Memory and Space – 30th November 2017 (Previous Student-Lead Activities)
The recent LAHP and IMLR funded conference, ‘Memory and Space’ was a great success that drew national and international participants from a variety of disciplines, including several speakers and chairs from the LAHP institutions. An overwhelming response to our call for the papers meant that the quality of the papers was incredibly high and made for an engaging and lively event.
Interspersed amongst panels on ‘Memory, Space and the Environment’, ‘Memory and Space in Literature and Art’ and ‘Absence and Space’ were two excellent keynote lectures given by the University of Bologna’s Patrizia Violi and the Pedagogical University of Krakow’s Slawomir Kapralski.
Professor Violi’s paper, entitled ‘When the living meet the dead. Space, memory and art,’ examined the manner in which artists had engaged with the memories and trauma narrative of Argentina’s desaparecidos. Analysing a range of work, from sculptures created by artists to feature in public spaces, such as those by Claudia Fontes and Nicolás Guagnini to photographic art featuring and created by children of the disappeared, Violi not only touched upon the artist’s role in memorialisation but also how artists employ and navigate private and public memories and spaces.
Professor Slawomir Kapralski’s keynote ‘Space as a memory agent: Jewish Spaces in Poland and the Production of Selective Amnesia’ engaged with the absence of commemoration of the Jewish past and the Holocaust in rural Polish villages. Professor Kapralski gave a unique insight into his fieldwork data gathered in Poland throughout a period of more than ten years which gave us a longitudinal perspective on Jewish memory in Poland and a more general insight into the interaction of space and memory in ‘memoryscapes’.
The day concluded with a wine reception and the launch of publications by both keynote speakers. During the reception, we gained feedback from participants, who expressed a desire to maintain the relationships established and foster a network of researchers working in the fields of Memory and Space. All agreed that the conference had presented a unique opportunity that we were keen to uphold!
We would like to thank the speakers, chairs and attendees for their contributions and participation. Our thanks also go to both LAHP and the IMLR for their financial and organisational support, without which the event would not have been possible.