Dr Esther Johnson’s film ‘Alone Together, the Social Life of Benches’ screening in Switzerland

Banner for 'Alone Together' by Esther Johnson, from the film website

Dr Esther Johnson‘s AHRC-funded project, Alone Together, the Social Life of Benches, will screen at Urbanisation in the British Isles: a historical and interdisciplinary perspective at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland later in April. The symposium aims to bring together scholars working on any aspect of urbanisation, industrialisation and migration in the British Isles. This two-day symposium offers a forum for researchers working in the fields of geosciences, historical archaeology, (historical) sociolinguistics, and social (and economic, legal) history who seek to explore the processes and forms of industrialisation and migration, as well as their effects on urbanisation and language variation and change.

Alone Together, the Social Life of Benches
International Symposium, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
22 – 23 April 2016

Alone Together, the Social Life of Benches illuminates the thoughts and memories of frequent users of two public spaces in London: General Gordon Square, Woolwich and St Helier Open Space, Sutton.

Revolving around the micro-space of the humble bench, the emotional and experiential capacity of film is used to highlight themes such as the feeling of being in a space, the rhythm and flow of visitors to a place, and the importance of design for everyday street furniture.

The film acts like a stranger who joins you on a bench to ‘watch the world go by’, and break the ice by starting a conversation with their fellow bench user.

Dr Esther Johnson is a Reader in Media Arts, Principal Lecturer in Film and Media Production and researcher at the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC) at Sheffield Hallam University. Find out more about Esther’s work here.