This half-day workshop brought together academics, practitioners and activists to consider the ways in which post-conflict urban environments function as archives of traumatic or violent pasts, and the politics of excavation of these pasts. In some cases, histories of conflict are enfolded with processes of urban transformation or rehabilitation, intrinsic to projects of nation-building and recovery. At the same time, cities house multitudes of narratives which remain marginalised or unacknowledged in public space, although these occluded histories may “leak” into urban public space in ways which subvert dominant representations of the past. Intersecting and conflicting memories and narratives accrue around the city’s built forms, as well as by alternative means which may be more subtle or difficult to access.
Questions under discussion included, among others: How are histories of conflict and violence located and marked in urban public space? What means are available for recovering occluded narratives of collective memory, beyond the traditions of the monument or the museum? How do practices of urban public memory intersect with processes of transformation and post-conflict reconstruction? And what is the political potential for the post-conflict city’s memorial landscape to function as a site of multiplicity, contestation, and the participation of diverse publics in the making and re-making of urban space?
Rashid Ali, RA Projects
Gruia Badescu, University of Cambridge
Mona el Hallak Ghaibeh, Beit Beirut
Cara Levey, University College Cork
Naomi Roux, LSE Cities