The Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories (CMNH) exists to develop, focus and stimulate research at the University of Brighton concerned with the cultural significance of the past for our lived experience, social relationships, politics and identities in the present. Emphasising the plural 'histories', the Centre’s work explores the relations between powerful or official narratives about the past and those which give expression to subordinate, marginalised and neglected historical experience. The complex interconnections between present and past evoked by current concepts of memory, understood as a cultural and political as well as a psychological process, are among our main concerns. Our research investigates the practices that produce and circulate knowledges and understandings of the past. It reflects critically on the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of our own research practices, and facilitates engagement between academic scholarship and the work of creative practitioners, community and political activists, and other professional stakeholders involved in making histories, in representing the past, and in producing forms of remembrance and commemoration.
Founded in late 2008, CMNH brings together researchers in arts, humanities and social sciences from all across the University of Brighton with related and complementary interests and expertise. Trans- and interdisciplinary in ethos, the Centre draws on scholarship in a range of disciplines including history, cultural studies, literature, memory studies, social anthropology, cultural geography, art, media and visual studies, performance studies, critical theory, sociology, psycho-social studies, critical heritage studies, and narrative theory. In providing a locus for research development within the University and a platform for wider scholarly and social engagement, CRMNH has established a distinctive approach which embraces creative and critical practice, and encompasses academic, professional and community development.
Since its foundation, the Centre has built a reputation internationally, nationally and locally both for the quality and originality of its research activities and outcomes, and for its inclusive as well as critical tone of debate and engagement. Fostering a participatory and egalitarian ethos in education and the production of knowledge, CMNH is committed to developing historical research that challenges social inequalities, oppressions and injustices, interrogates received meanings of the past, and produces alternative accounts that help to generate fresh thinking about possible futures.