Prof Nick Gill, Professor of Human Geography, University of Exeter, N.M.Gill@exeter.ac.uk
Prof Muki Haklay, Professor of GIScience, University College London, email@example.com
Prof Derek McCormack, Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Oxford, firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof Nick Gill - Abstract: Law tends to be space-blind, meaning that it often does not account for the importance of space, place and time to the experience of legal processes and ability to exercise rights. This is perhaps most obvious in relation to the notion of universal human rights, which gesture towards a refusal of the complexities, contingencies and constraints that space introduces to everyday life via the claim of omnipresence. The sub-discipline of legal geography has gone some way towards highlighting this, but there remain important conceptual impediments to maximising the critique that geography can and should be able to mount against the space-blindness of law. This paper begins by setting out these impediments and goes on to explore a set of resources with which to renew attention to the issues of ‘access to’, and ‘exclusion from’ legal justice, drawing in particular on work in sociology by John Urry, among others. This work resists the opposition of absence and presence and distinguishes various different types of presence, which, I argue, is a promising way to critique and engage with the law critically from a geographical perspective. Employing evidence from extensive empirical work with asylum seekers claiming refugee status in the UK, US and continental Europe, the paper shows that refugees are frequently both present and absent during important parts of the legal proceedings that they experience. The law’s over-emphasis on bodily or textual presence, however, often conceals these complexities. By highlighting this effect, the paper demonstrates that thinking about the relationship between law, space and refugee migration in terms of multiple forms of absence and presence is an important way to reveal how exclusions from legal justice arise. More broadly, the paper argues that recognising the multiplicity of presence is a promising way to spatialize immigration law.
Prof Muki Haklay - Abstract: Issues of participation and inclusiveness are ongoing themes in developing policy solutions that are merging bottom-up and top-down approaches. The area of citizen science, the participation of the general public in scientific projects, and participatory mapping, where communities actively participate in data collection and representations that are important to them, provide valuable insights to these issues. Using the methodology of participatory action research, the Extreme Citizen Science group at UCL is implementing a situated, bottom-up practice that takes into account local needs, practices and culture and works with broad networks of people to design and build new devices and knowledge creation processes that can transform the world. In this talk, we will explore the range of activities in citizen science and participatory mapping, noticing how scale, places, and control influence the nature of participation and inclusiveness. In particular, we will examine the difference between passive inclusiveness, where participation requires action from the participant and assertive inclusiveness, where the organisers actively act to ensure inclusiveness and participation.
Prof Derek McCormack - Abstract: Based on material from a forthcoming book, this seminar reflects upon the act of releasing objects into the atmosphere, objects which are free to drift with the wind. In doing so it asks how such acts implicate us in different ways in the affective material force of atmospheres. This question is addressed through a series of examples that focus on the release of a relatively simple device – the balloon – into the air. These examples are drawn from art, science, geopolitics, and the everyday. What emerges is an account of the elemental geographies of atmospheric things.
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