Centre for URBan research (CURB) ‌


Joanna Gilmore

Launch of Report - ‘Keep Moving!’: Report on the Policing of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp November 2013 – April 2014

Dr Joanna Gilmore (York Law School, University of York), Dr Will Jackson (School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University), Dr Helen Monk (School of Humanities and Social Science, Liverpool John Moores University)

Wednesday 2nd March, 5pm, ARRC Auditorium, Alcuin College

In November 2013 the company IGas, specialists in onshore oil and gas, began exploratory drilling on greenbelt land at Barton Moss, on the outskirts of Salford, Greater Manchester, to explore for coal bed methane and shale gas. The possibility of the future extraction of the latter through the process of hydraulic fracturing - or ‘fracking’ - led local residents, along with activists from around the country, to establish a protest camp at the site.  The protests triggered a large-scale policing operation by Greater Manchester Police - reportedly costing in excess of £1.6m - which led to over 200 arrests and numerous official complaints about the conduct of police officers.

This seminar celebrates the launch of a new report published by CURB which contains interim findings from a research project into the policing of the anti-fracking protest by Dr Joanna Gilmore (YLS, CURB), Dr Will Jackson (Liverpool John Moores University) and Dr Helen Monk (Liverpool John Moores University). The report – titled ‘Keep Moving!: Report on the Policing of the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp November 2013 – April 2014 - documents concerns about the nature, function and proportionality of the policing operation at the camp and the way that policing methods were deployed in accordance with obligations to facilitate peaceful protest underpinned by the European Convention on Human Rights. 

The authors’ analysis is situated within a contextual framework which argues that the experiences of those at the camp – those who were being policed at Barton Moss – are central to unlocking what happened during the protest. As such, the report provides a view from below, drawing on testimonies provided by camp residents and those involved in direct action.

The report highlights the various procedures adopted that had the effect of curtailing the right to protest, and seeks to substantiate unacknowledged claims that the policing operation was violent, incongruous to the size and peaceful nature of the protest, and carried out with impunity. Ultimately it raises serious questions about the nature of democratic accountability and policing in England and Wales. 

Les Roberts

'The Rhythm of Non-Places: Marooning the Embodied Self in Depthless Space'

Les Roberts

Wednesday 9th March, 5pm, W/243

Taking as its starting point the spatiotemporal rhythms of landscapes of hyper-mobility and transit, this paper explores how the process of “marooning” the self in a radically placeless (and depthless) space—in this instance a motorway traffic island on the M53 in the northwest of England—can inform critical understandings and practices of “deep mapping”. Conceived of as an autoethnographic experiment—a performative expression of “islandness” as an embodied spatial praxis—the research on which this paper draws revisits ideas set out in JG Ballard’s 1974 novel Concrete Island, although, unlike Ballard’s island Crusoe (and sans person Friday), the author’s residency was restricted to one day and night. The fieldwork, which combines methods of “digital capture” (audio soundscapes, video, stills photography, and GPS tracking), takes the form of a rhythmanalytical mapping of territory that can unequivocally be defined as “negative space”. Offering an oblique engagement with debates on “non-places” and spaces of mobility, the paper examines the capacity of non-places/negative spaces to play host to the conditions whereby affects of place and dwelling can be harnessed and performatively transacted. The embodied rhythmicity of non-places is thus interrogated from the vantage point of a constitutive negation of the negation of place. In this vein, the paper offers a reflexive examination of the spatial anthropology of negative space.

The Sociology of Contemporary Urban Life

The Sociology of Contemporary Urban Life

Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June 2016

For more informaton or to register, please visit the conference website

This two-day conference, co-organised by the Department of Sociology and the CURB (Centre for Urban Research) at University of York, is an attempt to provide a lively, open-minded forum for urban sociologists to gather and discuss the challenges of conducting the craft of urban sociology in a fragmented, hierarchical urban world, an urbanized planet where the very concept of ‘the city’—traditionally the unit of analysis for urban sociologists—faces unprecedented levels of scepticism.  The conference aims to explore the contours of contemporary urban life in a critical manner, using the urban as a common prism through which to explore links between economies, cultures, politics and aesthetics.  The conference will also begin to address the distinctive role that urban sociology has played, does play and may in the future play in the broader academic endeavour of Urban Studies. Several leading urban sociologists have already agreed to speak at this event including Fran Tonkiss, Michael Keith, Emma Jackson, Phil Hubbard, Ayona Datta, David Pinder and Richard Sennett (a public lecture). However, we also intend to run a limited number of open streams and will be considering abstracts for papers that connect empirically or theoretically with the four interconnecting themes of the event. Abstracts should be sent to both Gareth Millington (gareth.millington@york.ac.uk) and Daryl Martin (daryl.martin@york.ac.uk) by Friday 25th March please. Decisions on abstracts will be made the following week. We especially welcome contributions from early career researchers.