: Rhythms of the Coast: Reframing the effects of the deindustrialisation of former mining communities through a psychogeographic and photographic exploration of traditionally associated seaside towns of the North East of England

  • Samuel Welburn

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This practice-based research concentrates on seven North Eastern seaside resorts (Scarborough, Bridlington, Cleethorpes, Filey, Hornsea, Skegness and Seaham). Through the utilisation of documentary photography and psychogeographic walking the research aims in reconnecting the contemporary seaside experience to its historical links with the coal mining industry and the working-class community of the region. The seaside space emerged as a space of leisure during the early 19th century through the annual visits of the industrial workers providing an escape from their working conditions for them and their families. The combination of deindustrialisation in the region and the rise of holidays abroad has disrupted the patterns of leisure and work in the North of England during the 1960s onwards. However, the notion of going on trips to the seaside resorts has remained an ongoing part of working-class culture. The research sets out to explore how can the concept of deindustrialisation be reconsidered through a photographic psychogeographic inquiry into sites of leisure?
In identifying the relationship seaside resorts had with the coal mining industry, the utilisation of documentary photography and psychogeographic walking was crucial in establishing this faded relationship. Applying documentary photography to the research allowed for the evidencing of these sites in the present day focusing on the tangible traces of industrial working-class culture left behind; the images were created as part of psychogeographic walking strategies. This process is further expanded upon through the collation and examination of communicative memories of those associated with the coal mining industry during time spent together at the seaside and how these memories shaped an important aspect of the collective memory of the coal mining industry.
The seaside landscape prompts remembrance of the past through a nostalgic lens, indicating times of joy and remembrance. In this research, the counter to nostalgia can be described as a social haunting of the past that prompts/evokes a lament and mourning regarding the loss of the coal mining industry and the effects of deindustrialisation. The outcome of the research argues for consideration into situating the seaside industry within the concept of deindustrialisation, as creatively explored through five photobooks.
Date of Award23 Feb 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLiam Devlin (Main Supervisor), Gareth Hudson (Co-Supervisor) & Rina Arya (Co-Supervisor)

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