Stories have always been an effective tool to stimulate memories, emotions and opinions to emerge, and they have been recently recognized not simply as objects of research but also as valuable methods to do innovative research in contemporary urban contexts. This creative research starts from recent research in cultural geography, urban studies, geohumanities, literary and comic book geographies, in literary and cartographic theory, to bring these interdisciplinary perspectives in the analysis of public transport in Turku, from the tramline –and its cultural heritage– to present transportation means.
Narratives and arts more in general appear as useful tools to understand and explore, beyond represent, cities’ complexity and diversity at different scales, considering both individual and collective perspectives, being able to follow changes across space and time. This application suggests a workshop on creative methods and the composition of a geoGraphic narrative as prolific ways to capture the attention of both specialistic and non-academic audiences around the PUTSPACE project, as well as to investigate Turku’s past and present public transport as a dense example of how urban complexities and diversities are able to cross and meet in public spaces.
Following the real history and the social, cultural, urban and narrative geography of the public transport networks in Turku, the composition of a geoGraphic narrative enables me to transform inhabitants into characters, existential trajectories into narrative lines, the tramline/bus routes themselves into plotlines moving across different spaces and times.
The tramline, together with iconic bus routes in the city, becomes the real protagonist of an original comics story, that could help both students and citizens to read public spaces, and their history, differently: following the routes of public transport network in Turku and the trajectories of their users, readers are invited to see and live public transport means through diverse perspectives, to recognize complexity and understand the importance of linguistic, cultural, religious diversity in public space.
This GeoGraphic narrative is my creative output as a research fellow for the PUTSPACE – Public Transport as Public Space in European Cities: Experiencing, Narrating, Contesting project. PUTSPACE is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme (www.heranet.info) which is co-funded by AKA, BMBF via DLRPT, ETAg, and the European Commission through Horizon 2020.