Memory, Activism and Social Justice NUBS 4.06
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.15. Transgenerational memory, education, museums and activism NUBS 4.06 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
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Presenting Peace: exploring peace activism in museums.
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
Memories of war and conflict form the basis of numerous engaging museum exhibitions and public programmes which connect with visitors on an emotional level, inspiring empathy and in some cases encouraging the often repeated sentiment, never again. 
Creating similarly emotive and engaging experiences focused around memories of peace activism can be more challenging. Those involved in peace museums advocate moving beyond a focus on the devastation of war to actively promoting peace. (Yamane, 2009). However exploring concepts around peace present difficulties within a museum environment, compounded in some ways by perceptions of the peace movement and those involved.
This paper will consider examples of museums which focus their collections and activity around political activism, including the peace movement, where memories of peace work form an important element. It will focus in particular on the People's History Museum in Manchester and the Peace Museum in Bradford which have stated aims to engage visitors with ideas around peace, social justice and democracy. This paper will explore ways in which memories of activism are used in these museums to create displays and workshops which encourage active engagement from visitors and will identify effective methods, which may have wider applications in the exploration of memories of activism. 
The paper will also point to some of the factors such as funding and governance which may limit the ways in which museums can focus on peace activism when exploring local history. This is framed within wider debates around the role and, as some argue, the obligation of museums to be activists (Sandell and Janes, 2019) and the challenges this presents for the sector, demonstrated in the protracted process of defining a 'museum' by the International Council of Museums (ICOM). 
This year's Memory Studies Association conference highlights Newcastle and the wider region as a place with a history of activism and a commitment to social justice. This paper offers a reflection on the ways in which local museums contribute to highlighting this kind of history, exploring memories of activism to inspire and perpetuate activity at a community level.
Presenters Natalie Heidaripour
PhD Student, Newcastle University
A work in progress: Centring the enslaved Africans who built Penrhyn castle
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
There remains a huge silence of the voices, and invisibility of the experiences of enslaved African people who contributed immensely to Britain, particularly in Wales. This research seeks to understand how these stories can be brought together to recuperate hidden histories, and to decolonise Welsh plantation economic histories through archival and interview research, and the co-creation of educational resources that will foster understandings about these unacknowledged relationships. This research reverses the triangular trade route, extending connections across the Atlantic, from Wales to Jamaica and back to West Africa, to centre the people who were pivotal to its existence, but whose voices are seldom heard. 


This paper will document the first year of a Leverhulme funded project which explores and uncovers the hidden histories of the enslaved African people in Jamaica whose exploitation produced the capital that built Penrhyn castle in North Wales, and its surrounding estate. The progress of the project will be illustrated in terms of the insights gained from initial archival and document research, visits to the castle and the surrounding estate, along with work carried out as part of the GW4/National Trust's community of practice 'Colonial Connections' project. Considerations for how these insights will inform the next stages of the project, such as the interviews will also be discussed. 


Taking place at an opportune time, this project builds upon and contributes to the Welsh Government initiatives which actively support decolonising the heritage sector. These include the Slave Trade and the British Empire: an audit of commemoration in Wales and the Anti-Racist Wales Action Plan. Additionally, the National Trust has committed to addressing the histories of colonialism and slavery of its properties and collections. Globally, the UN's International Decade for People of African Descent has outlined in its programme of activities the need for recognition, justice and development for this group.
Presenters April-Louise Pennant
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Cardiff University
Remembering the Peace Train: Civil Society, Transnational Activism and Peace in Northern Ireland
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper addresses the memorialiisation of the Northern Ireland peace process and specifically the neglected role of civil society transnational activism in promoting peace, through organisations such as the Peace Train. Existing research has concentrated on the significant efforts of political leaders in both Ireland and the United Kingdom in the elite-level negotiations that produced the 1998 Belfast Agreement (Spencer, 2015; Dixon, 2019; O'Dochartaigh, 2021). However, the existing literature tends to be underpinned by a 'great man' focus on 'elite actors [who] have not exclusively determined the dynamics of conflict and peace' (Cochrane, 2006). Comparatively little research has been completed on civil society, and there is no sustained investigation of the memory politics surrounding such actors and their occluded role in the evolution of peace. Furthermore, while scholarship highlights the complicated role of the Churches and religious institutions in dialogue and peace-making (Mitchell and Ganiel, 2011), along with a 'Social Peace Process' (Brewer, Higgins & Teeney, 2011), there has been insufficient scholarly (and public) attention devoted to linkages between civil society and political actors in the United Kingdom and Ireland – a key element of this research paper. Recent important additions to the literature analysing civil society and the prospects for a 'shared society' in Northern Ireland in the twenty-first century (Lelourec and O'Keeffe-Vigneron, 2021; Brewer, 2021; Brewer et. al., 2018; Power, ed., 2011) do not acknowledge the significant precursors to these developments in the pre-negotiation and early phase of the process (1989-1998). This paper will help to fill this gap in the scholarly understanding of how peace-building is remembered in Northern Ireland.
This paper is innovative in two dimensions: it involves a cross-border, comparative perspective on the origins of the peace process, analysing a specific organisation (the Peace Train) and its evolution from the 'bottom up'. Secondly, it will redress the balance of scholarship, which has tended to focus upon aforementioned elite-level negotiations. It also uncovers the broader role of civil society actors who facilitated dialogue in these critical years in its focus on the role and development of the 'Peace Train' from their inception in 1989 until the establishment of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Addressing these linkages and associations highlights hidden memories of social and cultural activism in three jurisdictions (Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain). 
The Peace Train came into existence in the aftermath of the Enniskillen bombing of November 1987. The Peace Train was founded specifically in response to regular Provisional IRA bombings of and threats against the Belfast/Dublin railway line. It ran seven trains between 1989 and 1995 protesting against these specific attacks, though its campaign opposed paramilitary violence generally. This paper is based upon a 'Witness seminar' which uncovered the memories of organisers of the Peace Train, as well as in-depth interviews with key actors.
Presenters
SH
Stephen Hopkins
Lecturer In Politics, University Of Leicester
Co-Authors
CP
Connal Parr
University Of Northumbria
Negotiating knowing and not-knowing: emotion, family and secrets in memories of the 1984/85 miners' strike
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper reflects on the circulation of emotion and the role of family secrets in the management, experience and remembering of the 1984/85 miners' strike. Drawing on photo elicitation, narrative interviews, and mobile methods, it is concerned with the everyday memories and narratives of people from striking families, who remember the strikes as children. It draws on the work of geographers of childhood (Bartos, 2013; Holloway, 2014; Jones, 2008; Philo, 2003), who have argued that children have a more sensorial experience of emotion, and that the management of space can be a mechanism for negotiating emotional experience, and the work on family practices and secrets (Morgan, 2011; Smart, 2011), which explores the ways in which we actively manage and negotiate family ties through the revealing and concealment of family secrets. It considers how secrets and a sense of knowing and not-knowing is central to the childhood memories of the strike. These elicited strong emotional responses as children – shame, fear, excitement, confusion – and are woven into memories and narratives of the strike as told by adults. This project draws on a range of auto/biographical, archival, visual and mobile methods to understand and reflect on the ways in which the nearly 40 year history of the strike is part of the social, cultural and historical fabric of the UK, and active in relationships, personal histories and biographies.
Presenters
CG
Carly Guest
Assistant Professor In Criminology And Sociology, University Of Northumbria
Kao Jun-honn’s Great Leopard Project Critical geology and guerilla classroom education
Individual paperMemory, Activism and Social Justice 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
In 2016, Taiwanese activist, artist, academic Kao Jun-honn 高俊宏 (1973- ) started, what came to be called his Topa [Great Leopard大豹] project – a long-term work-in-progress. The focus of his investigation is the aborigine Atayal 泰雅族Nation's Topa Tribe of Taiwan and the descendants of these colonized peoples who were expelled from their land and nearly annihilated by serial colonialization that swept the island. 
Based on excessive and long-term fieldwork and on-site investigation Kao recreates the "Great Leopard Incident" documented in the advance of the frontier guard line between 1903 and 1907. Kao traces (and artistically recreates) the ruins of frontier guard posts that were instrumental for separating the "savages" from the "civilized", for colonizing the Topa tribe's space and expanding the economy of the Japanese colonial government on Taiwan (1895-1945). The frontier guard system was subsequently governed by the Chinese Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek during the "white terror era" (1949-1987). After martial law was lifted (1987) and Taiwan embraced transitional justice to pursue democracy, the strategy of colonialization of indigenous land shifted to postmodern entertainment parks for the urban middle class driven by coercive environmentalism and neoliberal policies. 
Student participants are involved in the explorative process as well as in a number of creative activities, that allow for their coming to terms with and working through transgenerational loss and trauma on the one hand and/ or get to know and reconnect with their lost indigenous descent/ identity on the other hand. At the same time these artistic actions serve as platform for political engagement, to raise awareness of the atrocities indigenous peoples were exposed to and to push for transitional justice and social change.
For the time being, Kao's Great Leopard Project has among other things resulted in a documentary film, two book volumes, video works and topographical transfer of sites and visual objects in installations of archives etc. Kao himself however, is less concerned with these artifacts but with the agency and the possibility of art and how it can intervene into and engage with reality in general and global capitalism and postcolonial struggles in particular. Taking his documentary Llyong Topa 拉流大豹as point of departure I will argue that Kao successfully employs concepts of "critical geology" and "classroom guerilla education" as creative processes to reinvent historical colonial sites and objects and to push for transitional justice and "social change". By contrasting, confronting and juxtaposing objects, spaces and times Kao strengthens reinforces ethical and political transformation. While the frontier guard posts played a crucial role in exploiting indigenous peoples in the past, they turn into non-human agents to guide the artist's own creative process in the present. 


Presenters Irmy Schweiger
Professor Of Chinese Language And Culture, Stockholm University, Department Of Asian And Middle Eastern Studies
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow
,
Cardiff University
PhD Student
,
Newcastle University
Lecturer in Politics
,
University of Leicester
Assistant Professor in Criminology and Sociology
,
University of Northumbria
Professor of Chinese Language and Culture
,
Stockholm University, Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Postdoctoral Researcher
,
Goethe University Frankfurt
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