Two workshops and a symposium, co-hosted by King’s College London and University College London, and funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP)

14th and 21st June, 2017

Theories and practices of mapping have been increasingly prominent and influential in arts and humanities research in the past twenty years. The histories of art, film, literature, and other cultural forms have been retold from geographical, spatial perspectives, across disciplinary lines, by Giuliana Bruno, Denis Cosgrove, Tom Conley, Thomas Da Costa Kauffmann, Rob Kitchin, Franco Moretti, Ricardo Padron, and Todd Presner, to name just a few. Drawing on rich influences in geography, sociology, architecture and urban planning, these scholars and others have used maps to rethink art, culture, and the humanities, or vice versa. As such, mapping has become one of the key tools by which arts and humanities researchers have collaborated and innovated, and by which they have interacted with the social sciences.

Many arts and humanities PhD students today seek to incorporate maps and mapping in their research, and yet provision of doctoral training specifically in this cross-disciplinary area is rare. This is despite the fact that digital technologies have made mapping increasingly feasible and sophisticated, in technical terms, even for those without specialist cartographic training. Mapping has also become increasingly informative and rewarding methodologically – e.g. what Todd Presner calls “thick mapping” – as a complement to, or, for some, even a replacement for, certain, more traditional aspects of research.

In June 2017, King’s College London and University College London will co-host two half-day workshops and a one-day symposium designed to provide PhD students with a forum to examine the use of maps in arts and humanities research.

The Workshops

The first events will be two research methods workshops, one hosted by Dr Mark Shiel at King’s on June 14th, and the other hosted by Dr Roland-François Lack at UCL on June 21st. In these, Shiel and Lack will present their own research with maps, but interactively, in discussion with students, some of whom will make brief presentations on their own use of maps in research. Both digital and analogue maps will be discussed. The workshops will be practical, interactive and computer-based, relying on demonstrations and small group work, with each event open to a maximum of 40 students. Hence, the workshops will provide students with an opportunity to present, examine, and discuss a wide variety of maps in detail, benefiting from the sharing of case studies and interpretations. No specialist knowledge of mapping or cartographic techniques is expected.

Eligibility for the workshops: These events will be open to PhD students in any arts and humanities or social science discipline, from across the UK. A proportion of places will be ring-fenced for students from institutions associated with the LAHP (KCL, UCL, School of Advanced Study, London School of Economics, Queen Mary University of London), but all others are also warmly encouraged to attend. To attend the workshops, it is necessary to register in advance. Again, no special expertise in mapping techniques or map analysis will be required. PhD students at any stage of their studies may reserve a place, whether they have a lot of experience with maps or very little. To register, please email

The Symposium

The third event will be a one-day symposium on theories and methods of “Mapping in Arts and Humanities Research”, to be held at King’s in late June. Providing an opportunity to reflect on the strengths, limitations, and methodological challenges and problems posed by maps and mapping in arts and humanities research, this event will feature eight twenty-minute papers by PhD student speakers and one invited keynote speaker. It will be open to a wide audience than the workshops, i.e. the whole academic community, though presumably with an audience composed mostly of humanities and social sciences scholars and students.

Call for papers for the symposium

*We invite PhD students in relevant fields to submit proposals* for twenty-minute papers on subjects or issues relating to the rationale laid out above. These might be considerations of methodological issues, technical challenges, interdisciplinarity, or case studies of a particular map or maps either as representations or artifacts in their own right or for the light they shed on some other object of research. Proposals should include an abstract of about 500 words, an indicative bibliography of four items, and a short bio of about 4-6 lines which should include a brief indication of the topic of your PhD. Please also make sure to state the name of your university and which year of the PhD you are in.

To submit a proposal, please email to both and
Proposals must be received no later than Friday, April 14th, 2017.