Co-Constructed Narratives of the Grassroots in the City Narrating Hiedanranta
Hiedanranta is a former industrial complex located on the shores of lake Näsijärvi in Tampere, the second largest city in Finland. Currently, the area is inhabited by diverse cultural actors that work on individual as well as collective projects and who have also appropriated the buildings and surrounding areas, physically transformed them and provided them with new uses, while unleashing other, often political, processes. It is the work of these actors on the territory that renders this site’s special, haptic and creative character. Notwithstanding, the area is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation. Due to a large urban development project, the material substrate of the site as well as its internal social dynamics are rapidly changing, already seeing some cultural groups being permanently displaced. It is within this context that the COST Action team in Tampere organized a workshop to gather, understand and retell the stories of different cultural actors working on the site by employing different participatory visual and narrative methods.
In this contribution, we explore Hiedanranta through six co-constructed narratives. These narratives bring together visual material and poetic practices as well as long narrations of personal experience that shed light on the lives of these cultural actors as they unfold in and relate to Hiedanranta. By bringing these narratives to the fore, we aim to challenge objectivist and positivist forms of generating knowledge about urban places by taking narratives of personal experiences as legitimate sources of knowledge seriously, recognizing that knowledge is both situated and subjective; to deploy co-constructed narratives of a site as a form of subjective representation of a place that counters abstract representations of space; to illustrate the way in which the grassroots are also shaping plans, policies and spaces and therefore should find a place in theoretical planning discourses. Most importantly, through these narratives we hope to keep the stories of Hiedanranta alive before, like the old factory buildings, these are forever erased.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Dalia Milián Bernal, Elina Alatalo, Jeremy Allan Hawkins, Panu Lehtovuori
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