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Conference Program

Jul 03, 2023
Jul 07, 2023
Add to Calendar 20230703T0001 20230707T2359 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023

Communities and Change 

The Memory Studies Association is a professional association for Memory Studies scholars, as well as those who are active in museums, memorial institutions, archives, the arts and other fields engaged in remembrance. The objective is to become the most important forum for the memory field – both through an annual, international and interdisciplinary conference and through a strong online presence. The first conference took place in Amsterdam in 2016. The 2023 Newcastle Conference is the seventh annual meeting to take place and will be held in person from 3 to 7 July 2023 at Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

The overarching theme of the Memory Studies Association Seventh Annual Conference is “Communities and Change”, and we would like to invite you to join us in discussions around heritage, the post-industrial, public memory, migration, social justice and human rights, exploring connections between local, national and transnational memories. While the conference offers the opportunity to debate all aspects of memory studies, its location in the North East of England gives us a unique perspective into a region historically shaped by an ongoing engagement with memory and reinvention.

Registration for the Conference is now closed.

About the conference theme "Communities and Change"

This overall conference theme draws inspiration from Newcastle's specific post-industrial material and social landscape. Newcastle-upon-Tyne is a city in the North East of England, a region with a long industrial history linked to shipbuilding and coal mining. The North East has a strong record of local activism and heritage driven by regional change and deindustrialisation. At the same time, the city's roots go deeper and spread wider, with its location on Hadrian's Wall – the northern-most frontier of the Roman Empire. It sits within impressive rural and coastal landscapes, in a rich cultural environment with heritage sites, castles, iconic bridges, museums, and a thriving artistic community. Newcastle is a city committed to social justice, from the Jarrow marchers who took the concerns of the unemployed to parliament to its status as a City of Sanctuary welcoming refugees. The vibrant city continues to be shaped by the changing communities that have made Newcastle their home and through an ongoing engagement with memory and reinvention.

The theme of "Communities and Change" also reflects the dynamism and diversity of Memory Studies as an expanding field. They are topics that both address loss and trauma but also new dynamic opportunities, calling for different ways of thinking about the past as well as the future.

Community is interpreted in diverse ways, operating on multiple levels, from the familial to individual interest groups to more formalised communities, and reaching across multiple locations and scales (in both the physical and digital sense). Within communities and through the generations, memories are constantly being shaped and reshaped. Recent decades have also seen waves of crisis and rising populism, and the forced movement of people as a result of ongoing and emerging conflicts. We live in a time where local and global communities and memories are shifting rapidly and being dramatically reconfigured.

The 2023 Newcastle Conference will therefore highlight approaches to heritage, the post-industrial, public memory, migration, social justice and human rights, offering a series of related keynote addresses, plenary sessions, roundtables and artistic interventions, exploring connections between local, national and transnational memories. It will also foster discussions around the coloniality of memory and the ongoing work of decolonisation, as well as interrogating the ways in which institutional communities and practice are changing. In order to embed the conference in the city of Newcastle, a Cultural Program of events will run alongside the academic programme, where we will be cooperating closely with local memory activists, cultural partners and heritage sites. 

The conference program will be structured around ten central interconnected thematic streams, identified as core areas of work within this broader conference theme of "Communities and Change". The thematic strands may be interpreted widely and are intended to encompass as diverse an historical, geographical, social and cultural range as possible.

  • Memory, Activism and Social Justice
  • The Coloniality and Decolonising of Memory
  • Creative Approaches to Memory
  • Deindustrialisation and Reinventions
  • Conflict, Violence and Memory
  • Memory and Diverse Belongings
  • Memoryscapes (digital, locational, imagined)
  • Beyond Disciplinary Communities
  • Movement, Migration and Refugees
  • Embodiment


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MSA Conference Newcastle 2023

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