The exercise for the “fieldwork excursion” for day one was folded and conceptualized by Carolin Genz and Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe.

The first part of the walk was an exercise in learning to observe and sense the city. Starting at the corner of College Street and Spadina Avenue, the participants were asked to walk South – without taking notes, pictures or audio recordings. This first walk of sensing had to be drawn on the first layer of the mapping booklet – things the participants found interesting or could remember for various reasons. The second part of the walk served the purpose of learning to focus on one specific topic that could be related to participants’ own research questions or disciplinary field and had to be drawn on the second layer of the “Fold-Up Mapping Booklet.” The participants were allowed to wander right and left into the alleys and streets as long as they did not lose track and found their way back, keeping Spadina Avenue as the route of orientation.

Here are some examples of possible topics:

Social and Cultural Diversity, e.g. Language | 
How many/What languages to you see/hear on Spadina?
Gentrification| Do you observe signs of gentrification, where and how?
Boundaries | Do you capture social, economic, spatial or cultural boundaries?
Structure / Architecture | What kind of houses are visible/invisible on Spadina
Temporality | How does the place change over the time of observation?
Appropriation | What are different modes of – temporarily – of occupying space
Business Structure | What’s the composition of businesses on Spadina?
Heritage | What signs of earlier functions, buildings, economies, residents can you still figure as fragments of the past in today’s urban context?
Sensual Mapping | What smells, what colours, what sounds are you sensing?

The urban ethnographic data of Spadina becomes accessible by folding up the booklet and talking about the experience, like Nour Ghassan, who was one of the participants doing a map on the “language choices of Spadina”:

Map by Nour Ghassan, 2017

Posted by:Carolin Genz

Carolin Genz is currently Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department for Cultural and Social Geography at the Humboldt-University and Research Associate in the Collaborative Research Centre 1265 "Re-Figuration of Spaces" in the project area "Knowledge of Space" at Technische Universtität Berlin. As an urban anthropologist in the intersecting fields of social anthropology, human geography, and urban studies, she constantly develops ethnographic methods to capture the socio-spatial constitution of urban practices. Her research focuses on spatial practices of resistance, housing, and gender.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s