What do objects make us do? How do we interact with things and space? How is space configured? We explored these questions and more at the Weald and Downland Museum with Drs Catherine Richardson and Danae Tankard in the fourth session of Material Witness, “Living”, thinking about the way objects affect our day to day lives.

Continue reading

Exploring Listening, Spaces and the Sounding World

What affect does sound have on our comfort? How are acoustic environments constructed? How might we go about exploring sounds, spaces and how our bodies interact with them? For our final session of the summer term, we met with Dr. Aki Pasoulas from the School of Music and Fine Art who introduced us to Soundscapes.

Continue reading

‘Good Air’: Material Witness Training on Thermal Dimensions of Space

I can’t say that I’ve ever thought much before about the impact of thermal phenomena on our experiences of space, beyond the immediate impression on the body. But the Material Witness session on ‘Thermal Dimensions of Space’ opened my eyes both to an alternate way of perceiving the material world and to the importance of good thermal design to public and private spaces…

Continue reading

An Artful Wander

View from the Scaffolding of the Great South Window

“New experiences of an old building”
Canterbury Cathedral is inexhaustible, different with each visit, the building is altered by the time of day, the light, the point of view. This post is a reflection on two recent experiences of the building, one a tour of the medieval Great South Window, currently being restored, and the other an ‘Artful Wander’ of the contemporary sculpture of the Cathedral.

Continue reading

Images in Glass: Seeing and Experiencing Holy Space

Detail of the dirt gathered on Caldwell glass since the early 20th century

How visual is architecture? Can buildings ever work as ‘images’ or are they always spaces to be perceived sensorially through emotion and movement? The second session of Material Witness, “Material Process: Constructing Holy Space,” went to the hearth of this conundrum.

Continue reading

The Book in a Digital Environment

2016-02-03 14.28.09~2

What does seeing a book in Canterbury Cathedral Archives in a context where we can experience it through touch and smell as well as sight do to our material understanding of books? What does the viewing of old books digitally do? In a world where bookshelves are fast becoming a small section of our wider reading environment the intangible textual world is as much a part of our identity as the tangible…

Continue reading

An Empty Bookshelf and Why the Immaterial Matters


Is there anything more satisfying to the bibliophile than a full bookshelf? So what about an empty one? How do historians of material culture confront the immaterial, and why is this important? A reflection on the meaning of books, missing books, and the Material Witness ‘Book as Object Session’ that took place 3rd February 2016.

Continue reading