Artists, museum curators and educators are increasingly interested in devising more effective strategies of remembering painful pasts. To this end, many recent projects commemorating genocides, civil wars, dictatorships and terrorist attacks, invite audiences to actively engage in remembering and reflecting critically upon these historical events, and what they mean to contemporary societies. This conference gathers academics, artists, and museum practitioners who explore the usefulness of performative strategies of engagement with painful pasts, and the impact these strategies have upon the public.

Keynote lectures and paper presentations will be open to the general public, whilst special sessions are reserved for internal discussions amongst conference participants only. Please note that this is a preliminary programme.

Complete Conference Programme here as pdf.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016 

8:30 – 9:00 Registration & coffee 

9:00 – 9:30 Opening Remarks by the Vice Dean of the Department of Culture and Aesthetics, Peter Gillgren, and Welcome Note by conference organizer, Tanja Schult 

9:30 – 10:30 Key Note Lecture I, chair: Diana Popescu 

Annie Coombes (University of London, UK), Performing the Past, Building the Future: Women’s Collaborative Art Practices in South Africa 

10:30 – 10:45 Coffee 

10:45 – 12:30 SESSION 1: Performing the Body, Lecture and Round Table Discussion 

Caterina Preda (University of Bucharest) will give a short lecture, Performing the Memory of the Dictatorship in Chile and Argentina, and then moderate a discussion between Claudia Mandel Katz (University of Costa Rica) and Fortunata Calabro (Birkbeck College, London) on Regina Galindo – Violence, Memory and the Indigenous Body in Guatemala

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch, Fakultetsklubben (for active conference participants only) 

14:00 – 16:00 SESSION 2: Embodied Experiences – Walking and Listening, Paper Panel 

This session will consist of an introduction, a panel discussion and a Q&A session which includes the audience. Maayan Sheleff (art advisor at the Art Cube Artists’ Studios, Jerusalem, and independent curator, Tel Aviv) gives an introductory lecture, The Guided Tour, where she reflects on the qualities of artist-guided walks as performative events dealing with painful pasts. After Sheleff’s introduction, four participants will present their case studies: 

- Tovi Fenster and Roni Rachel Schlesinger (Tel Aviv University), The Home as a Contact Zone: Performative Strategies and Practices in Promoting Israeli/Palestinian Recognition

- Samuel Merrill (Umeå University), Walking Together – Walking Alone: Mnemonic Performances and Social Media during the 10th Anniversary of 7/7 

- Luis C. Sotelo-Castro (University of East London), Performing Listening in Colombia’s Post-conflict Context 

16:00 – 16:15 Coffee 

16:15 – 17:15 SESSION 3: It sets my Teeth on Edge – Sonic Interventions as Performative Practices, Paper Panel, chair: Magdalena Waligorska 

- Yaron Jean (University of Haifa), The Sound of Silence: Air Raid Sirens and the Culture of Active Commemoration in Israeli Society 

- Srđan Atanasovski (Institute of Musicology, Belgrade), Silence and Noise of Belgrade: Sonic Experiences of Srebrenica Commemoration Performance 

17:15 – 17:30 Refreshments 

17:30 – 18:15 Why Performativity? Artists’ Experiences, Part I, chair: Maayan Sheleff 

After a short film screening, Guy Königstein (artist, Amsterdam) will reflect on the potential in commemorating imagined futures. 

18:15 Change of location via public transportation to the following event which is for active conference participants only.

19:00 – 21:30 (Limited places available) FOLD OUT by Katarina Eismann, artist’s studio Malongen, Nytorget 15B, Södermalm, closest tube station is Medborgarplatsen 

As space in the studio is limited, the participants will be divided in three groups to see FOLD OUT. A questionnaire designed to assess the impact of the performance on the audience will be distributed by Diana Popescu to be filled in after the presentation. For those who wait for their turn there will be something to eat and drink. After the last group has seen FOLD OUT there will be time to discuss the work together. 

Swedish artist Katarina Eismann is particularly interested in how research, documentation and the cooperation with artists from other fields influence the artistic process. For the project FOLD OUT (2008-ongoing), Eismann has invited a choreographer, a performance artist, a cellist, a mezzo-soprano and a journalist to collaborate on the questions of the transmission of memory and the inheritance of war. The project investigates how family memories are passed on to the next generation and how identity is formed by inherited stories, as well as how they can be transcribed in a new place and time. Eismann acts as the project’s initiator, participant and observer but through the tight collaboration with all involved participants arouses a learning process. The result is an art work which none of them could have accomplished working on their own. 

Further information on the project and the involved artists you will find: 

After the ‘performance’: there are many nice bars in the area to continue the discussions over a beer or a glass of wine.