Researchers will consider events such as the poppy installation at the Tower of London in 2014, how they were received and what they mean (Photo: Centenary News)

'How we can best commemorate war' - Oxford seminars coming up in 2017-18

Posted on on 25 November 2016
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Leading figures from the arts and politics will be brought together to discuss post-war commemoration and reconciliation at a series of seminars in 2017-18, Oxford University has announced.

Organisers say this is an 'unprecedented opportunity' and the 'perfect time', given the recent large-scale commemorations of the First World War, and also remembrance of the American Civil War.

The seminars will be led by Professor Kate McLoughlin, Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford, and Dr Niall Munro, Senior Lecturer in American Literature at Oxford Brookes University.

"We have an unprecedented opportunity to consider what was experienced in the various anniversary events, and what they can tell us about how war is remembered - and forgotten," Dr Munro says.

Questions to be explored include:
*What roles do cultural practices of commemoration play in the work of post-war reconstruction and reconciliation?
*Can commemoration help to reintegrate military veterans into civilian society?
*What impact do the internet and social media have upon commemoration, reconstruction and reconciliation?
*How do different cultures use commemoration?

Professor Kate McLoughlin says: "At a time when the public’s attention is focused on a number of major anniversaries, we have a real opportunity to bring together creative practitioners, academics and leaders in the cultural sector, the charitable sector and government, to think about how we can do commemoration better.

"We will discuss what works and doesn’t work, and how we can ensure that commemoration and anniversaries have a positive impact, such as reconciliation between different communities or promoting peace,"

Politicians, diplomats and others who have played a role in peace negotiations and commemorations will be joined by novelists, poets, artists and musicians whose work has marked war in some way. War veterans will be invited to a concluding concert.

A report will be delivered to the UK Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which is leading Britain's national remembrance events marking the WW1 Centenary.

Knitted poppies on the Channel coast, near the Step Short Memorial in Folkestone, November 2016 (Photo: Centenary News)

‘The anniversary activities in the UK, Europe, the United States and across the world have demonstrated that war remembrance resonates with human needs and inspires imaginations,’ says Dr Niall Munro.

The seminars, entitled 'Post-War: Commemoration, Reconstruction, Reconciliation' will take place during the academic year 2017-18. There'll be a website with podcasts of the events. The series is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in honour of John E. Sawyer.

Source: University of Oxford

Images: Centenary News

Posted by: CN Editorial Team

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