Wageningen Geography Lectures 2013-2014
Hayden Lorimer, University of Glasgow
In contemporary global cities and rural landscapes, ruination looms large as a global imaginary and anticipative affect troubling the human ideal of progress. If, as seems increasingly likely, ruination continues to feature prominently as a cultural force and ecological form, then the identification of new testing grounds for reinvention represents a necessary step in enabling adjustment and response.
This paper profiles one such testing ground: the ‘The Invisible College’, a participatory public network and academic-arts partnership, centred on Kilmahew, an abandoned woodland estate near Glasgow, Scotland. Several phases of global forces have left behind a unique relic landscape radiating around the iconic ruin of St. Peter’s Seminary, an architectural site of reputation and significance. As organiser and researcher of an experimental intervention, I reflect critically on The Invisible College as an adaptive, cooperative approach to ruination by operationalizing environment-centred, emotionally-literate methodologies drawn from the creative arts, and the extent to which this might provide a transformative template for ‘international regionalism’ in ruinous environments.