Brixton: landscape of a riot


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Purbrick, Louise and Schofield, John (2009) Brixton: landscape of a riot Landscapes, 10 (1). pp. 1-20. ISSN 1466-2035

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Co-authored with John Schofield, ‘Brixton: Landscape of a Riot’, explores both the obvious and obscured meanings of an urban site of conflict through photography, parliamentary inquiry and poetry. The format of this Landscapesjournal article is a photo-essay, juxtaposing image and text: photographic documentation of contemporary Brixton with both The Brixton Disorders 10-12 April 1981: Report of an Inquiry by the Rt Hon. The Lord Scarman, O.B.E. (1981) and Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poem Di Great Insohreckshan (2002). Photographs identify traces of conflict in the landscape (blocked roads, mended pavements, aging and recent brickwork, new street signs and renamed buildings) while the words of Lord Scarman or LKJ used to sequence and captioned them suggest different ways of reading the landscape. Purbrick and Schofield draw upon battlefield and landscape archaeology, revisiting a site of conflict to examine the trace of past human actions. Their photographic work and accompanying critical essay, however, questions what constitutes a landscape archaeology, what counts as an historical event or historical record and considers the location of the trace. Traces of the Brixton Riots are not buried; they appear unremarkable on the surfaces of the streets.But, this article argues, it is possible to see how momentary violence has become incorporated into an urban environment and embedded in the passage of everyday life. It seeks to articulate a relationship between place and history, a matter of concern not only for archaeologists but also photographers, cultural geographers, public historians and heritage bodies.

Item Type: Journal article
Subjects: V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V400 Archaeology
V000 Historical and Philosophical studies > V100 History by period > V140 Modern History
DOI (a stable link to the resource): 10.1179/lan.2009.10.1.1
Faculties: Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Faculty of Arts
Depositing User: Louise Purbrick
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2012 11:25
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 10:42

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