomachs after the lunch itself.  This research therefore has immediate impact and change beyond academia for the people involved in the project, but as I continue my PhD and write about human action and willing in a faith context I am contributing to academic and community understanding of the role of faith based social action in responding to food poverty, hopefully improving people’s well-being and showing community care.  


This is just one piece of research falling under the discipline of the geography of religion in the relatively short period of a three year PhD, focussing upon Christian faith and responding to food poverty.  There is therefore huge potential for research in this way to impact upon the world by combining theory, academia and practical action.  In this way the geography of religion can participate within and gain understanding of the wide range of social action undertaken by people of all religious faiths, and indeed acknowledge many people of no faith also contribute to their local communities.  At a time when in the media the headlines are full of acts of terrorism and religious extremism, it is vitally important that the positive aspects of religious faith are also acknowledged and understood to avoid inaccurate and unnecessary stereotypes.  This is a time of change for world religions.  In turn, research can impact upon the world by participating in and gaining understanding of the action of that religious change.

Events – December 2015


It’s December! Here’s a couple of events around Bristol this month that have a Society-and-Space-ish leaning (or are appropriately festive for this time of year!).



Nightwatchers – Designing for the Tower of London. Watershed. December 4th 1pm. 

A lunchtime talk by the creators of the nocturnal interactive experience Nightwatchers. This deals with issues of surveillance and technology as well as how to enliven the experiences of past, present, and future.

Find out more here.


I am Making Art. Spike Island. December 5th 12pm – 4pm.

A hands on craft event led by Anna Marrow of Spike Print Studio. You can make Christmas gifts as well as exploring creative methodologies of making and practice! Great fun. Booking required.

Find out more here.



Hollow: An Artwork in the Making. Arnolfini. December 4th – December 6th.

A new artwork by Katie Paterson, commissioned by the University of Bristol, to be revealed in 2016. This weekend you’ll be able to find out more about this work and handle some of the samples of the tree species that are going to be part of it. An interesting look at the vitality of matter and non-human agency and you’ll probably learn something about trees.

Find out more about the talk Katie is giving about the artwork on the 3rd here and the weekend event here.


Tobacco Factory Christmas Markets. December 6th, December 13th and December 20th 10am – 3pm.

South Bristol Christmas fun every Sunday this December at the Tobacco Factory market. Buy some really good cheese, homemade gifts for yourself or other people, a new vintage coat to wear, and you should really buy the hummus from the Stokes Croft based company ‘Moist’. On December 6th the market will expand onto the road and there’ll be a Christmas tree sale.

Find out more here.

routeLandscaping Change III: Route. Arnolfini. December 10th 6.45pm – 9.30pm.

Connecting artists, writers, humanities scholars, and the community the Landscaping Change series explores the meaning of place, especially when the places we know change. This evening will focus on the routes we make as we traverse places and how we make connections between them.

Find out more here.

12239945_694043190731074_2449602886973850814_nInterZone Voices – Amplifying Migrant Voices at the Morocco/EU Border. Hydra Bookshop. December 10th 6.30pm – 8.30pm.

An evening of talks, music, and film focusing in on the events occurring along the Moroccan border. The aim of the night is to amplify the stories of the migrants and refugees in engaging ways to emphasise the personal importance of conflict.

Find out more here.

pictonPicton Street Christmas Fayre and Festival. December 12th, 11am onwards.

North Bristol festive fun with all you could ever want from a Christmas market in Montpelier including fairy lights and glitter. There’s even a nautical dress up theme! This one is endorsed by one of our editors in particular who notes that ‘they serve the mulled wine in pint cups… it’s lethal’. Do an ethnographic study! Consider how this spatial intervention interrupts our urban habits! Or just drink the mulled wine and eat a mince pie.

Find out more here.

wonderful_lifeaIt’s A Wonderful Life screening. Watershed. December 18th – 23rd, various screening times.

It’s Christmas time! Put down that new issue of cultural geographies for a minute and go look at James Stewart’s face.

Find out more here.


Have a happy festive time!