A Period Drama

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The cultural geographer and philosopher David Harvey suggests that, “those who reside in a place (or who hold the fixed assets in place) become acutely aware that they are in competition with other places for highly mobile capital. Places therefore differentiate themselves from other places and become more competitive, perhaps antagonistic and exclusionary with respect to each other in order to capture or retain capital investment.”1

This paper sets out to explore the powerful and lasting sense of place created by a British film through its choice of location. For instance, Trainspotting, (1996) directed by Danny Boyle was set in Edinburgh, the drug capital of Europe in the 90’s but was predominantly filmed on locations in Glasgow. Nevertheless the film has developed an urban mythology and a proud almost cult following in Edinburgh. Women in Love (1969) directed by the late Ken Russell attracts special attention within this paper as the famous naked wrestling scene was wrongly attributed to have been shot on location at Bretton Hall, now home to Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) but was filmed at Elvaston Castle in Derbyshire. It was during an artist-in-residence project at YSP recently I unexpectedly came across this fact. I created and proposed a site-specific artwork to be shown within the grounds at Bretton Hall, but unfortunately was denied the opportunity. My proposed project had upset the commonly held belief that the famous wrestling scene had been filmed at Bretton Hall, a belief that had been ferociously protected and cultivated for some forty-years and had formed much of the historical narrative and mythology of Bretton Hall.

Artists have long been interested and influenced in Cinema, in particular its temporal and relational processes seem to shape and construct an experience of place. My paper is informed by a rethinking of place within both social geography and art practice, which gives rise to an understanding of place as a mutable concept.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication4th Global Conference on Place Space
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherThe Inter-Disciplinary Press
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event4th Global Conference: Space and Place - Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sep 201212 Sep 2012


Conference4th Global Conference: Space and Place
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Place
  • Mobile capital
  • situated practice
  • site-specific art
  • mythology
  • location
  • cinema
  • Authenticity
  • visual art


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