Embodiment NUBS 4.20
Jul 06, 2023 13:30 - 15:00(Europe/London)
20230706T1330 20230706T1500 Europe/London 7.16. Heritages, public spaces, and community-making NUBS 4.20 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
22 attendees saved this session
Ghost schools: the invisible heritage work of supplementary schools seen through a hauntological perspective
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC

This paper is based on a multi-sited ethnography carried out with several UK supplementary schools through a heritage partnership programme at the Museum of London.  The museum programme can be seen as part of a wider trend across European museums to work with ethnic minorities and migrant groups, to consolidate their identities and heritage into national museums and public memory.
In the UK, supplementary schools are commonly set up by migrant parents to teach children cultural heritages not included in the national curriculum. Supplementary schools are a fascinating and largely invisible phenomenon. Based in temporary sites: rented classrooms in state-school buildings, the backs of community centres and church halls, they allow children from transnational backgrounds to practice their mother-tongue, learn about their parents' home counties and rehearse forms of intangible heritage on a weekly basis. 
Communities inhabit these temporary memory spaces, but need to vacate the premises at the end of their weekly session. Supplementary schools therefore operate as cultural centres that are permanently temporal, where heritage is repeatedly pack away. 
Launched in 2016, the Museum of London reached out to supplementary schools to form new heritage partnerships. In my role as a visual ethnographer, I had anticipated assisting the schools in making new museum displays to represent their cultural heritage, absent from the museum collection at the time of writing.  
What was planned to be a project about making new museum representations became an embodied visual ethnography about the repeated acts of self-invisiblazation carried out across supplementary school communities. 
Here heritage in migration continues to be on the move: school signs, artworks and displays have to be put away once the weekly session is over. Displays and artworks are consequently made with the foresight that they would have to be easily dismantled and removed. Cultural artefacts and classroom resources are carried from teachers' homes to supplementary schools, and continue to circulate in the city without permanent storage. 
The findings of this paper discuss these acts of self-erasure, arguing that they have the adverse effect. School signs are rolled up and packed away at the end of the day, only to be reattached to the school gate the following week, allowing communities to reinstate their presence. Setting up the school becomes a synchronized act carried out every Saturday morning across London's inner city neighbourhoods and suburbs. 
This paper pays attention to how cultural memories and heritages are preserved through affective materials and objects. I suggest that the embodied practices and physical effort required to pack away, store and transport supplementary school resources become a deeply reflexive material process of creation and deletion through which heritage in migration is reworked and revised by supplementary school communities. I use a hauntological lens to consider how cultural memories survive in diaspora through re-materialized heritages that keep returning.  
Orly Orbach
EMKP Curator , British Museum
Heritage as a 'When': communities and the occurrence of the past in an urban World Heritage Site
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper draws on experience of the 2-year project 'Plural Heritages of Istanbul' undertaken with inhabitants of the historic Land Walls neighbourhoods, part of the larger WHS Historic Areas of Istanbul. The Land Walls are the ancient city fortification, famously breached by the invading Ottomans in 1453, ending the Byzantine Empire. We walked, talked and co-created with members of a heterogeneous community of communities, for whom the dominant UNESCO and municipal/state interpretations of this historic place often meant little and corresponded only slightly with lived experiences, valorisations and embodiments of the past in the present. This revealed a different 'distribution of the perceptible' (Ranciere 2004). It offered ways to see past the 'major key' (Manning 2016) of Authorised Heritage Discourse (Smith 2006) to an alternative – an uncontrollable plurality of vividly interacting heritages, spanning personal and collective, minor and major, longue durée and fleeting, momentary and monumental, visible and invisible. We thought again about what, when and who heritage is, and who and what participates in its making or becoming. This is to conceive of heritage differently, as a dynamic co-production of place, people and memory. Each, in their ways, contributes to the endlessly complex configuration of the other. Might we consider heritage not just as a 'what' but as a 'when'? Or not just as an external 'out-there' referent of material, tangible presences or selected canonical intangible practices, but as a momentary, mnemonic combination of human and non-human phenomena in which the past is made evident in the present? How can we meaningfully engage with the minor, the everyday and the fleeting as significant registers of heritage and experience? How might we care for a moment? This is challenging for the conventional valorisation of monumentality, epochal significance, uniqueness and curated perdurance, among other canon parameters in heritage management. It must be said that the field is conservatively structured against such radical reconceptualisations. Nevertheless, we argue that a momentary, relational ontology of heritage has emancipatory potentials both for communities and for the conceptual and regulatory frameworks through which the meaningful past is identified and managed.
Tom Schofield
Gonul Bozoglu 
Christopher Whitehead
Professor Of Museology, Newcastle University
Commemoration and the recategorization of public space: Typological transformations in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
In this piece, I investigate how material strategies of commemoration takes part in the recategorization of public space. I look especially at how commemorative vehicles such as toponymic signs, public art and architectural design, play a role in the territorialisation of a specific public place by establishing associations to a new spatial type. This can, for example, include the transformation of a public square into a 'memorial square' (Rabin Square), a religious space into a 'space of national significance' (Western Wall Plaza) or a village into a 'archaeological excavation' and a 'tourist theme park' (City of David). Looking at a series of places in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, I investigate the different ways in which memory has been materialised/embodied and subsequently taken part in changing the territorial complexity and publicness of these places. In the end, I conceptualise a few material strategies traced from the cases, discussing how these strategies might to take part in a process of crystallisation, both affecting public life and setting firm directions and rhythms for the future design and life at the places where they have been implemented.
Presenters Mattias Kärrholm
Professor, Arkitektur Och Byggd Miljö, Lund University
Embodied experiences as a catalyst for developing more empathetic encounters with dark heritage sites
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper will focus on the topic of embodiment as a catalyst for evoking better understanding and empathy of the dark heritage and memory sites, particularly in youth audiences. Dark heritage revolves around places of death and human suffering, such as war fields, sites of genocide, places of torture, violent conflicts or disaster sites. This discipline has developed in close connection with the field of dark tourism, which is concerned with the analysis of people's travels to and fascinations with such sites of death and suffering.
In 2021 and 2022, an interdisciplinary group of researchers from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Latvia did a study that focused on the evaluation of virtual reality experience as a tool for interpreting the Holocaust heritage to young audiences. This case study was carried out at the memorial museum dedicated to Jewish rescuer Žanis Lipke in Riga, Latvia. In focus groups with youth audiences who tested the novel virtual reality experience "Lipke's Bunker", it was found that this embodied and immersive experience allowed people to feel more connected to the historical situation and protagonists involved. Of particular importance was the chance to enter, through virtual reality, a 3x3m underground bunker where the Lipke family selflessly hid Jews persecuted by the Nazis. The opportunity to virtually visit this now vanished site and listen to the story based on the rescuer's youngest son's memories, accompanying the visitor throughout the whole immersive experience, provided the added value of a sense of presence and stronger links to the events and people involved in these historical events. 
The focus groups allowed an opportunity for deeper discussion with the target audience and also revealed a wider range of young people's experiences of visiting dark heritage sites elsewhere, suggesting that many best remembered visits to sites where there was a stronger combination of embodied and affective experiences. Thus, it can be said that it is both the virtual immersive technology-assisted experience and the physical embodied experience of such sites that create the strongest connections to, memories of and empathy with the events and people represented by the particular dark heritage site. Therefore, while focusing on educational tasks, dark heritage and memory institutions should be aware that the embodied and affective experiences of visitors will often be the ones that will most vividly encapsulate the memory of their visit and the meaning and values conveyed by the site.
Elizabete Grinblate
Raivis Sīmansons 
Presenters Diana Popova
Research Assistant/ PhD Student, Institute Of Philosophy And Sociology Of The University Of Latvia / Latvian Academy Of Culture
Performative Enactment of Embodied Memories : A Study of Child-related Hijra song narratives
Individual paperEmbodiment 00:00 Midnight - 11:00 PM (Europe/London) 2023/07/05 23:00:00 UTC - 2023/07/06 22:00:00 UTC
This paper explores the ways in which members of hijra community (one of the indigenous transwomen communities in India) interact and constitute themselves as communities through the performative enactment of child related song narratives. Child directed hijra songs discussed include the badhai songs performed in households of a pregnant lady or an infant and the kummi songs performed in Koovagam festival of Tamilnadu, India. While badhai songs bless the child with fertility, child-directed kummi songs are performed for curing children with health issues. Child-directed hijra songs including these lullabies and their performance stand distinct from other child directed songs of Indian traditions for the former often contains usage of words and body movements with sexual connotations. These songs, though primarily act as a sleep inducing song performed to please and entertain children, or to bless them with fertility, act as one of the earliest encounters with the language and cultural memory system to which they are born into, and thus play a significant role in the child's memory formation. 
            These songs are studied within the larger framework of theories of memory studies that have been concerned with the role of the body in producing, preserving, performing and transmitting memories. While dealing with the perceptions of Nora, Connerton, Taylor and Kabir this paper also problematizes the general tendency of existing discourse to connect embodied memories to preliterate societies alone . Also, the paper intends to explain why some literate societies of India choose to preserve their memories through verbal articulations and embodiment strategies, even after having the privilege to control and construct the dominant memory archives.
Keywords: embodied memories, re-enactment, performance, transference
Gargi Thilak
MS, English And Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
EMKP curator
British Museum
Professor of Museology
Newcastle University
Research assistant/ PhD student
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the University of Latvia / Latvian Academy of Culture
English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
Arkitektur och byggd miljö, Lund University
Jagiellonian University in Cracow, Institute of Audio Visual Arts
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