Creative Approaches to Memory NUBS 3.15
Jul 05, 2023 11:00 - 12:30(Europe/London)
20230705T1100 20230705T1230 Europe/London 3.19. Fictions, facts, and counter-memories NUBS 3.15 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023
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Monumental Transitions. Four monuments, four histories, and a new tool for understanding them
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
As we have seen numerous monuments fall since George Floyd's assassination, many of us are not only politically challenged, but also called upon as memory scholars to engage with these practices locally and globally, phenomenologically and methodolocigally. Which analytical tools do we have at our disposal to analyse monuments, to relate them to the social processes reflected in them? And do the ones we know let us see those elements that offer the most explanation? 
This paper takes a closer look at four monuments in different coutries and suggests a novel way in which we can take a holistic cultural studies look at monument-related memory practices that works for the present time as for the past, and, hopefully, even across cultural spaces.
Presenters Alexandra Binnenkade
PD Dr., University Of Basel
Looking for Empathy in Art Space: Representation of Far-Right Violence in Contemporary Art Scene of Germany
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
The inclusion of themes on migration, racism and far-right violence in museum space can be followed as part of the confrontation of Germany with postmigrant realities. In this talk, I will follow the postmigrant presence in the contemporary art scene as a part of changing memory culture in Germany. 

Germany's so-called guest workers from Turkey found a presence in the art space starting from the early 2000s and racist violence against them could be part of the art narrative quite recently. At that time, the solidarity-based anti-racist activism in Germany organized empathy as a social resource by taking "migrant-situated knowledge" as the basis of their work against active social ignorance. Calling for empathy in this sense is an enabling tactic to deconstruct the ruling systems of exclusion (Güleç, Schaffer, 2017). I argue that while the contemporary art scene of Germany is opened up to postmigrant concepts and representation, empathy becomes one of the main objectives of the artistic narrative. 
Against the institutional and structural racism mechanisms excluding the voices of the affected communities from the public space, the art space enabled them to contribute to the discussion. Following this perspective, the museum space is initially used for educational purposes by contemporary artist-activist alliances with descriptive narratives on the experiences of racism. On the other hand, considering the intersubjective nature of empathy (Özyürek, 2018), shaped by the past experiences and position of the empathizer, migration is thematized by considering a diverse audience. The Turkey-Germany migration history is narrated and intertwined with other migration stories concerning Germany's political history. Besides, experiences of far-right violence against the community with a migration background from Turkey are conceptualized within intersectional racism experiences and social struggles. 

In one year between 2021-2022, I followed the exhibitions with their parallel programs in Berlin, "Offener Prozess" in Gorki Theater, "Three Doors" in Haus der Kulturen der Welt,  "We are from here" in the Museum of European Cultures, and in Kunsthalle Mannheim  "Mindbombs". I will discuss the role of the museum and exhibition spaces with their challenges of representation of violence, a commemoration of victims and calling to visitors to empathy, through these exhibitions themed on racism and violence.
Zeynep Dogusan
PhD Student, Humboldt University Of Berlin
Between Fact and Fiction: Memory in Documentaries and Dramas
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
This paper aims to discuss the notion of mediated memory through the analysis of a few creative works about two historical events in Hong Kong. The 1967 riots and mass protests in 1989 in Hong Kong have long been regarded as significant episodes in the local collective memory. Both events received numerous news coverage and constant reviews throughout the years. Anniversary coverage of the 1989 protests has remained highly visible in some Hong Kong newspapers since 1990. Such journalistic practices have kept the public memory about an otherwise distant past alive. 
How memory is represented and negotiated in journalism has received much scholarly attention. It has been found that news media often brings collective memory to the fore when making historical references to present events. Anniversary journalism, as a routine, contributes to upholding specific values through the interpretation of past events. The cultural authority of journalists in memory construction has by far been well considered. 
This study asserts that beyond journalism, it is both relevant and important to examine and evaluate how other forms of media contribute to memory-making. A documentary series and two dramatic adaptations about 1967 and 1989 were selected as case studies. Unlike news media, documentaries face much less pressure in being 'new' and 'timely'. Fictional media, on the other hand, have more freedom in organizing factual details regarding sequences of past events. These characteristics allow media producers to narrate the events through choices of characters and plots. Given a different set of opportunities to construct, or deconstruct, collective memory, these media producers can experiment with creativity that is generally absent in journalism. 
Through textual analysis of a few key media works, this research highlights the core themes and subthemes in these memory accounts. In-depth interviews with documentary producers and drama writers have been conducted. The creative and production processes reveal how media professionals weight between fact and fiction, and why they make certain choices out of other possibilities. The findings draw attention to the agency of individual producers amidst the presence of prevalent and dominant memory discourses. It finds that the creative approach and treatment taken by these media can contribute to a deepened understanding of the properties of mediated memory. They also shed light on the roles of non-journalistic media in shaping and sustaining collective memory. The strengths and limitations of various forms of media narratives are discussed and evaluated. 
Donna Chu
Associate Professor , The Chinese University Of Hong Kong
Cancel Culture Italian Style
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
The past matters a great deal in Italy, a country where journalists, politicians and ordinary citizens have often displayed an uncommon tendency to use history in day-to-day political debates, usually with little concerns for historical accuracy and prospective (Woolf, 2007). Another factor contributing to the importance of history in Italy is the sheer quantity of historical buildings and monuments that dot the country. As a result, Italians are constantly compelled to revisit the past and deal with its legacy. However, they appear to have a rather laid-back and forgiving attitude about their past, even the most embarrassing part of it. For example, their "comfort with living amid Fascist symbols" (Ben-Ghiat, 2007), has frequently startled foreign scholars and visitors. The study explores the relationship between the Italian people and their past and makes the case that over many years, Italians have evolved a unique strategy for coping with the issue of dealing with its legacy. This may be characterised as a middle ground between destroying and changing the sites of memory and their outright acceptance. It is based on the gradual building up of historical meanings over a particular historical site. Thus, in terms of its outward look, this basically stays the same over time. However, because of the changing urban context or due to other artefacts positioned nearby, it is frequently re-signified, sometimes significantly so. Sometimes this operation is outcome of a political deliberation. Other times, however, it would appear to have just "happened". But is this the case? Does such a thing as "unwitting redefinition" even exist? The paper will illustrate what can be termed as the Italian way to cancel culture through several examples, mostly referring to the fascist period. However, the paper argues that the practice of surreptitiously revisiting the controversial or uncomfortable past while formally accepting its "presence in the present" has been the norm in Italy, at least since the country's unification in the middle of the 19th century.
Presenters Gianluca Fantoni
Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University
Conspiracy theories as mnemonic practice: Popular conspiracy fiction from postsocialist Poland and the intersecting discourses of memory and suspicion.
Individual paperCreative Approaches to Memory 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/04 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/05 22:00:00 UTC
Conspiracy theories have long attracted the attention of literary and cultural studies scholars. Recently, there has been increasing interest in the relationship between conspiracism and memory, and the ways in which cultural memory studies can contribute to a better understanding of the complex functions that conspiracy narratives perform in contemporary societies. Given the prominence of debates on the past in the former socialist states of Central Eastern Europe, the role of cultural memory is particularly pertinent in relation to postsocialist conspiracy narratives. Are such narratives best understood by references to the--socialist or earlier--past or as a response to the new capitalist reality? In other words, to what extent are postsocialist conspiracy narratives connected to older practices of suspicion and local contexts, and to what extent are they a response to the nature of political and economic power under postsocialism and express a search for more global explanations of events? 
In this presentation, I will focus on popular crime novels and political thrillers from postsocialist Poland that are structured around the explanatory logic of popular conspiracy theories (e.g., the narrative of the secret postcommunist network that controls society or the cluster of theories surrounding the 2010 Smolensk plane crash). My analysis will explore how the novels' conspiracy plots are embedded in broader histories of the socialist and postsocialist periods, including histories of power, legitimacy and social participation, and how these conspiracy narratives are intertwined with aspects of cultural memory. The novels discussed in the presentation stem from the period 2007 till the present, and include works by authors such as Zygmunt Miłoszewski, Szczepan Twardoch, Marcin Wolski and Maryna Miklaszewska. 
Anita Pluwak
Postdoctoral Researcher, Tallinn University
PD Dr.
University of Basel
PhD student
Humboldt University of Berlin
Associate Professor
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Senior Lecturer
Nottingham Trent University
Postdoctoral researcher
Tallinn University
Utrecht University
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