Transoptic Landscape Analysis: Multidimensional Landscapes of a Multinational Wales
Keywords:landscape methods, memory work, national identity, heritage, Wales, museums
In this article I propose a novel extension to landscape analysis through multidimensional understandings, including—yet reaching beyond—tangible and into more-than-representational understandings of landscape. This "transoptic" approach to landscape, breaking away from strictly searching for visual representations of culture, allows for sonic, experiential, and emotional layers of meaning embedded in landscapes to emerge from their plural cultural and historical contexts. Memory, and the production and experience of that memory in the landscape, benefit from this transoptic understanding. Utilizing memory work, which includes both memory production and consumption, in Wales as a case study, I employ a transoptic landscape analysis to approach multicultural understandings of Welsh history, memory, landscape, and identity in the National Wool Museum. Wales faces significant challenges as it navigates the rapidly shifting geopolitics of Europe, the United Kingdom, and its own histories and institutions. This demonstrated transoptic qualitative landscape method may be applied not only to Wales's complicated geographies but to those nations and peoples facing similar challenging memory work across Europe and the globe. Through an epistemology and methodology in which landscape is treated as transoptic and the appropriate mixed methods are deployed to explore multidimensional space and place, clearer contexts of embedded, perhaps even contested, meanings may emerge.
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