Authenticity and struggle: Historicising skateboarding as 'action art' on London's South Bank

Tim Snelson, David Webb, Ruiz Pollyanna, Rebecca Madgin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The existence of an authentic relationship with the past may intensify emotional and experiential attachments to a place and justify claims on its future. Yet established framings of authenticity tend to abstract and universalise, potentially leading to an overly comfortable sense of what does and does not count as authentic. This chapter attends instead to the crafting through struggle of a situated sense of authenticity, developed through dialogue with elements of a constructed past. Assemblage theories are used to attend to both relations of interiority and relations of exteriority in this process of emergence. Empirical support is provided by a detailed exploration of the struggle to save the undercroft skateboarding spot on London’s south bank. The chapter concludes with some thoughts on what heritage practitioners might gain from attending to authenticity as fluid, situated and emergent.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheorizing Heritage through Non-Violent Resistance
EditorsFeras Hammami, Evren Uzer
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-77707-4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Cultural Heritage and Conflict
ISSN (Print)2634-6419
ISSN (Electronic)2634-6427

Cite this