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 monument, handed-down narrative, text and image. It is seldom neutral, and frequently 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.
Research Activities and Funding
From 2017 the centre has been running a series of dedicated research seminars, including academic practitioners in both History and Heritage, postgraduate forums and public speakers. Income to support these activities has been drawn from major awarding bodies, such as a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship awarded to professor Bill Niven to support a series of lectures and research collaborations with Professor Andrew Port in 2018.
Significant support has also been awarded by the Marc Fitch Fund, Friends of Local English History, the Thoroton Society, Nottinghamshire Local History Association, and Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaology to support the publication of East Midlands History and Heritage magazine. As well as collaborative activities, members have also been successful in gaining support for individual projects: Woodley has been awarded a British Academy small grant to carry out research on ‘Mourning as Resistance’, and Hodgson by an NTU Global Heritage grant for ‘From Myth to Majesty.’
The centre is also involved in co-curating and developing exhibitions based on cutting edge research with a variety of partner institutions which also involve our postgraduate cohort. For example, Bill Niven’s Legacies of the Holocaust exhibition at the National Holocaust Centre and Museum has led to associated national and international exhibitions on the Kindertransport and World Jewish Relief co-ordinated by PhD Student Amy Williams. In 2019 Duncan Grewcock and students of the MA in Museum & Heritage Development co-curated Liberated Voices: Stories of Women (In)Justice, with the National Justice Museum and Canalside Visions: Beijing to Beeston and Back Again (Part 1), with the Canalside Heritage Centre. Through Professor Haida Liang (NTU Physics) we also work collaboratively on a number of projects with the Imaging & Sensing for Archaeology, Art History & Conservation Group (ISAAC).
Additional activities include:
- Invited/Keynote papers e.g. Graham Black and Chris Reynolds, Museums and Difficult Pasts: Northern Ireland’s ’68.
- The organisation of international workshops and conferences, including the annual Memory Studies Association by Jenny Wüstenberg (MSA Co-President)
- Commonwealth Association of Museums workshop The Post-Colonial Museum in Liverpool 2018.
- Schools Outreach e.g. Rushcliffe School, Arnold Hill Academy, Nottingham College, the German School in Richmond, King’s School Macclesfield.
- TV and radio interviews e.g. Notts TV, TVNZ, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Nottingham, Radio NZ.
- Joint writing and feedback retreats
News and Events
'Mourning on the Margins' - Online workshops
Nottingham Trent University’s Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory will host this series of online workshops, facilitated by Dr Kami Fletcher - Associate Professor of History at Albright College and Dr Jenny Woodley - Senior Lecturer in History at Nottingham Trent University, exploring the question of 'Mourning on the Margins'.
The online workshops are running on the 4, 11 and 18 November 2020.
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
Projects related to the centre work in collaboration with a variety of local, national and international institutions, for example:
- 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
- Legacies of the Holocaust
- 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
- East Midlands History and Heritage Society
- East Midlands Voices
- Community curation and curators: reversing the curator-audience relationship
- The Jewish Brigade Group and Italy
- Memory and Race in the USA
- Mourning as Resistance: Lynching, Memory and Grief
- The Wailing Woman: La Lllorona and Day of the Dead
- Understanding Southwell
- Remembering Children
- Transformative Memory
- Dr Graham Black
- Professor Steven Brown
- Verusca Calabria
- Dr Gianluca Fantoni
- Dr Amy Fuller
- Dr Duncan Grewcock
- Dr Andrew Gritt
- Dr Natalie Braber
- Dr Natasha Hodgson
- Dr Nick Hayes
- Professor Haida Liang
- Dr Sergio Lussana
- Dr Katharina Massing
- Professor Bill Niven
- Dr Chris Reynolds
- Neville Stankley
- Dr Jenny Woodley
- Dr Jenny Wüstenberg (Director)
- 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
- 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, edited with Aline Sierp (July 2020, Berghahn Publishers)
- WÜSTENBERG, J., ‘Pluralism, Governance, and the New Right in German Memory Politics”, German Politics and Society, forthcoming 2020.
- FANTONI, G., "The Jewish Brigade Group and Italy: A Political and Historiographical Quarrel". Journal of Modern History, forthcoming 2020/21
- REYNOLDS, C. AND BLACK, G., 2019. ‘Engaging Audiences with Difficult Pasts: The Voices of ’68 Project at the Ulster Museum, Belfast’, Curator. The Museum Journal. 17 November 2019.
- REYNOLDS, C. 2019. 'Europe's 1968: The transnational perspective' in Dupont, C. and Burns, K. Restless Youth. Growing up in Europe, 1945 to now. Luxembourg: Publications of the European Union, 2019. pp. 46-55.
- REYNOLDS, C., 2019. ‘Sobre el disputado pasado de Irlanda del Norte: 1968 y la memoria agonística’ in E. BAUTISTA NARANJO and C. DUÉE, eds., Mayo del 68, 50 años después. Madrid: Dykinson.
- ‘Preface’ to Special Issue on “Memories of Joy” with Jeffrey Olick and Aline Sierp, in Memory Studies, Vol.12 No.1, February 2019.
- WÜSTENBERG, J., (ed.) ‘Locating Transnational Memory: how “unbound” remembrance is embedded in public spaces' editor of a Special Issue of the International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society (published online first July 2019).
- 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
- FANTONI, G., 2018. ‘Brotherhood of arms: patriotism, Atlanticism and sublimation of war in 1950s Italian war movies.’ In: L. SALSINI and T. CRAGIN, eds., Resistance, heroism, loss: World War II in Italian literature and film. The Fairleigh Dickinson University Press series in Italian studies . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
- HAYES, N. , 2018. ‘Heritage, craft, and identity: twisthands and their machinery in what's left of the British lace industry’. Labour History Review, 83 (2), pp. 147-177.
- NIVEN, B., 2018. Hitler and Film: The Fuhrer's Hidden Passion. Yale University Press.
- 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.
- Brown, S.D. and P. Reavey 2018. Rethinking function, self and culture in ‘difficult’ Autobiographical Memories. In Handbook of Culture and Memory, ed. B. Wagoner. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.159-181.
- Brown, S.D. and P. Reavey 2018. Contextualising autobiographical remembering: An expanded view of memory. In Collaborative Remembering: Theories, Research and Applications, eds. M. Mead, A. Barnier, P. Van Bergen, C. Harris and J. Sutton. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.197-215.
- Museum Informal Learning in the ‘Age of Participation’, neuesmuseum die österreichische museumszeitschrift 18(4), October 2018, pp46-55
- Graham Black Meeting the audience challenge in the ‘Age of Participation’, Museum Management and Curatorship, 33(4), September 2018, pp302 – 319
- Graham Black It’s the Principles that Matter, in Soares, B.B., Brown, B & Nazor, O. (eds) (2018) Defining Museums of the 21st Century: plural experiences, Paris: ICOFOM, pp198 - 205
- Reynolds, C and Drake, H., 2018. 60 years of France and Europe. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138494459.
- Reynolds, C., and Blair., W., 2018, ‘‘Museums and ‘difficult pasts’: Northern Ireland’s 1968’, Museum International, Vol. 70, 3-4, pp. 12-25.
- Reynolds, C., 2018. ‘État présent: mai 68 at 50: beyond the doxa.’ Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies, 9 (2), pp. 10-16. ISSN 2044-5512
- Reynolds, C., ‘Beneath the Troubles, the Cobblestones: Recovering the “Buried” Memory of Northern Ireland’s 1968, The American Historical Review, Volume 123, Issue 3, 1 June 2018.
- Reynolds, C., ‘Transnational Memories and Gender: Northern Ireland’s 1968’ in Colvin, Sarah and Karcher, Katharina, Women, Global Protest Movements, and Political Agency. Rethinking the Legacy of 1968 (Abingdon, Routledge, 2018)
- Wüstenberg, Jenny ‘Erinnerungskulturen zwischen Traditionspflege und Konflikt. Ansätze in Memory Studies,’ Working Paper, Kommission “Erinnerungskulturen der sozialen Demokratie,” November 2018.
- Wüstenberg, Jenny ‘Introduction: Contesting Memory and Citizenship in Canada’ Special Issue of Citizenship Studies, Vol.22, No.4, June 2018, with Michael Nijhawan and Daphne Winland.
- BRABER, N. and ROBINSON, J., 2018. East Midlands English. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. ISBN 9781501502354
- LUSSANA, S., 2018. Reassessing Brer Rabbit: friendship, altruism, and community in the folklore of enslaved African-Americans. Slavery & Abolition, 39 (1), pp. 123-146. ISSN 0144-039X
- MASSING, K., 2018. Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in an ethnic theme park setting – the case of Binglanggu in Hainan Province, China. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 24 (1), pp. 66-82. ISSN 1352-7258
- BLACK, G., 2017 Ch 17, ‘Museums and Tourism: time to make friends’, in Hooper, G.(ed.) Heritage and Tourism in Britain and Ireland, London: Palgrave/Macmillan
- NIVEN, B., 2017. Generation war and post-didactic memory: the Nazi past in contemporary Germany. In: P. Finney, ed., Remembering the second world war. Remembering the modern world . London: Routledge, pp. 30-45.
- WOODLEY, J., 2017. 'Ma is in the park': memory, identity, and the Bethune Memorial’ Journal of American Studies
- Brown, S.D. and P. Reavey 2017. False memories of epistemic consensus. Culture & Psychology 23(2): 171-185. DOI: 10.1177/1354067X17695764
- Reynolds, C., ‘From mai-juin ’68 to Nuit Debout: Shifting perspectives on France’s anti-police’, Modern and Contemporary France, 26 (2), pp. 145-163. ISSN 0963-9489.
- Reynolds, C., ‘Presidential elections and Europe: the 2012 game-changer’, Modern and Contemporary France, Vol. 25, 2, 2017. pp. 117-134.
- Reynolds, C., ‘Northern Ireland’s 1968 in a post-Troubles context’, Interventions, Vol. 19, 5, 2017. pp. 631-645.
- Wüstenberg, Jenny 'The Purposes of the Memory Studies Association: An Invitation,’ with Jeffrey Olick and Aline Sierp, in Memory Studies Vol.10, No.4, October 2017.
- Wüstenberg, Jenny and Anamaria Dutceac-Segesten ‘Memory Studies – the State of the Field’ Memory Studies Vol.10, No.4, October 2017.
- Jenny Wüstenberg Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, September 2017, Paperback December 2018, German edition 2020).
- AMOS, D. and BRABER, N., 2017. Bradwell's images of coal mining in the East Midlands. Sheffield: Bradwell Books. ISBN 9781910551875
- BRABER, N., ASHMORE, C. and HARRISON, S., 2017. Pit talk of the East Midlands. Sheffield: Bradwell Books. ISBN 9781910551806
- HODGSON, N., 2017. Reputation, authority and masculine identities in the political culture of the first crusaders: the career of Arnulf of Chocques. History, 102 (353), pp. 889-913. ISSN 0018-2648
- BLACK, G., 2016. Remember the 70%: sustaining 'core' museum audiences. Museum Management and Curatorship.
- FULLER, A., 2015. Between two worlds: the autos sacramentales of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Cambridge: MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association).
- COOKE, P. and FANTONI, G., 2016. 'We all miss you': Enrico Berlinguer in post-Berlin Wall Italy. Twentieth Century Communism (11), pp. 130-146.
- HAYES, N., 2014. Nottingham elites and civil society 1900-1950: status, engagement & lifestyle. Nottingham: Nottingham Elites
- NIVEN, B., 2014. Representations of flight and expulsion in East German prose works. Studies in German literature linguistics and culture. Rochester: Camden House.
- WOODLEY, J., 2014. Art for equality: the NAACP’s cultural campaign for civil rights. University Press of Kentucky.
We’re offering fully-funded PhD studentships aligned with our research centres for UK, EU or International students. Find out more about our PhD studentships