Painting of Apollo and the Nine Muses

Cultural Memory

The Cultural Memory strand is about memory as placing, remembrance, cultural connection, recreation, performance and rewriting as a creative act. It is led by Professor Juliet Simpson FRSA, FRHistS.

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Theme overview

Research within the cultural memory strand is concerned with the importance and meanings of sites, monuments, objects, art-works, images and texts in shaping histories and identities of memory and belonging. Asking new questions about why and how the past matters for the present and for future memory making, our research encompasses arts, places, diverse cultures and geographies of memory and community. We explore new ways in which their histories and through unseen stories of art, literatures, cultures, peoples and voices, illuminate understanding of multiple pasts. Our work interrogates their pivotal significance in creating ideas about ownership of memory, where it ‘belongs’, about unvoiced stories, their emotional power, and how memory connects us with a richer more diverse understanding of the value of cultural life for present and future communities.

Comprising art historians, cultural historians, specialists in visual and material cultures, photography and spatial cultures, literature and languages, digital humanities, and visual artists and curators, our key research interests include:

  • The Arts of Memoria, collecting and the invention of pictorial memory
  • Commemorative cultures in early-modern texts, monuments and objects
  • Women, science and memory in early-modern cultures
  • Afterlives of medieval and Renaissance cultures in objects, images and texts
  • Word and image in seventeenth-century and contemporary Latin America
  • Ancient Greek Comedy and Cultures; gender in Antiquity-present; performance in voice/poetic cultures
  • Nation, Empire and memory-making in nineteenth to twentieth-first century visual art, architectures and literatures
  • Corpora, Culture and Coding – new perspectives on how linguistic patterns and diversity shape and communicate collective language acts and memory
  • Press, print and memory: investigating regional voice, place and institutions in connecting histories and local communities
  • The medieval present: heritage as connection in twentieth-century art and histories
  • Embodied, emotional histories of memory in contemporary word and image cultures exploring how art navigates trauma and reimagines body, being and connection.

Related projects

Gothic Modern, 1880s-1930s

Gothic Modern, 1880s-1930s is the first in-depth study to explore the pivotal importance of medieval, in particular Gothic art, for the artistic modernisms of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-centuries.

Events and activities

Image credit: Raphael, The Parnassus – Apollo and the Nine Muses, 1509-11 (Vatican: Apostolic Palace). Commons Wikimedia (public domain).

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