Communities and Communication Prep

I have spent the past week preparing to discuss my work at the Staffordshire University ‘Community and Communication conference.’ At the end of the last module, I submitted an abstract (Fig: 1) relating to my last wipp, which is based in the local community that I live now. As I have evolved the project and I am no longer looking directly at my local community for the FMP , it kind of felt like I was reverse engineering the presentation and going back to work that I have moved away from. Since completing the presentation and paper I am delivering however, I have found it valuable in the way that I am now able to articulate ideas and also it has identified a number of points of research, which really feed into my current work. As I see it, the project is partly a departure from this idea of exploring community through local spaces and the people that I share it with: Ideas of Barthes’ idiorhythmic separation of sharing spaces but living independent lives and Graham Harmon’s Object Orientated Ontology to reconsider objects and their agency independently from an anthropocentric view point.

Figure 1: Phil Hill (December, 2020) Communities ad Communication research and draft conference abstract.

These are ideas that have heavily influenced my work over the last few modules and are present in my fmp project. Ultimately, that should be the goal of my practice – to construct work positioned in these areas. This should evolve as my practice evolves, which I feel is demonstrated in the way that I have moved past the idea of connection to my adopted town of Watford and into the project about my personal connections and family.

This presentation has also given me the opportunity to scrutinise some of the ideas that I have been putting forward. For example, nostalgia and the way that we consider a past being somehow better. It was important to discuss why this is, which has led to looking at the Derrida concept of ‘Hauntology’ (2006: 10) in how we are effectively haunted by objects and views of the past and represent this through photography.

I was also forwarded some really useful texts from my peers, which have a great deal of relevance to both this presentation and the way that my project has evolved now. Karen Cross and Julia Peck’s editorial on photography, archive and memory (2010: 127-138), which notes a number of areas that will be worth investigating moving forward. For example, “The archive is opened to the threat of memory: the memory of its exclusions” (p. 129), creates a link to the way that Barthes’ discusses how communities seek to exclude those that do not fit with the community ideal. It is important to consider what is not included in the archive – in this case what is not within my family albums, or cut from them. Cross and Peck also pick up on a number of other text that I have been using in my research and specifically reference Marianne Hirsch’s idea of ‘Post-Memory’ and also personal and collective memory (p. 133). This serves to consolidate those ideas and I fully intend to unpack this further and feed it into my current work.

Presenting to the conference (I hope) will be incredibly valuable in my development of research and academia, feeding back into my own teaching practice. One of my aspirations from this MA was to submit and deliver research at a conference. Putting together this discussion and presentation will also be really valuable in positioning my current work in the wider context of the concepts and ideas that I have been developing throughout the MA, which will be useful when I come to write my Critical Review of Practice.


Cross, K. & Peck, J., 2010. Editorial: Special Issue on Photography, Archive. Photographies, September, 3(2), pp. 127-138.

Derrida, J., 2006. Spectres of Marx. New York: Routledge Classics.

Tönnies, F., 2001. Community and Civil Society. Translation ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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