Resurrecting place: Visual representation and the poetic imagination

Thomas Spooner

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


With reference to an ongoing practice-based project, illustration in this article is considered for its capacity as an authorial practice able to complement and communicate ideas emanating from academic research. This article discusses the phenomenon of ‘place’, specifically, place as a lived concrete site comprising both physical and emotional phenomena and culminating in a meaningful experience of ‘being-in-the-world’. With particular reference to more marginal settings of everyday public experience, this article argues that as a result of current cultural phenomena relating to the economic and practical necessities of daily action, and historical developments in western thinking, place is an idea that is commonly obscured from daily experience. Through the teachings of phenomenology and early German romanticism, this article explores ideas that, through visual representation, meaningful notions of place can be resuscitated and transmitted between the illustrator and viewer. Further, through discussion of ideas emerging from postmodernism, conditions that affect our experience and expectations of place in the present are also addressed. Whilst place as a lived and meaningful totality is invariably informed by structures of subjectivity, visual representation is considered here, for its usefulness in appealing to meaningful, poetic dimensions of wider human experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Illustration
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2020


  • place
  • observational drawing
  • poetry
  • phenomenology
  • romanticism
  • Postmodernism


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