My time spent volunteering at the Stuart Hall Library has been a fantastic experience. I have met so many helpful and supportive people who have aided me in my undergraduate study at the University of Westminster where I have just graduated with first-class honours in BA Contemporary Media Practice.
The opportunity to produce source notes as a guide to the Library’s unique collection based on the theme of ‘Geography, Space and Place’ enabled me to extend my research interests in cultural identity to consider the environments in which identity and cultural understanding are constructed. The importance of this came as such in my last year of study when writing my dissertation and producing my major project in which I explored the history and heritage of Britain in the rural space, and the experience of migration and new settlements from the late 20th Century to the present day. I intend to continue researching the relationship between geography, space and place, and how differing geographic locations produce varied concepts of national, cultural and racial belonging and identification.
With the help of general guidelines, I was able to freely select which material would be included in the guide. I made my selection based upon texts which helped me to understand the subject area as a newcomer, and those which I felt would be useful for others similarly exploring this subject area for the first time. I was stunned at the range of theoretic and artistic engagement in the collection and have included a select few examples ranging from general overviews to in-depth critical theory, stimulating artist works and also engaging panel discussions, each categorised accordingly.
Key themes which came out from researching Geography, Space and Place were to do with the structures of power in mapmaking and the limitations of traditional cartography in representing the world, and also how the experience of displacement and migration have altered how we presently may understand cultural identity. Also raised were questions of belonging, territory and globalisation. Whilst there are no conclusive answers or simple resolutions here, I hope to offer up multiple leads for investigation and plenty of food for thought.