Faculty Research Cluster: The Perspective from the Sea

Project Details


While much recent research across the academy has focused on how the sea is viewed from the land, the shared aim of the cluster is to examine the experience of sea-faring, and to ask what things look like from an ‘on board’ perspective. The cluster currently draws members from Historical Studies, History of Art, Archaeology and Anthropology, Music, and English Literature, and we are keen to combine our disciplinary expertise to ask new questions about the sea and its role in shaping history and culture. Given Bristol’s strong maritime heritage, we also aim to make substantial efforts to bring our research into the local community, and are developing relationships with the Brunel Institute at the ss Great Britain, the Royal West of England Academy, and local schools.

Current and future avenues of exploration might include: cross-cultural superstition and myth on board ship; continuity across periods; crossing the line ceremonies; reception of the sea (in terms of genre, narrative, political agenda, metaphor, impact on culture and the imagination); soundscapes, extended to include lost sounds, foghorns, obsolete technologies; tedium and contingency; material traces of (in)activity; Bristol and its changing harbour and waterfront; the tidal presence in the city; smells, trade and industry; coastal approaches; degrees of ‘being at sea’; the space and dimensions of the sea (verticality, surfaces, depths); climate change; the agency of the sea; Gods and ecologies; old world sea routes; pioneering versus existent networks; the infrastructure of port cities; lost narratives of ship chandlers and port workers; diaries, letters, accounts and records of experience, songs; national myths; seafaring and national identity.
AcronymOn Board
Effective start/end date1/01/12 → …


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