TAG2019-UCL has ended
The UCL Institute of Archaeology is delighted to host the 41st annual Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference in December 2019. Founded in 1937, the Institute is one of the largest centres for world archaeology, archaeological sciences and heritage & museum studies in the UK, situated in the heart of the capital.

Venue: UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL
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Wednesday, December 18 • 9:30am - 1:00pm
TAG06 | The Lives and Deaths of Historic Buildings: Biographical Approaches to Recording and Interpretation

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Historic buildings have long been studied and recorded to further our understanding of past societies and social practices. Established methods of recording standing buildings seek to create objective architectural records of the type laid out by Historic England. These records belie a more personal and human storytelling of a place and its histories. This session will open up discussion of a range of alternative ways of articulating the ‘spirit’ of a building from embodied perspectives. Papers will draw on disciplinary methods ranging within and beyond archaeology and architecture, including forms of storytelling, image-making, artistic practices and creative writing.Inspired by Igor Kopytoff’s (1986) biographical approach to material culture, the session advances a ‘life-cycle’ model for thinking about historic buildings, considering their entire lifespans from conception, cycles of use, to eventual decrepitude, abandonment and death. Buildings are understood to accumulate person-like histories through interactions with human and non-human agencies over time. Interactions and modifications are aggregated from momentary engagements across human lifespans and passing centuries. Many buildings will have lived far longer lives than we have, and deserve the respect that we give them when we seek the gently whispered stories that they have to tell.

Organisers: Karen Fielder; Weald & Downland Living Museum • Michael Shapland; UCL

9:30 | Session organisers | Introduction

9:40 | Michael Shapland, UCL | Capturing the spirit of singular places: a biographical approach to historic building recording

10:00 | Kate Giles, University of York | Ways of telling the story of the English parish church

10:20 | Matthew Johnson, Northwestern University, USA | Bodiam Castle And Landscape: A Cultural Biography

10:40 | Ed Hollis, University of Edinburgh; Rita Alaoui, Independent Researcher | Minefields: Excavating Interiors

11:00 | Matthew Jenkins, University of York; Charlotte Newman, The University of York | London in Pieces: Building biographies in Georgian London

11:20 | - | BREAK

11:50 | Belinda Mitchell, University of Portsmouth | Matter of the Manor:The life and death of a timber joist

12:10 | Karen Fielder, Weald & Downland Living Museum | Afterlives and Spectral Buildings: Coleshill House

12:30 | Session organisers | Discussion

13:00 | - | END


Kate Giles

University of York

Matthew Johnson

Northwestern University, USA

Ed Hollis

University of Edinburgh

Rita Alaoui

Independent Researcher

Matthew Jenkins

University of York

Charlotte Newman

The University of York

Belinda Mitchell

University of Portsmouth

Karen Fielder

Weald & Downland Living Museum

Wednesday December 18, 2019 9:30am - 1:00pm GMT
Room 828 20 Bedford Way, Bloomsbury, London WC1H 0AL