Research Projects and Collaborations
Mediating Memory in the Museum. Empathy, Trauma, Nostalgia (Palgrave Macmillan, Memory Studies Series, Series Editors: Andrew Hoskins and John Sutton, forthcoming March 2013)
For 2012 I have been awarded an AHRC Fellowship Grant to finish my book on Mediating Memory in the Museum. Empathy, Trauma, Nostalgia which probes the political and aesthetic claims of the shifts in exhibiting practices associated with the transformation of traditional history and heritage museums into ‘spaces of memory’. The processes of memory transfer and their ethical, political and aesthetic implications are at the core of my research. I am especially interested in the role of different media and art forms in the transmission of memory and in questions of their gendering. The case studies have been chosen to allow for a comparative approach to concepts of ‘prosthetic’ memory, empathy, trauma and nostalgia with the aim of identifying transnational tendencies as well as culturally diverse responses.
Like Gender Studies, Memory Studies is a truly interdisciplinary field and the research collaborations I was able to foster over the last few years span different disciplines both inside and outside of German Studies:
In cooperation with Professor Jens Andermann (Zürich University), I am currently publishing the proceedings of a one-day conference on ‘Memory, Community and the New Museum’ as a special issue in the Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society (with a co-authored introduction and our own contributions, forthcoming 2012).
I am also taking part in an AHRC funded Research Network on ‘Silence, memory and empathy in museums and at historic sites’ led by Dr Joanne Sayner (University of Birmingham), which brings together academics and museum practitioners in three workshops and one conference to understand how silence, empathy and memory interact in museums and at historic sites.
Together with Susannah Radstone and Rick Crownshaw I am a co-organiser of the Cultural Memory Research Series at the Centre for the Study of Cultural Memory. Our workshop on 9 February 2013 focuses on 'Empathy, Trauma and Witnessing', the conference in June 2012 was on 'Empathy and Memory Studies'.
In September 2010 I organised a conference on ‘Gender and Memory’ with my colleague Joanne Leal in the context of the Birkbeck Research in Aesthetics of Kinship and Community and from this originated an ongoing interest in the extent to which different ways of relating to the past are gendered: does the divide between public memory and private memory have a gender dimension? To what extent are different memory genres/media (autobiography, novel/fiction, film) gendered? And do different memory concepts (mourning, nostalgia, memorialisation) have gendered connotations?