Conference – Pauline Guinard

424897226 904697568109389 1858253589355918730 nOn the 15th of February, Pauline Guinard Associate Professor in Geography at the École Normale Supérieure de Paris gave a presentation titled " For a moving geography Reading urban transformations through emotions in the Greater Paris and Lagos”. During her exposé, Pauline talked about her academic path from viewing art as an object of study to art as a research method. She presented her current research on how residents experience urban change in Lagos and Greater Paris using a creative and participatory method and how art can be seen as a tool for taking into account the emotional dimension of people’s relationships with spaces.


Pauline Guinard proposes an analysis of how inhabitants are affected by urban transformations in Greater Paris and Lagos, and how, in return, they can act on or at least resist these transformations. She focuses more particularly on the material and immaterial, temporal and spatial consequences of two projects: respectively the Greater Paris Express and Eko Atlantic City. To do so, Pauline Guinard use qualitative, creative and collaborative methods, which enable her not only to capture the emotional dimension of the relationships that city dwellers have with the changing city, but also to share it with others, both inside and outside academia. Based on this unexpected and composing comparison, Pauline Guinard shows that the transformations underway in Greater Paris and Lagos, albeit in varying forms and degrees, in both cases generate displacements, mobile and immobile, that spatially, socially and emotionally reconfigure these metropolises.

In this presentation, Pauline Guinard focused on the urban transformations at work in Greater Paris and Lagos through the emotions they cause using the two aforementioned study cases. Discussing her approach, she evoked the influence of feminist studies that helped an evolution from considering emotions as biases to emotions as sources of knowledge. Specifically, she mentioned Sandra Harding’s (1995): « strong objectivity » concept and Liz Bondi (2007) conception of emotions as « interpretative resources ».

Pauline Guinard explained that emotions are signs of the way in which residents experience urban change and take their place in the city. Art can be a method for capturing this emotional dimension of our relationship with spaces, but also for transmitting it. Art has the potential to be a tool for capturing, producing, and transmitting sensitive knowledge. Provided that we are attentive to the ethical issues raised by them, participative, and creative methods can help us to balance the asymmetries between interviewer and interviewees.

To learn more about Pauline Guinard’s work and approach see this short interview (in French) on the website of the Ecole Normale Supérieure.

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