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Sociology zine<br />

ISSUE ONE


Editors<br />

Yasmin Gunaratnam<br />

Tennessee Woodiel<br />

Ashley Carter<br />

Oluwatoyin Sonubi<br />

Design<br />

Ashley Carter<br />

Sonia Turcotte<br />

Email<br />

splitmaginfo@gmail.com<br />

Instagram<br />

@split_mag<br />

Twitter<br />

@magsplit<br />

Cover<br />

Celeste Williams<br />

‘Reflective Cultural Dissociation’


CONTENTS<br />

1-4<br />

Selfridges’ Skate Park<br />

5-6<br />

zero-hours contract<br />

7-8<br />

Frida Kahlo<br />

9-10<br />

The Last Leg<br />

11-12<br />

Flags & Space<br />

13-14<br />

The Space Between Us<br />

15-16<br />

Passages<br />

17-18<br />

Cities on Screen<br />

19-20<br />

Sounds of the street<br />

21-22<br />

Save Tidemill !<br />

23-24<br />

Writing to Fight<br />

25-28<br />

Time to wake up<br />

29<br />

Yellow<br />

30<br />

Interview with dr.coleman


Selfridges’ Skate Park – No Thanks<br />

Leon-Piers Scott<br />

I have been a skateboarder for 18<br />

years, or about two-thirds of my<br />

life. I have always been interested in<br />

skateboarding as a subculture and also<br />

as a business. It was with this interest<br />

in the crossover between subculture<br />

and business that I decided recently<br />

to visit the ‘Skate Bowl’ in the Selfridges<br />

store on Oxford Street.<br />

I approached the store at around<br />

6pm, marvelling at the juxtaposition<br />

between the people who are<br />

shopping - and quite clearly enjoying<br />

themselves - and those who cannot<br />

wait to get home after a long day at<br />

the office. The first window display<br />

I encountered was an immediate reminder<br />

that youth subculture will<br />

never be safe from the grip of high<br />

fashion, with a Gucci denim jacket and<br />

a Balmain leather jacket interspersed<br />

amongst what looked like a punk rock<br />

nativity scene.<br />

Inside the store I was greeted by a<br />

gaudy Gucci concession to my right<br />

and a walkway filled with eager consumers.<br />

I was immediately aware that<br />

I looked very underdressed compared<br />

to the rest of the customers, most<br />

of whom were wearing smart winter<br />

coats and what looked to be brand<br />

new, expensive, carefully considered<br />

ensembles. But I found some comfort<br />

in knowing that I would be among<br />

1<br />

other skateboarders soon enough.<br />

As I got off the escalator at the first<br />

floor, I was confronted with a large<br />

sign ‘MENSWEAR’. In the corner of<br />

the shop floor was a large structure<br />

made from perspex and wood and I<br />

could faintly hear the oh-so familiar<br />

sound of skateboards grinding and<br />

slapping against wooden ramps and<br />

metal coping. The sound was largely<br />

overpowered by a grime track called<br />

BMT by an artist called Fredo (Field<br />

Recording can be listened to here -<br />

https://soundcloud.com/leonpscott/<br />

grime-track-selfridges). I crossed the<br />

shop floor cautiously so as to not<br />

damage or snag any of the Stone Island<br />

coats or the Balenciaga tee shirts<br />

with the pen that was sticking out of<br />

the bottom corner of my tote bag.<br />

And I arrived at the skatepark.<br />

Outside the ramp complex was a man<br />

carrying a clipboard and wearing a<br />

name badge, his name was Nathan. I<br />

asked him if I could go inside and take<br />

some photos for a project I am working<br />

on. He advised me that I could<br />

take photos from outside but I would<br />

have to contact Selfridges press team<br />

or book online for one of the largely<br />

booked up sessions to actually skate<br />

the bowl, if I wanted to take photos<br />

from inside. I asked him about the<br />

booking process and he explained that


sessions are largely booked up for the<br />

coming weeks but spaces free up all<br />

the time and that you are supposed<br />

to book in based on your ability level.<br />

I thanked him and took photographs<br />

from the outside. I realised that I<br />

had felt a bit excluded, having been<br />

a skateboarder for 18 years, this was<br />

the first time I had ever been refused<br />

entry to a skatepark that other people<br />

were using.<br />

I went to Selfridges not simply to<br />

complain about it - and the masses of<br />

other brands - using skateboarding as<br />

a marketing tool. Even though I still<br />

adorn my skateboard with ‘DON’T<br />

DO IT’ stickers, in opposition to Nike’s<br />

skateboarding footwear range and<br />

wear the Cardiff Skateboard Clubs,<br />

‘FUCK CHAIN STORE SKATE SHOPS’<br />

tee shirt. The main reason I visited<br />

the Selfridges skate park was to try<br />

to further explore the tension that<br />

whilst skateboarding is used as a marketing<br />

ploy by commerical buisnesses,<br />

now more than ever, is it also marketed<br />

as an inclusive culture.<br />

The location of the Skate Bowl in the<br />

menswear section is significant. There<br />

was literature availble on the side of<br />

the bowl stating that a professional<br />

woman skateboarder named Sam<br />

Bruce played a part in the otherwise<br />

all-male team that helped bring the<br />

bowl to Selfridges. But there was no<br />

real indication that girls and young<br />

women were welcome to come and<br />

skate. Some may say that it is a given<br />

that girls are welcome and I would<br />

agree with that—if the bowl was on a<br />

floor that was more ambiguous in its<br />

gendering.<br />

This locating of the bowl in menswear<br />

supports my feeling that there is little<br />

to no interest in the female— or<br />

trans—skateboarders with regards to<br />

high fashion and the mass media, even<br />

though there are plenty of girls and<br />

women that skate or who are interested<br />

in skateboarding. Burberry and<br />

Louis Vuitton are not calling the biggest<br />

women’s names in skateboarding<br />

and asking them to model for<br />

them, as they are with professional<br />

male skateboarders Ben Nordberg and<br />

Alex Olsen. Selfridges is not calling<br />

Sam Bruce and asking her to open a<br />

skatepark in the womenswear sec-<br />

2


tion. This says to me that the companies<br />

that are using skateboarding as<br />

a marketing device, use it to convey a<br />

watered down, rather normative idea<br />

of masculine rebellion. Because let’s<br />

face it, when considering ‘urban’ subcultures,<br />

skateboarding is effectively<br />

the least rebellious, when compared<br />

to graffiti, grime, punk, street motocross<br />

and the like.<br />

As I came back down the escalator<br />

to leave the store I was confronted<br />

again with the bright pink Gucci concession<br />

that sits directly beneath the<br />

skatepark. I felt a certain humorous<br />

absurdity that our subculture had<br />

somehow ended up on top of Gucci<br />

in Selfridges on Oxford Street. I was<br />

also left thinking about the young<br />

skateboarders whose parents may<br />

take them to Selfridges over the<br />

Christmas break or the coming weekends.<br />

I thought about the possibility<br />

of a young girl that would have to<br />

battle through a labyrinth of men’s<br />

coats that are worth two thousand<br />

pounds, to a soundtrack of testosterone<br />

fuelled music on her way to the<br />

bowl. I wondered if that would be her<br />

understanding of what skateboarding<br />

is until she decides that it’s not for<br />

her. If that young skateboarder is a<br />

boy, will he get involved because of<br />

the machine of mainstream fashion<br />

- as opposed to what I feel are the<br />

‘honest’ reasons me and my friends<br />

got into it as kids? And will he eventually<br />

give up when it falls back out<br />

of fashion? If that young skateboarder<br />

doesn’t conform to heteronormative<br />

or gender stereotypes will the<br />

promotion of skateboarding in such a<br />

masculine environment alienate him,<br />

her or them?<br />

3


For me, and for the scene I grew up in,<br />

skateboarding was about community<br />

and friendship. It was about inclusivity<br />

and looking out for one, respecting<br />

differences of gender, sexuality and<br />

race. I am aware this is not always<br />

the case for the wider skateboarding<br />

scene as there are serious problems<br />

with gay and trans skateboarders<br />

feeling as though they are not able<br />

to come out. Skateboard companies<br />

still peddle boards with graphics and<br />

slogans that are offensive to many<br />

people, and girls that are learning to<br />

skate still get heckled at skateparks.<br />

But, we are also seeing more social<br />

progress than ever before. Women<br />

are getting more coverage in the<br />

skateboarding media. The skateboarding<br />

world cup—which is one of the<br />

biggest stages in skateboarding—has<br />

equal prize funds for men and women<br />

and other competitions are following<br />

suit. There have been more women<br />

inductees into the skateboarding hall<br />

of fame in the last three years and<br />

Brian Anderson who is one of the biggest<br />

names in skateboarding came out<br />

as gay in 2016. He has since started<br />

a LGBTQ+ activism zine ‘Cave Homo’,<br />

which has received a largely positive<br />

response from within the skateboarding<br />

community. And finally, the number<br />

of young girls that are taking to<br />

skateboarding is higher than ever.<br />

The recent ‘mainstreaming’ of skateboarding<br />

is not an inherently bad thing.<br />

If more people are getting into skateboarding,<br />

the skateboarding world<br />

will welcome them and it will keep<br />

skate stores open across the world.<br />

However, if more people are getting<br />

into skateboarding through representations<br />

of it in the mass media<br />

and in fashion, these industries have<br />

a responsibility to market it in such a<br />

way that is inclusive to all genders,<br />

all sexualitys and all races. At present,<br />

it seems that when skateboarding<br />

is used for marketing purposes by<br />

those who aren’t skateboarders, it is<br />

only represented in a way that gives<br />

a very one dimensional—white masculine—image<br />

of the scene I love.<br />

Leon-Piers Scott is a 28 year old first<br />

year BA Sociology student from Bristol<br />

with a background in skateboarding,<br />

electronic music and digital marketing.<br />

4


5<br />

The injustice of the zero-hours contract<br />

Picture this. You’re young, fresh out<br />

of school, wondering what kind of<br />

job you should take. You want to<br />

earn your keep, you need an income.<br />

What’s the easiest way? What about<br />

a job that’s flexible, one where you<br />

get to work whenever you want?<br />

That seems fair, doesn’t it?<br />

If that last sentence left a pit in<br />

your stomach, that might be because<br />

you’ve worked this sort of job, or you<br />

know someone who has. We’re talking<br />

about the zero-hours contract, where<br />

your work is unstable and precarious.<br />

It’s not an entirely new approach, having<br />

been a staple practice in the retail<br />

and health sectors for many years<br />

– and the criticisms from that time,<br />

such as unsteady pay and hours and a<br />

lack of rights, are still relevant today.<br />

But in recent years a spotlight has<br />

been shone on the zero-hours contract<br />

yet again, helped by the smartphone<br />

era we live in. The zero-hours<br />

contract powers services like Uber<br />

and Deliveroo and is interwoven<br />

into so many of our lives. You want<br />

take-out? You order it on your phone<br />

and someone whisks it to your address,<br />

one of a crew of many, darting<br />

around cities all over Britain. The new<br />

argument for such contracts takes a<br />

slightly different spin: this time round,<br />

it’s that these jobs and the ability to<br />

Luka Sotelo<br />

choose the hours you need is actually<br />

valuable. But valuable to whom?<br />

Contemporary zero-hours contracts<br />

force workers to declare themselves<br />

as self-employed, acknowledging<br />

their “employers” as something more<br />

like an agent, putting you in contact<br />

with clientele. This type of relationship<br />

strips you of certain rights that<br />

steady employment provides – your<br />

right to sick pay, your right to regular<br />

shifts. It also saves your “agent”<br />

the cost of providing you access to<br />

these basic rights. Whilst such companies<br />

post profits off the back of these<br />

contracts, their workers can fall into<br />

debt, become ill because of the long<br />

working hours, are required to provide<br />

the means for their trade, and are<br />

sometimes driven to the brink. Think<br />

back to Jerome Rogers, the young man<br />

from Croydon who took his own life<br />

after spiralling into debt that he owed<br />

to CitySprint and Camden Council, all<br />

accrued whilst working his zero-hours<br />

job.<br />

If you don’t remember that case,<br />

that’s understandable. I didn’t either.<br />

We forget such things, perhaps because<br />

we unconsciously subscribe to<br />

a sense of inevitability with injustices<br />

such as these. It’s a dog-eat-dog<br />

world we’re told. And you either<br />

survive being taken advantage of and


ise through the ranks, or you crash<br />

under the waves. In his book ‘Injustice:<br />

why social inequality persists,’ Danny<br />

Dorling discusses this paradoxical acceptance<br />

of injustice (along with other<br />

forms of modern injustice) in more<br />

detail.<br />

We find ourselves trapped in sort of<br />

zero-hour jobs because there’s such<br />

a dearth of stable jobs. We become<br />

indentured, Dorling argues, in a modern-day<br />

form of slavery, one that<br />

the working and under-class of Britain<br />

finds themselves subjected to. In<br />

layperson’s terms: even though we<br />

know how bad these jobs are, many<br />

still find themselves forced to take<br />

them because it might be all we have.<br />

The companies know it and so do<br />

their workers. Dorling comments: “it<br />

simply isn’t ‘economic,’ […] for people<br />

not to be forced to undertake work<br />

they would otherwise not choose to<br />

do,” he continues, “the question of<br />

economic expense [of paying a living<br />

wage] is raised to make such a prospect<br />

appear impossible, just as the<br />

idea of paying slaves was once an<br />

anathema.” “You’re your own boss!”<br />

translates into you supplying your<br />

own tools, taking unsteady work, all<br />

whilst paying a cut of your wage back<br />

to these companies for being your<br />

agent. But critique it as we may, the<br />

unfortunate truth remains: it’s sometimes<br />

the only job some people have<br />

left to take. Should we be grateful?<br />

Luka Sotelo is a first-year BA Sociology<br />

student at Goldsmiths, University of<br />

London, having previously undertaken<br />

studies at Birkbeck, University of London.<br />

He is greatly interested in class<br />

and queer theory in part due to being<br />

a raging homosexual.<br />

If this topic interests you should consider<br />

reading:<br />

Dorling, D. (2015) Injustice, revised ed.<br />

Bristol: Policy Press.<br />

Fleming, P. (2017) The Human Capital<br />

Hoax: Work, Debt and Insecurity in<br />

the Era of Uberization. Organization<br />

Studies, 38(5), pp. 691-709.<br />

Jones, R. (2018) ‘Debt collectors<br />

held to account after traffic fines<br />

claim a life’, The Guardian, 26th<br />

May 2018. Available at: <br />

Taylor, M., Neville, S., Inman, P. &<br />

Waldram, H. (2013) ‘Zero hours Britain:<br />

‘I didn’t know week to week what<br />

I was going to get’’, The Guardian,<br />

30th July 2013. Available at: <br />

6


Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up review –<br />

why do we want to look at her sleeping medication?<br />

Abigail Joseph<br />

Walking into the exhibition, I am<br />

slightly overwhelmed by the sheer<br />

number of people packed into one<br />

space. There are groups of people<br />

crowded around each artwork and, at<br />

4’11”, I am feeling very short. We are<br />

all here to see Kahlo’s artwork and<br />

some of her personal possessions,<br />

many of which are in the UK for the<br />

first time ever.<br />

I am stunned by the brightness of<br />

the colours in her paintings. The reds,<br />

blues, yellows, and browns. They are<br />

so vivid. Seeing the paintings in person<br />

is to see them almost come alive. I<br />

walk through the exhibition, reading<br />

about the life of the person who created<br />

such beautiful works. In doing so,<br />

it is clear that Kahlo experienced a lot<br />

of pain in her life. Surviving polio as a<br />

child and a bus accident at 18 which<br />

left her with a permanent disability<br />

and near-guaranteed infertility, the<br />

wealth of Kahlo’s pain is highlighted in<br />

the exhibition.<br />

for her art, her politics, and the fearless<br />

way in which she lived her life.<br />

The way in which her image has been<br />

commodified has transformed her to<br />

an almost godlike status. Seeing her<br />

make-up, her perfume, and her beautiful<br />

handmade clothes goes some way<br />

to reversing this. I see some brands I<br />

recognise, such as Pond’s Cold Cream<br />

and Chanel perfume, and I think about<br />

Kahlo as a person with her own skincare<br />

regimen like the rest of us.<br />

Her corsets and prosthetic legs (she<br />

often wore long and loose-fitting<br />

skirts and dresses to cover both) sit<br />

in transparent plastic boxes and you<br />

are invited to peer closely at them.<br />

Immediately, I am struck by the communist<br />

symbol emblazoned on the<br />

former and the vivid red of the boot<br />

attached to the latter. I love Kahlo<br />

7<br />

However, at one point, I did feel rather<br />

uncomfortable. I was peering inside<br />

a box which contained Kahlo’s sleeping<br />

medication and reading some attached<br />

information about how she would beg


her doctors for extra pills so she<br />

could get to sleep despite being in<br />

pain. I wondered to myself whether<br />

Kahlo would want something as personal<br />

as the drugs she took each night<br />

to be on display, with people paying<br />

to gawp at them. This was also connected<br />

to the way in which the V&A<br />

seemed to skirt around Kahlo’s communism<br />

with their information guides<br />

in the exhibition. You could see for<br />

yourself in her artwork and her corset,<br />

among other possessions, that<br />

she was a proud communist, but no<br />

part of the exhibition mentioned this<br />

in detail.<br />

‘I felt that<br />

seeing some of<br />

kahlo’s more<br />

personal items<br />

was going too far’<br />

Granted, it was amazing to view some<br />

of her possessions, such as her beautiful<br />

clothes, and gain valuable context<br />

about the links to indigenous Mexican<br />

traditions and the local seamstresses<br />

who made her clothes for her, for example.<br />

But I felt that seeing some of<br />

Kahlo’s more personal items was going<br />

too far. Kahlo is arguably one of the<br />

most famous artists of our time, but<br />

does this negate her right to privacy?<br />

I felt like a voyeur and I wondered if<br />

seeing all of Kahlo’s possessions truly<br />

helped people to better understand<br />

and more closely relate to Kahlo.<br />

Nearing the end of my exhibition, I<br />

overheard a group of women gathered<br />

around a painting and talking about<br />

how much they loved Kahlo because<br />

of how ‘cool’ and ‘strong’ her eyebrows<br />

were.<br />

The exhibition frames Kahlo as a talented<br />

body in pain, but does not appear<br />

to consider the way in which it<br />

constructs Kahlo as a body to be voyeuristically<br />

dissected and consumed<br />

by a public composed of people who<br />

are either aware of that fact and try<br />

to avoid doing so or those who avidly<br />

participate, reducing Kahlo to the hairs<br />

on her face.<br />

Abigail Joseph is a third-year BA Sociology<br />

student. Can be found watching<br />

documentaries, reading from the<br />

ever-increasing pile of books in her<br />

room, or raving about the amazing vegan<br />

prawn balls she had (far to many<br />

times) in Denmark.<br />

8


The Last Leg is a late night chat show<br />

that has just begun its fifteenth series<br />

on Channel Four. The show’s host<br />

Adam Hills has described it as “three<br />

guys with four legs talking about<br />

the week”. It was first commissioned<br />

to run alongside the London 2012<br />

Paralympics but has now become a<br />

topical comedy show.<br />

On television, the images and storylines<br />

we see of disabled people<br />

are often those derived from a medical<br />

model of disability. That is, the<br />

idea that something is ‘wrong’ with<br />

a person that must be cured or rehabilitated.<br />

Disabled bodies can be a<br />

site for pity, focusing only on disability.<br />

Another popular trope is that of<br />

the ‘supercrip’, a disabled person who<br />

has triumphed over tragedy, to excel<br />

in a particular area (often sport).<br />

There can be an underlying narrative<br />

to this trope, especially when a disabled<br />

person does something inspirational—every<br />

other disabled person is<br />

expected to be able to do the same.<br />

In 2005, Ofcom released a research<br />

report on the representation of people<br />

with disabilities on analogue terrestrial<br />

television. It analysed around<br />

800 programmes a year between<br />

1993 and 2004 on the top four UK<br />

terrestrial channels, and then five<br />

from 1997. The report found that<br />

9<br />

The Last Leg<br />

Jenny Stanlake<br />

although at the time the estimated<br />

percentage of the population with a<br />

disability was between 14-19%, only<br />

12% of programmes sampled in 2004<br />

included disability representations,<br />

with less than 1/100 characters in<br />

the programmes being disabled. The<br />

report concluded that the most common<br />

disabilities were those most easily<br />

recognised, including mobility; sensory<br />

impairment; and disfigurement/<br />

physical impairment, because as well<br />

as being the most easily recognised,<br />

they are also the most visible.<br />

With these findings in mind, I’ve wondered<br />

whether The Last Leg plays<br />

plays into media stereotypes and<br />

whether it has been able to positively<br />

change representations of disabled<br />

people.<br />

In the first post-Paralympic show Hills<br />

explained how he, and the two other<br />

presenters Alex Brooker and Josh<br />

Widdicombe first collaborated to talk<br />

about disability sport, but that people<br />

were wondering what the show was<br />

going to be after the Paralympics. Hills<br />

read out a viewer’s tweet ‘I couldn’t<br />

work out if it was crip related or just<br />

a new comedy show’. Hills responded<br />

that it was a ‘new comedy show, but<br />

it [would] cover crip related material’<br />

(2013). This change of purpose and<br />

the shift in focus from disability, also


demonstrated that the presenters’<br />

are more than their disabilities. This<br />

seems like a positive development.<br />

In an interview on the BBC Radio 4<br />

programme No Triumph No Tragedy in<br />

2017, Adam Hills explained how for<br />

his first thirteen years as a comedian<br />

he did not disclose his disability because<br />

he did not want to be known<br />

only as the ‘disabled comedian’. His<br />

work on the Last Leg has meant that<br />

he doesn’t have to shy away from his<br />

disability, it is part of his identity, but<br />

he also doesn’t have to discuss it all<br />

the time because it isn’t his only identity.<br />

‘visible<br />

disabilities<br />

are not<br />

the only<br />

disabilities’<br />

But are there other ways in which the<br />

Last Leg is a radical change, not only<br />

in its attitudes towards disability, but<br />

in the forms of disability it portrays?<br />

The Ofcom research report that I<br />

mentioned is over 10 years old, yet<br />

little on television seems to have<br />

changed. Having been an avid viewer<br />

of the Last Leg, I’ve been surprised<br />

at the lack of representation of ‘invisible’<br />

disabilities. This could be because<br />

most Paralympic athletes have<br />

a visible/physical disability, the only<br />

classification to cater for invisible disabilities<br />

is ‘intellectual impairments’.<br />

However, we know that visible disabilities<br />

are not the only disabilities, and<br />

to only portray these on a television<br />

show like the Last Leg, risks reducing<br />

disability to the physical and visible.<br />

For me, the representation of disability<br />

is a constant battle, most recently<br />

in terms of the super-crip trope. I<br />

think more complex representations<br />

are possible, where for example disability<br />

doesn’t come to define a disabled<br />

person and where there is a<br />

greater diversity of representations of<br />

disabilities.<br />

Jenny Stanlake is a third year Sociology<br />

student. Her interests lie in disability<br />

studies, human rights and antisemitism.<br />

After her Undergraduate<br />

degree she hopes to do a Disability<br />

Studies MA. Jenny is also this year’s<br />

Accessibility and Inclusion (Disability)<br />

student rep.<br />

10


Flags & Space<br />

Ashley Carter<br />

@ac_creative<br />

“A national flag has no real significance for peaceful uses.”<br />

HG Wells<br />

When you see a flag in a<br />

public space, how do you<br />

react? Does it depend on<br />

the space? The flag itself?<br />

In my photography and<br />

sociological work, I’m<br />

interested in how flags,<br />

particularly the Union<br />

Jack, are seen and<br />

interpreted in different<br />

spaces.<br />

From train stations,<br />

underground gigs, to<br />

counter-protests, flags<br />

communicate an idea or<br />

concept which is drawn<br />

from your own experience<br />

and interpretations of what<br />

it means.<br />

11


Consider what are the social<br />

functions of the use of the Union Jack<br />

in Oxford Street or its use in Britain’s<br />

First counter-protest?<br />

What in both instances is the exact<br />

same flag conveying to you?<br />

When you next see a flag<br />

in a public space,<br />

consider what message is<br />

it trying to convey?<br />

Patriotism?<br />

Nationalism?<br />

Is it attempting<br />

to convey values<br />

or subvert them?<br />

12


13<br />

The Space Between Us<br />

Bhima is a servant to Sera Dubash,<br />

working to keep her plush Bombay<br />

home clean, tidy and running like<br />

clockwork. She wakes up every morning<br />

in her sweltering slum dwellings,<br />

unfolds her overworked creaking<br />

body, and prepares to do the same<br />

thing she did yesterday.<br />

And the same thing she will do tomorrow.<br />

Bhima takes herself down to<br />

the dirty stream that acts as lavatory,<br />

drinking water and bath for the<br />

residents of the slum, and attempts<br />

to alleviate the smell of her body.<br />

A man sits watching a few metres<br />

down stream and Bhima flushes from<br />

the humiliation of this daily ritual.<br />

Although done a thousand times, it<br />

never fails to shame her. The walk<br />

to Sera’s home is long and hot, every<br />

inch of the journey imprinted on the<br />

memory of her body.<br />

Over 20 years, as Bhima has worked<br />

tirelessly for Sera, the two have<br />

forged a friendship. They know every<br />

intimate detail of each other’s lives.<br />

They have shared each other’s joys<br />

and consoled each other. Their bond<br />

built little by little, in Sera’s home<br />

where, at meal times, Bhima must sit<br />

on the floor to eat.<br />

Thrity Umrigar’s beautiful novel, ‘The<br />

Space Between Us’ brings to light the<br />

Katie Spittle<br />

small everyday injustices inflicted<br />

on Bhima and the cumulative trauma<br />

this causes her. By juxtaposing her<br />

with Sera, her middle-class friend<br />

and employer, the contrast in their<br />

social positions serves to emphasise<br />

the powerlessness of living in poverty<br />

and the realities of different kinds of<br />

illiteracy. Umrigar reminds us throughout<br />

the novel of Bhima’s prematurely<br />

aging body, her callous feet and the<br />

air of damp in her skin, drawing our<br />

attention to how poverty, inequality<br />

and oppression leave their marks on<br />

the physical body.<br />

At the same time Bhima’s acceptance<br />

of her own degradation, the symbolic<br />

violence she is complicit with<br />

throughout the book, illuminates the<br />

dark and insidious effects of oppression<br />

in one’s own life. It is a powerful<br />

insight into the subjective and bodily<br />

experience of inequality, so much so<br />

that the space between individuals<br />

can remain painfully unbridged even<br />

in the longest and most intimate of<br />

friendships.<br />

The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu<br />

argues that ‘using material poverty as<br />

the sole measure of all suffering keeps<br />

us from seeing and understanding a<br />

whole side of suffering characteristic<br />

of the social order’. And here the<br />

power of Bourdieu’s research on ‘so-


cial suffering’ is how he unmasks the<br />

many, often taken for granted ways,<br />

in which social inequalities devastate.<br />

Because we often accept these they<br />

become normalised. The experience is<br />

difficult to think and talk about and<br />

to research and measure. It cannot be<br />

fully articulated because our systems<br />

of language and representation are inadequate.<br />

‘Sociology has<br />

always<br />

endeavoured<br />

to call<br />

attention to the<br />

invisible and<br />

unrepresented’<br />

While sociology has contributed to<br />

telling us about what social suffering<br />

is, there is still a struggle to research<br />

and represent it. Our only tool - it<br />

would seem - is to bear witness to its<br />

many and changing forms. But even<br />

this has its limitations. The problem<br />

the social sciences has with investigating,<br />

recording and describing unconscious,<br />

emotional and embodied<br />

experiences is not new.<br />

Sociology has always endeavoured<br />

to call attention to the invisible and<br />

unrepresented and those who are ignored<br />

or marginalised in the process,<br />

or as Sociologist Avery Gordon describes<br />

it ‘making the previously unknown<br />

known, telling new stories,<br />

correcting the official records’.<br />

There is of course much more to the<br />

lived experience of inequality. But it is<br />

perhaps in these latent and normalised<br />

aspects that we stand to learn<br />

the most from because they can disturb<br />

and challenge our understanding<br />

of banal everyday forms of power<br />

and oppression. And yet, it is hard to<br />

analyse an experience that is a spectre:<br />

To feel something is not quite<br />

right but not to be able to say what<br />

it is. It is perhaps what dark matter is<br />

to the physicist, there but frustratingly<br />

illusive.<br />

Katie Spittle finished her undergraduate<br />

degree in Sociology in 2018 and is<br />

now studying for her MSc in social research<br />

methods here at Goldsmiths.<br />

14


Passages<br />

Dr Nirmal Puwar<br />

Jean Mohr, an eminent photographer,<br />

well known for his collaborations<br />

with John Berger, passed away on 3rd<br />

November 2018, after a long period of<br />

illness, at the age of 93. Jean and his<br />

wife Simone visited us at Goldsmiths,<br />

alongside Miriam Said, to launch the<br />

exhibition ‘Space and Gaze’ (September<br />

2013 – July 2014) on 27th March<br />

2014, curated by staff and students<br />

from across the Sociology Department,<br />

Methods Lab. The materials on<br />

the wall, that brought us together,<br />

consisted of text by Edward Said and<br />

photographs from Jean Mohr, from<br />

their classic book After the Last Sky:<br />

Palestinian Lives (1986). They had chosen<br />

to compile the book after Jean<br />

Mohr was commissioned by the UN to<br />

take photos of some of the key sites<br />

in which Palestinians had lived. Because<br />

the UN allowed only minimal text to<br />

accompany the photographs, Said and<br />

Mohr decided to work together on an<br />

‘interplay’ in the book, as Said put it,<br />

of Said’s personal account of Palestinian<br />

suffering and exile and Mohr’s<br />

photographs – ‘an unconventional,<br />

hybrid, and fragmentary [form] of expression’<br />

- which they called After the<br />

Last Sky.<br />

We installed the exhibition in the<br />

Kingsway Corridor, a long passageway,<br />

framed by a continuous line of<br />

arches. Jean’s death reminds us of the<br />

15<br />

time he spent with us, his sharp eye,<br />

warmth and modesty. The passageway<br />

thronged with students, staff<br />

from the university and beyond, who<br />

had come to see, hear and be near<br />

Jean. He quickly became the observer<br />

as he snapped on his camera, turning<br />

the lens on those around him, discussing<br />

and looking at his photographs.<br />

<strong>One</strong> of his photographs was of a<br />

small girl taking a photo of Jean as he<br />

was taking an image of her. To us, the<br />

small group who worked on selecting<br />

photos and text from After the<br />

Last Sky (Annie Pfingst, Aisha Phoenix<br />

, Sameh Sahel), this particular image<br />

had special resonances, capturing Jean<br />

in the act of looking.<br />

Working against the grain of shortterm<br />

exhibitions, the Methods Lab<br />

chose to live and converse with the<br />

images and texts for the longer duration<br />

of an academic year, claiming<br />

the space for an alternative writing on<br />

the walls of the university. We had<br />

put the exhibition together on a shoestring<br />

budget. Aside from this public<br />

launch event, our programme of associated<br />

talks, screenings and lectures,<br />

was open-ended. Events snowballed<br />

as the exhibition took hold of the<br />

passageway.<br />

There were many interactions with<br />

the exhibition. We started our events


off-site, at the Mosaic Rooms, a partnership<br />

I and Mariam Motamedi Fraser<br />

(as Co-Directors of the Methods Lab)<br />

had built, with Mariam opening the<br />

event for two doctoral students,<br />

Dominika Blachnicka-Ciacek and Samah<br />

Saleh, whose fieldwork was in<br />

Palestine. A Sociology undergraduate<br />

student, Palak Roa, involved in the<br />

Student Palestinian Society, organised<br />

another event with a news photographer<br />

from Palestine. During the<br />

course of the installation, Visiting Research<br />

Fellow, Annie Pfingst screened<br />

films from Shashat, www.shashat.org,<br />

a women and cinema NGO in Palestine.<br />

Sameh Saleh, whose research is<br />

on women resisters in Palestine, gave<br />

Angela Davis a guided tour of the exhibition<br />

when she visited Goldsmiths<br />

for her honorary degree. Davis chose<br />

to prioritise her time on campus with<br />

students.<br />

It is interesting how visitors choose<br />

to inhabit campus life. Mohr chose to<br />

have a conversation rather than give<br />

a public annual lecture for the Methods<br />

Lab. Speaking of his position as a<br />

photographer he has said: ‘If I see a<br />

child drowning I can’t take a picture<br />

of the scene. I can lend a hand or grab<br />

a stick to remove the child.’<br />

Biographical note: Jean Mohr is wellknown<br />

for his many collaborations<br />

with John Berger, including A Fortunate<br />

Man (1967), Art & Revolution<br />

(1969), A Seventh Man (1975), Another<br />

Way of Telling (1995) and John by<br />

Jean: fifty years of friendship (2014).<br />

He has worked for numerous international<br />

organisations (UNHCR, ILO,<br />

JDC) and was ICRC delegate for the<br />

Middle East 1949-1950.<br />

Dr Nirmal Puwar is a Reader in the Sociology<br />

Department.<br />

16


Cities on Screen: The Garden<br />

Sophie Porter<br />

At the beginning of the academic<br />

year, Emily Ballard and I set up ‘Cities<br />

on Screen’, a film and discussion series<br />

designed to showcase documentaries<br />

that highlight issues pertinent to contemporary<br />

urbanism. It is intended to<br />

provoke discussion and awareness of<br />

various strands of the urban social experience<br />

and the different ways marginalised<br />

people respond to structural<br />

inequality.<br />

On 25th October, we held our second<br />

screening: Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s<br />

The Garden. It tells the story of the<br />

South Central Farmers, a community<br />

of land-workers taking a stand against<br />

the reclamation and redevelopment<br />

of the largest community garden in<br />

the US. Starting from the day the eviction<br />

notice was posted on the gates<br />

of the LA farm, the film follows the<br />

duration of the community’s campaign<br />

against the state to let them keep<br />

the land. As it unfolds, a complexity<br />

of corruption is unearthed, both<br />

in the senate and amongst opposing<br />

community groups, and rising tensions<br />

amongst the farmers encroach on the<br />

sanctity of the garden itself. The film<br />

addresses some key elements of urban<br />

inequality, particularly the precarious<br />

relationship between public and<br />

private space, and the ongoing effect<br />

of embedded social hierarchies.<br />

17<br />

To the farmers, South Central represented<br />

a large part of their identity.<br />

Predominantly tilled by first and second<br />

generation Latin American immigrants,<br />

the farm provided a space of<br />

continuity for the workers who used<br />

skills they had honed before they emigrated<br />

or that had been passed down<br />

to them by family members. It also<br />

supplied the community with a source<br />

of fresh food, which otherwise would<br />

have been inaccessible to them living<br />

on low incomes in an impoverished<br />

area of LA, as most of them were. A<br />

particularly memorable moment was<br />

when, trying to convey the relative<br />

significance of the garden, one of the<br />

famers, choking back tears, described<br />

it as just as sacred to the community<br />

as a temple or church.<br />

‘Standing for<br />

one’s right to<br />

the city is<br />

proving to be<br />

a powerful<br />

political move’


And, yet, the struggle continued. The<br />

message of the eviction was summarised<br />

well by one of the farmers in<br />

the early days of their action: ‘the<br />

land you are working is worth more<br />

than you as a collective’. The land,<br />

which had been designated for use<br />

as a community garden in response<br />

to the cultural oppressions embodied<br />

by the 1992 LA riots, was now considered<br />

to be too valuable to be wasted<br />

on a project with no wider financial<br />

gains; its community value accounted<br />

for nothing. An opposing activist<br />

group, Concerned Citizens of South<br />

Central Los Angeles, who were directly<br />

invested in the redevelopment<br />

project, went as far as to reject the<br />

collective’s claim to the community.<br />

This action is indicative of the<br />

entrenched prejudice experienced by<br />

the Latinx farmers, not only at a political<br />

level but also on the ground.<br />

Even though the land was being used<br />

wholly and fruitfully, the collective’s<br />

claim to it – and by extension, to the<br />

city – was deemed invalid. This is best<br />

exemplified by the statement given<br />

by the developer at the end of the<br />

farmers’ campaign: ‘they should say<br />

“this is a gracious country, thank you<br />

very much for letting us have these<br />

gardens”’.<br />

In spite of the politics, marginalisation<br />

and intimidation, the South Central<br />

Farmers continued to fight, to mobilise<br />

and stake a claim to the city.<br />

Although their action was ultimately<br />

unsuccessful, it is particularly significant<br />

at a time when the community<br />

intervention to save Old Tidemill Garden<br />

in Deptford intensifies by the day.<br />

In both instances, standing for one’s<br />

right to the city is proving to be a<br />

powerful political move.<br />

Look out for more information on future<br />

instalments of ‘Cities on Screen’<br />

and follow us on Twitter at #CitiesOnScreen<br />

Follow the progress of the Old Tidemill<br />

Garden intervention on Twitter<br />

@oldtidemillgrdn<br />

Sophie Porter is the Department Rep<br />

for Postgraduate Sociology and a parttime<br />

MA Cities and Society student.<br />

Her particular area of study is the<br />

relationship between a commodified<br />

housing market, homelessness and human<br />

rights. She is the co-founder of<br />

the ‘Cities on Screen’ series alongside<br />

Emily Ballard.<br />

18


“Peckham Rye Lane is alive with noise.<br />

Nigerian music blares onto the street<br />

from commercial spaces shared by<br />

hairdressers, groceries and film and<br />

music stores. Reggae keeps coffee<br />

seller’s spirits warm in the biting cold<br />

under the arches. Cars and lorries<br />

rumbling by. Schoolgirls link arms and<br />

sing as they walk. Outside Primark a<br />

busker plays a Miles Davis riff bursting<br />

into melody when coins are dropped.<br />

Piercing sirens scream cars out of the<br />

way. A South East Asian voice singing,<br />

entices passers-by, ‘Come inside! Very<br />

good price & quote! ’ Trains clattering<br />

overhead drown out the soft American<br />

music from a vintage shop/café…. Under<br />

Peckham arch, a group of around<br />

100 people wrapped in winter jackets<br />

gather in front of Peckham’s, not yet<br />

lit, Christmas tree. Family members,<br />

friends, localresidents and passers-by<br />

surround children from local primary<br />

schools. A microphone crackles into<br />

action and the amplifier now dominates<br />

the soundscape.”<br />

Does Durkheim’s (1915) view of rituals<br />

as activities that encourage cohesion<br />

in society through the worship<br />

of particular values apply in 2016 at<br />

a Christmas tree lighting ceremony<br />

in a public space in Peckham? Here,<br />

I present field notes from research I<br />

did during the Practicing Urban<br />

Ethnography course. Described as the<br />

19<br />

Sounds of the street<br />

Mike Danby<br />

‘frontline to gentrification’ by geographer<br />

Suzanne Hall, Peckham has experienced<br />

rapid urban transformation<br />

and social polarisation. Population<br />

density, diversity, transience, deprivation,<br />

infant mortality childhood obesity<br />

and health inequalities are all much<br />

higher than the English or London average.<br />

The area has received intense<br />

media and academic attention and we<br />

met many other university students<br />

‘researching the area’. Through various<br />

interactions I felt suspicion of our<br />

group, walking the streets talking ‘sociologically’.<br />

From these reflections<br />

I developed an interest in music and<br />

sound. I noted how the variety of encounters<br />

with music in Peckham contributes<br />

to how this diverse space is<br />

experienced and negotiated.<br />

‘the variety of encounters<br />

with music in Peckham<br />

contributes to how this<br />

diverse space is<br />

experienced and negotiated’<br />

Fieldnote examples:<br />

A teacher quietens chattering school<br />

children, and the crowd quietens as<br />

they start to sing… Silent Night… A<br />

break in traffic brings a sudden con-


trast from the buzz of noise just<br />

moments ago to the sudden unified<br />

sound of the singing; both literally<br />

and metaphorically a moment of harmony.<br />

The Peckham Theatre is a charity organisation<br />

engaging disadvantaged<br />

young people in music and theatre.<br />

A young black girl of about 11 starts<br />

the first verse of the theatre’s anthem,<br />

Labi Siffre’s ‘Something inside<br />

so strong’. A song inspired by the anti-apartheid<br />

struggle and a passionate<br />

evocation of the search for inner<br />

strength. The rest of the choir and<br />

many of the crowd join in singing<br />

‘The higher you build your barriers,<br />

the taller I become, the further you<br />

take my rights away, the<br />

faster I will run’.<br />

The last group who have remained<br />

separate from the crowd for the<br />

other performances, is the all-white,<br />

group of young adults. An older member<br />

introduces the group ‘We are the<br />

first year choir from the Mountview<br />

Academy of Theatre and Arts, we are<br />

very much looking forward to joining<br />

Peckham’s fantastic community with a<br />

new school right here.’ The conductor<br />

moves his arms, and the singing starts.<br />

All eyes fixed on the conductor, his<br />

upper body rocks and hands dance,<br />

flicking through the movements of<br />

the song. Faces contort as they accurately<br />

hit notes; someone steps onto<br />

tiptoes whilst pushing her body to<br />

project her voice. The singers seem to<br />

have become finely tuned instruments<br />

controlled by the conductor.<br />

Observing the different carol groups<br />

round the tree was a powerful illustration<br />

of the power of music to encourage<br />

cohesion within a group but<br />

also to differentiate the group from<br />

others.<br />

Peckham Theatre’s departure from<br />

‘traditional’ Christmas songs brought<br />

the community’s solidarity and struggles<br />

to the forefront of the ceremony.<br />

I enjoyed thinking with ears and beyond<br />

words. Music has power and<br />

force in so many aspects of everyday<br />

life. It deserves more sociological attention.<br />

Mike Danby graduated from Goldsmiths<br />

with a BA in Sociology in 2017.<br />

He now lives in Spain and<br />

works as an English teacher and researcher.<br />

He has been conducting primary<br />

research about what<br />

Brexit means to UK citizens living in<br />

and around Granada—with a particular<br />

focus on people under<br />

the age of 35—and blogging about his<br />

experience of moving to Spain, see<br />

brexitbritsabroad.com/talking-brexitwith-18-35-year-old-uk-citizens-livingin-southern-spain/<br />

20


Save Reginald ! Save Tidemill !<br />

Anita Strasser<br />

For the past year, I have been involved<br />

in the Save Reginald! Save Tidemill!<br />

campaign. The campaign is trying<br />

to stop the destruction of Tidemill<br />

Wildlife Garden and 16 flats in council-owned<br />

Reginald House in Deptford.<br />

Lewisham Council’s developers<br />

Peabody have planning permission to<br />

build 209 flats on this site, around<br />

half of which will be at ‘London Affordable<br />

Rent’ for new social tenants.<br />

Campaigners are keen to have more<br />

social housing, but at truly affordable<br />

rents and without the destruction<br />

of current community assets. Campaigners<br />

are also concerned about air<br />

pollution. Deptford has shown pollution<br />

levels six times over the World<br />

Health Organisation’s particle limits.<br />

A Goldsmiths study has demonstrated<br />

that Tidemill Garden mitigates air<br />

pollution by half.<br />

vacate the site by 24 October 2018.<br />

Despite launching an appeal, the occupiers<br />

were forcefully evicted by<br />

over 100 bailiffs and security guards<br />

on 29 October. Campaigners are not<br />

giving up though; for them this green<br />

community space and council homes<br />

are too important to lose.<br />

Campaigners asked for a community<br />

collaborative design process after an<br />

architect member of the group drew<br />

up alternative plans that would spare<br />

the garden and the council block. This<br />

was dismissed out of hand. When instructed<br />

to leave the garden by 29<br />

August 2018, campaigners decided<br />

to occupy it and launch a judicial review<br />

which questions the legality of<br />

the development. The application for<br />

judicial review was rejected by the<br />

court, and occupiers were told to<br />

21<br />

What I have found so inspiring about<br />

this campaign, apart from the sheer<br />

dedication and determination to fight<br />

for more sustainable and fairer development,<br />

is how campaigners and activists<br />

have used their artistic skills.


They have created promotional material,<br />

organised events and decorated<br />

and equipped the garden, which has<br />

helped to sustain hope and motivation<br />

despite the enormity of their struggle.<br />

They are creative and resourceful<br />

activists who have built tree houses,<br />

sheds, a functioning kitchen area and<br />

store room during the occupation,<br />

along with creating artworks, placards<br />

and banners to raise awareness. They<br />

have also used photography, video,<br />

music, performance art, and other<br />

media to support the campaign. The<br />

garden has been a major source of<br />

creativity and expression, as well as<br />

a place of friendship, care and community.<br />

As one campaigner remarked:<br />

“Tidemill Garden is part of the cohesiveness<br />

of Deptford”. It is also one of<br />

the last remaining green spaces in the<br />

area, providing locals with access to a<br />

bit of wildlife, nature and calm in the<br />

midst of a regeneration frenzy. Losing<br />

it would have devastating effects on<br />

the Deptford community.<br />

‘Tidemill Garden<br />

mitigates air<br />

pollution by half’<br />

As a local photographer and researcher,<br />

whose PhD researches the<br />

impact of gentrification on the local<br />

working-class population, I have been<br />

documenting the campaign, contributing<br />

my images and texts to help promote<br />

the campaign’s activities. I have<br />

also launched the blog Deptford Is<br />

Changing (www.deptfordischanging.<br />

wordpress.com) to raise awareness<br />

of campaigns, to highlight the impact<br />

of gentrification on local people, and<br />

to counter the stigmatising narratives<br />

of protesters, campaigners and working-class<br />

communities. The positive,<br />

creative and energetic attitude of<br />

people in Tidemill garden that believe<br />

in a fairer society and more sustainable<br />

future has really inspired me and<br />

the garden has become an invaluable<br />

green space for me too.<br />

You can read more about the campaign<br />

on Facebook: Save Reginald/<br />

Save Tidemill.<br />

Anita Strasser is an urban photographer/visual<br />

sociologist based in Deptford.<br />

She is currently in the 2nd year<br />

of her AHRC-funded PhD in Visual<br />

Sociology at Goldsmiths, studying<br />

the gentrification of Deptford and<br />

the impact this has on local residents.<br />

She works in Academic Support at University<br />

of the Arts London, supporting<br />

students on the MA Photojournalism<br />

and Documentary Photography.<br />

22


Writing to Fight: An Exploration into Creative Practice,<br />

Stigma and Mental Health<br />

Vanessa Bray<br />

Storytelling is a fundamental aspect<br />

of the social world. Our representations<br />

of lived experiences bridge the<br />

gap between the personal and the<br />

political, playing an important part in<br />

amplifying voices often unheard. My<br />

dissertation study was an account of<br />

creative writing by mental health service<br />

users, told through the prism of<br />

my own experiences as a researcher,<br />

actor and ‘survivor’ of the mental<br />

health system. I focussed on the issue<br />

of stigma, both internal and external,<br />

which permeates every area<br />

of an individual’s life and can be more<br />

damaging than a mental health condition<br />

itself. I wanted to investigate<br />

the relationship between creativity,<br />

particularly writing, and the attempts<br />

individuals make to manage and<br />

challenge stigma.<br />

I began with a literature review of my<br />

areas of interest, which at the beginning<br />

were broad. I knew I was interested<br />

in the processes and effects of<br />

stigma, the changing social construction<br />

of mental illness and the overlaps<br />

between the arts and therapeutic<br />

activity. The anecdotal evidence<br />

that artists were more susceptible to<br />

mental ill-health, or conversely that<br />

those with poor mental health gravitated<br />

towards the arts was something<br />

that I hoped would be addressed.<br />

23<br />

Overall, I found that contemporary<br />

studies on the links between well-being<br />

and the arts tended to be from<br />

a clinical or professional viewpoint.<br />

I wanted to draw out marginalised<br />

voices and stories as much as possible,<br />

told in an individual’s own words. I<br />

also wanted an outcome that reached<br />

out beyond an academic text.<br />

I devised a case study of the Dragon<br />

Café, a community organisation<br />

whose function is to empower those<br />

with mental health issues through<br />

arts-based activities. I am a member<br />

of their creative writing group ‘Writing-Works’.<br />

My research used mixed<br />

qualitative methods: samples of writing,<br />

semi-structured interviews, photographs<br />

and artefacts such as leaflets,<br />

table cloths, pens and coloured paper.<br />

Concentrating on one group and one<br />

material environment allowed me to<br />

gather rich and detailed data. I attended<br />

the groups weekly, taking notes on<br />

discussions and writing pieces alongside<br />

the participants. They had the<br />

option to write about anything they<br />

liked, stimulated by a weekly reading<br />

of literature, or they could respond<br />

to my suggestion to ‘write about writing’.<br />

I asked more in-depth questions<br />

about stigma during the interviews. I<br />

had 13 participants - 10 pieces of writing<br />

and 3 interviews. The photographs


and artefacts I collected with a view<br />

to turning the whole data set into a<br />

performance piece that I would present<br />

as the practical element of my<br />

dissertation.<br />

‘I wanted to<br />

investigate<br />

the attempts<br />

individuals<br />

make to<br />

manage and<br />

challenge stigma’<br />

After 3 months of fieldwork, I did a<br />

narrative analysis of the transcribed<br />

pieces of writing and interview texts.<br />

How writing had helped people ‘face<br />

up to the difficulties in life’ came<br />

through in several ways, as did various<br />

ways of coping with stigma, from<br />

hiding a condition to claiming the<br />

“label of artist” as opposed to that<br />

of “service user” (quotes from participants).<br />

I collated extracts that<br />

illuminated these themes and wove<br />

them into a theatrical script which I<br />

then learnt and performed. My previous<br />

years as a theatre actor came in<br />

handy! I staged the production using a<br />

chair, table (with spotty table cloth)<br />

and stationary as close to that of the<br />

Dragon Café as I could manage. The<br />

photographs I had taken of the individual<br />

handwriting of the participants<br />

and the signs that furnished the space<br />

I projected behind me onto a screen.<br />

The piece was performed at Goldsmiths<br />

and at the Dragon Café. Encouraged<br />

by the feedback, I have<br />

found that the piece has started a<br />

conversation about mental health<br />

and stigma amongst students and<br />

Dragon Café patrons alike. In the<br />

words of one of the participants:<br />

“Why do we write<br />

we write to fight<br />

we write to break the dismal night.”<br />

Vanessa Bray graduated from the MA<br />

Visual Sociology programme in 2018.<br />

She has undergraduate degrees in<br />

Acting and Combined Social Science<br />

and has worked as an Actor and a<br />

Mental Health Service User<br />

Consultant and Trainer.<br />

24


‘Time to wake up’:<br />

Collaging responses to neighbourhood change<br />

The table inside the white cube in<br />

Peckham Levels is piled high with materials:<br />

fabrics, cardboard, magazines,<br />

coloured paper, glitter paint, scissors,<br />

glue, lipsticks, false lashes, fake nails,<br />

nail polishes and weave. The Year<br />

Nine students from a local secondary<br />

school file into the room. They are<br />

here as part of their textile lesson.<br />

The installation #Hairytage, curated<br />

by artist and designer Alix Bizet, is being<br />

transformed over the week by the<br />

students – each workshop adding to<br />

the conversation and leaving its trace.<br />

Held against a background of illustrations<br />

by Ben Nugent, the photography<br />

of A-Level student Ria Addison Gayle<br />

and Autograph’s Exhibition in a Box,<br />

the workshops are a space for the<br />

students to tell stories and engage in<br />

the interwoven debates around their<br />

neighbourhood, gentrification, politics<br />

of Black hair, ideals of beauty and representations<br />

of people of colour.<br />

Louise Rondel<br />

The installation and workshops, part<br />

of the school’s Black History Month<br />

programme, were held in a former multi-storey<br />

carpark now converted into<br />

cafés, bars, galleries and co-working<br />

spaces in a neighbourhood undergoing<br />

rapid and co-constitutive physical and<br />

demographic changes. Living in, going<br />

to school and passing through the<br />

area, the students are acutely aware<br />

of these changes and how it impacts<br />

on them. As one student described<br />

‘more posh things are coming in’. She<br />

is perhaps thinking about the new coffee<br />

shops or places to eat opening<br />

along the high street or the fashionable<br />

hair salons which have appeared<br />

– described by a colleague as ‘the harbinger<br />

of gentrification’. An unverified<br />

rumour of Morleys’ closure hangs<br />

over the workshop. Emerging from<br />

Saturday’s Debate Cake, during which<br />

Year 12 and 13 students discussed<br />

what they love about Peckham and<br />

what it means to love a place, the<br />

rumour is literally written onto the<br />

gallery’s wall as part of the event’s<br />

documentation. True or (more likely)<br />

not, the concern amongst these 13<br />

and 14 year olds that it might be true<br />

is palpable.<br />

25<br />

Before we start crafting, we talk<br />

about the ways in which bodies and<br />

places shape or, indeed, make one an-


other. We talk about Peckham’s Afro<br />

hair salons which are being closed<br />

down and relocated to ‘the backside<br />

of Peckham’ as part of a heritage project<br />

to restore the station to its ‘Victorian<br />

splendour’. I ask the students<br />

to think about the hair and beauty<br />

salons to which they might go, asking<br />

why they go there, what they like<br />

about the salon and what would it<br />

mean for them, the other customers,<br />

the hairdressers and beauty therapists<br />

and the community if that salon was<br />

to be closed. I ask them to think<br />

about the message they might send<br />

to the local council, the planners or<br />

the developers.<br />

lashes are carefully stuck on in perfect<br />

arches, a splurge of blue glitter<br />

paint makes a shimmering ocean, nail<br />

polish is painted onto the page in ever<br />

darkening shades to create a swatch.<br />

At last, hands that have been itching<br />

are able to move towards the materials;<br />

cardboard is distributed, magazines<br />

are opened, scissors hunted for<br />

amongst piles of fabric and the distinctive<br />

smell of nail polish fills the<br />

room. Sitting round the craft table<br />

is at once a shared and an individual<br />

experience. Scissors, glue stick and<br />

ideas are shared and passed between<br />

neighbours and across the table. At<br />

the same time, amongst the chatter,<br />

crafting allows space for quiet reflection,<br />

for concentration and for seeing<br />

what happens through experimentation<br />

with the materials: figuring out<br />

how to stick fiddly false nails onto<br />

cardboard; what does it feel like to<br />

write with lipstick, how to attach a<br />

strip of hair, do I even want to touch<br />

it? The materials take over: false<br />

26


As the students get caught up in the<br />

tactile power of the materials, messages<br />

emerge. Some relate to the<br />

closure of shops and salons: ‘#leavepeckhamalone’,<br />

‘don’t let them close<br />

down the beauty shops’ ‘don’t close<br />

Peckham Rye salons’, ‘time to wake<br />

up’. Some, with a spray of perfume<br />

as a finishing touch, attest to the<br />

transformative power held within<br />

the salons. Another affirms that ‘my<br />

beauty is black, #selflove’, a striking<br />

and powerful message in a climate in<br />

which the salon spaces where this is<br />

most reinforced are being eviscerated.<br />

With thanks to Alix Bizet and Clare<br />

Stanhope for inviting me, and especially<br />

to Year 9 textile class for your<br />

imagination and engagement.<br />

Louise Rondel is a PhD candidate in<br />

the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths.<br />

Her research examines the<br />

co-constitutive relationships between<br />

bodies and cities and, in particular, she<br />

explores London’s beauty industry,<br />

following people and products to and<br />

through the beauty salon. With an<br />

emphasis on the vibrant materialities<br />

of the industry, Louise is interested in<br />

how a physical engagement with matter<br />

can enliven our sociological imaginations.<br />

27


28


yellow by Oluwatoyin Sonubi<br />

days where I feel good about myself are far and few between<br />

but when I do I always end<br />

up in a park sitting then<br />

lying on the green soft grass<br />

I look to sun, bright and all<br />

over. It is a star and as I<br />

watch her warm and guide our<br />

days I feel myself adopt her warmth and guidance as I find<br />

my way to my bed I lie<br />

down and stare at the moon the<br />

moon like me adopts the sun’s<br />

shine for the night. every night<br />

and so do I. and as these<br />

warm days and kindred nights<br />

become closer closer they become<br />

every day every night. and those brief<br />

moments I feel not yellow<br />

but blue, I remind myself that<br />

once I felt like I swallowed a<br />

star and the more I see the star<br />

the easier blue days are to swallow<br />

Oluwatoyin Sonubi is a third-year BA Media and Sociology student.<br />

They are primarily interested in Arts and Culture, specifically identity<br />

and community. They enjoyed journaling and poetry at school but<br />

their passion for creative writing flourished at university.<br />

29


Department Research Centres: The Methods Lab<br />

Interview with Dr Rebecca Coleman – Co-Director of Methods Lab<br />

What is Methods Lab?<br />

Kat Jungnickel (the other Co-Director of<br />

Methods Lab is a research centre within the Methods Lab) and I are keen to connect<br />

the Methods Lab with what students<br />

the Sociology Department. It was established<br />

over ten years ago and aims to of visual sociology are interested in. <strong>One</strong><br />

draw together the wide range of people series we’re running this year is called<br />

who work with methods in what we call ‘How to do sociology with...’ where we<br />

live, sensory and inventive ways. This understanding<br />

of methods sees the social objects, devices and atmospheres that we<br />

will explore different materials, media,<br />

worlds that we study as lively, dynamic work with. The first workshop is on glitter<br />

and sensuous and therefore that methods<br />

need to also be and do these things. endar for more details)—we’ll work with<br />

(28th November - see the college cal-<br />

Methods Lab provides spaces for people glitter to consider what it does, materially<br />

to work collaboratively with sociologists and affectively. We will ask how we might<br />

and other academics, and also artists, curators,<br />

and other creative practitioners. these might do to sociological research.<br />

cultivate methodologies with it, and what<br />

This involves workshops, talks, screenings There will be further workshops in this<br />

and exhibitions.<br />

series later in the year. We’ll also have<br />

the Methods Lab Annual Lecture in May,<br />

and some other workshops and seminars<br />

as well.<br />

What have you learnt about methods from<br />

being in the department?<br />

I’ve learnt a lot, both from being a<br />

post-graduate student in the department<br />

in 2000-2005 and more recently<br />

as a member of staff. The department includes<br />

many people - staff and students<br />

- working with/on visual, sensory and digital<br />

sociology and developing new ways of<br />

approaching the social world in conjunction<br />

with more traditional methods, such<br />

as interviews and ethnography. <strong>One</strong> thing<br />

I’m constantly thinking about then, is how<br />

new approaches link or fit with these older<br />

approaches. Another thing I’ve learnt is<br />

that it is productive to reflect on methods<br />

themselves - rather than seeing methods<br />

as tools, it’s interesting and important<br />

to make them the centre of our thinking<br />

and analysis.<br />

What are some of the things that the Methods<br />

Lab will be doing this year?<br />

In what ways has the Methods Lab enhanced<br />

your sociological imagination?<br />

Because the Methods Lab aims to provide<br />

a platform for collaborative and interdisciplinary<br />

work, it has made me reflect on<br />

the boundaries of sociology, and what sociology<br />

might learn from other disciplines<br />

or creative practices. So in terms of the<br />

sociological imagination, I try to ask myself<br />

what is sociological about what the<br />

Methods Lab is doing. Often, this means<br />

asking about the similarities and differences<br />

between various approaches - for example,<br />

how does what artists or designers<br />

do connect with what sociologists do?<br />

What is distinctive about what sociologists<br />

do?<br />

Aliya Moobe is the second year of her BA<br />

Sociology with Criminology.<br />

30


CALENDAR<br />

Here are some hand-picked events and activities which might interest you.<br />

We implore you to research them and to also explore other events, activities,<br />

screenings and exhibitions to keep you thinking. - split mag editorial<br />

Activities<br />

Revolutionary women film festival | 8TH DEC| brunei gallery<br />

Feminist life drawing |dec 11th | the feminist library<br />

GIFTLAND LATE NIGHT| Dec 13th |129 SHACKLEWELL LANE<br />

LONDON ART FAIR 2019 | 15TH JAN<br />

M.Y.O Peckham<br />

The Good Life Centre<br />

barbican conservatory | sundays only<br />

Exhibtions<br />

Hooked | Science Gallery London<br />

Late at tate britain: truth |tate britain | 7th dec<br />

sacred feminine: the art of the goddess | the british musuem | 8th dec<br />

Stolen! how, when and whY? | royal academy of arts | 11th dec<br />

Zine club x RISO induction | print collective | 17th dec<br />

art is part of the equation | royal academy of arts | 22nd dec<br />

egon schiele:death and the maiden | royal academy of arts | 18th jan


Goldsmiths Events<br />

Dit Accompli: Non-Native Speakers in US Police Encounters | talk| Goldsmiths<br />

rhb 300a |4-6pm | 5th dec<br />

cITIES ON SCREEN: The Pruitt-Igoe Myth | screening | goldsmiths rhb137a | 6-8pm<br />

| 6th dec<br />

Liberalism as a Way of Life: on the Spiritual Exercises of John Rawls | talk |<br />

deptford town hall 109 | 6-8pm | 10th dec<br />

The Strange Case of Anneliese Kohlmann: Queer Desire in the Concentration<br />

Camps | TALK | GOLDSMITHS RHB 137 | 5-7PM | 13th dec<br />

Talks<br />

THE PSYCHOLOGY OG POVERTY | 7TH DEC | UCL Division of Psychology & Language<br />

ROXANE GAY IN CONVERSATION | 10TH DEC | ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL<br />

Mass Consumption of Refashioned ClotheS | 9th jan| SOAS KHALILI LECTURE THE-<br />

ATRE<br />

Lawrence of Arabia: Romantic, Orientalist, and Western Cultural | 19th dec |<br />

the british academy<br />

WAR |15TH JAN | NEW ACADEMIC BUILDING<br />

Psychoanalysis and Feminism: Beauvoir, Irigaray, Kristeva, Butler |26th jan |<br />

freud museum london<br />

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Email<br />

splitmaginfo@gmail.com<br />

Twitter<br />

@magsplit


Celeste Williams<br />

‘Reflective Cultural Dissociation’

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