Susann Allnutt

Knowing my place: learning through memory and photography

Commencement: September. 2002; Completion: February, 2009.

This arts-informed inquiry uses auto-photography, rephotography, interviews, memory work and writing about the photograph as tools to draw out of the archive an understanding of the self-in-place. I focus on memory and photography in an autotopographical (following Heddon) exploration of topographical intimacy as it relates to childhood and current landscapes, known and unknown spaces. Using place as common ground, I interview my siblings to excavate our shared childhood place memories. I then photograph/rephotograph these remembered childhood places, looking to identify the influence of place on childhood identity. This research with siblings was a rich and storied resource. I also enter two public spaces with my camera, the Architectural Garden of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal and the Jim Everett Memorial Park in Vancouver, to map both the place and my relationship with/in it, and in so doing, to engage with photography itself. By creating what one might call place photo albums, I attempt to create an involvement with previously unknown spaces, hoping to link past and present places. I explore the evidential and embodied usefulness of photography in establishing topographical intimacy with/in place and confirm the importance of using place as a means of exploring identity. Photography’s use as an active device of memory and its value in documenting place for inquiry is made explicit.

Thesis M.A. Learning the body voice : body memory work with women

Thesis Ph.D. Knowing my place: learning through memory and photography

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