Common Ground and a Critical Localism in the Arts: Recuperating an English Cultural Geography, 1971–2012

This three-year project is a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship beginning in September 2013, being undertaken by Dr Jos Smith. Working with Exeter Special Collections’ recently acquired Common Ground archive, it will explore the way relationships between local, regional and national forms of culture have changed in light of conservation and environmental movements in Britain between 1971–2012. It focuses in particular on the activist, literary and visual arts communities that were connected with the arts and environmental charity Common Ground. Through archival research, readings of literary and artistic work, and through explorations of arts and conservation projects on a national scale, it will follow the way that a British cultural geography approaching the devolutions of the late 1990s has captured the public imagination and inspired a very broad public engagement with local distinctiveness.

Also as a part of this fellowship there will be two events in the summers of 2014 and 2015. The first in 2014 will be a symposium looking at activism and the arts to be held at The Kingcombe Environmental Centre in Dorset near the new Common Ground offices. The second in 2015 will be a symposium looking at literature and scales of community (local, regional, national, continental, global) at the turn of the 21st century.

For enquiries please contact Jos Smith: