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Listening to ghosts

Dr Sarah Buckler, Robert Gordon University

Wednesday 4 February at 5.30 pm

The small and isolated settlements of Peat Carr and Moorsley in the Sunderland coalfields cling to a precarious existence just as they cling to the edge of an escarpment overlooking the Durham plain. These are communities that have survived the category ‘D’ policies that threatened to obliterate them from the landscape in the 1950’s, they have survived the pit closures that riddled the last half of the 20th century and they have survived despite the legacy of the miners’ strike. These communities now exist almost for the sake of existing, determined to persist no matter what. Nevertheless there is some kind of malaise here – some sense that something is denied, that there are things to not talk about, to not think about, to not countenance. This paper draws on my research developing an ethnography of the music of the area and on psychoanalytic theories of Thanatos, or the death urge, to explore what it means to refuse to accept the inevitability of death. It observes the undercurrents at work as individuals and community negotiate the dynamics of life in settlements that seemingly have little reason to exist and are perpetually faced with their own demise.

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to http://sarahbuckler.eventbrite.co.uk