A fresh perspective on space and place

January 25, 2019

"What is space and place? How can landscapes talk? Why does space and place matter?” These are some of the central questions Aaron Vicencio (HS’01, B.A. Psychology’ 05) hopes to delve into this semester. Vicencio is teaching a new course that examines the convergence of arts and humanities with geography.


IDS 165.04 Creative and Spatial GeoHumanities introduces students to GeoHumanities, a growing discipline within the social sciences and humanities that explores the collaborative interaction between geography and humanities.  By examining contemporary art, literature and images in space, place and landscapes, students will be able to develop a critical “a-where-ness”—allowing them to interpret space and place beyond its assigned function. The course aims to help develop an ability to conceptualize and theorize spatially in a variety of platforms. It hopes to bring to the fore an active and analytic discourse on the roles of space, place and environment.


Vicencio, who also holds a diploma in Photojournalism from the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at the Ateneo de Manila University, recalls how the course came to be.


“I wanted to embrace the inter-disciplinary nature of GeoHumanities. I wanted to open up the discipline of geography and its critical look of space, place and landscape to more students. There are no Geography courses in Ateneo,” he says, “and hopefully, this creates further appreciation and exploration of the discipline within the school.”

The following images depict how space affects man's experiences.There's the cultural garbs and sculptures but also how certain sounds help us locate ourselves. Are DJs just an urban expression?


Vicencio’s experience in photography and humanistic geography precipitated the idea to do this course. Space and place were also topics he tackled in his previous class – Visual Communication (COM 171).  


“GeoHumanities and the expansive field of digital humanities,” he begins, “contribute to the discourse of space and place in the current forms of networked global experience.  Yet, it also listens to the new spaces and places created by these digital platforms.” In this changing social and environmental landscape, this growing discipline has sparked the interest of humanities scholars, geographers and even those in the creative and cultural fields. Vicencio believes it will also be the same for students.

Aaron Vicencio’s experience in photography and humanistic geography inspired him to create the course.


He adds, “I want the students to take away a new perspective and at the same time, (be) critical of their location, privileges and creative expressions. By providing a multitude of contexts and examples, they are free to explore their ideas and they come out of the course aware of the power of space and place.”