This interdisciplinary workshop was organized to explore the role of memory as a form of resistance in conflicts and to widen the discussion about how individuals and societies actively engage with resistance through remembering and/or forgetting. The workshop had 35 participants, and three panels with 8 presenters across them. Throughout the day, PhD and early career researchers from universities in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary presented their research to the academic community and civil society actors from Northern Ireland. The workshop was opened by the keynote speech “Entanglements of freedom and defence in memory as a form of resistance” by Prof. Graham Dawson (University of Brighton), who focused on both constructive and obstructive dimensions of resistance.
In the first panel of the day, Resistance to Dominant Combatant Narratives, the audience was invited to reflect on the ethical questions of what we do when we are made witnesses and how memory can be politicised. One of the key discussions of the panel was related to oral history and how it aims at understanding how and why people remember in a particular way rather than gathering factual data.
The second panel, Gendered Perspectives on Resistance, focused on the gendered ways of remembering drawing on the research done on Turkey, Northern Ireland and Nicaragua. The discussion focused on how Kurdish filmmaking is considered to be a truth-telling tool with a strong political agency. It also focused on the experiences of women during the Troubles in Northern Ireland within the domestic sphere, and how those testimonies are seen to resist against the broader narratives of conflict, death and suffering. The panel ended with the reading of a novel that explores the intersection of colonial and post-colonial memories through the eyes of a young Nicaraguense.
The final panel, Physical Spaces of Resistance and Memory, raised important questions on the role of civil society in memory work in Russia, the links between memory and resilience in peripheral urban areas in Medellin (Colombia), and the multiplicity of perspectives to look into a Troubles Memorial, through a lens of quantum physics.
Drawing on the experiences of the community sector in Northern Ireland, the workshop was concluded by a roundtable discussion in which the participants discussed the possibilities to navigate the complexities of historical narratives and memories through archives, museums and memory spaces. The workshop provided the participants with a platform to reflect on ongoing research on memory and resistance and it enabled them to establish new networks for future collaborative work.