Curating conflict: Political violence in museums, memorials and exhibitions

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk


    Chair: Charlotte Heath-Kelly (University of Warwick)

    Participants: Francesca Burke (University of Brighton); Natasha Danilova (University of Aberdeen); Henrique Furtado (University of West England); Eileen Harrisson (University of Aberystwyth); Desirée Poets (Virginia Tech); Kandida Purnell (Richmond University, London); Audrey Reeves (Virginia Tech); Christine Sylvester (University of Connecticut)

    During the recent Black Lives Matter protests, the toppling of statues and defacing of monuments has put sites of collective memory at the heart of public debate on both sides of the Atlantic. These unfolding events can be helpfully read through the growing body of International Relations scholarship that theorises sites of memory, including museums, memorials, and exhibitions, as sites of transnational communication and democratic dialogue about political violence.

    With both recent events and this pioneering work in mind, this roundtable gathers scholars who will discuss their recent work on the curation of conflict in various parts of the world. Each in their own way, they respond to Christine Sylvester’s call for International Relations to explore whose memories – and whose wars – feature in prominent museums, memorials, and exhibitions, and whose are ignored, with what effects (Sylvester 2019, 45).

    Examining a range of curatorial practices, from centre to margins, the roundtable explores what curation practices reveal about broader configurations of power and different conceptions of conflict. It will illuminate how, although such spaces commemorate the conflicts of the past, they shape international politics in the present. The interventions will also introduce a double special issue on this theme to be released in Critical Military Studies this autumn.
    Period9 Oct 2020
    Held atBritish International Studies Association, United Kingdom
    Degree of RecognitionInternational


    • Political violence
    • Conflict
    • Museum studies
    • Curation