‘Pour votre tranquillité’ article now early online

I’ve just spotted that the article I co-wrote with Peter Adey, Laure Brayer, Damien Masson, Patrick Murphy and Nicolas Tixier for Geoforum is now early online.

The article can be accessed here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718513001140

I’m not sure when it will be fully ‘out’ yet…

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Ambiances and Atmospheres in Translation conference audio online

The audio recordings of our ‘Ambiances and Atmospheres in Translation’ event from February are now available online. This includes audio of each presentation and the discussion that took place between our three ‘observers’ and those who came along. To access the recordings, use the following link:


[link updated 24/06/2013]

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New Paper accepted to Geoforum: ‘Pour votre tranquillité’: ambiance, atmosphere, and surveillance

I was very pleased to learn earlier this week that our paper, ‘Pour votre tranquillité’: ambiance, atmosphere, and surveillance, has been accepted to Geoforum as part of a themed issue on ‘New Geographies of Surveillance’. The paper was co-written by myself, Peter Adey, Laure Brayer, Damien Masson, Patrick Murphy, and Nicholas Tixier and is the first publication from our ‘Sensory Enigmas’ collaboration. I’m not sure when it will actually come out, but the abstract is below. Please get in touch if you’d like to see a ‘pre-proof’ copy.


This is a paper concerned with security, surveillance and notions of atmosphere and ambience. Whilst surveillance and security research has been excellent at examining socio-spatial relations drawn into the production and consumption of surveillance technologies, systems and practices, it has been far less well attuned to the material-affective relations, presences and absences it comes to constitute as the fabric of public space. Research within human geography and a broader ‘new materialism’ within the humanities and social sciences has become increasingly interested in exploring affective atmospheres, yet largely ignorant of a well established school of thought within French urban and social theory of ‘ambiance’. This paper explores the providence of considering atmospheres and ambiances for the examination of surveillance through the case study of two major railway stations in Britain and France. The paper proffers some methods and techniques for the further exploration of atmospheres/ambiances of security.

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RGS-IBG 2013: Ambiance and Atmospheres: Encountering New Material Frontiers

I’m very happy to be able to announce the details of the RGS-IBG sessions I am co-organizing with Peter Adey (RHUL) and Damien Masson (Cergy-Pontoise) this year. We have 3 sessions in the programme, 2 sponsored by the HPGRG and the 3rd independent. We had a great response to the call we sent out and it looks like it will be a great set of papers, mixing geographers and non-geographers, UK-based academics but also international contributions also…

I’m also presenting in one of Gail Davies, Jamie Lorimer, and Steve Hinchliffe’s sessions on ‘Immunitary Geographies’ (speaking about intersubjectivity and the work of Roberto Esposito) so it’s going to be a busy conference for me this year!

Full details of each of our Ambiance/atmospheres sessions are below.

Ambiance and Atmospheres: Encountering New Material Frontiers (1)

Convenor(s): Paul Simpson (Keele University), Peter Adey (Royal Holloway, University of London), Damien Masson (Cergy Pontoise University):

Chair(s): Paul Simpson (Keele University)

Sponsored by: History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group

  • Ambiance and Atmospheres
    Paul Simpson (Keele University), Peter Adey (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Creating ambiance and atmosphere as an artist-geographer
    Candice Boyd (University of Melbourne, Australia)
  • Cutting-through of the urban milieu
    Nicolas Tixier (Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble)
  • The Affective Atmospheres of Nationalism: the case of the London 2012 Olympic Games
    Angharad Closs Stephens (Durham University)
  • The sounds of our listening: ambiances of voices and commons
    Anja Kanngieser (Royal Holloway University of London)


Ambiance and Atmospheres: Encountering New Material Frontiers (2)

Convenor(s): Paul Simpson (Keele University), Peter Adey (Royal Holloway, University of London), Damien Masson (Cergy Pontoise University):

Chair(s): Peter Adey (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Sponsored by: History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group

  • Material events: art, activism and spatialities of affect
    Michael Buser (University of the West of England)
  • Atmospheric Things
    Derek McCormack (University of Oxford)
  • Motion capture, movement and apprehending atmospheres
    James Ingham (University of Central Lancashire), Nigel Simpkins (University of Central Lancashire)
  • Atmospheres of progress in a data-based school
    Matt Finn (Durham University)
  • Towards an ‘ambiance-grounded’ critique?
    Damien Masson (Cergy Pontoise University), Rachel Thomas (CNRS, France)


Ambiance and Atmospheres: Encountering New Material Frontiers (3)

Convenor(s): Paul Simpson (Keele University), Peter Adey (Royal Holloway, University of London), Damien Masson (Cergy Pontoise University):

Chair(s): Damien Masson (Cergy Pontoise University)

  • Reimagining the Margins – Creative Practice and the Infrastructural Landscapes of the Lower Lea Valley
    Rupert Griffiths (Royal Holloway University of London)
  • “The double-faced challenge of translating affective atmospheres”
    Michele Lancione (UTS-CMOS, Australia)
  • Methodological considerations for evaluating affective atmospheres of mobile environments
    Ilze Dziedataja (Manchester Metropolitan University), Steven Rhoden (Manchester Metropolitan University), Amanda Miller (Manchester Metropolitan University), Shobana Nair Partington (Manchester Metropolitan University)
  • ‘Shaped by familiarity’:  Memory, Space, Materiality and Atmosphere at Imperial War Museum North.
    Angela Loxham (Lancaster University)
  • Architectural atmospheres: the role of the senses in digital visualization practices
    Monica Degen (Brunel University), Clare Melhuish (Open University), Gillian Rose (The Open University)
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Conference event: Ambiances and Atmospheres in Translation, London (Feb 25th-27th)

Next week I’ll be at our conference/event ‘Ambiances and Atmospheres in Translation’.

This has been put together by Peter Adey, Damien Masson, Rachel Thomas and myself and emerges from our ongoing collaborative project on the ‘Spatial Enigmas of Contemporary Urban Mobilities’ project.

There’s some really interesting presentations from speakers external to our project and we have a number of discussants (Derek McCormack (Oxford), Jean-Paul Thibaud (CRESSON), and Kyran Joughin (Arts, London) so should be a really stimulating event.

We’ve also put together some walking tour/soundscape materials from our research in St Pancras that we’ll be trying out with the participants, so that should be fun (I’ve not been involved in producing anything like this before…).

I think we are now full so I’m afraid it is unlikely we can accept any more requests to attend, but I’m hoping to post some kind of notes/summary on here and get beyond using this blog as an occasional advertising space…

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New Paper out in Environment and Planning A: Ecologies of Experience

My paper ‘Ecologies of experience’ is now out in Environment and Planning A. 

Full reference details are:

Simpson, P. (2013) ‘Ecologies of experience: Materiality, sociality, and the embodied experience of (street) performing’. Environment and Planning A 45(1) pp. 180-196. DOI:10.1068/a4566

This paper was quite a long time in coming together and has been through various iterations, has been presented to various audiences, and has been read by a number of people so is nice to finally have it out there…

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‘Creating worlds’ event

I’ve been invited to speak at this event (details below). I’ll be speaking in the ‘Spatiality and Affect’ roundtable and looks like there’s going to be some really interesting people in attendance…
Creating worlds: The affective spaces of experimental politics
Monday 14 January, 2013
Royal Holloway, Bedford Square, 2 Gower Street, WC1E 6DP.
***Attendance is limited to 30 people. Please submit a short (200 word) statement by 1 December 2012 on why you would like to attend when registering your interest to anja.kanngieser@rhul.ac.uk
Geography has always been concerned with spatial and temporal ecologies productive of, and created through, political processes. Considerations of ‘political’ spaces and places – macro-political, global, micro-political and localised – are crucial to geographical research praxes, perhaps most especially to those hoping to conceive of alternative and imaginative pathways through the contemporary conditions of capital.
Over the past decade, vocabularies of relationality and affect have been seeping into the more usual ethnographic and ‘grounded’ tropes that geography is known for. These vocabularies have placed an emphasis on the felt, shifting, sensed, complex, resonant aspects of how we live and work, inviting us to pose more questions than find answers, to remain flexible and mindful of the topological spaces and environments we inhabit and investigate. This has given rise to sometimes conflictive, sometimes enthusiastic dialogues that are becoming more popular with the opening of geography to less conventional methods and perspectives. Perhaps now more than ever, intersections are being forged through which we can experiment and speak about the political worlds we are implicated in.
This event seeks to bring together those exploring questions of how we live within, formulate, create and antagonise, spaces and places of politics: public and private, macro-political and micro-political. It is specifically interested in inviting conversation about spaces in which self-organisation occur, whereby people come together in some sort of common articulation. Moreover, what is of key interest is the ‘how’: how people come together in what kinds of spaces and places; what forces and desires inform these collective spaces, and how they are sustained; how spaces and subjects are processually entangled; how social reproduction occurs – the lines of class, gender, race, ability; and the ways spaces are differentiated, that is to say, how boundaries are performed. Rather than marking topographies of conventional ‘radical’ political sites, such as social centres, camps, protests, assemblies, allotments, workplaces, bookstores, what might be uncovered are the more messy affective and relational threads that run though them, and also far beyond them, and how we might even begin to apprehend and engage with them
The day event will comprise of three round tables, each taking a particular conjunction as a starting point for interpretation and dialogue:
– spatiality and affect (Chair: Dr Anna Feigenbaum);
– spatiality and organisation (social reproduction) (Chair: Dr Fabian Frenzel);
– spatiality and politics (Chair: Dr Gavin Brown).
These conjunctions are in no way discrete, and many overlaps are anticipated. Each round table will be made up of three speakers, who have been asked to formulate a response to the conjunction, whether that be in the form of a question, idea, or trajectory.
Each attending participant will be encouraged to bring one idea, or point of inquiry that they might like to discuss responding to the thematic conjunctions. A small amount of funding can also be provided for travel for unwaged/ under-waged participants, please indicate if you will need this in your expression of interest.
Attendance is limited to 30 people. Please submit a short (200 word) statement by 1 December 2012 on why you would like to attend when registering your interest to anja.kanngieser@rhul.ac.uk
This event is part of a series associated with the Protest Camps: Experiments in Alternative Worlds project http://protestcamps.org/ and is funded by an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship with Royal Holloway, University of London.
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