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Why should the study of the banal itself be banal? Are not the surreal, the extraordinary, the surprising, even the magical, also part of the real? Why wouldn’t the concept of everydayness reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary? - Henri Lefebvre.
York is a city designed, re-designed, built, and re-built over thousands of years. Historical periods collide on almost every street. Plans, rules, environmental change and economic circumstances continue to shape our urban landscape, but the more distant futures we imagine for York change over time too.
In this guided podcast trail, Sarah Lohmann of Durham University and Adam Stock of York St John University discuss utopian visions, science fiction and the imagination in locations while exploring the city centre of York. Delving into their research in utopia and dystopia, they look again at the everyday to examine some of the extraordinary, surprising, magical – and sometimes terrifying – elements we often overlook.
You can search for 'Utopian York' in your favourite podcast app to download it to a device that can play mp3s, or you can stream it online. You can choose whether to follow the optional guided route around the city centre as you listen, which begins on Lord Mayor's Walk. The podcast will be available for download throughout the Festival.
Adam Stock is a Lecturer in English Literature at York St John University. His research focuses on 20th-century and contemporary dystopias, ruins, and northern England in literary imaginations. He is author of Dystopian Fiction and Political Thought: Narratives of World Politics (Routledge, 2018).
Sarah Lohmann is a PhD candidate in English Literature at Durham University. She is currently completing her interdisciplinary thesis, which focuses on feminist utopian novels of the 20th century and spans science fiction, utopian studies, systems theory, and continental and analytic philosophy.