Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Atlas for a Community Mapshop

Community Mapshop 2015 has culminated in a series of outputs and engagements, but most recent among these, is our Atlas for a Community Mapshop. This is a compilation designed by a student in the course, Renae Mantooth, containing a number of the graphics and maps produced at the mid and final reviews for the studio. Using Denis Wood's Everything Sings as our inspiration, the class was asked to prepare graphics in grayscale, allowing for their easy reproduction and circulation. You can read the digital text, here (or below, or download). We explored the following themes:

  • Food Network
  • Education Opportunities
  • Modes of Travel
  • Bus Shelter Inequity
  • Uneven Housing Landscape
  • Wifi Inequity
  • Blue Grass Trust Plaque Program
  • Facade Dichotomy

From the text:
Drawing on the last twenty-five years of scholarship in critical cartography and critical GIS, this workshop begins from the premise that maps are more than windows on the world. Maps do not only provide a record of geographic phenomena but also actually impact the conditions of knowing itself. This ‘more-than-representational’ viewpoint enables a productive urgency at the heart of a collaborative or participatory mapping endeavor. Therefore, the goal for this course was to prepare each student as a responsive and responsible mapmaker, at a moment in digital culture when there are many maps but few stories being told through them. To meet this goal, this course furthers the concept of the community mapshop -- an intensive studio experience in which students use mapping technologies in collaboration, when appropriate, with community partners. These partnerships have involved students in a full range of collaborative mapmaking: working with peers and community partners to invest in a study area, acquiring and preparing data for spatial analyses, communicating with those impacted by or implicated in these analyses, and producing compelling geographic representations.
Our community mapshop ends largely where it begins -- with a recognition that we, at the University of Kentucky, must do much more to educate ourselves as to the conditions of our communities. These communities are not merely containers for the University. Instead these places are the constituting materials, energies, and peoples that make our campus possible. In this course, we have sought to better understand the dynamics of what we have called the Northeast Quadrant of Lexington, Kentucky, an area composed of over a dozen neighborhoods between Newtown Pike and Winchester Road, from Main Street downtown, stretching out toward Loudon and New Circle Road. Far from homogeneous, the Northeast Quadrant is dynamic, and our attempts to represent the variegation, rhythms, and intensities are not meant to be the story of or for these neighborhoods. More modestly, we create these representations as souvenirs of our journey, which is just getting started. We hope they might provoke others to get involved. 


Friday, January 2, 2015

Introducing Community Mapshop

#Mapshop 2015 will focus on the NE quadrant of Lexington.
GIS Workshop at the University of Kentucky is becoming Community Mapshop this Spring semester. I've retooled the course and the partnerships, hoping to inspire a different kind of community-based classroom project from those in 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Think Bunge and Wood. More studio; less laboratory. This course will become part of a broader initiative within the College of Arts & Sciences at UK, beginning in Fall 2015, simply called Mapshop: http://mapshop.as.uky.edu. (Our website currently points to the old GIS Workshop page under the New Mappings Collaboratory, but the new site will be functioning by December 2015.)

The course description for this Spring follows:
Drawing on the last twenty-five years of scholarship in critical cartography and critical GIS, this workshop begins from the premise that maps are more than windows on the world. Maps do not only provide a record of geographic phenomena but actually impact the conditions of knowing itself. This ‘more-than-representational’ viewpoint enables a productive urgency at the heart of a collaborative or participatory mapping endeavor. Therefore, the goal for this course is to prepare each student as a responsive and responsible mapmaker, at a moment in digital culture when there are many maps but few stories being told through them. To meet this goal, this course develops the concept of the ‘community mapshop’ -- an intensive studio experience in which students use mapping technologies in collaboration with community partners. These partnerships will involve students in a full range of collaborative mapmaking: working with peers and community partners to invest in a study area, acquire and prepare data for spatial analyses, communicating with those impacted by or implicated in these analyses, and produce compelling geographic representations.
A key change in this year's course offering is that the course is geographically-focused on the northeast quadrant of Lexington, Kentucky. Course participants will be encouraged to find connections and alignments with the variety of nonprofit and other community-based organizations that service this area, but these partners are not identified in advance.
A regional study must be done by a geographer who calls the region home. It is impossible to understand the neighborhood without being a neighbor. . . . [T]he geographer gets a piece of the neighborhood, but then the neighborhood gets a piece of the geographer. (Bunge 1971, xxx, as quoted in Preston and Wilson 2014)
I'm looking forward to this year's #mapshop. If you have ideas to focus our mapping work over the next four months or want to get involved, please feel free to contact me.