Mapping Imagined Places

Mapping sense of place from literary poems and texts

This is an exciting project aimed at developing a theoretical and experimental framework for
externalising and mapping imaginary and fictional places, specifically places
that exist in literary texts and poems. This research is highly
innovative as it brings together experimental methods and techniques in
cognitive science, along with research in human geography and environmental
psychology, to further our understanding of the way we interact with fictional
places, both real and imagined. We are looking at ways to externalise the cognitive maps
that we may form of such places, and ground them in real-world information. We are interested in questions such as:

  • How do readers map literary spaces when there is a map present (e.g. Treasure
    Island; Lord of the Rings) or when there is not?  What is the difference between mental mapping of prose and poetic spaces?   
  • What form of representation is appropriate for such fictional spaces?

To address these, we carry out user experiments applying a range of knowledge extraction methods and using a variety of texts as test cases.

(Funded by Faculty Research Grant, Lancaster University)

Project Team

AgarwalAgarwal Pragya Agarwal Place and Sense of Place, Spatial Cognition, Navigational Technologies, Mobility, Information Visualisation, Semantics and Spatial Ontologies
No picture available Sally Bushell Reader in English


User experiments completed

Mapping exercises show exciting initial results

A variety of knowledge mapping methods were designed and adapted for this innovative project to extract participants' sense of place formed while reading literary texts. We used a range of texts such as poems and...Read full update