The Art of Remembering: Research, Action and Healing – Symposium Summary

28th November 2022

Image: Linda Norris presentation – Director of International Coalition of Sites of Conscience

On 14 November 2022 at Newcastle University, Arts&Heritage inaugurated an annual symposium as part of our role connecting the narratives of heritage sites and museums, artists and communities. We were honoured to work in partnership with Newcastle University’s Institute for Creative Arts Practice. The day of sharing research and practice, methods and testimonies was shaped with our guest speakers Linda Norris – Director of International Coalition of Sites of Conscience; Jean-Francois Manicom – Senior Curator of Transatlantic Slavery & Legacies, International Slavery Museum; Dr Gonul Bozoglu – Newcastle University; and textile & performance artist Enam Gbewonyo.

Together with our audience, the symposium explored how agencies, curators, researchers and artists can approach themes of unresolved conflict and collective loss in sites and communities. Discussions ranged from how we might empower ourselves to prompt difficult conversations at heritage sites – what makes it possible to embrace feelings of discomfort in a museum setting – when to value the minor and the personal in official structures of heritage, and how an artist makes space for healing within institutions.

We look forward to sharing further reflections and extracts from each speaker in our Resource Hub in the new year. In the meantime we encourage you to watch the stunning short film Gardez L’Eau (2022) shared by Gbewonyo as part of her Q&A. Made with filmmaker Freddie Leyden and adapted from a live performance at God’s House Tower, Southampton initiated by Arts&Heritage Meeting Point Programme, in partnership with a space arts.

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