Digital and Spatial Affects of the 22 May Manchester Bombing

This project examines the digital and spatial responses to the 22 May 2017 Manchester bombing and their overlaps. It aims to understand the affective practices of community building and commemoration that followed this terrorist attack and its political impact, whilst situating it in relation to the multiple political crises facing Europe.

In analysing practices of commemoration and affective communities on social media and in public space during the bombing’s aftermath and first anniversary, the project seeks to develop a methodological approach that can account for digital sites alongside the more traditional political sites of the square and the street. This will generate insights on how practices of commemoration and understandings of being together are changing in the digital era and what can be learned politically from these digital materials in combination with spatial and discursive analyses.

The project is funded by CHERISH-DE at Swansea University. It also establishes a working relationship between the Digital Social Research Unit at Umeå University in Sweden (DIGSUM); the Digital Ethnography Research Centre at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia; the Critical Global Politics research cluster at Manchester University, and the Migration-Boundaries-Identities and Social Theory and Urban Space research groups at Swansea University Geography Department.

The project team includes Martin Coward (Manchester University), Shanti Sumartojo (RMIT University), Samuel Merrill (Umeå University), Angharad Closs Stephens (Swansea University) and Anna Pigott (Swansea University) and draws together academics working in four different disciplines - Geography, Sociology, Media Studies and International Relations. The team includes expertise in critical approaches to security studies (Coward), the sociology of social media (Merrill), commemoration and digital ethnographies (Sumartojo) and cultural and political geographies (Closs Stephens – principal investigator).

A memorial mural to the 22 people killed by the 22 May 2017 Manchester bombings by street artist Qubek.

A memorial mural to the 22 people killed by the 22 May 2017 Manchester bombings by street artist Qubek.