Envisioning Migration: Drawing the Infrastructure of Stapleton Road, Bristol

by Suzanne M. Hall, Julia King, and Robin Finlay (London School of Economics and Political Science)

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This paper is an exploration of the different ways drawing can be practised to understand how migration shapes the infrastructure of the so-called ‘British’ high street. The research emerges from a cross-disciplinary study of migrant economies and spaces on Stapleton Road, a high street in a comparatively deprived and diverse part of Bristol, UK. Our primary aim is to contribute to discussions about the role of drawing as a critical visual practice in social research, highlighting methodological and substantive potentials. The second aim of our paper is to elaborate on the relationships between urban migration, urban marginalization and ‘migrant infrastructure’ (Hall, King and Finlay 2016), and we visualize through four drawings, how power, materiality and place constitute the infrastructure of Stapleton Road. We engage with infrastructure as a lively system of shared resources that situates migrant entrepreneurs in the city, and is configured by an array of migration processes across time and space. We suggest that drawing is an exploratory and critical visual practice, providing us tools to see socio-spatial relationships in temporal and scalar dimensions. To ‘envision’ migration is to encounter and re-present the varied dimensions of street life in relation to the structural production of urban migration, marginalization and diversity.

Keywords: drawing, critical visual practice, migration, marginalization, infrastructure, street, Bristol

Suggested bibliographic reference for this article:
Hall, S.M., King, J., & Finlay, R. (2015). Envisioning Migration: Drawing the Infrastructure of Stapleton Road, Bristol. New Diversities, 17(2), 59-72. Retrieved [todaysdate] from https://newdiversities.mmg.mpg.de/?page_id=2186

New Diversities • Volume 17, No. 2, 2015
The Infrastructures of Diversity: Materiality and Culture in Urban Space
Guest Editors: Marian Burchardt (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen), Stefan Höhne (Technische Universität Berlin) and AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen)
ISSN-Print 2199-8108
ISSN-Internet 2199-8116