“Be a brave person. And blog!”

I had the pleasure of bumping into Ruth Morrow and her colleague-of-the-concrete-world, Morris, at the International Airport today.  These were Ruth’s parting words to me as I said goodbye to them and headed off to board the flight that would carry me towards four weeks of research in Jerusalem (via Manchester and Tel Aviv).  They seemed fitting imperatives with which to start my forays into both Jerusalem and, of course, the land of blogging (which I’ve been putting off for months now).  Thanks for that, Ruth!  So I’ll be kick-starting my blog with some updates from Israel/Palestine over the coming weeks, where I’ll be spending my time exploring and talking to lots of different people about all things architecture, space, identity, activism, politics, power and resistance.

I’m writing this from my studio in Jerusalem, where I finally arrived this evening after a day in which I feel like I spent most of my time queuing and being herded.  I took a sherut (shared taxi) from the airport to my accommodation, which was driven erratically and at speed by a man who preferred, where possible, to straddle two lanes of the road and simultaneously text on his phone.  He dropped my Israeli fellow passengers at a settlement in the West Bank and several orthodox Jewish communities before dumping me on a roadside somewhere in the vicinity of my accommodation.  From what I could gather through gesticulation and intonation, the settlement dweller had a little difficulty directing the driver to his street (they all looked similar), which led me to wonder whether the nature of settlement-dwelling can lead to a certain disorientation and disconnection from place, given that they have only one entrance point, tend to be approached only by car, and often consist largely if not entirely of houses.

My accommodation is great.  It’s on an axis such that if I walk out my door and head south, I’m  at the Damascus Gate of the Old City in minutes, head north and I’m following the Green Line, east and I’m immediately in Muslim East Jerusalem, and westwards I’m straight into the Jewish Jerusalem.  These are all explorations I’m planning to undertake during my time here.

Well I think that’s enough for a first post.  This ‘brave person’ is signing off.

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