Next month, I’m going to be running some events as part of Chester Heritage Festival continuing my interest in approaches to built heritage that go beyond imparting historical and archaeological information to people and focussing instead on ‘practices of attention’.
On Saturday 18 June, I’ll be leading ‘Silent Tours’ in and around the Chester Rows. When we wander around Chester Rows we hear a whole range of things at the same time, so much that it can be hard to pick out individual sounds. This event will create a different experience of Chester Rows. As participants listen, I will only lead: up and down the Rows; in and out of buildings and businesses; and through spaces. Hopefully participants will leave with a new understanding of Chester’s historic Rows as a physical space and container of contemporary life. The event counters the problem of ‘too much information’ that only gives us certain understandings of the past, by simply paying attention to how the Rows are used today.
On Thursday 23rd and Saturday 25th, I’ll be helping people explore a building through touch at St Mary-on-the-Hill near the castle.
How we understand historic buildings usually revolves around the visual, typically drawings and printed words, and, of course, the buildings themselves. But buildings are physical things in the landscape, and they typically create spaces that are felt and experienced. This event will allow people to experience a historic building in a different way, directly through touch. Visitors will have the opportunity to feel the building’s walls, columns, furniture, and monuments; and to appreciate the range of material and textures that tells us about what the building is and how it has developed over time.
Booking opens at the end of May! See you there!