Critical Spatial Practice

In My Mothers’ Garden: Memories and practices of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp (2016)
  • Nick Beech | London

  • Nicholas Beech
  • What sounds, spaces, textures, affects and emotions are recalled by a 40-year old, of his seven-year old self? This work is an attempt at presenting a seven-year old self, living at Greenham Common with his mother during school holidays.


    Biography:

    Nick Beech completed his PhD, ‘The Construction of Everyday Life: an architectural history of the South Bank in Production, 1948–1951’, under the supervision of Jane Rendell and Peg Rawes (Bartlett, UCL, 2010), following completion of a Masters in Architectural History which included the Critical Spatial Practice module run by Rendell. Nick now engages in research examining the formation of the New Left in Britain, exploring urban, architectural and broader critical spatial practices engaged by the New Left in the mid-twentieth century, as well as political, material and cultural processes that affected London’s history in the twentieth century (particularly during the 1940s). He continues to collaborate with Katie Lloyd Thomas and Tilo Amhof exploring ways in which the history and theories of architecture might be reconsidered through an emphasis on its embeddedness within material production (see, for example, Katie Lloyd Thomas, Tilo Amhof and Nick Beech (eds), Industries of Architecture (London: Routledge, 2016). Nick enjoys teaching architectural history, particularly the architectural history of London.


    Practices:

    I like to think that critical spatial practice was a significant discovery (but not in the usual colonialist sense—no room for further elaboration here). I dare to suppose that my work shares in the fruits of that discovery, as I try to show how critical spatial practice is evident in all kinds of works, places, and biographies, past and present. I understand it as potentially counter-hegemonic, and as a spatial counter-point, for instance, to Raymond Williams’ proposal for a study of ‘structures of feeling’.


    Keywords:
    Memory
    Trauma
    Boundary
    Greenham Common
    Subject formation
    Peace movement/s

    References:

    Stuart Hall with Bill Schwarz, Familiar Stranger: A life between two islands (London: Allen Lane, 2017).

    Katie Lloyd Thomas, ‘Going Into the Mould: Materials and process in the architectural specification’, Radical Philosophy, vol. 144 (July/August 2007), 16–25.

    Jane Rendell, ’She is walking about in a town she doesn’t know’, catalogue essay for Elles sont passées par ici, Brittany (Loquivy de la Mer), France, (2005).


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