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Making space, making history: cultural work, heritage and the production of space at Southbank Centre

Williams, K. R. (2018). Making space, making history: cultural work, heritage and the production of space at Southbank Centre. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This PhD provides a theoretically-informed ethnographic analysis of how cultural workers at Southbank Centre relate to the layered histories of cultural work and to the complex historical legacies which co-exist at this organisation. The research identifies some of the key moments and different phases of cultural work connected to this organisation and examines in what ways awareness of these is used, recycled and reframed by cultural workers today.

In the process the research brings together theorisations of cultural work, the production of cultural space and the subjective experiences of cultural workers, enriching understandings of all three realms and the imbrication between them. It generates insight into the ways in which contemporary cultural work is produced in relation to historical and cultural geographies and how these histories can be mobilised - ignored, commodified, and represented - in the present. By telling some of the stories of cultural work at Southbank Centre it unpacks tensions between the creation of a ‘sense of place’ and the diverse histories which coalesce at this institution. In a wider sense, then, the research aims to extend knowledge on the lived experiences of cultural workers in renowned cultural institutions and the ways in which the production of historicised cultural space is integral to their work.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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