Fields of interest
The work undertaken by the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories is focused in a number of interconnected fields of research interest, theory and practice. These are:
Within and across these fields, our research work encompasses the following core activities:
- Organisation and hosting of events – an annual seminar series; an annual symposium; an annual postgraduate conference; regular national or international conferences and symposia – that provide opportunities for the presentation of research, dialogue and debate; for networking; and for the involvement of individuals, groups and communities from inside and outside the University in our work.
- Publication of high-quality research in the form of monographs and co-authored books, edited collections of essays, articles, scholarly journals, and other public outcomes including exhibitions, lectures and research seminars.
- Building partnerships and collaborative relationships with other scholars in local, national and global networks, both formal and informal.
- Building partnerships and collaborative relationships outside the academy with communities, civil-society organisations, and creative, professional, social and political practitioners and activists, in ways that further social engagement.
- Attracting postgraduate students at Masters and Doctoral levels, and engaging them in all aspects of our work.
- Developing research funding applications to support these various activities.
Whenever possible, CMNH seeks to promote interconnectivity between these core activities, in the form of Project areas developed over a number of years. These encompass and encourage synergy between our organised events, the production of publications and other outcomes, the building of scholarly and social partnerships, the development of research capacity and of individual researchers including postgraduate students, and research funding applications.
This interconnectivity characterises the Centre’s richest and most dynamic projects areas and underpins its main achievements, illustrated in the following three cases:
History and Cultural Memory of Twentieth-Century World Wars
Led by Dr Lucy Noakes, this project area initiates new approaches in the social and cultural history of the Second World War and its aftermath, and investigates the theory and practice of cultural memory concerned with both the First and Second World Wars. Highlights of our work include:
- A major three-day, international and interdisciplinary conference on 'The Second World War: Popular Culture and Cultural Memory’. Organised in collaboration with colleagues from Strathclyde University and the University of Portsmouth, and supported by a British Academy Conference Funding grant, this was hosted by CMNH in July 2011.
- A co-edited book arising out of this conference, British Cultural Memory and the Second World War (eds Lucy Noakes & Juliette Pattinson), London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.
- Five doctoral students located and supervised within the Centre – two with full-funded studentships from the University of Brighton, two from the AHRC/TECHNE consortium and one the recipient of an Imperial War Museum Collaborative Doctoral studentship on ‘The IWM and Public Memory of the Second World War’, - Are researching cultural memory of the two World Wars.
- Collaborative participation in a three-year AHRC–funded ‘Gateways to the First World War’ public engagement centre (2014–17) based at the University of Kent, which brings together universities, community groups and museums across the UK, with links to international heritage partners, to develop and support public engagement with histories of the First World War.
- The award of an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Collaborative Research Fellowship, in partnership with the University of Mississippi, USA, supporting a two-year project (2014–16) on 'Gender, Citizenship and the Non-Combatant at War in a Democratic State'.
The Northern Ireland Troubles & the Peace Process: Legacies, Silences & Memories in Conflict Transformation
Led by Professor Graham Dawson, this project area investigates the complexities, contradictions and contestations entailed in efforts towards ‘dealing with the past’ and transforming the legacies of violent political conflict, in the context of the peace process to resolve the conflict in and over Northern Ireland. Highlights of our work include:
- A series of scholarly publications, lectures and public talks at universities and other public institutions in Britain, Ireland, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia and South Africa, exploring memory and the ‘legacy issues’ of truth, justice and reconciliation in the context of ‘post-conflict’ culture in the North of Ireland since the restoration of devolved government.
- Four doctoral students located and supervised within the Centre – one with a full-funded studentship from the University of Brighton and two from the AHRC/TECHNE consortium – are currently working on histories, memories, legacies and representations of the Northern Ireland conflict.
- A pioneering national conference on 'The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain’, organised in partnership with the University of Leicester and the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace at the Warrington Peace Centre and hosted by CMNH in 2012. This brought together academic scholars, former political activists, peace-builders, artists and writers, community historians, members of the Irish-in-Britain community, former members of the police and armed services, and family-members of former servicemen.
- A co-edited book emerging out of this conference, The Northern Ireland Troubles in Britain: Impacts, Engagements, Legacies and Memories (eds Graham Dawson, Jo Dover and Stephen Hopkins), is due to be published by Manchester University Press in November 2016.
- Strong links with scholars and practitioners in universities in Northern Ireland, and other organisations there working on storytelling, film-making, community-based oral history, support for victims/survivors of the conflict, and community theatre; including numerous speakers at the Centre’s seminars, symposia and conferences.
- An event – part symposium, part dramatic performance – on 'The Brighton "Grand Hotel" Bombing: History, Memory and Political Theatre', organised in collaboration with the Brighton-based theatre company, Wildspark under the auspices of the University’s Understanding Conflict: Forms and Legacies of Violence research cluster, to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the bombing, in October 2014.
Community Histories in Brighton & Hove and Sussex
Co-ordinated by Dr Sam Carroll, CMNH works with a wide range of local and community history organisations and projects to aid in their search for funding and to provide academic support, guidance and collaborative participation in the design and conduct of their research activities. Highlights of our work include:
For further details on these and other Project areas, click here.
- ‘Our Dancing Feet’, a collaborative research project with the local community-theatre specialists Sara Clifford (inroads productions) and Veronica Stephens (Zap Arts), leading to performance on the social history of dance halls and fashion in Brighton and Eastbourne in the 1950s, supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund award in 2013–14.
- The ‘Crossing the Teas’ project, bringing together community groups in Brighton and Hove from diverse cultural backgrounds to share tea-drinking practices, histories and stories, in collaboration with ART:synch, a network of creative practitioners and arts professionals based in South-East England which secured a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £50k in 2014.
- Conversations and activities directed towards actual or potential funding bids with, among others, Brighton & Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust; Brighton Women's Centre; Brighton and Hove Palestine Solidarity Campaign; Lewes History Society; rYico, the Rwandan Youth Information Community Organisation.