In the public humanities, counter-mapping and “radical cartography” are emerging as powerful tools to critique institutional authority and imagine alternative ways of thinking about place.  Radical Cartography Now: Digital, Artistic and Social Justice Approaches to Mapping, to be held Friday, September 27 at Brown University, brings together historians, activists, social practice artists, digital humanists, and community members whose maps reveal new histories, new knowledge and new ways of co-creating artwork in and with communities. 

Some of this work is driven by innovations in Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping technologies and their increasing ease of use, while other radical cartography projects are created by hand, often with the participation of artists or designers working with local communities.  In the process, radical cartographers are changing the nature of maps, chipping away at what Benedict Anderson called “the alignment of map and [colonial] power,” and democratizing maps and map-making. 

The conference is accompanied by an exhibition at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage titled Map It Out – Providence (September 26 – November 14), an exhibition of hand-drawn maps created by Providence and Rhode Island community members in collaboration with the Toronto-based artists Gwen MacGregor and Sandra Rechico. The maps reveal our community’s experiences, and propose new ways of understanding the geography of our city and state.  Exhibition attendees are welcome to add their own maps to the exhibition. 

The conference, the exhibition and all associated programs are free and open to the public, but registration for the conference is required.

Elisa Hamilton, Sound Lab (2017). Photo / Leo March, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Questions? Contact Marisa Angell Brown, Assistant Director of Programs at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, Brown University at [email protected] or 401-863-6277.