Place, blogging, links

At the Right to the City Symposium yesterday, Jesse Adams Stein organised a panel on “Place Blogging”. I wasn’t able to make it, as SquatSpace were co-ordinating our wiki-workshop at the same time, but it certainly sounded like it could have been interesting. In the publicity material for the panel, my Bilateral Petersham project (carried out this month FIVE years ago!!) was mentioned as an example of place blogging. Strangely enough, this is the first time I’ve heard this term used to describe blogging within, and about, one’s hyper-local area – but now that I have heard it… wow, check this out!

Jesse writes a blog about her local neighbourhood, Ultimo. Also speaking on the panel was Meredith Jones from Marrickville, Matt & Polly Levinson from Darlinghurst, and Linda Carroli from Brisbane.

Here’s Jesse’s spiel about the panel discussion. I’ll be interested to hear how it went.

Also at the symposium was a panel on walking, organised by Performance Space, and expertly chaired by Bec Dean. I spoke, along with Jo Holder and Stacey Miers, about a collaborative project that Big Fag Press has begun called “Green Bans Art Walks”. (I’ll write up a description of that project soon).

Accompanying us on the panel was Karen Therese, whose wonderful project Waterloo Girls premiered this weekend; and Jennifer Hamilton, who is planning a walk in the rain along the Cooks River.

I’ve recently become a big fan of Jennifer’s blog… It seems that – contrary to my assumption that facebook (and whatever other shiny new things) had taken everybody’s minds off good old fashioned blogging – that this humble medium is still going strong, especially amongst those who want to think a bit more deeply about the place they live. Here’s another example.

4 thoughts on “Place, blogging, links

  1. Jesse Post author

    Hi Lucas

    Bilateral Petersham was indeed mentioned at our little panel discussion on Saturday – though fairly briefly. The way I talked about it was this: I actually think Bilateral Petersham entered into my subconscious at some stage after your show at Artspace (five years ago – crap, that long? wow).

    For me, five years ago, the idea of blogging about a suburb (and as an art project) was something that I was a bit in awe of, because I couldn’t comprehend being able to “speak for” a place.
    I grew up in Balmain and then moved to Edinburgh, then Darlinghurst – and these are all places that seemed already “spoken for”.

    I remember making the Petersham paper zine and in fact that moment is recorded: I’m in that photo you used of “punters” putting together the book (I’m the blurry one). And now your lovely girlfriend keeps me busy working on multiple projects. 🙂 But that’s another story.

    As for how the panel went on Saturday – I’m still digesting the content, so I’ll only say a little here. Our panel was very diverse; the topics went many different directions. I’ll write up an informal report about it in a few days time and post it on Penultimo.

    What really seemed to get the audience going was this question of: who were we writing for? Also, the class and demographic resonances of place blogging were a key point. We talked about our concerns about being participants in gentrification – and one audience member joked: Has a suburb “gentrified” by the time you have someone blogging about it? In this sort of sense – blogging about your suburb seems to be an activity that is confined to privileged inner city types with multiple degrees. Ok, not always, but there is a fairly clear pattern. Whether or not this is OK was one issue. People asked – does no one blog about the western suburbs of Sydney because they’re not WALKING out there, they’re driving?

    We also talked about “urban planning literacy” and whether placeblogs have a role distilling complex planning information into digestible content (because, let’s face it, planning is a mystery to everyone except those who work in the field, and those who have wrestled with Councils over DAs and DA objections). I suppose they can work that way, but only if authors want to take on that responsibility. Each panellist had a different level of political engagement and a different way of speaking about place: from what Matt and Polly described as a “prosaic” presentation of things that they see in their local area, to Linda Carroli’s background in community action / activist worlds, and her despair at the state of Brisbane’s outer suburbs.

    Just as the discussion was getting interesting I looked at my watch and realised we had run overtime. There was so much more to discuss.

  2. Pingback: placeblogging – In Progress

  3. admin

    Thanks Jesse. I’ve been a bit busy to reply lately, but will do. I also noticed that my Petersham blog went kaput in the meantime, so i’m having to reconstruct it from the database… what a drag. will let you know when it’s back up…

  4. Pingback: placeblogging | Perdita Phillips

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *