RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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76 Everyday Landscapes of Memory (2)
Affiliation Social and Cultural Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Amy Walker (Cardiff University, UK)
Kieran O'Mahony (Cardiff University, UK)
Kate Boyer (Cardiff University, UK)
Chair(s) Amy Walker (Cardiff University, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 29 August 2018, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room Tower Building - Lecture Theatre 0.03
Session abstract Since Pierre Nora’s assertion that narratives of memory are fixed in place, or lieux de mémoire, geographers have increasingly engaged with the temporal-spatialities of memory and heritage (Nora 1989). Of particular interest to this session are the unofficial and everyday spatial practices that exist alongside formalised sites of heritage and commemoration. Many geographers have explored the ways in which such spaces and their practices are imbued with memories comprising of affective (Jones 2011), material (DeSilvey 2012), emotional (Horton and Kraftl 2012), spectral (Edensor 2005) and embodied capacities, forming ‘ecologies’ of memory across our everyday lives (Hoskins 2016). These memories may entangle the human and nonhuman, animate and inanimate matter, and occur at differing temporal scales.

This session aims to not only engage with the different ways in which memory can be understood, but also on the consequences of (doing/enacting) memory in the everyday. Being open to the ways they are invoked in contemporary contexts helps us consider the potential for these every day, illusive and multi-faceted memories to become politicised and intersect with broader collective narratives.
Linked Sessions Everyday Landscapes of Memory (1)
Everyday Landscapes of Memory (3)
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
The Remains of the Everyday: Memories in an Abandoned Landscape
Jacky Bowring (Lincoln University, New Zealand)
Following the 2010/2011 earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Government purchased and demolished 8,000 homes, all of which were on land no long considered suitable for building. What remains is the “residential red zone”: 630 hectares of abandoned landscape. Emptied of houses, but with a landscape that bares the stains of domesticity: hedges, fruit trees, artesian well heads, driveways, road crossings, street signs. Along with the invisible residues: the memories, the buried pets, the buried placentas, and other items that ‘belong’ to the red zone but have been removed, including thousands of letter boxes and 40,000 house keys which were gathered up from the property owners at hand over.
The residential red zone is not an exceptional landscape in terms of the age, design, or style of gardens and layout. It is the imprint of ordinary, everyday life. And this ordinariness makes it vulnerable to the efforts to find ‘value’ in the Government’s asset. Recreational and tourist-driven projects, and an emphasis on ecological restoration, are all proposed. How can the delicate tracery of 8,000 unremarkable but precious residential landscapes provide a matrix of remembrance? How can remembering compete with rafting, jogging, biking, bird-watching, and other big and loud activities in this re-imagined landscape? Public feedback on proposals has just concluded, followed by shortlisting and exhibition. The extent to which the residential landscape might remain will depend on the outcome of this process.
Re-Narrating Ireland’s Deadly Border: UDR Memory and Temporal Transgression
Joe S. Robinson (Maynooth University, Ireland)
Since Michel Foucault’s (1980) development of the concept of “counter-memory,” scholars have sought to illustrate how subaltern memory practices challenge hegemonic national narratives. According to Doss (2012), keeping the past alive in the present constitutes an act of political resistance that demands inclusion in the new spatial fabric.

This paper examines the memory practices of the former Ulster Defence Regiment, an auxiliary British military unit comprised of Northern Irish men and women serving predominately along the deadly Irish border during the thirty-year violent conflict known as ‘The Troubles.’ What Switzer & Graham (2009) refer to as the state’s “elision” of memory work in Northern Ireland has yielded public memory-space to the inscribed narratives of former paramilitaries (Robinson, 2018; McGrattan, 2012). State agent though it was, the social memory of the UDR has been rendered subaltern and erased from public space.

However, former UDR men and women do challenge their spatial exclusion from Northern Irish memory politics. Drawing on geo-ethnographic work with former UDR along the Irish border, this paper seeks to illustrate how the everyday practices of UDR memory operate in often-hostile space. Employing Foucauldian notions of transgression and Bergsonian ideas of multiple temporalities, this paper argues that UDR memory curators publically mark places of death on the border as acts of temporal transgression. By re-narrating the border as a space of fear and instability, they challenge post-conflict temporalities that would seek to keep the past in the past, along with the discourses of both paramilitary justification and national reconciliation.
The Economy of Recovery in Rwanda: Making Whole What Has Been Smashed Through The Practice of Care-Taking At Genocide Memorials
Julia Viebach (University of Oxford, UK)
This paper explores the economy of recovery in post-genocide Rwanda, which is anchored in human remains and dead bodies. It zooms into the practice of care-taking at Rwandan memorials and shows how survivors of the genocide against the Tutsi re- make worlds through working on and with the remnants of the dead. It analyses how survivors project their emotions, sentiments and confusion about an uncertain future onto the remains of the dead. These traces of the violent past evoke imagination of the dead in the present and therefore evokes memory that re-members the dead into the community of the living. It is an attempt to make present what is absent and to make whole what has been smashed. Care-taking also re-verses time in that it gives back dignity to the dead who have died unjust and cruel deaths. Alongside the practice of care-taking and the relevance of the corporeal traces of the dead, the place gains particular meaning in that it is not only a memorial, but a home for both the living and the dead that opens up a space of communication between the care-takers and their dead beloved ones. The paper draws on extensive fieldwork in Rwanda between 2011 and 2014.
The King has been Pictured
Andrea Stultiens (Hanze University Groningen / Independent Photographer and Researcher, The Netherlands)
For the past decade I have, as an artist/researcher, investigated the uses of photographic pictures in East African country Uganda. The relation between photographic pictures and memory have been well researched and argued. But this is often done from a rather one sided Eurocentric perspective on photographic pictures. Over the past decades its universality has been questioned.

A rather hybrid artistic practice, in which my role shifts from maker to curator to analyst and back again, provides the method to enter correspondences [Ingold, 2012] on (photographic) pictures with their Ugandan makers and users. Together we explore the continuously changing situated knowledge [harraway, 1988] embedded in photographic pictures in Uganda.

One of the case studies in my PhD research is the cultural biography of one of the first photographs made in the kingdom of Buganda. Explorer Henry Morton Stanley produced it in 1875. Three vintage prints of this picture, depicting the Kabaka (King) and some of his chiefs are part of a collection of material related to the colonial past of Belgium. The photograph was hardly known in Uganda when I started showing it around. Interpretations of it were known, but not connected to their source. Together with Ugandan artists I explored and commented on the past that was, is and could remembered through the availability of the photograph and both its historical and newly made interpretations.

Visuals and spoken word have equal weight and are woven into an argument in the proposed presentation.
The silent music sheet, the unsewn button and the replica tin: materialising nostalgia in the Marks and Spencer's archive
Helen Holmes (The University of Manchester, UK)
Sarah Marie Hall (The University of Manchester, UK)
In this paper we explore how nostalgia and collective memory are materialised and imagined through the archive. Drawing upon research into the Marks and Spencer’s (M&S) archive, we argue that archives, particularly those containing objects, command our nostalgia, conjuring romanticised imaginaries of bygone times. In doing so, they re-appropriate objects and their histories into contemporary narratives. This paper adds to a growing body of work exploring the potency and creativity of everyday materials and objects and their ability to produce, imagine and memorialise affinities between people, places and times gone by (Holmes, under review).
In the case of the Marks and Spencer’s archive, we illustrate how M&S is part of collective British memory, promoting middle class ideals of British family life. The archive and the objects it displays materialise such imaginaries, creating a yearning for the spirit, values and opportunities of times gone by. These imaginaries are subsequently interwoven into contemporary narratives of family life – weaving together past, present and future – to create unattainable ideals of family (Hall and Holmes, 2017). Significantly we draw upon the biographies of three objects from the archive to make our argument, these are: a music sheet, an unsewn button and a replica tin. By making these objects central to our account, we illustrate how their fibres, textures, patterns and forms materialise nostalgia through the archive (Miller, 2005).