Samantha Dick profile

Samantha Dick

Samantha Dick

Kingston University London (2023)


Abbe Fletcher


I Woz Ere: An Intimate Look at the Forgotten Tower Blocks of the Edinburgh City Skyline


This practice-based PhD explores the construction of communities within housing developments from a queer, neurodivergent, and working-class perspective. Centred on Edinburgh's tower block or 'scheme' communities, my research asks what modes of expanded contemporary art practice need to be developed to talk with and not about the 'subjects' of its enquiry.

Focusing on Edinburgh's marginalised tower block communities, grounded in but not limited to Hutchison, where I grew up, my project intends to give voice to those often misrepresented or ignored. While there is a growing number of socially engaged artistic research projects working from a queer perspective (Charlotte Prodger, Jamie Crewe, etc.), there are far fewer attempts to engage in questions of working class and neurodivergent subjectivity.

My project sits deliberately 'in-between', deploying an expanded contemporary art practice that embraces moving-image, sound, collage, drawing, and installation to record the complexities and unexpected evolutions of multi-storey living in Edinburgh. As such, my research practice seeks not to come together as one but remain fluid and transitional (Sedgwick, 1994) and champion the articulation of divergent experiences.

I collate oral histories using moving-image and sound recordings from those living in a selection of Edinburgh housing schemes. My initial approach is predicated on my own history, experience, and network of family/friends. Further along, I plan to zoom out of the context I am familiar with to gather material from a growing community linked to my research interactions. These recordings are accompanied by archival research to explore more fully the development of Edinburgh's housing scheme and its ideas around working-class communities.

In doing so, my project challenges external and stigmatising perceptions and presents an alternative narrative and a more inclusive representation of these communities' experiences with a wider significance that addresses questions of spatial justice, minority representation, and working-class history-making.