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Mapping your Place: Cartographies of Citizenship

Participatory mapping or community-based mapping is a concept that emerged particularly from the 1970’s on, when ideas about social change through local empowerment gained momentum. During this period also the development of new technologies for spatial knowledge gave the tools to innovate and reinvent maps that could express a wide range of social and cultural landscapes.

Maps became more ‘performative’ practices rather than single objects. They were explored by artists as well as by political campaigners. Towards the end of the last century a new terminology comes along to serve the description of these innovative practices, as ‘counter-mapping’, ‘pervasive mapping’ and ‘radical cartography’. At the beginning of this century the so-called web 2.0 technologies stimulates collaborative digital mapping practices in an unprecedented scale, using crowd sourced data collection and promoting global ‘map activism’.

But most of the original principles that have been guided participatory mapping remain in focus, especially the idea that critical spatial thinking underlies civic engagement. Observing, analysing and contesting spaces is an essential exercise to understand how socio-spatial arrangements come into being: how inequalities are built, hierarchies are constructed and different forms of power are convened.

We are bringing together a multi professional and multidisciplinary group to discuss alternative cartographies, maps that result from investigation, reflection, questioning and exploration, documenting personal stories, collective experiences and planning future spaces.

We centre our discussions in the urban space, considering cities as privileged environments for innovation, at the same time being repositories of social memory. In cities, where more than half of the planet’s population lives, contemporary mapping practices can find an invigorating and creative way to support critical (re)thinking and to engage with the many cartographies of citizenship.


Alicia Smith is a key member of the Culture Liverpool team and leads on arts and participation for the city. She has experience in producing large scale multi partnership cultural projects across a wide-range of art forms regionally, nationally and internationally.

Christopher Pope is Project Manager of the Great Manchester Open Data Infrastructure Map, working at New Economy, which delivers policy, strategy and research for Greater Manchester’s economic growth and prosperity.

Gavin Macdonald is a lecturer at the Manchester School of Art. His research sits at the intersection of visual culture, media theory and human geography, focused on contemporary art practices involving mapping, the aerial view and remote sensing.

Gloria Lanci is a PhD candidate in the Department of Architecture at the University of Liverpool. Gloria has a MA and DPhil in Architecture and Urban Planning from University of São Paulo, Brazil.

Les Roberts is a lecturer in the Department of Communication and Media at the University of Liverpool. His research interests and practice fall within the areas of spatial anthropology, urban cultural studies, cultural memory, and spatial humanities.

Liz Stewart is curator of Archaeology and the Historic Environment at the Museum of Liverpool. She has an interest in historic buildings, the historic environment and landscape archaeology.

Marco Iuliano is a lecturer in the Department of Architecture at the University of Liverpool, specialised in History and Theory of Architecture.

Paul Jones is a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology at the University of Liverpool.

Peter Insole is the Principal Historic Environment Officer in the City Design Group at Bristol City Council and Research Associate at the University of Bristol.

Stephen Walter is a London based artist. His work is a continual investigation into the topography of environments, and the idea that Landscape can be seen as a receptacle for meaning


Wednesday 11 May 2016