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Researching urban space and the built environment
Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin
,
Elaine Tierney
, and
Charlotte Wildman

The Introduction considers the significance of historical research into urban space and the built environment; it also provides a broad outline of the academic landscape and goes some way towards defining key terms for the book. It also provides advice as to how to read and engage with this guide, and an outline of the book structure and chapter contents.

in Researching urban space and the built environment
Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin
,
Elaine Tierney
, and
Charlotte Wildman

This chapter introduces the wide variety of primary sources that can be fruitful in our investigation of urban space or the built environment. In addition to giving advice about how and where to begin looking for evidence for a research project, this discussion also provides an overview of different categories of source material. These are loosely grouped as: buildings and built environments; archival materials (like inventories, government regulations, contemporary descriptions); visual sources (such as plans, maps and photos); material cultures and oral history interviews. A strong theme across this chapter is the extent to which doing spatial history demands that you use a variety of source types and engage in interdisciplinary research practices.

in Researching urban space and the built environment
Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin
,
Elaine Tierney
, and
Charlotte Wildman

This chapter shows how to begin the research process. It suggests several possible starting points for thinking through and designing a spatial research project, divided here into the broad parameters of location or building type, theme or concept, and body of evidence. These different approaches are explored through a number of concrete case studies of spatial histories, demonstrating how these research routes work in practice. The final sub-section provides some wide-ranging advice for formulating useful research questions.

in Researching urban space and the built environment

Researching urban space and the built environment is a succinct guide for historians keen to explore the spatial dimensions of the past. Written in a clear and lively style, it equips readers with the tools to effectively plan, research and write spatial histories. The book explores why the ‘spatial turn’ matters so much to historians, and how the subject of space is a cutting-edge and interdisciplinary subject area. By outlining and summarising the theories and methodologies particularly pertinent to spatial research, and by providing hands-on advice on locating evidence and archives, the book supports readers in the development of their own original projects. Through engagement with a vast range of primary evidence, including buildings, manuscripts, oral history interviews, visual sources and material cultures, and discussion of pertinent early modern and modern historical case studies, the guide opens up a huge variety of research possibilities. Researching urban space and the built environment is the ideal research companion for undergraduate and postgraduate students and independent researchers. It is especially tailored for students in history and related disciplines in the humanities encountering spatial themes and methodologies for the first time. The guide is a highly suitable textbook for the many BA and MA courses in history focused on the study of urban history and space.

Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin
,
Elaine Tierney
, and
Charlotte Wildman

This chapter outlines some of the key theories and disciplinary approaches in spatial scholarship. The first section of the chapter sketches out some of the most important disciplinary and theoretical influences in the development of spatially minded research: archaeology, art history, geography and cultural history. The second section of the chapter turns to exciting new directions in spatial histories. Here readers will learn more about attempts at rematerialisation urban space and the use of GIS (geographical information systems). As at all other points in the guide, case studies, endnotes and recommended reading will help readers to undertake further reading of their own.

in Researching urban space and the built environment
Abstract only
Jasmine Kilburn-Toppin
,
Elaine Tierney
, and
Charlotte Wildman

This chapter concludes our all-round consideration of the research process by looking at the different ways in which one might present a dissertation or research project. We offer guidance on the organisation of ideas and text that will help you show to best effect your original archival discoveries and novel connections between buildings, landscapes, ideas, objects and cultures. The chapter provides models for structuring your dissertation, as well as guidance on the most effective ways of referencing the material and visual sources essential to spatial histories, such as buildings, material cultures and maps.

in Researching urban space and the built environment
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson
and
Emma Weitkamp

Although a number of funders are now actively encouraging collaboration between artists and researchers, this is not a new field. Artists have appropriated technological developments for hundreds of years (if not longer), and there are challenging examples today of Bio-Art, where artists use tools, such as genetic engineering to create living artworks. What is new is the ways that researchers are now becoming involved as co-creators in artistic projects. With this in mind, the chapter explores audiences for the arts, before moving on to discuss examples of the ways that artists and researchers might work together. We consider issues around collaborative working, before briefly discussing the potential impact of artistic approaches to public engagement.

in Creative research communication
Theory and practice

Considering how to communicate your research or engage others with the latest science, social science or humanities research? This book explores new and emerging approaches to engaging people with research, placing these in the wider context of research communication. Split into three sections, Creative Research Communication explores the historical routes and current drivers for public engagement, before moving on to explore practical approaches and finally discussing ethical issues and the ways in which research communication can contribute to research impact.

Starting from the premise that researchers can and ought to participate in the public sphere, this book provides practical guidance and advice on contributing to political discourse and policymaking, as well as engaging the public where they are (whether that is at the theatre, at a music festival or on social media). By considering the plurality of publics and their diverse needs and interests, it is quite possible to find a communications niche that neither offers up bite-sized chunks of research, nor conceptualises the public as lacking the capacity to consider the myriad of issues raised by research, but explains and considers thoughtfully the value of research endeavours and their potential benefits to society.

It’s time for researchers to move away from one-size fits all, and embrace opportunities for creative approaches to research communication. This book argues for a move away from metrics and tick box approaches and towards approaches that work for you, as an individual researcher, in the context of your own discipline and interests.

Clare Wilkinson
and
Emma Weitkamp

Internationally public engagement and communication has become an important aspect of research and policymaking, allowing research establishments, and their researchers, to explore public perspectives on their work as well as providing access to research findings to wider publics. Alongside this, a considerable research communication and public engagement community has emerged, who are interested not only in the design, techniques and methods for research communication and engagement but also approaches to communicate creatively and evaluate the impact of such work. Setting the scene for later chapters, this introduction discusses the evolution of science communication, public engagement and calls for a re-emergence public disciplines and intellectuals before critically unpacking what it means to be creative.

in Creative research communication
Clare Wilkinson
and
Emma Weitkamp

In this final practical chapter, we explore the ways that citizens can participate in the research process as researchers. We divide these participative projects into two categories: those projects that are largely institutionally led and whose primary purpose is to further research goals, and those which are often community led and seek to address community research needs. In this context we consider what has become known as ‘citizen science’, though it involve humanities, social science and health research as well as natural science approaches, and why people participate in these projects. The chapter then moves on to consider citizen driven projects, including the open source movement, hackspaces, maker faires and repair cafes.

in Creative research communication