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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

How can we as oral and public historians harness the power of place in our research and interpretive practice? The built environment’s potential as a prompt to remember has been heralded by many scholars drawn to the so-called mobility turn in the social sciences and humanities. This new paradigm is encouraging scholars and artists to engage with the materiality of the built and natural environments and with communities themselves. This chapter examines the ways in which oral and public historians have harnessed the power of place in situ when interpreting transformative urban and economic change: deindustrialization, gentrification, modernization, and renewal. It offers the notion of “brownfield public history” to denote industrial heritage projects that are bound-up in these ongoing socio-economic and political processes.

Keywords: deindustrialization, industrial heritage, art factories, brownfield, oral history, public history, gentrification

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