What are distinct historical, cultural and ecological traditions of activism and memory-work that foster intergenerational and approaches to caring for places and each other in the face of ongoing historical violence? What is the role of art in communicating our attachments to place, how we have become wounded, and how we might imagine a better future?
On this blog, the participants of Mapping SpectralTraces: The Place of the Wound will share some of our approaches, and begin to try to ‘map’ the unseen and unacknowledged legacies of historical conflict, displacement and social-ecological violence where we live and work. We hope we may inspire each other, and the readers of this blog, with new possibilities to meet our shared local/global challenges.
The Irish and international guests participating in this symposium remind us that in order to break harmful cycles of injustice, we must first attend to the places of historical violence and understand how people become wounded. This is not easy. It raises what may seem to be insurmountable differences and unmanageable emotions. But when we learn how to take care of places, we create a common project together that invites us to think differently about the future and about each other.
For example, rather than pretend that we have a clean slate in North Dublin for revitalisation, we should recognise how our past mindset — of making profits — created our current situation of unhealthy landscapes, with displaced and homeless families, few green spaces for children to play in, addiction and diet problems, and other social ills. Rather than continue to hurt generations of people and our city more generally, what happens when we begin to listen to these wounded places and to our own local experts?
Research indicates that this kind of place-based attentiveness and memory-work is needed to create communities and environments that nourish us. This is where the role of the socially- and ecologically-engaged artist is vital. They can join everyday citizens on a journey of listening and discovery, finding new ways of caring for our environments and imagining better ways of living.
Please join the discussion in person, from 14-20 October! All events are free and open to the public, but registration is necessary; see: https://theplaceofthewound.wordpress.com/registration/. We hope to continue the conversation after these events through this blog and other venues. — Karen Till
Special thanks to: the Irish Research Council New Foundations scheme, with support from: Maynooth University’s: Department of Geography, Space&Place Research Collaborative, Edward Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention, Department of English, Department of Anthropology, Social Science Institute (MU SSI), Department of Education; Kildare County Council Arts and Library Service; Ómós Áite, Centre for Irish Studies, National University of Ireland Galway; Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation; Geographical Society of Ireland; Trinity College Dublin, Department of Geography; and the international Mapping Spectral Traces network.