Dr Lisa Taylor

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow 2021

Dr Lisa Taylor

ISRF Mid-Career Fellow 2021

Lisa Taylor ISRF

Lisa Taylor has published on lifestyle media, reality television, popular cinema and music. Her book A Taste for Gardening (2008) was about the relationship between British garden lifestyle media and the classed aesthetics of gardening. 

Her recent work tackles the impacts of wider socio-economic policies upon local communities – the devaluing of spaces ‘left behind’ by deindustrialisation and persistent negative images of the North. Drawing on the interdisciplinary turn to spatiality and affect and using participatory methodologies, she examines peoples’ affective interactions with place.

Her current project ‘Landscapes of Loss’ uses sensuous ethnographic encounters with ex-worker memories of the shift from an industrial to a post-industrial textile village. Arguing for care provision and healing opportunities, she is developing creative approaches to the real-life problems of post-industrial areas where communities are eroded or divided.

Landscapes of Loss: Revaluing Labour, Remaking Community

This project explores what happens to communities when once thriving mills, offering employment to company villages, are closed down and demolished. It approaches this deindustrialised landscape as a site of trauma and loss. It brings together psychoanalysis, cultural geography and non-representational theory to develop a photography project of hand gestures used in noisy mills, as a way of healing and rebuilding communities. It aims to develop interdisciplinary, creative approaches to the real-life problems of post-industrial areas where communities are eroded or divided and argues for care provision and healing opportunities.

It expands on my earlier ethnography of Bailliff Bridge’s carpet factory in West Yorkshire, which was demolished in 2002 (Taylor, 2019a). I examined how ageing ex-workers and residents responded to spatial change by using innovative ‘walk and talk’ tours (Carpiano, 2009) and by gathering photographs and objects (industrial machinery, retrieved mill bricks). My proposed project aims to investigate the importance of these photographs/objects to examine the creative potential of nostalgia as a response to loss in late-modernity (Keightley and Pickering, 2012). Drawing on photographic motifs and ex-worker knowledge, artist Catherine Bertola will make large scale photographs depicting the hand gestures, used to communicate and make carpets, to be displayed along the perimeter fences where Clifton Mill once stood, making visible the once hidden, now lost labour of this site. 

The research hopes to re-bind the damaged tissues of a community, so that older respondents begin to develop affective ties with newcomers who now reside in housing developments around the once-mill. By deepening an understanding of why photographs are so important to respondents, this project will empirically test out the positive reclamation of nostalgia as an emotion that helps people cope with loss. My work will argue that psychotherapeutic care should be offered to communities experiencing catastrophic spatial and communal loss.

Contacting Fellows

If you would like to contact any of our Fellows to discuss their ISRF-funded work, please contact Dr Lars Cornelissen (Academic Editor) in the first instance, at lars.cornelissen@isrf.org.