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Ellie Herring

MA work

Framing Spaces: Three Perspectives on London's South Bank Centre

This dissertation examines the changing design of public space within London’s South Bank Centre over a period of 50 years. By reflecting on the rhetoric accompanying each wave of design change, its broad aim is to analyse how public space within and around the SBC has been appropriated, and to trace recurrent themes between each intervention. Indeed, time and time again throughout the site's history, themes of agency, democracy and participation persist. History has shown how a palimpsest of ideologies weighs down the SBC, for each intervention has sought validation, whether through Nationalism, Populism, Science, and even Common Sense.

This history is an awkward one and does not fit comfortably within the frame of a single narrative, for there are many histories at stake on the South Bank. Much of the rhetoric has used the legitimacy of an anonymous public to justify its approach. Yet amid the clamour of voices that claim to speak on their behalf, the public themselves are most notable by their absence. Deploying the theme of perspective to structure my argument, I intend to explore both the conceived and lived spaces of the SBC using the concepts of the Sightline, the Circulation Deck and the Ground Level. Rather than provide an overarching explanation for the notoriety of the SBC, this dissertation will examine whose image and for whose benefit have the spaces of the SBC been shaped; and how each intervention has conveniently overlooked the wider social and political structures.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA History of Design, 2007

  • Framing Spaces: Three Perspectives on London's South Bank Centre

    This dissertation examines the changing design of public space within London’s South Bank Centre over a period of 50 years. By reflecting on the rhetoric accompanying each wave of design change, its broad aim is to analyse how public space within and around the SBC has been appropriated, and to trace recurrent themes between each intervention. Indeed, time and time again throughout the site's history, themes of agency, democracy and participation persist. History has shown how a palimpsest of ideologies weighs down the SBC, for each intervention has sought validation, whether through Nationalism, Populism, Science, and even Common Sense.

    This history is an awkward one and does not fit comfortably within the frame of a single narrative, for there are many histories at stake on the South Bank. Much of the rhetoric has used the legitimacy of an anonymous public to justify its approach. Yet amid the clamour of voices that claim to speak on their behalf, the public themselves are most notable by their absence. Deploying the theme of perspective to structure my argument, I intend to explore both the conceived and lived spaces of the SBC using the concepts of the Sightline, the Circulation Deck and the Ground Level. Rather than provide an overarching explanation for the notoriety of the SBC, this dissertation will examine whose image and for whose benefit have the spaces of the SBC been shaped; and how each intervention has conveniently overlooked the wider social and political structures.

  • Experience

  • Lecturer in Fashion History, Cultural Studies Department, University of the Creative Arts, Rochester, 2006-7; Editorial Assistant for V&A Publication, V&A Research Department, London, 2006; Textile Assistant, Tracey Emin Studio, London, 2006
  • Awards

  • Winner, Extended Essay Prize, Glasgow School of Art, 2002