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'You'll go home with bruises': Affect, embodiment, and heritage onboard HMS Belfast

Dittmer, J; Waterton, E; (2019) 'You'll go home with bruises': Affect, embodiment, and heritage onboard HMS Belfast. Area , 51 (4) pp. 706-718. 10.1111/area.12513. Green open access

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Abstract

What happens when a naval vessel (in this case, HMS Belfast) is converted into a floating museum? This paper approaches this question with the concepts of assemblage and more‐than‐representational thought, in which the materialisation of the past is generative of a range of potentials that can shape encounters in the present. HMS Belfast is dedicated to conveying the specific history of the ship, as well as to providing a sense of what life on board was like for sailors. Long‐term (auto)ethnography of the ship was conducted in 2016–2017. Drawing from the mobilities paradigm and a nascent literature on the geography of ships, we focus on the spatial affects of orientation and disorientation that result from the interactions between the ship's materiality and the bodies of its visitors. The latter is part of the curators’ desired experience, along with the re‐training of visitors’ bodies to negotiate the material infrastructure of the ship, as many sailors reported disorientation on board. The former is deployed to heighten visitors’ experience of the ship's extremes, such as depths of the boiler room. Our findings extend the cultural geographic literature on embodied experience of heritage and also provide an innovative case study of mobility on board an immobilised ship.

Type: Article
Title: 'You'll go home with bruises': Affect, embodiment, and heritage onboard HMS Belfast
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/area.12513
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12513
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: assemblage, ethnography, heritage, museums, orientation, Royal Navy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057311
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