Watery pasts and the constellation of the canal

Gilchrist, Paul, Ravenscroft, Neil and Wincott, Abigail ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3162-644X (2018) Watery pasts and the constellation of the canal. Euwather Scientific Report, n/a. pp. 15-37. ISSN n/a

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Abstract / Summary

Heritage trails are an important route into accessing the histories of waterways. They are a multifaceted tourist product, combining a series of complex environmental, economic and cultural policy objectives, and are increasingly used by communities and public agencies as a tool to encourage recreational use along linear corridors. This paper seeks to open a discussion about the use of heritage trails and the processes of heritigisation by thinking about the archival qualities of the canal. It reflects upon research carried out as part of the AHRC-funded ‘European Waterways Heritage’ project, which (through its UK case study) has produced a new 5km heritage trail for the Ashton Canal in Greater Manchester. The paper considers what happens during a process of historical reconstruction and rehabilitation of cultural heritage when a canal is found to be layered in the unspectacular – lacking any special, historical, technical or aesthetic attributes. Using Walter Benjamin’s (1999) concepts of the ‘flash’ and ‘constellation’, alongside cultural geographic readings of post-industrial atmospheres, we seek to think with the water and the surrounding built environment of the waterway in a way that suspends an “indexical imaginary” (van Wyck, 2010) and which encourages a deeper embodied engagement with our surroundings, its material and non-material properties, its happenings and incidence. The paper thus has implications for how we write and construct heritage trails, facilitate new user experiences, and deepen forms of public engagement about our watery pasts.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: heritage, multimedia trail, locative media,
ISSN: n/a
Subjects: Communication > Media > Digital Media
Geography & Environment
Communication > Media
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > Journalism
Depositing User: Abigail Wincott
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2022 09:21
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 18:41
URI: https://repository.falmouth.ac.uk/id/eprint/4678

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