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Karen E. Till


As a writer, researcher and educator, I have worked collaboratively with artists, architects, landscape architects, scholars, city and town planners, museum and gallery directors, nonprofit organizations and community activists on a range of different projects in the United States, Germany, South Africa, Colombia and most recently Ireland. My geo-ethnographic research and curatorial practice most recently has explored place-based ethical and creative approaches to planning for and realizing more socially just and sustainable cities, communities and environments. I am particularly interested in the interrelationships between placemaking; personal and social memory; public, conceptual, visual and performing arts; and cultural politics and policy in contemporary cities. As a cultural geographer, I have a broad, interdisciplinary academic and practical training: I have postgraduate training in the realms ecological conservation and environmental justice, North American and European urban planning, museumology and public art, ethnography, and spatial theory and philosophy; as a practitioner, my work experience includes photojournalism, photography, graphic design, planning and curating.

I am interested in understanding how and why places come to be understood and experienced as thresholds of time-space in different societies, including how places constitute geographies of belonging through and beyond urban and national space. As fluid mosaics of memory, metaphor, matter and experience, places create and mediate social spaces and temporalities. Individuals and social groups come to know historic sites, urban renewal projects, and art in the city as belonging to a certain time, as representing particular pasts, as embodying local identities, and as mappings of particular attachments. As places are haunted by past structures of meaning and human imprints, they may evoke or encrypt transgenerational phantoms in unexpected ways.

I am Lecturer of Geography at National University of Ireland Maynooth and co-convener of the Space&Place Research Collaborative; founding member of the Mapping Spectral Traces network; member of the international advisory board for the Urban Laboratory, University of London; associate member of Land2; and the Association of American Geographers National Councilors Chair. In 2008, I was the Gillmor Visiting Professor in Architecture at University of Calgary’s Faculty of Environmental Design. I am on the editorial boards of Space and Culture, Memory Studies and Political Geography.

My publications to date include: The New Berlin: Memory, Politics, Place (2005); the coedited volumes Textures of Place: Rethinking Humanist Geographies (2001) and Walls, Borders and Boundaries: Cultural and Spatial Practices in Europe (forthcoming); the exhibition catalogue and edited volume Mapping Spectral Traces (2010); and numerous book chapters and articles in such journals as Ecumene (now cultural geographies), Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, History Workshop Journal, Memory Studies, Social and Cultural Geography.

I am currently working on two book-length projects, Interim Spaces and Wounded Cities. Artists that I have written about (in exhibition catalogues and/or scholarly works) and/or worked with include: Christine Baeumler; Iain Biggs; Stefanie Bürkle; Etienne Boulanger; Talya Chalef; Laurie Beth Clark; Matthias Einhoff; Parastou Forouhar; Adib Fricke; Beatriz González; Weibke Grösch and Frank Metzger; Iris Hausler; Sebastian Hefti, Susanne Hofer and Katrin Oettli; Philip Horst; Martin Kaltwasser and Folke Köbberling; Gülgün Kayim; Rebecca Krinke; Markus Lohmann; Mapa Teatro; Mary Modeen; Ulrike Mohr; Valeska Peschke; Martha Rosler; Harry Sachs; Doris Salcedo; Daniel Seiple; Judith Siegmund; Mona Smith; Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum (part of KUNSTrePUBLIK e.V.), Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock; Judith Tucker; Anna Zosik.

geography.nuim.ie/research/space-place
www.land2.uwe.ac.uk/till.htm

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Karen E. Till
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