Tuesday 01 March 2016 – Lunchtime seminar with Esther Johnson (Media Arts, SHU)

An image of three women on a bench

Title: Alone Together – The Social Life of Benches
Speakers: Esther Johnson (Media Arts, SHU)

Esther Johnson will present work created as Co-Investigator of an AHRC Connected Communities innovation project, The Un-Sociable Bench, and other urban micro-territories of encounter and intimidation. This research project aimed to look at the in/exclusiveness of everyday urban realm design with a focus on benches as a resource for sociability and respite.

As part of this project, Johnson created the film Alone Together – The Social Life of Benches, which 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 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 to break the ice by starting a conversation with their fellow bench user.

This project was supported by the Arts & Humanities Research Council Connected Communities Programme 2015.

Find out more:
· Alone Together, the Social Life of Benches – 18’ film and packaged DVD and film booklet
· Benches for everyone, Solitude in public, sociability for free – The Young Foundation research report
· Manifesto for the Good Bench

1.00PM – 2.00PM

See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.