Research Seminar: a spatial biography of plutocratic London

This seminar will present the development of a research project that will investigate how London-based plutocrats live their wealth and change the city in the process.

Conceived as a 25-mile walk through London’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, Professor Caroline Knowles will think out aloud about mobile and visual research methods and the complexities of researching and understanding cities, using a concept that she calls ‘spatial biography’. The seminar will be presented through a collage of researcher-generated photographs, field notes, thoughts, maps and drawings.

By exposing and analysing urban landscape and its human textures, this seminar addresses a more general question from the specifics and particularities of London’s lived wealth: what does a visually calibrated concept of ‘spatial biography’ offer the exploration and analysis of cities? Does this concept translate across fields of investigation and where might it lead? What kinds of writing and photographic practice does it enable?

Caroline Knowles is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London and the Director of the British Academy’s Cities and Infrastructure Programme. She holds a Major Leverhulme Fellowship for a research project titled Serious Money: a Mobile Investigation of Plutocratic London.  Her research is concerned with various manifestations of globalisation, particularly human and material connections between urban environments.