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Further North

Press release   •   Aug 22, 2014 00:00 BST

With the vote for Scottish independence just around the corner, all eyes in the UK are focused on the North. But just what distinguishes north from south? What is distinctive about the north in our imagination and experience?

A conference at Northumbria University, Newcastle, will explore how the North has been represented in the past, how it is viewed in the present, and how academic and creative research might reshape its future.

Further North – a two-day event – marks the end of the two-year Northern Peripheries Network. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the network includes artists and academics from a range of disciplines working at Northern universities. It is led by Northumbria University’s Professor Ysanne Holt, a visual culture specialist and a Research Lead in the department of Arts.

At the conference, which takes place on 4-5 September, experts on the arts, film-making, social anthropology, history, cultural geography and archaeology will gather to discuss the significance and cultural heritage of the north.

Professor Holt said: “Within the UK, the upcoming Scottish independence referendum has brought to the fore issues of identity, a sense of shared pasts and a consideration of how the ‘north’ is understood, located and imagined.

“Further North aims to challenge persistent preconceptions and stereotypes. This conference will explore how we might contribute to a ‘furthering’ of the north through greater communication and collaboration, proposing new understandings and future re-framings for the 21st century.”

Further North will be hosted in Northumbria University’s department of Arts and convened by Professor Holt and Dr Angela McClanahan, Edinburgh College of Art.

Keynote speakers include Professor Tim Ingold, Chair in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen; Professor Jane Downes, Head of Archaeology at the University of the Highlands and Islands; Dr Tim Edensor, Reader in Cultural Geography, Manchester Metropolitan University; and Owain Jones, Professor of Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University.

Conference delegates will participate in a variety of sessions led by academics, artists, writers and documentary film makers. Topics include Write off the Map: literature at margins of the English lakes; and Tweed-Sark Cinema: an audio-visual study of place, ecosystems and the meaning of ‘the border’.

For more information about the Further North conference, visit

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