Spaces of Memory &
Performance: Trauma, Affect, Displacement
University of East London, Centre
of Performing Arts Development (CPAD)
Date: 20-21 June 2014
Venue: University of East
London, University Square.
speakers: Claudia Fontes (visual artist), Lola Arias (theatre
director), Vikki Bell (Goldsmiths), Anne Huffschmidt (Freie Universitat
Berlin), Ananda Breed (UEL), Carl Lavery (University of Glasgow), Valentina
Salvi (UNTREF), Patricia Violi (University of Bologna), Eve Katsouraki (UEL).
are lost – destroyed, vacated, barred – but then there is some new place, and
it is not the first, never can be the first.’ – Judith Butler
The aftermath of episodes of
trauma and loss have traditionally given way to urban rituals and encounters
with sites of public grieving. Even so, the emergence of disparate sites of
trauma has not been enough addressed from a performative perspective. The very
existence of the so-called ‘spaces of memory’ requests the reconfiguration of
modes of engagement with the public space in the face of trauma and its
performance. With this in mind, this two-day symposiumwill explore
unconventional forms of intervention in performance and visual arts in a wide
spectrum of geographical scenarios. The question that underlines the event is
how to propitiate public pathways to engage with loss and trauma among expanded
publics. While contesting processes of normalization of memory, the
symposium seeks to discover embodied, ephemeral and unmarked spaces as sites of
enchantment and public gathering. It also explores transitional and diasporic
interventions that might envisage news forms of being together. The
symposium is also an invitation to imagine the futurity of sites of memory and
explore fictions that may transform the politics of spectatorship in the
Some of the key themes to be
– What is a ‘space of memory’?
– How innovative practices of intervention may awake a shared sense
of ownership towards disparate traumatic pasts?
– How to investigate the affectivity of space in
relation to memory and spectatorship?
– How sites of trauma become marked, unmarked, and
– Is it possible to encourage ways of ‘performing
life’ within landscapes marked by loss?
– How disparate forms of theatre, performance and
visual arts may contribute to ‘work through’ collective processes of suffering?
– Might bodies emerge as sites of public grieving?
– Might different forms of fiction help us to
re-inhabit trauma in the present?
By rethinking the
performativity of space and trauma, the symposium aims to generate a new and
interdisciplinary dialogue among social sciences, visual arts, literature,
theatre and performance.
invite proposals (300 words) for 20 minutes papers & practical
presentations, showings or shorter 10minprovocations/interventions from artists
and curators, practitioners and scholars working at the crossroads of memory
studies, performance, cultural studies, affect and trauma theory. Some
thematic explorations may include:
– Urban space, memorialisation and landscapes
– The affectivity of the space and unconventional
ways of relating to trauma
– Topographies and architectures of affect
– Post-traumatic spaces & performatives
– Sounds of trauma & haunted spaces
– Monuments, living memorials & bones
– Curation, empathy & care
– Ruins, future & potentiality
– Practises of reoccupation and ‘rehabilitation’ of
– Abject spaces & body as site of trauma
– New museums, dark tourism
– The place of the perpetrators
– Transmission of trauma, vicarious and prosthetic
– Politics of reparation & spectatorship
This research event has the support of the British Academy International Partnership and
Mobility (IPM) SchemeProgramme ‘Commemoration,
New Audiences and Spaces of Memory in Latin America’s Southern Cone:
Trans-cultural Dialogues in the Wake of Loss’. (PI: Dr. Cecilia Sosa,
Postdoctoral researcher, School of Arts and Digital Industries, University of