Publications

International Journal of Art & Design Education

The City of Richgate: A/r/tographic Cartography as Public Pedagogy

Volume 28.1   2009

IRWIN, RITA L.; BICKEL, BARBARA; TRIGGS, VALERIE; SPRINGGAY, STEPHANIE; BEER, RUTH; GRAUER, KIT; XIONG, GU & SAMESHIMA, PAULINE

 

The City of Richgate project worked with eight intergenerational immigrant families and examined immigrant experiences and narratives through a community-engaged process that employed a/r/tography as a methodology. As such, the research also investigated the extent to which a/r/tographical research could visually and narratively portray the analysis of data collected by the co-a/r/tographers. After interviewing and collecting images from each family, large artistic gates (banners) were created. This first phase of the project revealed the power of images in situ, and thus the power of a/r/tography in situ. For the community members and co-a/r/tographers meanings were constructed within ongoing a/r/tographic inquiries described as collective artistic and educational praxis. The second phase involved the identification of important places by each family within the City of Richmond. After analysing all of the data, several works of art were created with each family in mind: bus shelter images juxtaposing close-up and far away geographical images; side-by-side images portraying historical and contemporary images of family ideals and/or issues; banners illustrating families in meaningful poses; and archival collections portraying the importance of identity and memory in the transformation of culture. This phase culminated in a citywide exhibition of the artwork performing public pedagogy. The exhibition questioned the idea of a City of Richmond having a community centre, and instead exhibited many Richgates, or conceptions of Richmond. Rather than having a city centre, there are many centres, a Network of Cities of Richgates, where centres are constantly changing and shifting to reflect the narratives of individuals living in a psycho-geographical region of a city.