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Peace and Conflict Culture Network

The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, black and white photograph
The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, black and white photograph
The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina by architect Boris Magaš, 1963.

Addressing the complex and contested questions that face post-conflict societies, of what we should remember, what we should forget, and why?

Project duration: 14 February 2022 – 14 August 2023

Funded by: AHRC

Project summary

The network will seek to facilitate connections with academics and other relevant stakeholders and mobilise arts and social institutions engaged in peace, conflict and cultural discourse in the UK and abroad in selected regions.

It will posit a central research question: what is the role of museums and memory sites that deal with memory and conflict, and how can they more effectively promote tolerance, resilience, inter-group and inter-ethnic cooperation?

Firstly, it will investigate the role of art and artists in a museum/site of memory context in contributing to peacebuilding processes. Secondly, the network will facilitate discussions around the question of how youth can be engaged actively in peacebuilding through engagement with museums/sites of memory.

The network will foreground the contribution from academics and institutions from post conflict societies in particular from the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and the Great Lakes region, Lebanon and the Middle East and Colombia and Latin America.

Project team

The Peace and Conflict Culture Network is convened by the Photography and the Archive Research Centre.
Core team:

Project aims

  • Develop and nurture the Peace and Conflict Culture Network (PCCP) as a community of practice bringing together relevant academics globally together with museums, memorials, galleries, sites of memory and non-governmental organisations and cultural producers.
  • Produce a range of public facing outputs including 2 conferences on Museums and Memory, Sarajevo, 2022 and 2023, an edited volume of conference papers, a series of think pieces published in the BIRN web portal, 4 regional workshops in Bosnia Herzegovina, Colombia, Lebanon and Rwanda, and a series of virtual workshops and seminars with the archived sessions to be hosted by Sites of Conscience as a resource for its membership.
  • Inform directly the development of several projects including the PCRC's summer school for youth activists at the Srebrenica Memorial Centre, and the BIRN 'Reporters House' museum in Sarajevo.

Events and Activities

Peace and Conflict Culture Network Launch

6 April 2022
Online and Sarajevo

The launch event outlined the proposed Network and its initial activities and then opened up the discussion for contributions from participants to help shape the themes of the network for the future.

Why Remember? Peace, Conflict and Culture Conference 2022

6-8 July 2022
Hotel Holiday
Sarajevo and Srebrenica

The Why Remember Conference 2022 addressed the complex and contested questions that face post-conflict societies, of what should we remember, what should we forget, and, ultimately, why?
The key theme for the 2022 conference was: how museums and other cultural institutions can deal with the past? What is the role, if any, of such institutions in making sense of contested pasts and narratives as a part of peacebuilding and conflict prevention?

Keynote presentation: Genocide Memory and Memorials – Remembering through Memory Activism.

Tali Nates, the founder and director of the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre explored the role of genocide memorials and museums in confronting a country’s painful pasts. Using the case study of the Johannesburg Centre, she explored the role of such sites as spaces of memory activism, making connections between genocide and current issues.

Workshop: Why Remember?

5 July 2022
History Museum of Bosnia & Herzegovina
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Along with the Why Remember Conference 2022 the Peace and Conflict Cultural Network held a one-day workshop with the theme ‘The Architecture of Memory’ at the Historical Museum of Bosnia Herzegovina in Sarajevo. The workshop explored how the design, architecture and curation of museum spaces can be used creatively to engage with audiences in the context of conflict and peace. The workshop included presentations from James Bulger of the Imperial War Museum who worked on the new award-winning Holocaust and Second World War galleries; Tali Nates, the director of the  Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre; George Arbid,  director of the Arab Center for Architecture in Beirut; and the architectural design team Organizirano oblikovanje,  Antun Sevsek and Damir Gamulin.

Workshop: Ethics of Display

7 December 2022

Hosted by the Peace and Conflict Cultural Network this symposium explored contested ethical questions around the museum display of testimonies, personal artefacts, photographs and even in some cases physical remains of victims of genocide and human rights abuses. With contributions from Dr. Zuzanna Dziuban of the Austrian Academy of Sciences; James Bulgin, director of Public History at the Imperial War Museum; Elma Hodžić, of the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina; Hasan Hasanović, of the Srebrenica Memorial Centre, and Tali Nates, director of the Johannesburg Genocide Centre.

Workshop: An image of Ratko Mladic – Hauntings of the Panopticon

14 December 2022
Belgrade, Serbia

The Peace and Conflict Cultural Network and The NGO Hub from Belgrade invited young people to work with contentious images in public spaces. We posed the questions: how can we intervene in directive representations behind graffiti, portraits, and adverts of political nature? What are these pictures creating beyond their instructive messages? What aesthetics can we offer to challenge such visual stories? The young people joined us to explore the possibilities of changing our urban environments and encouraging citizens to see the layers of meaning at work in the creation of images of our surroundings.

Workshop: Beirut

Beirut, Lebanon

The Peace and Conflict Cultural Network are organising an in-person workshop in Beirut in March. More details to follow.

Peace and Conflict Cultural Network Conference 2023

Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Following on from the success of the Why Remember? Conference 2022, the Peace and Conflict Cultural Network are organising a conference in Sarajevo in July 2023. This conference will be peer-reviewed, and the call for papers will be sent out early in 2023.

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