My PhD title is Psycho-geography; place; ageing; and emotional attachment
My research is about psycho-geography: mapping the attachments to place and space that we develop - and lose - on our paths through life.
The research considers spaces ranging from a room, to the neighbourhood and the wider countryside. The study considers questions such as: (1) how place has a push and pull on significant life events; (2) how geography can be a way of storing memories and emotion; and (3) how different methods can use space to stimulate memories and emotion; letting them emerge from the subconscious and preconscious.
The empirical research in 2019 has focused on the 1960s and 1970s; how this period shaped the values and expectations of the 'baby boomers'; and what this now means to be an older person. Most of the data collection has come from walking interviews, where the participant leads me through an environment that has been important to their life. For those who are more remote from a specific geography - or are perhaps unable to walk outside - we have taken a 'walk of the mind.'
Using the walk as a metaphor - and giving people the freedom to 'drift' through memories and emotions - has provided some insights into how lives were shaped. Following analysis the interviews are compiled into longer form written narratives which link thematically. We have also used a public walk as a means for the dissemination of the work. For example, at the Caerleon Festival in July 2019 we worked with performance artist Marega Palser to interpret the research into a walking performance. We run another event on Saturday November 9th 2019 for the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences.
The work has been presented at various conferences, including British Society of Gerontology (BSG) 2017, BSG 2019, Micra Conference for Early Career Academics 2019 and WISERD 2019. The research is due to complete at the end of 2020.
I have been instrumental in setting up community events that link with my research.
Walking through Caerleon in the 1960s & 1970s took place in November 2019 as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science
'Closely yet uncertainly connected...' took place during the Caerleon Festival in July 2019
Dr Charles Musselwhite, Mr Jon Gower
Twitter @aledsingleton; Email email@example.com