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.
Our research investigates the practices that produce and circulate memories, knowledges and understandings of ‘the past’, including: Archives and histories, Community history, Cultural memory, Cultural, social and political history, Oral history and life history, Popular history making, Public history and heritage, Testimony, life writing and narrative.
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.
We welcome approaches for new members and PG members. Find out about our fields of interest, core activities and main achievements.
Staff, associate and research student members of the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories
Events organised or hosted by the Centre for Memory, Narrative & Histories, University of Brighton
ALL of CMNH’s' real-world/face-to-face activities are cancelled until it is deemed safe for everyone to revert to normal life. The risks to people's health in carrying on as usual are now clearly too great, and it would be irresponsible to continue our non-virtual activities until those risks significantly diminish.
In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Centre for Memory, Narrative and Histories affirms its commitment to developing historical research that challenges racial and other social inequalities, oppressions and injustices; interrogates dominant racist and other ideological meanings of the past; and produces alternative histories and memories to generate fresh thinking about transformed futures. This commitment requires unremitting dedication to anti-racist work aimed at achieving a fully participatory and egalitarian ethos in all aspects of education and the production of knowledge.
As one contribution to this end, CMNH supports the following Joint Statement of Intent for the Heritage Sector, issued by leading organisations in the UK museums, galleries, heritage and archives sector, to identify and actively confront racism in all aspects of the sector’s work:
"The Black Lives Matter movement began in America after a series of killings of black people in or following police custody. The movement has resonance in the UK, not least because of our nation’s history in which racism has become entrenched.
"As the leading membership bodies representing the UK museums, galleries, heritage and archives we take responsibility for ending racism in the heritage sector. This work is overdue. This work is non-negotiable. It cuts across all aspects of our sector, from the collections we curate and preserve, the people who make up the heritage workforce, to the learning programmes we deliver. The conversation and the action is ongoing.
"We commit to pro-actively support:
representing our members across the heritage sector, acknowledging that our nation’s history and heritage is an invaluable tool in the fight against racism and discrimination.
"Signees: The Group for Education in Museums (GEM), The Association of Independent Museums (AIM), The International Council of Museums UK (ICOM UK), The Museums Association, The Heritage Alliance, Engage, The Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland), and The Association for Heritage Interpretation."
For CMNH's current engagements in anti-racist and anti-colonialist research, see the research area ‘Race’ and representation: The politics of history, memory and reparation
For an introduction to the wider culture of anti-racist education and critique at the University of Brighton, see the journal Decolonising the Curriculum: Teaching and Learning about Race Equality, edited by Marlon Moncrieffe, Yaa Asare, Robin Dunford and Heba Youssef, Issue 2, December 2019).