Afterlives of Protest: The Protest Memory Research Network

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Centre for Cultural Policy Studies

Abstract

This is a particularly timely moment to examine how protest memory might act as a site of knowledge, citizenship and creativity for a wide range of interested parties. We live in times of upheaval, with clear shifts in the prevailing norms and a strong distrust in traditional politics and expertise. We are also experiencing transformations in the nature of protest, which is becoming increasingly individualised and yet more pervasive and mediated. How protest is remembered, recovered and recycled, and by whom, is critical to explore.

By evoking the 'afterlives of protest', we are interested in the expanded temporalities and spatialities of protest. This includes the examination of not just heightened moments of resistance taking place in the public sphere, but also banal articulations of radical pasts in the everyday and how memories associated with social movements circulate in a range of creative and medial contexts.

Discussion and knowledge exchange activities between academics, heritage managers, artists and activists/campaigners are vital to the work of the network, as multiple stakeholder perspectives are needed to understand the creative and cultural value of protest, and how diverse and 'risky' legacies of protest can be managed publicly and privately.

To achieve these objectives, our network will:

1. Identify and connect new theoretical, conceptual and methodological frameworks for exploring protest memory as an inter-disciplinary and (sub-/trans-) national object of study. How is protest memory understood?
2. Chart the ways in which protest memories move (spatially, temporally, medially) by identifying the social practices, cultural/heritage industries and organisational actors that are the custodians, curators and circulators of protest memory. Where does protest memory stop and go?
3. Understand the memorability of protest through sharing research and practice on the embodied, affective and material dynamics of protest as creativity, storytelling, and performance. Why are some protest memories not forgotten?
4. Explore protest memory and its transmission as a form of social learning about past practices of resistance to explore how we might draw on these to build both informal and formal protest knowledge. Our idea here is that the deep, time-rich and embodied practices of protest can and should be shared, materialised and mobilised for re-imagining resistance. What can we learn from protest memory?

Planned Impact

In our workshops, conference and website, we aim to assist in the building and curation of protest memory research in order to contribute to a more plural, cultural and social understanding of protest. The network will provide a unique, interdisciplinary and international opportunity for practitioners/activists, and curators/museums to consider the contribution of protest memory to their work and activities. Multiple forms of expertise, engagement and knowledge generation will be built into the entire research process. Our impact activities are targeted at the successful achievement of these goals via:

PROJECT WEBSITE AND PROMOTIONAL WORK will disseminate the contribution of the network and stimulate public debate by enacting 'distributed expertise' through co-produced activities and outputs. The wider public will have the opportunity to engage with the resources on the website, its media and with outcomes, with added interaction through social media. We will also explore visual ways of presenting network activities to wider publics, such as the content curation tool Storify.

Each network workshop will be captured in BLOG POSTINGS so that key discussion points and findings can be easily disseminated in a creative format. The accessibility of our reporting on the network activities will appeal to activists, curators and museums seeking short and engaging dialogue on protest memorability, art and activism. Such content will be co-produced with our advisory group.

The EXHIBITION/DISPLAY of the network activities and protest memories will provide opportunities for the circulation of new visual materials and narratives of protest, with the aim to reach a wide audience. These materials will be exhibited at the capstone conference and within a small gallery space at The People's History Museum.

CULTURAL MEMORY POLICY REFLECTIONS - in terms of policy beneficiaries, our network will provide a significant interdisciplinary and multi-sector perspective on protest, activism and campaign culture through memory work and the arts. We seek to reach cultural and memory policy audiences through our contacts with European and non-European memory, heritage and identity policy research/action such as the EU Cultural Base and the Brazilian UNESCO MIL-CLICKS social media movement. Through the circulation of our policy reflections at the end of the project (as a cultural memory policy of protest research), our aim is to garner the insights of protest/social movement researchers, practitioners and cultural actors and facilitate further contributions from organizations that respond to our reflections. Given our ultimate goal of extending this network into a larger project, our consultation will bring significant potential to establish a longer-term collaboration that bridges academic research and protest memory practice.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title "Three Day Work-Out". 
Description Exhibition Curation and Arts Programming · 24/05-26/05/2019. Co-Curator, Tate Liverpool. With Birmingham School of Art and Post-Workers Theatre Collective. 
Type Of Art Artistic/Creative Exhibition 
Year Produced 2019 
Impact Co-production A participatory arts programme centred on remembering working-class social movement histories within the local area, with a focus on communal cycling and singing, delivered in partnership with local activist groups. Generated footfall of over 650 visitors across the three-day installation period. https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/tate-exchange/workshop/three-day-work-out 
URL https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/tate-exchange/workshop/three-day-work-out
 
Description Protest Memory is a mixed-media phenomena that is moving horizontally across culture, art, media and digital platforms in established and new ways. It is personal, local, national and global all at once.

It is a challenge requiring great expertise, knowledge, skills and resources to capture contemporary protest memory for future generations. Some museums, archives and galleries have risen to this challenge but most are thinking about their collections in the light of social change and audience diversity.

Researching protest memory should be participatory and collaborative with museums, archives and protest organisations.
Exploitation Route The principal investigator and co-investigator have submitted a proposal for a co-authored monograph which will include the voices of professional from the galleries, libraries, archives and museums sector.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Leisure Activities, including Sports, Recreation and Tourism,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description Our network allowed the Peoples History Museum, Manchester to partner with academics on the research process and their voices will be part of the future monograph. We hope they will use the monograph as a case study for their future work as a form of reflective practice.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Leverhulme - Pollyanna Ruiz (Workshop Lead)
Amount £54,807 (GBP)
Organisation University of Sussex 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 01/2021
 
Description ACUMEN - Archives for Climate Uncertainty, Memory and Engagement 
Organisation University of the West of England
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution A collaboration between University of West of England, University of Warwick, Loughborough University, Mass Observation Archive, Modern Records Centre and variety of regional and professional archives to explore uncertainty evidence.
Collaborator Contribution Partners from the Afterlives of Protest network (Mass Observation Archive, Modern Records Centre) brought their expertise and knowledge of holding s to the development of a large AHRC grant submitted February 27th 2020.
Impact This is a multi-disciplinary collaboration. ACUMEN is exploring reconnecting communities with their cultural memories of everyday uncertainty. National repositories such as The National Archives, Mass Observation Archive (MOA), BBC Archives, BFI, MetLib, British Geological Survey (BGS) Archives and the Modern Records Centre will be mobilised to re-visit their roles and collections for evidence of climate uncertainty experience and adaptation. Regional and local collections (such as the Media Archive for Central England, Gloucestershire Heritage Hub, John Moore's Museum, Tewkesbury) and the informal archives of local flood action groups are being explored to creatively connect to address the need for communities to learn to live with uncertainty in place-specific ways.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Queer Museology with KCL as lead 
Organisation King's College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Queer Museology, scoping project, with Dr Serena Iervolino (KCL) and other King's colleagues. Jan-May 2019. Exploratory arts-based research with young LGBTIQ+ artists and a practitioner-led workshop with contributions from key role holders at Tate, Queer Britain, the V&A and Pitts River Museum asking what a queer museum may look and feel like, and what kind of connections it would have with community and activist groups. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Institute, King's College London.
Collaborator Contribution KCL partners collaborating on a future AHRC proposal
Impact None yet
Start Year 2020
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation Aarhus University
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation Nottingham Trent University
Department School of Arts and Humanities
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation Paris West University Nanterre La Défense
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description Transformative Memory - Confronting the Past in Grand-Scale Socio-Economic Change 
Organisation University of Warsaw
Country Poland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project seeks to move memory and heritage studies beyond an exclusive focus on "conflictual pasts" in the traditional sense, while not neglecting the importance of understanding collective responses to historical violence. We aim to bring together scholars to discuss memory from a holistic perspective of large-scale transformation processes. The following areas have been identified as starting points for framing discussions: Post-industrial communities Reconfiguration of welfare and social care systems Post-conflict divisions in society Changing political landscapes Environmental change
Collaborator Contribution Researchers of protest memory are contributing in terms of leadership, conference contributions and research meetings across Europe to develop a COST network bid for April 2020.
Impact Conference at Nottingham Trent University, 3-5 June 2020
Start Year 2019
 
Description 'Collaboration and Social Change' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 10th January 2019. Gallery Talk: Red Chidgey. 'Collaboration and Social Change'. Modern Couples Exhibition, Barbican Art Gallery.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description 'Curating Live Protest Memory: Protest Media Ecologies and the 2017 Women's March' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Red Chidgey (Co-I)
11th July 2018. Conference Paper: Red Chidgey. 'Curating Live Protest Memory: Protest Media Ecologies and the 2017 Women's March'. Console-ing Passions Annual Conference. Bournemouth University. 11-13 July 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description 'The Afterlives of Protest: An Experimental Debate on Remembering Activism' 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 29th September 2018. Talk: Red Chidgey. 'The Afterlives of Protest: An Experimental Debate on Remembering Activism'. Action: Arrest Symposium, King's College London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Commemorating Women's Suffrage - How do we remember a movement? One-day public symposium. Speakers from Parliamentary Archives, 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Red Chidgey (Co-I) 4th July 2018. Organiser: Red Chidgey. Commemorating Women's Suffrage - How do we remember a movement? One-day public symposium. Speakers from Parliamentary Archives, Museum of London, People's History Museum, Now 14-18, Suffrage Arts, Womanchester Statue Project, East End Women's Museum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Digital memory and history culture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Panel for ESSHC 2020 in Leiden

Organizer: Robin Ekelund
Discussant: Joanne Garde-Hansen

This session explores uses of the past and memory culture in the contemporary digital age. A particular focus will be on the existential dimensions of digital memory and history cultures, that is, how the digital turn has affected the ways in which people deal with and relate to the past. The papers represent a broad perspective on this topic; how people use social media to gain and produce historical knowledge, how the Internet and online archives enables and affects memories of the past, as well as the intertwinement of technology, digital interfaces and memory communities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Invited Conference Panel 'Memory Studies Association' Madrid June 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Development of a new strand of research to the Arts and Humanities based on water and media. A key part of the Memory Studies International Conference June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.memorystudiesassociation.org/
 
Description Paris-Seine (EUTOPIA) Session TRUTH, MEDIATION, HERITAGE & PUBLIC DISCOURSE 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Contemporary public discourses seize the explosion of communication and its new technological forms in the public space. Politicians, journalists, public figures, cultural institutions and creatives develop new forms of argumentation that often mark a break with classical rhetorical forms and notions of impartiality. The direct relationship to the public, via social networks, multimedia channels, the immediacy of public communication and the increasingly sophisticated expectations of the receiver have an impact on both the public discourse and its content. This session brings together research on these two issues with special attention to the digital humanities and the heritage dimension of digital archives for the reasoned analysis of contemporary issues, in that they constitute a trace of discursive processes on different subjects. The objective is to make a panorama of current studies on the turning points of the argumentation of the truth, the rhetoric of fake news and mis- and disinformation, new facets of the controversy in media discourses, electoral campaigns, activist content, or the expressions of the various forms of commitment.

Les discours publics contemporains s'emparent de l'explosion de la communication et de ses formes technologiques nouvelles dans l'espace public. Politiques, journalistes, personnalités publiques, institutions culturelles et créatives développent de nouvelles formes argumentatives qui marquent souvent une rupture avec les formes rhétoriques classiques et les notions de l'impartialité. Le rapport direct au public, par l'intermédiaire des réseaux sociaux, les canaux multimédia, l'immédiateté de la communication publique et les attentes de plus en plus sophistiquées du récepteur ont un impact à la fois sur l'habillage du discours public et sur son contenu. Cette session rassemble des recherches sur ces deux pendants avec une attention particulière aux humanités numériques et à la dimension patrimoniale des archives numériques pour l'analyse raisonnée des questions contemporaines, en ce qu'elles constituent une trace de processus discursifs sur différents sujets. L'objectif est de faire un panorama des études en cours sur les tournants de l'argumentation de la vérité, de la rhétorique des fake-news, des nouvelles facettes de la polémique dans les discours médiatiques, les campagnes électorales, le contenu militant ou les expressions des diverses formes d'engagement.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Red Chidgey "How to Curate a Living Archive: Archival Assemblages and Transnational Protest" 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact "How to Curate a Living Archive: Archival Assemblages and Transnational Protest". Memory Studies Association Annual Conference. Complutense University Madrid. 25-28 June 2019. Paper delivered by Red Chidgey
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Red Chidgey "How to Curate a Living Archive: Archival Assemblages and Transnational Protest". 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Conference Paper at 'Memory Studies Association' Annual Conference. Complutense University Madrid. 25-28 June 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Red Chidgey Enterprising Activism: Creative Work, Activist Cultures and the Money Taboo 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Enterprising Activism: Creative Work, Activist Cultures and the Money Taboo. Research Talk, Northumbria University. 6 November 2019
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020