Mapping the city

This one day conference on 7th November 2007 was open to staff and research students within the university. It was a joint collaboration organised by four research centres: CAVA, City in Film, Impacts 08 and the Institute of Popular Music.


Professor Jonathan Harris: Director of CAVA
Dr. Richard Koeck: Research Associate, City in Film, Schools of Architecture / Politics & Communication Studies
Dr. Les Roberts: Research Associate, City in Film, Schools of Architecture / Politics & Communication Studies
Dr. Beatriz García: Impacts 08 and AHRC/ESRC Impact Fellowship
Dr. Steve Miles: AHRC/ESRC Impact Fellowship
Dr. Sara Cohen: Reader in Music and Director of the Institute of Popular Music
Dr. Brett Lashua: Research Associate, Institute of Popular Music

(Abstracts for each presentation are available to download)


The remit of this conference is threefold:

• To establish the purposes and processes of ‘cultural’ research
• To relate current research practice to the theme of the conference-matching practice to theory.
• To provide opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange

Whilst the main thrust of the day will be to expose the inherent problematic nature of research, and in particular those aspects peculiar to ‘cultural ‘ research, the papers will very much act as a showcase for the individual interests of the speakers, centred around the notion of ‘Mapping the City’

The conference themes fall into two main categories:

1. Research methodology

2. The representation of social space (with a focus on Liverpool).

Research methodology

This discussion will highlight current challenges and fundamental changes to the academic research process and necessarily reflects on some key questions crucial to this process.

• What is the purpose of research?
• Whose interest does it serve?
• What alternatives exist to evidence based research?

There will also be discussion around the issue of accountability and the pressures researchers face to identify quantifiable (and economically productive) ‘outcomes’.
We also aim to resolve the practical problems concerning knowledge transfer.

The representation of social space: mapping the city

Our aim here is to offer a diverse account of the city, primarily through a process of ‘mapping’. Our intention is to describe how space can be constructed through a series of networks and relational systems and then go on to explore the different ways in which these spaces are revealed in film, visual images, music and architecture.

Economic and cultural enterprise and development have made a real change to the landscape of Liverpool. But whilst these developments generally bode well for economic growth, there is a danger that the memory and reality of historical spaces are erased in favour of the new.
How we document and archive these changes is a challenge for all those involved with research and necessarily bound up with notions of value and ownership.

Underpinning this conference will be a commitment to the belief that interdisciplinary relationships (as groups of people in different departments and as individuals) can benefit our academic research. We see the importance of designating space and time for intellectual and critical thought and discussion within the university, while at the same time we acknowledge – and aim to problematise – the institutional and intellectual barriers to critical interdisciplinary thinking across university departments and faculties.