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Alison Rooke BA, MA, PhD

Position held:
Senior Lecturer, Co Director of the Centre for Urban and Community Research

Phone:
+44 (0)20 7078 5073

Email:
a.rooke (@gold.ac.uk)

My work is concerned with urban change and the  dynamics of participation in the city governance brought about through arts based urban interventions, urban planning, research and evaluation as well as informal spaces of citizenship and community. My work lies at the overlap between  visual sociology, experimental methods and action research. Along with colleagues in the Sociology Department I share a concern with concerned with ‘The Social Life of Method’ (Savage et al 2013) and ‘Live Sociology’ (Back and Puwar 2012). 

Teaching

My areas of teaching are concerned with gender and sexuality, aging, art and governmentality, research methods, visual sociology and urban theory. 

Presentations and exhibitions

2014

  • 25th World Congress Architecture, Durban. Otherware: Resiliance Ecology, Values Paper: Possibilities of Dialogue: The Case for Trans-local Urban Artistic Exchange. Paper Accepted.
  • World Congress of the International Sociology Association . Yokoham, Japan. This Is Not a Toolkit: Reclaiming Critical Evaluation of Participatory Arts
  • World Congress of the International Sociology Association . Yokoham, Japan. Skills Exchange: The Politics of Collaboration and Co-Production
  • University of Liverpool AHRC Conference . Social Science, Art and Recognition: Re-Thinking Evaluation
  • LSE Methodologies Seminar Cultures of Containment and Collaboration: On Interdisciplinary Evaluation.

2013

  • BSA Annual conference. Panelist (with Les Back and Nirmal Puwar) on 'Live Sociology"
  • BSA Annual conference. Creating Sociological publics: A dialogical response to the riots.
  • Create Act Change 5th International Digital Story telling conference (Instanbul) Paper Modest Histories: Using Digital Storytelling to explore the Past through Extending Creative Practice.
  • 2013 Goldsmiths Making a Difference. The Art and Science of Impact Measurement

2012

  • BSA Symposium Invited speaker Engaging Tactics Curatorial tactics: spaces, practices & the politics of art
  • Carers Congress ; Launch of Modalities of Exchange Report. Organiser and Chair.
  • International Conference on Digital Storytelling, Valencia (Spain).The Inter-university Institute for Applied Modern Languages of the Comunitat Valenciana (IULMA)& the Departament de Filologia Anglesa i Alemanya of the Universitat de València
  • Ages and Stages, London Bubble Theatre Conference on Community Theatre, London – panelist (Reviewed)

2011

  • There is no such thing as Free Speech: Creating Art? Creating Participation? at Creating Publics ESRC Publics Research Programme. University of Westminster

2010

  • Evaluating the art of social engagement. Taking Part: Arts, Culture and Participation. Goldsmiths.
  • Making Things Public: Doing Sociology Beyond the Page. 8th Qualitative Research Conference. University of Bournmouth.
  • Art and Architecture Lecture Series. Mapping Civic Space. Photographers Gallery, Chair of panel discussion on Art and Architecture with Bridget Smith, Mark Pimlott, and Diego Ferrari.
  • Reading the Signs of the City: Exploring the Visual Cultures of European Cities through participatory photographic practice. Photography: Medium and Method. Sociology Department, Lancaster University.

2009

  • ‘Researching everyday lives through photography – ‘from what a lesbian looks like to what a lesbian looks at'’ Panel on the ethics of looking and seeing: researching, writing and teaching with images. Part of a panel on Visual Ethics. First International Visual Methods Conference, University of Leeds, September 2009.
  • 2009 Discussant on panel on Changing Landscapes: Archives & Activism at Urban Encounters: Rethinking Landscape Symposia, Tate Britain. May 2009.
  • 2009 Reading the Signs of the City: the Visual Cultures of European Cities as part of a panel on ‘The Art of Geography ( Panel organiser) 'Association of American Geographers, Las Vegas, Nevada, March 2009.

2008

  • ‘Queer in the Field: on Emotions Temporality and Performativity in Ethnography’. London Sexualities Forum, Institute of Education, University of London, November 2008.
  • ‘Participation, Youth and Urban Culture’. Signs of the European City International Conference. House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany, October 2008.
  • ‘Visualising Contemporary Urbanism’. Signs of the City: Young People’s Photographic Imaginary of the European Metropolis, Goethe Institute, London, October 2008 (also conference organiser).
  • ‘Narrating Urban Encounters and the Spatial Sublime’ (with Prof Michael Keith). Urban Encounters Conference, Goldsmiths, University of London. May 2008.
  • ‘Reading the Signs of the City’. Mapping the Horizon for the Creative and Cultural Industries Event, ESRC/London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise (LCACE). Unicorn Theatre, London, March 2008.
  • 'Participatory Action Research in Neighbourhoods: Methodological and Ethical Dilemmas’. Learning from the Local: Social Policy and the Neighbourhood, Goldsmiths, University of London, (Also conference organiser).
  • 'Visual Arts and Galleries Association/London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise. Knowledge exchange round table on cultural policy and visual arts.

Grants & awards

Arts and Active Citizenship ESRC Case studies to support research capacity building in the Third Sector: working with Lincoln and Manchester Metropolitan Universities to develop research for Active Citizenship and Community Empowerment. Working with Arts and Active citizenship (7,000) (ESRC) Case studies to support research capacity building in the Third Sector: working with Lincoln and Manchester Metropolitan Universities to develop research for Active Citizenship and Community empowerment. The two case studies are  London Bubble Theatre and Stream Arts.

Skills Exchange.   Research and evaluation partner to the Serpentine Gallery’s Skills Exchange project which brings together internationally-renowned  artists, architects,  housing and care organisations in order to explore and generate new dynamics of relationship and exchange. This project examines the role of the artist in understanding older people’s sense of home and experience of urban change in four London Boroughs. Dominant formulations of ‘care’ often place the elderly in the role of  the ‘serviced’ or ‘cared for’, as those ‘without’, or ‘after’ the peak moments of their lives, and the artist or social-worker in the role of the ‘skilled’ or ‘carer’. This project, in contrast, begins from a notion that artists, older people, care-workers and others might exchange their skills, and, in this process, alter reified roles and well-rehearsed relations through processes of creative exchange.

Extending Creative Practice (ECP) is a European Grundtvig /ECORYS partnership project which is motivated by a desire to make ICT accessible to marginalised communities, particularly elderly people and isolated people from rural communities. Extending Creative Practice uses digital storytelling as a means to increase the active usage of ICT by older citizens. The ECP team includes partners from Romania, Slovenia and Finland.

Attitudes to Migrants, Communication and Local Leadership (AMICALL) Evaluation of a transnational learning network which will identify, share and disseminate best practice among Europe’s local and regional authorities and civil society organisations in communicating with local citizens about migration and integration of third-country nationals to address tensions and build public understanding.

 

Selected Previous Research 2010 – 2005

London Thames Gateway Dance Partnership Evaluation. (London Thames Gateway Dance Partnership). Working with eight London Dance organisations in four Thames Gateway boroughs, this project explores the possibilities of community dance projects in improving health and developing a sense of place within the context of the Thames Gateway development area.

Signs of the City - Metropolis Speaking. (European Culture Programme) Arts led visual research into young peoples experience of Urbanism in 4 European cities.  European partners in Berlin, Barcelona and Sofia including  include Goethe Institute London, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Hangar  Barcelona.

Neighbourhood Cohesion Project
. (Housing Corporation £15,000).  Principle Researcher, 18-months Project. Participatory Action Research.

Mobilizing Knowledge
(Urban Buzz UEL £25,000) Principal Researcher, 12-months Project. Partnership with Lewisham Council. Participatory planning with older people and planners. Produced report, toolkits and Guidelines.

Sci:dentity (Wellcome Trust £10,000)  Principle Researcher, 12-months Project. Participatory art and research with Transgendered youth. Partnership with Central School of Speech and Drama.

Evaluation of Home Office Initiative ‘Active Learning for Active Citizenship’. (Home Office, Civil Renewal Unit £50,000), Researcher, 2-years project.

Knowledge East - Arts Impact Research Toolkit. (HEFCE funded knowledge exchange programme).  Developing a flexible and innovative toolkit for evaluating the social, economic and cultural impact of participation in the performing arts to support social inclusion, for use by urban regeneration practitioners.

Newtown Neighbourhood Project: Community cohesion and action research project in semi-rural housing estate with high settled Traveller population (2006-2008). Funded by: Housing Corporation, delivered in partnership with West Kent Extra and real strategies Ltd.

Camberwell Advocacy Project/Sceaux Gardens Life History Project: Development of a multi-disciplinary research and advocacy tool to be used in deprived micro-neighbourhoods. Funded by: Camberwell Neighbourhood Renewal, delivered in partnership with ATD 4th World.

Conferences

2010

  • Evaluating the art of social engagement. Taking Part: Arts, Culture and Participation. Goldsmiths.
  • Making Things Public: Doing Sociology Beyond the Page. 8th Qualitative Research Conference. University of Bournmouth.
  • Art and Architecture lecture Series.  Mapping Civic Space.  Photographers Gallery, Chair of panel discussion on Art and Architecture with Bridget Smith, Mark Pimlott, and Diego Ferrari.
  • Reading the Signs of the City: Exploring the Visual Cultures of European Cities through participatory photographic practice. Photography: Medium and Method. Sociology Department, Lancaster University.

2009

  • Reading the Signs of the City: the Visual Cultures of European Cities as part of a panel on Encountering the city through the Lens: Photography and the art of researching urban lives (Panel Organiser) at Visual Methods Conference, University of  Leeds.
  • Researching everyday lives through photography – from what a lesbian looks like to what a lesbian looks at'’ as part of a panel on the ethics of looking and seeing: researching, writing and teaching with images. Visual Methods Conference, University of  Leeds.
  • Discussant on panel on Changing Landscapes: Archives & Activism at Urban Encounters: Rethinking Landscape Symposia, Tate Britain. 
  • Reading the Signs of the City: the Visual Cultures of European Cities as part of a panel on ‘The art of Geography ( Panel organiser) 'Association of American Geographers, Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Panelist. Borderlands Seminar on The (im)possibilities of engaged urban Sociology/photography/art. Goldsmiths.

2008

  • Narrating Urban Encounters and the Spatial Sublime (with Prof Michael Keith) to Urban Encounters Conference, Goldsmiths, University of London. May 2008-05-21
  • Telling Trans Stories: (Un)doing the Science of Sex: to Panel on Queering the Material: Reflections on Researching the Material from Queer Perspectives at Royal Society of Britsh Geographers Annual Conference, London, August 2008
  • Reading the Signs of the City presentation at ESRC/ LCACE (London Centre for Arts and Cultural Enterprise) Mapping the Horizon for the Creative and Cultural Industries Event Unicorn Theatre, March 2008.

Research interests

My research interests are focused around issues of class, gender and sexualities in urban contexts. Alison has written on issues relating to cosmopolitanism, visibility, embodiment and belonging in classed and queer cultures. Alison's work focuses on gendered and sexual subjectivities, grounding queer theorising in everyday lived complexity. Her PhD research Lesbian Landscapes And Portraits: The Sexual Geographies Of Everyday Life was a visual ethnography exploring the interconnections of spatiality and subjectivity for working class lesbian and bisexual women. Reports and blog posts can be found at the CUCR webpage

I have has developed expertise in participative  research, action research and evaluation with a specific focus on the social, economic and cultural impact of creativity. My Phd research Lesbian Landscapes And Portraits: The Sexual Geographies Of Everyday Life focuses on gendered and sexual subjectivities, grounding queer theorising in everyday lived complexity. I used participative visual methods to explore the interconnections of spatiality and subjectivity for working class lesbian and bisexual women.

My work seeks to challenge the idea that research impacts on society ‘as if from the outside’. Indeed, much of my evaluative research is co-constructed carried out in tandem with others outside of the academy. I am continues to be engaged in a wide range of activities that embed this approach in a number of highly practical endeavours. My work spans the public sector; the policy community; the business community; international organisations; the community and third sector; the media; and ‘publics’ of various sorts. I have been concerned with developing critical and collaborative approaches to research and evaluation and have a long track record in developing a critical and participative approach to the evaluation of a variety of urban interventions spanning citizenship, community development, urban planning and participatory and socially engaged arts at a local, national and international level. If research ‘works’ or is successful, it is by virtue of a variety of social actors contributing to it on an on-going basis, well before the research can be framed as a ‘product’ or as an ‘outcome’. 

 

Recent and current research includes

I recently received two AHRC awards to run expert workshops as part of the AHRC’s ‘Cultural Value’ research project which seeks to establish a framework that will advance the way in which we talk about the value of cultural engagement and the methods by which we evaluate that value. The first of these Creative Collisions and Critical Conversations took as its starting point Creative Families a current innovative multi-agency partnership between arts education arm of a contemporary art gallery (SLG) and the local health trusts’ Parental Mental Health Team. The tensions which have arisen in this ‘early intervention’ were  shared in order to illustrate the contrasting framing of ‘cultural value’ from a variety of perspectives, including the affective, cognitive and aesthetic dimensions of art/mental health interdisciplinary encounters. Uniquely, this interdisciplinary partnership combines a participative process evaluation (Rooke) and clinical assessment led by the Institute of Psychiatry (Ellis). These contrasting methodologies for identifying the projects ‘value’ across both art and (mental) health contexts and associated approaches to the identification of value in relation to the aesthetics, and ethics of participation will be shared in order to provoke interdisciplinary discussion. The second Curating Community? was concerned with the ethical dilemmas facing artists working collaboratively with communities in the context of urban regeneration. The workshop brought together artists, commissioners, researchers, educationalists and practitioners from community development and range of arts practices including community, socially engaged art practice, participatory theatre and participatory arts with the aim of reflecting on the opportunities and dilemmas facing practitioners working with ‘communities’ in this  context of urban regeneration and gentrification.  The workshop asked the following questions:  How are forms of ‘community’ are instantiated and negated through participatory arts? Is there scope for making apparent the conflicting positions of stakeholders in arts participation projects? What are the consequences of such an approach? What is the ‘community impact’ of participatory arts? What is its relational significance?

Nine Urban Biotopes (European Commissions Culture Strand,  (Principle Investigator). CUCR are research and evaluation partner’s to an international arts residency concerned with urban sustainability in African and European contexts, With partners in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, London, Paris, Turin and Berlin, the project aims at generating an inclusive trans-local dialogue on bottom-up urban development bridging diverse socio-cultural contexts and concerns. Innovative and practice-proven local initiatives in the fields of migration, housing, provision of livelihoods, mobility, health and public safety will be brought into creative exchange by means of 3x3 community-integrated artist-in-residency programmes, an comprehensive web-based communication platform and an innovative dialogical exhibition and outreach strategy.

Creative Families (Guys and St Thomas’s Charitable Trust, current) Alison together with her research team at CUCR, is conducting an interdisciplinary evaluation combining participative process evaluation and a clinical assessment led by the Department of Health & Population at The Institute of Psychiatry. This innovative early-intervention arts programme for parents experiencing mental health difficulties and their children aged under-five in Southwark is funded by Guys and St Thomas’s Charitable Trust as part of their arts and heritage funding of projects that bring together clinicians, academics, artists and arts organisations.

Skills Exchange: Urban Transformation and the Politics of Care. (Baring Foundation, 2008- 2013) was a five year Serpentine Gallery/CUCR collaborative art and social research project concerned with social care and ageing which tested the idea that isolation and discrimination are best addressed if artists, older people, care-workers and others exchange their skills on equal ground, altering roles, representations and well-rehearsed relations through processes of creative exchange. The Modalities of Exchange Report (Rooke 2013) published in Art+Care: A Future?  reviews the way in which art is discussed in social care and social care is discussed in art. The report summarises the five artists residencies in which took place in care homes, a hospice and community facilities for the elderly for consideration by funders, policy makers, care-workers, administrators of organisations of art and care. It argues for and demonstrates an how evaluative research can be generative and integral to the research process.

Past projects include Sci:dentity, a project which worked with young transgendered people exploring the science of sex and gender through creative practices, Signs of the City, a European participatory youth arts project, Extending Creative Practice, A European project uses digital storytelling as a means to increase the active usage of ICT by older citizens. (http://www.extendingcreativepractice.eu/about/ LINK) and AMICALL (EU Integration Fund) Evaluation of a transnational learning network which will identify, share and disseminate best practice among Europe's local and regional authorities (LRAs) in communicating with local citizens about migration and integration of third-country nationals to address tensions and build public understanding. http://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/research/urbanchange/amicall/.

 

Selected Research Reports ( available at http://www.gold.ac.uk/cucr/research/)

 

  • 2011 Alison Rooke & Marjorie Mayo, 'Final Evaluation Report'. AMICALL Project
  • 2010 Preventing Violent Extremism Final Evaluation Report (produced for LB Southwark- Internal Report)
  • 2010 Ben Gidley, Alison Rooke and Kerry Chappell (April 2010) ‘Dancing the Gateway 2008-2010: London Thames Gateway dance partnership evaluation report’. With London Thames Gateway Dance Partnership. (Chisenhale Dance Space, East London Dance, Greenwich Dance Agency, Laban/Trinity)

 

Selected publications

Number of items: 13.

Article

Rooke, Alison. 2013. Modalities of Exchange: A summary Report. Art=CAre: a Future , pp. 59-120. [Article]

Rooke, Alison. 2010. Trans youth, science and art: creating (trans) gendered space. Gender, Place and Culture, 17(5), pp. 655-672. ISSN 0966-369X [Article]

Mayo, Marjorie C., Gaventa, John and Rooke, Alison. 2009. Learning global citizenship? Exploring connections between the local and the global. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 4(2), pp. 161-175. ISSN 1746-1979 [Article]

Gaventa, J., Mayo, Marjorie C. and Rooke, Alison. 2009. Learning global citizenship? Exploring connections between the local and the global. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 4(2), pp. 161-175. ISSN 1746-1979 [Article]

Rooke, Alison. 2009. Queer in the Field: On Emotions, Temporality, and Performativity in Ethnography. Journal of Lesbian Studies, 13(2), pp. 149-160. ISSN 1089-4160 [Article]

Rooke, Alison. 2007. Navigating embodied Lesbian cultural space: towards a lesbian habitus. Space and Culture, 10, pp. 231-252. ISSN 12063312 [Article]

Book

Rooke, Alison. 2010. Telling Trans Stories: (Un)doing the Science of Sex. Abingdon, Oxford: routledge. ISBN 978-0=415-99930-4 [Book]

Book Section

Rooke, Alison. 2013. Contradiction, collaboration and criticality: Researching empowerment and citizenship in community-based arts. In: Marjorie C. Mayo, Zoraida mendiwelso bendek and Carol Packham, eds. Community Research for Community Development. hampshire: palgrave macmillan, pp. 150-169. ISBN 978-1- 137- 03473-1 [Book Section]

Rooke, Alison and Gidley, Ben. 2010. Asdatown: The intersections of classed places and identities. In: Yvette Taylor, ed. Classed Intersections: spaces, selves, knowledges. Farnham. Surrey: Ashgate, 95 -116. ISBN 9780754675624 [Book Section]

Rooke, Alison and Moreno Figueroa, Monica. 2010. Beyond ‘Key Parties and ‘Wife Swapping’: The Visual Culture of Online Swinging. In: Feona Attwood, ed. Porn.com.Making Sense of Online Pornography. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 217-245. ISBN 978-1-4331-0206-6 [Book Section]

Rooke, Alison. 2010. Queer in the Field: on emotions temporality and performativity in ethnography. In: Kath Browne and katheerine, j nash, eds. - Alison Rooke (in) Queer Methods and Methodologies:intersecting Queer theories and Social Science Research. Farnahm, Surry: Ashgate, pp. 25-41. ISBN 9780754678434 [Book Section]

Report

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Content last modified: 16 Sep 2014

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