Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory
Unit(s) of assessment: History
Research theme: Global Heritage
School: School of Arts and Humanities
Who we are, how we see ourselves, how we remember the past, and the cyphers we employ, are critical to our identities. This past lies in monuments, handed-down narratives, texts and images. It is seldom neutral, and frequently politicised or contradictory. It continues to be formed and reformed. Yet frequently it remains hidden or abused. The Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory provides a lively hub for researchers, teachers, practitioners and the public in the connected areas of identity; representation and memorialisation; internationally significant, community-driven and regional history; and museum and heritage management. It explores the cultural significance of the past, challenging current interpretations, exploring points of tension and engaging with the processes of representing History from a variety of perspectives to meet the needs of a range of communities.
The Centre’s scope is global. It comprises projects which focus on areas of the United Kingdom and Europe, as the Americas, Australia and beyond, linking national and international institutions. It also connects at a local level to history societies, museums and archives across the East Midlands region. We have interests in the physical artefacts of the past (large and small), in our intangible cultural heritage, and in how the past is represented and presented through memorials, the media, film and public works of art. We work actively with museums, the media, and through our own publications to take history to the broader public. We also have particular strengths in digital and scientific heritage, running projects which explore cutting edge techniques in the field in order to engage wider national and international audiences.
The Centre is particularly mindful of the need to build strong links with external professional, practitioner and community groupings, and to meld together its own academic expertise with the interests and enthusiasms of those directly outside the academy. It is aware, too, of the importance of shared ownership: that initiatives and directions are set and managed jointly with collaborative partners. Communities, in this sense, comprise those with shared identities, be it geographic, work or activity based or through specific interests. A key objective of the Centre is to enhance and enrich those shared identities through research, display and other forms of diffusion and engagement.
News and Events
Legacies of the Dunera: Internment, Art and International Heritage
2 and 3 March, National Justice Museum High Pavement Nottingham NG1 1HN
Join us for a collaborative symposium on 2 and 3 March, hosted by Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory, Nottingham Trent University (UK) and Monash University (Australia) on the Legacies of the Dunera: Internment, Art and International Heritage. Funded by the NTU Global Heritage Theme.
This event will explore the creation of artworks and heritage projects inspired by the events of the HMT Dunera - a British passenger ship which, in 1940, became involved in a controversial transportation of thousands of "enemy aliens" to Australia, including prisoners of war and many Jewish refugees fleeing National Socialism. Our various guest speakers will present their research as inspired by this theme. The symposium will be held in the National Justice Museum in Nottingham, an important institution dedicated to the history and preservation of human rights and criminal justice.
Our speakers will include Seumas Spark (Monash), co-author of Dunera Lives, a two-volume history of the Dunera boys, and co-editor of Shadowline: The Dunera Diaries of Uwe Radok, Clare Weissenberg who will discuss the The Kitchener rescue, Hannah Wilson (NTU) who will present on artworks created by Holocaust survivors in the British Detention Camps in Cyprus, and Bea Lewkowicz, social anthropologist and director of oral history projects for the Association of Jewish Refugees.
Lunch will be provided, and on the evening of 2nd March will host a wine reception for all attendees.
Language and Memory conference, 5-6 June 2023
Call for papers
The Centre of Public History, Heritage and Memory at Nottingham Trent University is pleased to announce a two-day conference on ‘Language and Memory’ in Nottingham on 5th and 6th June, 2023 (organised by Sophie van den Elzen, Thomas Van de Putte and Natalie Braber). The event aims to bring together memory scholars and linguists to discuss the cross-fertilization between the study of cultural and collective memory with linguistics and other language-oriented disciplines.
We would welcome the submission of abstracts for presentations on the following subjects:
- How do languages and memories inform each other?
- Where (if at all) can we find memory in language?
- Which linguistic perspectives (epistemological, methodological and conceptual) are fruitful for understanding collective/cultural memory?
Closing date for abstracts: 5pm on Friday 17 February 2023.
International conference: Grassroots Activism in History and Memory
Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory, Nottingham Trent University
Thursday 19 - Friday 20 May 2022
From protests against police brutality to marches against pandemic restrictions, we seem to find ourselves in an era of heightened mobilization on streets across the globe. Many of these movements explicitly engage in “memory politics” – using particular interpretations of history to make sense of and transform the present. We have seen this most clearly in efforts to remove statues that glorify racist and colonial violence. This use of the past for purposes of mobilization or persuasion is neither new nor the exclusive domain of “progressive” actors. But it does seem that the present reality has encouraged scholars of history and memory to pay more careful attention to grassroots agency, just as social movement scholars have become more interested in various uses and meanings of the past.
This international and interdisciplinary conference seeks to bring together researchers and heritage/memory practitioners studying grassroots action in history with those interested in understanding the role of history and memory for activism in past and present.
Please note that there will be no conference fee and we may be able to offer a limited number of travel bursaries. In addition to academic discussions, the conference will include opportunities to see local heritage sites.
For questions, please contact Jenny Wustenberg.
Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory Digital Seminar Series
Dr. Meghan Tinsley, Presidential Fellow in Ethnicity and Inequalities Department of Sociology, University of Manchester
Presents: 'The Future of Nostalgia: Temporality in Centre- and Far-Right Political Discourse.
6 May 2020
The recent surge in far-right populism across Europe has been characterised as regressively nostalgic, such that it seeks to restore an imagined, whitewashed, homogeneous past. Drawing from Adorno, Benjamin, and Fanon, I argue that far-right discourse instead embodies future-nostalgia: it grieves an imagined gulf between past and present, and draws from the experience of loss to call for the creation of a new society. Yet whereas Adorno, Benjamin, and Fanon appeal to loss in support of a socialist, anti-fascist agenda, the far right draws from the loss of an imagined homogeneous white Christendom to mobilise support for a white supremacy that is nationally bounded, informed by transnational ideologies, and disseminated via social media. Reading the discourse of the far right as future-nostalgia provides insight into its relationship to history, its distinctions from earlier far-right movements, and its vision of the future.
Meghan Tinsley is a Presidential Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Manchester. Her research concerns melancholia, nostalgia, nationalism, and postcoloniality. Her book, Remembering the Forgotten: Muslims in the British and French First World War Centenary, is under contract with the Routledge series, Memory Studies: Global Constellations.
Key Partners and Beneficiaries
We maintain and thrive with a large number of partnerships, some of which have led to significant grant successes. Some of our key partners include:
- The National Archives
- British Library
- British Museum
- Canalside Heritage Centre
- The National Holocaust Centre and Museum
- Nottingham Castle Trust
- National Justice Museum
- National Arboretum
- REACH project (EU funded ‘Re-designing Access to Cultural Heritage for a wider participation)
- E-RIHS (The European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science)
- Holocaust Centre Huddersfield
- Workhouse Museums Network
- The Memory Studies Association
- The Canadian Museum of History
- The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre
- Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris
- Understanding Southwell
- Remembering Children
- Transformative Memory
- Sous les Pavés The Troubles: Recovering Memory of Northern Ireland's 1968
- From Myth to Majesty: An Historical and Scientific Exploration of Fifteenth-Century British Royal Genealogies
- In Their Own write: a New Poor Law History from Below 1834-1906
- ‘The Welsh Poor Law 1790-1929’, Pilot project funded by and in partnership with The National Archives.
- Mourning as Resistance: Lynching, Memory and Grief
- Post-Socialist Britain
- Luke Butler - Southeast Asian Illuminated Manuscripts : A Study of the Maritime Silk Road Using Scientific Imaging and AI
- Edward Cheetham - Hospital and Healthcare Communities in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire 1900-1939
- Amy Hondsmerck - Playing with Interpretation: The Video Game in the Museum Sector
- Elizabeth Kendrick - The Digitisation and Virtual Future of Holocaust Survivor Testimony at the National Holocaust Centre and Museum
- Chris Pickup - From Science to Exhibition: Research, Imaging and Interpretation in the Heritage Sector
- Makiko Tsunoda A study of 18th to 19th-century Japanese Nanga Paintings through art historical and material analysis, with a focus on the Nanpin School
- Amy Williams - Memory of the Kindertransports in National and Transnational Perspective
- Hannah Wilson - The Materialisation of Sobibor Death Camp: Artefacts, Narratives and Representation
- Carly-Emma Leachman - The Management of the Health and Social Needs of Displaced People during the Second World War
- Stacey Griffiths - A comparative case study of the origins and spatial practices of three mid-Victorian rural reformatory institutions
- Chris Dodd - Labour's commitment to control hospital capital expenditure through greater economic planning in the 1960s
- Heather Green - Critical Approaches to the Interpretation of Literary Heritage: Nottingham as City of Literature
- Catrin Harris - Holocaust Education in Primary Schools
- Rachel Crisp
- Ophelie Castellani - Français or Franglais: the Language of French Expatriates in the Age of Brexit
Find out everything you need to know about funding your doctoral studies – from tuition fees and loans, to studentships and external funding.
Some exemplary recent output from Centre members:
- P. Jones and S. A. King, Navigating the Old English Poor Law: The Kirkby Lonsdale Letters, 1809-1836 (Oxford, 2020). For a substantial pre-publication review of this book see the News section of The Observer, 20.12.20, p.39. The book was featured on the BBC News website on 26 December 2020
- S. A. King, Writing the Lives of the English Poor, 1750s-1830s (London, 2019); Winner of the 2019 British Academy Peter Townsend Prize and the 2020 British Records Association Janette Harley Prize.BLACK, G. and REYNOLDS, C., Engaging Audiences with Difficult Pasts: the
- Voices of ’68 Project at the Ulster Museum, Belfast, Curator 63(1), January 2020, pp21-38.
- WÜSTENBERG, J. AND SIERP, A. (eds.) Agency in Transnational Memory Politics (July 2020, Berghahn Publishers)
- FANTONI, G., "The Jewish Brigade Group and Italy: A Political and Historiographical Quarrel". Journal of Modern History, forthcoming 2020/21
- SMITH, H., BIRD, K., ROESER, J., ROBSON, J., BRABER, N., WRIGHT, D. and STACEY, P.C., 2019. Voice parade procedures: optimising witness performance. Memory. ISSN 0965-8211
- Brown, S.D. and P. Reavey 2018. Embodiment and place in autobiographical remembering: A relational-material approach. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 25(7/8): 200-224.
- WOODLEY, J., 2017. 'Ma is in the park': memory, identity, and the Bethune Memorial’ Journal of American Studies
AHRC Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership scholarships.
Applications are open between October and January each year.