CCFT is a group of artists, architects, designers and cultural theorists from England, Scotland, Norway, Cyprus and Lithuania, whose practices, individually (and collectively), seek to consider the nature and value of space and spaces, public as well as, marginal. CCFT’s approach is both theoretical, focused on such topics as the aesthetics, cultural archaeology and representation (historical and current) of space and place, and practical in the consideration of how public and marginal spaces might actually be represented and transformed through human engagement and interaction. Core to the Centre’s research is the belief that culture (whether defined in the terms of community, place or landscape) should not be reduced to a state of homogeneity, but should be allowed to express difference as a dynamic aspect of positive exchange.


CCFT has grown out of a series of collaborations between individual members involving dialogic processes and creative practices.


In order to establish a dynamic mode of research and cultural exchange with regards to the matter of place (and its diversity of meanings) it was agreed that CCFT’s overarching methodological approach would take the form of peripatetic colloquia, meetings and conversational walks – encounters at agreed geographical points (places) – as opportunities (events) to engage in dialogues with invited regional specialists (with expert knowledge). Thereby establishing a dynamic mode of research networking and cultural exchange that reflects a fluid community of academics, thinkers, activists and artists who live, work or were born around the periphery of the European Community.

CCFT has adopted a methodological practice that involves a combination of: fieldwork, empirical research, henomenological and, ultimately, autoethnographic methods, underpinned by theoretical understanding and practice-led processes.


In relation to the conceptual and physical properties of place Miwon Kwon identifies the dialectic between ‘the authority of […] uncontaminated and pure idealistic spaces’, and ‘the materiality of the natural landscape or the impure and ordinary space of the everyday’ *2 
as real places. While, from a different perspective, Gille Deleuze points to Jean-François Lyotard’s proposition*3 that while a place may be defined by a knowledge base and/or language, it is also a figural space that prefigures imposed meanings.'4  As a result, while place may appear to be constituted as a fixed – perhaps, a familiar and knowable – point/location, it is in reality a nomadic entity that slips in and out of signification. With regard to artworks related to place –our subject – as Nikos Papastergiadis asserts, nuancing in the process a reading of Lyotard or Deleuze’s sense of place: ‘Art that has come from a place, and which refers to a place, must also acknowledge its own [state of] exile’.*5


The structure and peripatetic approach of CCFT, and its international, interdisciplinary make-up very naturally stimulates reflection upon the nature and meaning of place as both physical and abstract; CCFT’s own state of ‘exile’ offering opportunities to devise innovative ways of approaching creative practice in relation to ‘audience’ in specific cultural and political contexts.  

The following images, reflections, commentaries and reactions are part of an ongoing dialogue between CCFT members that unfolds, and form related, but discontinuous, narratives that together momentarily create a whole. Yet these words and images can only ever be fragments or traces of a place/places fractured by conflict.


Stories of places.
  

People

Susan Brind - Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow,Scotland


Yiorgos Hadjichristou - University of Nicosia, Republic of Cyprus


Jim Harold - Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland


Duncan Higgins - Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK, and the University of Bergen, Norway


Linda Lien - University of Bergen, Norway


Shauna McMullan - Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland


Johan Sandborg - University of Bergen, Norway


Ana Souto - Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK.