chapter  3
21 Pages

Laboratory

ByHarriet Hawkins

Geography is perhaps, as Scott Kirsch makes clear in his entry on laboratory/observatory for the Handbook of Geographical Knowledge, not best known as a laboratory science. Yet geographers are important voices in debates about the spaces and practices of laboratories, historical and contemporary, and questions of laboratory geographies have long been important. Introducing an edited collection exploring ‘new laboratories’ Charlotte Klonk observes, that ‘for well over a century now, the laboratory has been the epitome of creative experimentation, demonised and glorified as such in equal measure. Physical geography laboratories have long been sites of artistic practice. Just as Peter Galison notes of the scientific laboratory, ‘there can be no question of a single, unified history of the laboratory embracing all time and places’ so is the case here. The growing interest from physical geographers in creative practices is demonstrated by the evolution of the Visualising Geomorphology Group supported by the British Geomorphological Associated.