The Expanded City

Artists are invited to submit to exhibit on the subject of The Expanded City.  This is a group exhibition curated by Goldsmiths Visual Cultures Society and the UAL Curation Society.

This exhibition aims to explore the ways that life in London is organised and influenced by structures of capitalism. How do we, as cultural producers, shape the space we live in, and how are we shaped by it?

My submission:

Peter Mansell M.A., B.A. (Hons), A.R.P.S.

MA Fine Art Digital, Camberwell College of Arts, September 2014-July 2016

Pete Mansell is a 59 year old south Londoner who began studying for a photography degree after a career in health and disability rights. Pete gained a first class honours degree in 2014 and completed an MA in Fine Arts Digital at Camberwell School of Arts in 2016 gaining a distinction. The different facets of, and milestones in, Pete’s artistic journey can be seen at: along with some of his work.

Valid: In-valid
Some people move throughout the urban landscape with ease. Everything is made to make their life based on buying goods and services easier. The expanded city validates them as does their purchasing power.

Other people move throughout the urban landscape with difficultly. Barriers dominate their experience. Special rules and signs apply to them and signify where they may go and what processes they should follow to access what others take for granted – if granted at all. They are signified as different as design norms largely ignore their needs and exclude them, and so special remedial measures are put in place to afford this group limited mobility and access. These special measures are then cited as evidence of societal progress toward equality and inclusivity. Yet in reality they show the very nature of segregation.

Largely excluded from productive economic participation and forced to rely on handouts the very value of their existence is questioned[1] and they retreat to the virtual world, free but imprisoned, although a few “brave” souls make it in this hostile metropolis and are lauded by the non-disabled for doing so and held up as examples of what can be achieved if only other impaired people would try to overcome “their” disability.

These images speak of the experience of being disabled in the so called expanded city and are an act of articulation and resistance.

Movement (81 x60cm, c type print on fibreboard)

Expanded City (1 of 6)

The external physical environment is a hostile place. My thoughts are dominated by questions of access and the avoidance of things like dog shit and broken glass. This often means that I am not concentrating on who I am with or what they are saying and so I can seem distant and uninvolved. These things are not natural or an inevitable consequence of being a wheelchair user.

Special Measures (40×30 C type prints on fibreboard)Expanded City (2 of 6)

Expanded City (3 of 6)

Expanded City (4 of 6)

Expanded City (5 of 6)

Special measures are put in place to accommodate disabled people’s needs. They give the appearance of helping yet offer little in terms of comparative access. Special disabled rooms need to be booked up, special points of access found and special aids hired to enable the disabled person to function. This doesn’t make me feel very special.

Signification (38x18cm C type print, mounted and framed)Expanded City (6 of 6)

Disability is a social construction where some people’s impairments are not recognised as valid in society and so the person becomes an in-valid. This view pervades all aspects of life – social, physical, and attitudinal. But even in our signification our invalidity is defined in ways that imbue us with social values.

[1] Pring, J. PIP Investigation: ‘Horrific’ Suicide Question Sparks Fresh Assessment Inquiry Calls, Disability News Service MARCH 2, 2017 (access here:


About anomiepete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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One Response to The Expanded City

  1. Catherine says:

    Wishing you good luck with this Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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