CFP: The Memorial Museum in the Digital Age

Call for Contributors

E-book: The Memorial Museum in the Digital Age

The Memorial Museum in the Digital Age will be the first comprehensive review of thinking and practice related to the effects and affects of the digital for memorial museums. This type of commemorative and educational space has traditionally contained object-heavy displays to stand-in for people, cultures and things that have been destroyed. Whilst some critics believe that such exhibitions help provide a tangible ‘bridge between past and present’ (Joanne Hansen-Glucklich 2014) with objects, others have argued that they create ‘the illusion of simultaneity’ (Andrew Hoskins 2003), i.e. as if we can experience the past in the now. As Paul Williams (2007) contests, objects in the memorial museum can only ever point to the absent. This edited collection seeks to interrogate the impact the introduction of digital practices has had on these traditionally object-heavy spaces. It aims to bring together the voices of academics, archivists, activists and curators to explore questions such as:

  • How does the digital alter our relationship with things that remind us about loss and their association with the past through remediation?
  • To what extent can the digital expand the space of the memorial museum towards the ‘museum without walls’? What are the political and ethical consequences of this particularly in places where destruction of people, cultures and artefacts is ongoing?
  • To what extent are digital tools being used to interrogate spaces of contested memory?
  • How are memorial museums engaging with digital technologies? What are the challenges and opportunities of emerging platforms?
  • To what extent do concepts such as ‘the virtual’, ‘(im)materiality’, ‘loss’ and ‘interactivity’ inform uses of the digital in memorial museums and related archives?
  • To what extent can the digital offer opportunities for alternative, non-professional voices to produce, record and distribute memory of atrocities?
  • How might digital technologies challenge, change and expand our notion of what is meant by the ‘memorial museum’?
  • Where is the digital not being used and why?
  • How might the digital be used to resist practices of forgetting perpetuated by official State, national and transnational memorialisation?
  • How are visitors and the general public using digital technologies to continue or obstruct memorialisation?

Whilst there is a growing number of publications interested in museums and the digital, the specificity of the memorial museum – usually dedicated to the remembrance of people, cultures and places now destroyed – raises particular concerns relating to preservation, materiality, ethics and absence that require careful consideration in the digital age.

Academics including PhD students, museum researchers, curators, activists and archivists are encouraged to propose an abstract. Ideally, the edited collection aims to include chapters that cover a range of examples from across the world and in relation to a diverse range of genocides, conflicts, histories of slavery and colonialism, and disasters, and hopes to include theoretical pieces as well as discussions about the practices of using digital technologies in memorial museums.

Please send abstracts of 200-350 words with a short bio (no more than 150 words) to v.walden@sussex.ac.uk by March 20th2019. Finished articles would be 6,000-8,000 words in length and ETA delivery time on these will be late August 2019. If you have any queries, do not hesitate to get in contact before the deadline. In the spirit of open access and speaking across disciplines, the manuscript will be published as a free e-book. The proposal has already attracted the interest of an appropriate UK university-based publisher.

Given the e-book format, it may be possible to include video, image or interactive content to which you have the right to publish. Less traditional formats of publication are encouraged and can be discussed with the publisher at the stage of abstract submission. Please note the language of the publication will be English.

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