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Furtherfield presents Superdiversity: Picturing Finsbury Park, an exhibition collaboration between researcher and artist Katherine Stansfeld and local people and communities in London’s Finsbury Park. Support gratefully acknowledged from Ordnance Survey, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities.
“My roots are here, I’m very proud to be where I am, I’m happy to be where I am…I have very good memories and bad I guess, I felt like one of the key things for my children is to make sure they fit in, it’s so important to fit in and feel part of something and I think that was my struggle…” – Finsbury Park worker and ex-resident
Superdiversity: Picturing Finsbury Park questions what the area means for different people. It is an exploration of what place and difference mean in the context of a neighbourhood in today’s London, a global city. It attempts to re-socialise ‘the map’ through a social research practice.
The diversity of contemporary urban life reflects and creates its complexity. This is particularly true of Finsbury Park, an area of London which is home to people from all backgrounds. Conceptualising place as open and shifting, the exhibition focuses on the different ways local place is understood and experienced in the super-diverse area of Finsbury Park. ‘Superdiversity’ is a concept that attempts to conceptualise the complexity, mobility and unpredictability of this form of diversity, recognising the ‘diversification of diversity’.
“The area has got a lot busier. Different types of people are coming in from all walks of life. I saw lots of different faces that I’d never seen before and it was weird to me at first but I’ve kind of got used to it now. I’m okay with it now.“ – Finsbury Park resident
Tens of thousands of people move through Finsbury Park, people spill off pavements, landscapes alter as buildings rise and impending verticality threatens sought-after sunshine. This exhibition explores city dwellers’ experiences of the city’s increasing density and accelerated transformation, alongside so many others, and how it affects the meaning of neighbourhood space.
Photographic ‘place portraits’ created by Stansfeld as part of walking interviews acknowledge the everyday places that matter, accompanied by audio narrations by participants explaining their significance. Stansfeld’s films of urban encounters and maps of vernacular geographies, constructed using digital mapping tools, explore whether a new cultural cartography is possible – one that is fluid and dynamic – a shifting platform to express super-diversity.
“It feels more homely being around people from everywhere” – Finsbury Park resident
Using visual ethnography: video, photography, and mapping, the exhibition explores how lives and trajectories overlap in the area. Stansfeld observes and encounters many different people to find out what type of space fosters conviviality or causes contestation. Through this process, Stansfeld not only uncovers social relations but captures the experience of super-diversity, evoking the particular practices, rhythms and moods that create the urban multicultural place of Finsbury Park.
“Anything old is slowly being knocked down, especially in these parts. I’ve lived in this area since 1994, so 22 years. So I’ve seen things unfolding and things changing for the better even though you’re missing the old faces, some of the old people, they’ve moved on, they’re no longer in this area” – Woodberry Down resident
Geohumanities Exhibition Tour and Seminar: The Multiplicity of Place
Wednesday 22 February 2-4pm – Furtherfield Gallery & Commons – BOOK HERE
‘Place is increasingly theorised as elusive, multiple, a constellation of trajectories’ (Massey, 2005). Hosted by Furtherfield in Finsbury Park, N4, this event will combine a short pre-circulated reading with an Exhibition Tour by RHUL PhD student Katherine Stansfeld and Furtherfield co-director Ruth Catlow in order to open up a wider discussion of the multiplicity of place.
FREE – Limited places, booking essential
Passengerfilms presents Conviviality
Friday 24 February, 6-9pm – Furtherfield Commons – BOOK HERE
Join Passengerfilms for an evening of film and discussion on the themes of documentary encounters, multiculture and the city with Marc Isaacs, Emma Jackson, Andy Lee, chaired by Katherine Stansfeld.
FREE – Donation on the door – Limited places, booking essential
Walk and Talk in Finsbury Park
Saturday 25 February, 2-5pm – Furtherfield Gallery
Whether you’re spending your Saturday afternoon outdoors or just passing from A-B, share your stories with researcher Katherine Stansfeld and artist Alison Ballard as you walk through Finsbury Park. They’ll be out and about recording between 2-5pm. If you’d like to share your stories, or just have a chat, pop in to Furtherfield Gallery and ask the invigilators to track them down. They won’t be far away.
Finsbury Park is an area which faces large population churn and includes areas, just streets apart, which vary from being among the 2% most deprived in the country compared to the 50% least deprived. The area straddles official and vernacular boundaries and is home to people from all backgrounds. It sits within Islington, Hackney and Haringey where almost two-thirds of the population, and over 70% of young people are from ethnic minority backgrounds and over 100 languages are spoken. In Islington, a third of the population (36%) were born out of the UK and a quarter of households have an individual with a long term health problem or disability. In Hackney 1 in 10 people define as LGBT and the borough has significantly higher proportions of Buddhist, Jewish and Muslim residents than the rest of the UK.
Furtherfield was founded in 1997 by artists Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow. Since then Furtherfield has created online and physical spaces and places for people to come together to address critical questions of art and technology on their own terms.
Finsbury Park, London, N4 2NQ
Furtherfield Gallery is supported by Haringey Council and Arts Council England.