Cities of Memory


Research Colloquium

The Cities of Memory research project aims to develop methods and resources for studying the role of the performing and media arts in post-conflict cities, and regions. Building on the work of the Belfast-Sarajevo Initiative (2007-2010), a forum that facilitated dialogue between artists and practitioners from both cities through a series of collaborative workshops, screenings, exhibitions, and performances, Cities of Memory has been awarded British Academy funding to situate this praxis in a comparative critical framework through the organization of an international conference, the production of an edited book, and the development of this project website.

This website has been created to publicize the work of the project, and provide a resource for scholars and practitioners working in the areas of contemporary Irish, Bosnian, and European theatre, film and visual arts to compare how these art forms engage with questions of memory and testimony, and the politics of reconciliation and conflict transformation.

We hope Cities of Memory will make a contribution to our understanding of how contemporary theatre, film and visual arts are responding to – and influencing – the post-conflict experiences of cities, such as Belfast and Sarajevo, and elsewhere.

Venue & Directions

The colloquium will take place on the 4th & 5th of April at Queen's University Belfast. It will take place in the Queen's Drama & Film Centre at 20 University Square.


A PDF colloquium programme is now available.


The conference hotel for the Cities of Memory colloquium is Malone Lodge, on nearby Eglantine Avenue. Less than ten minutes' walk from the Drama and Film Centre (20 University Square).

Malone Lodge is offering a discounted conference rate to all participants on the colloquium.

Speakers Biography

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Professor Thomas Elsaesser is Professor Emeritus at the Columbia University and since 2006 Visiting Professor at Yale University. Published and translated in some fifteen languages, his interests include film history and media historiography, Early Cinema, European cinema and Hollywood, digital media, cultural memory and installation art.

His most recent books as author include:

  • Studying Contemporary American Film (2002, with Warren Buckland)
  • R. W. Fassbinder: Un cineaste allemand (2005)
  • Terrorisme Mythes et Representations (2005)
  • European Cinema: Face to Face with Hollywood (2005)
  • Terror und Trauma (2007)
  • Le cinema et les sens (2011, with Malte Hagener)
  • The Persistence of Hollywood (2011)

Among his books as editor:

  • Cinema Futures: Cain, Abel or Cable? (1998)
  • The BFI Companion to German Cinema (1999)
  • The Last Great American Picture Show: Hollywood films in the 1970s (2004)
  • Harun Farocki – Working on the Sightlines (2004)
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Dr. Lejla Panjeta is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Visual Arts and Visual Communication Design of the International University of Sarajevo. She worked as Program Director in production of feature films for Heft, and is a director of awarded documentary film His Highness the Wheel. She has also directed in theater. Her book Industry of Illusions – Film & Propaganda was awarded by the Foundation for Publishing of the Federation of Bosnia.

She is a coauthor and editor of the bilingual Bosnian-Spanish book Telenovela – Fabrika ljubavi: Uvod u žanr i produkciju (Telenovela – La Fábrica del amor: Introducción en el género y a la producción).

In 2006 IP Svjetlost Sarajevo published her book Potreba za smislom: Mit, Manipulacija i Film (Myth, Manipulation and Film: Manufacturing of Sense and Meaning). She won the Best Book Award in the field of arts for her essays "New (and the Old) Lies" from the XXIV International Book Exhibition of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2012.

Her research interests are in the fields of aesthetics, propaganda, media and film studies.


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Professor Cahal McLaughlin is Professor of Film at Queen’s University, Belfast. He is Director of the Prisons Memory Archive, and Chair of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Media Practice (Intellect: Bristol). As a film-maker, he has produced and/or directed numerous documentaries, including most recently: We Never Give Up II (2012); Unheard Voices: stories from the Troubles (2010) with WAVE Trauma Centre; Unseen Women: Stories from Armagh Gaol (2011); Inside Stories; Memories from the Maze and Long Kesh Prison, a four screen installation shown in Catalyst Arts,
Belfast, 2005.

His recent research publications include:

  • Recording Memories from Political Conflict: A Filmmakers Journey (2010)
  • ‘Ethics in Media Practice’ (with Bannerman C) in Allegue, Jones, Kershaw, and Piccini, (eds)
  • Practice-as-Research: In Performance and Screen (2009)
  • ‘The Prison Story: Fictional Representations’ in Flannery and Griffin (eds)
  • Ireland in Focus: Film, Photography, and Popular Culture, Syracus University Press (2009)
  • Truth or Dare: Art and Documentary (ed. with Gail Pearce)


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Dr Milija Gluhovic is Associate Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Warwick and Director of the Erasmus Mundus MA in International Performance Research, an EU sponsored programme taught collaboratively by the University of Warwick, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Tampere (in collaboration with the University of Helsinki) and the University of Arts in Belgrade (from 2011).

He is currently completing a monograph, Performing European Memories: Trauma, Ethics, Politics (Palgrave, 2012), which explores the intersections between contemporary European theatre, performance, and film and the interdisciplinary field of memory studies, and current preoccupations with the politics of memory in Europe, and he recently co-edited Performing the ‘New’ Europe: Identities, Feelings, and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest, with Karen Fricker.


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Dr. Colin Graham lectures at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth. His research interests are in literary and cultural theory, Irish writing, and photography.

Colin’s publications include:

  • Deconstructing Ireland (Edinburgh University Press, 2001) Ideologies of Epic: Nation, Empire Victorian Epic Poetry (Manchester University Press, 1998)

He is co-editor, with Richard Kirkland, of Ireland and Cultural Theory (Macmillan, 1999) and, with Glenn Hooper, Irish and Postcolonial Writing (Palgrave, 2002). He is currently co-editor of The Irish Review.

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Dr. Sune Haugbølle is Professor in the Department of Society and Globalisation at Roskilde University, Denmark. He was formerly Associate Professor in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Department for Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.

His work deals with social memory, cultural production and ideology in the modern Middle East. He is the author of War and Memory in Lebanon (Cambridge UP, 2010), and has recently co-edited the volume, The Politics of Violence, Truth and Reconciliation in the Arab Middle East (Routledge, 2009). His articles have appeared in a.o. Arab Studies Journal, Contemporary Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and Journal of Middle Eastern Women's Studies.

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Professor Jane Taylor is a writer, critic, curator, and scholar and for the past several decades, has been involved in cultural critique and public scholarship as well as creative writing. She and David Bunn co- edited From South Africa (TriQuarterly Magazine; and U of Chicago Press) and designed and curated “Fault Lines” (1996), a series of cultural responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that followed the end of Apartheid in South Africa. As part of this program she wrote the playtext, Ubu and the Truth Commission, for South African artist/director William Kentridge and the Handspring Puppet Company with whom she has collaborated extensively for the past two decades.

She has two published novels, Of Wild Dogs (winner of the Olive Schreiner Prize for new fiction in South Africa) and The Transplant Men. In 2009 she edited Handspring Puppet Company, and was one of a dozen playwrights commissioned by Stephen Greenblatt to make a version of "Cardenio", a play allegedly written originally by Shakespeare, and which opened in Cape Town in August 2011.

Formerly Writer- in-Residence at Northwestern University she is currently the Wole Soyinka Chair of Workshop Theatre.

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Nerea Arruti's research interests traverse a number of different fields. Her published research initially focused on the relationship between text and image in Argentine literature, and based on this interest she moved on to studying the interaction between memory, literature and visual culture in relation to violence in Spain and Latin America. She has edited a collection on the Guggenheim effect and on the role of art and politics in the Basque context (2003).

She has published on the narrative of Julio Cortázar and Reinaldo Arenas' autobiography as art as therapy in the context of literature and Aids. She has also written on the topic of photographic representations of trauma in the Southern Cone and she has edited an interdisciplinary special issue on trauma, therapy and representation (2007). She has just completed the monograph "Contemporary Basque Literature: Violence and Memory as Palimpsest".

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Emma Grey is a final year PhD student at the AHRC Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen. Her thesis, entitled ‘Archival Amnesia: Memory and Culture in post-Ceasefire Northern Ireland’, focuses on literature and visual art produced from 1994 to the present day. Engaging with the post-Ceasefire tendency towards amnesia prevalent within the governmental and the media’s historical accounts of ‘the Troubles’, her research explores how artistic production reflects upon, contests and subverts this process of selective forgetting, erasure and archival.

Her most recent publication, on the artwork of Willie Doherty, can be found in Ireland and Victims: Confronting the Past, Forging the Future (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2012).

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Jana Dolečki is born in Zagreb, Croatia. She studied Journalism at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, as well as Theater Science at the University of Philosophy. She obtained her Master Degree in Theater Arts and Theory at the University of Marc Bloch, Strasbourg, France. Her Master Thesis was dedicated to the critical and political force of surrealist theater in the works of a Croatian poet, dramatist and political dissident, Radovan Ivšić. She has been professionally active in several theaters and theater festivals in Croatia and France, and has worked as a project manager in a theater in Belgrade, engaged mostly on projects of theatrical exchange between Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. She was a theater correspondent from Belgrade for few Croatian theater reviews and internet-sites (the revue of “KAZALIŠE”, internet sites;; etc.)

Her recent publications include “Poetics of the first Roma theater in Balkans” (Kazalište 2011) and “The dialogue of known strangers” (Kazalište, 2010).

She is currently doing a PhD course at the Theater, Film and Media Institute of Wien University, Austria. Her doctoral thesis is dealing with the question of the theater and cultural policy during the conflicts in ex-Yugoslavia from 1991 – 1995, with a special focus on the intersection between history, politics and theater forms in the time of war conflicts. Her fields of academic interests are theater in its socio-political context; theater and cultural history; cultural policy and conflict theories; etc.

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Zoran Poposki is a Teaching Fellow at the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, and a transdisciplinary artist and researcher with more than 50 exhibitions internationally. He holds an MFA in New Media from Donau University Krems in Austria and is currently completing his PhD in Philosophy and Gender Studies at the EuroBalkan Institute in Skopje.

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Marija Todorova is a Fellow of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Baptist University. She holds an MA in Peace and Development Studies from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje.

She is currently working on a book on interpreting in conflict mediation, to be published by Palgrave in 2014.

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David Grant lectures in Drama in the School of Creative Arts, at Queen's, where he also Director of Education. Before joining Queen’s University in 2000, David Grant worked extensively in theatre throughout Ireland as a director and critic. He has been Managing Editor of Theatre Ireland magazine, Programme Director of the Dublin Theatre Festival and Artistic Director of the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.

His research interests include twentieth century Irish theatre, theatre and architecture, community theatre and applied drama. Recent applied drama projects include the production of Pipe Dreams, an interactive performance written and performed by life prisoners at HMP Maghaberry and Creative Ageing, a participatory arts programme for older people with dementia, for the Changing Ageing Partnership. Since 1992, his practice has been heavily influenced by the work of Augusto Boal, and he has recently facilitated ‘Image Theatre’ workshops in Jerusalem, Haifa and Sarajevo. He teaches a wide range of practical drama modules in acting, directing, community theatre and applied drama, and is currently supervising two PhD students who are researching respectively into prison theatre and entrepreneurship in the arts.

He has directed more than a hundred theatre productions in contexts ranging from the Hungarian Theatre of Cluj in Romania to London's Royal National Theatre. Most recently he directed a research-led production of Brian Friel’s Translations for the Tyrone Guthrie Society.

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Dr. Paul Devlin has been a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Ulster since February 2007 and had previously taught at the University of Ulster on a part time basis. He has written on Irish theatre and cultural politics.

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Declan Keeney is a documentary film-maker who lectures in film practice in the School of Creative Arts, at Queen's University.

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Elena Caoduro, is a PhD candidate in Film at the University of Southampton. Her thesis is dedicated to the study of fiction films from 2000 to 2010 that recall German and Italian left-wing terrorism. It examines the representation of political violence in a wider global context, against the backdrop of theories of cultural memory, gender and film genre. Since 2009 she co-ordinate an interdepartmental reading group and postgraduate research network on memory studies and oral history at the University of Southampton.

Her research interests include memory and trauma studies, European cinema, postmodernism and pop culture, fashion and costumes in screen media. She has also taught as a Lecturer and Teaching Assistant at the University of Southampton, University of Portsmouth and Queen's University Belfast.

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Erik Ehn's work includes The Saint Plays, No Time Like the Present, Wolf at the Door, Tailings, Beginner, and Ideas of Good and Evil. The Soulographie project premiered at La MaMa in NY this past November 2012; it's a series of 17 plays written over 20 years, on the history of the US in the 20th Century from the point of view of its genocides (scripts include Maria Kizito, Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling, Yermedea, Drunk Still Drinking).

His works have been produced and presented in San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, New York, San Diego, Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Belgrade, Kampala, Bergen (Norway); elsewhere. He conducts annual trips to Rwanda/Uganda, taking students and professionals in the field to study the history of these countries, and to explore the ways art is participating in recovery from violence. He produces the Arts in the One World conference yearly, which engages themes of art and social change. Artistic Associate, Theatre of Yugen. Graduate of New Dramatists. Current Director of Writing for Performance, Brown University.

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Dr. Paula Blair is a teaching fellow in Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen. She received her PhD from Queen’s University Belfast in 2011 for her thesis entitled ‘Old Borders, New Technologies: Visual Culture and Social Change in Contemporary Northern Ireland’. Paula has been published in the Media Education Journal and has further articles under peer review and undergoing revision. She is also working on a monograph under contract with Peter Lang, Oxford, after winning the publisher’s Young Scholars in Film Studies 2012 Award.

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Merita Zekovic In 1998, Merita obtained her BA degree as a philologist of English Language and Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Nis in Serbia. From 1998 until 2006 Merita taught English language and literature. Merita also worked as a translator and an interpreted for OSCE and UN FAO. In October 2006, she enrolled as a member of the Master's Programme in British Studies Programme at Grossbritannien Zentrum, Humboldt University, Berlin. As part of her master programme, she spent four months working at the Visitor Services Department at Castle Ward, National Trust Northern Ireland in 2007.

Merita wrote her Master Thesis with the following title: From Cultural Recognition to ultural Exchange: The Arts in Post-conflict Belfast and Sarajevo. In May 2008, she obtained her Master´s Degree in British Studies (Culture, Media, and Cultural Management). After having been admitted to a PhD course at the Department of Literature, Languages, and Performing Arts at Queen´s University, Belfast Merita started her PhD studies in September 2008, the title of her thesis is 'Post-conflict cultural exhange between Belfast and Sarajevo, focusing on site specific interventions.'.

She was one of the co-ordinators of the Belfast Sarajevo Initiative, a collaborative project between Queen's University, Belfast and the Academy of Performing Arts, Sarajevo. IFTR Translation, Adaptation, and Dramaturgy. Merita speak Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, English, French, German, and Italian.

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Professor Rod Stoneman is the Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He was Chief Executiveof Bord Scannán na hÉireann / the Irish Film Board until September 2003 andpreviously a Deputy Commissioning Editor in the Independent Film and VideoDepartment at Channel 4 Television in the United Kingdom.

He has made a number of documentaries, including Ireland: The SilentVoices, Italy: the Image Business, 12,000 Years of Blindness and TheSpindle, and has written extensively on film and television. He is the authorof Chávez: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised; A Case Study of Politicsand the Media and the coeditor of ‘The Quiet Man’… and Beyond: Reflectionson a Classic Film, John Ford and Ireland (with Seán Crosson) and ScottishCinema Now (with Jonathan Murray and Fidelma Farley). Seeing is Believing: The Politics of the Visual will be published in March 2013.

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Helen Rawling's research interests include cultural geography, arts practice, geographies of museums and collections, the post-museum, place-making, memory, heritage studies, contested spaces and places, geographies of peace and reconciliation, performance, more-than-representational geographies

Her PhD research is broadly concerned with the place of arts practices and museums in post-conflict situations and divided societies. Helen employs a cultural geographical perspective to explore how places and spaces are negotiated, transformed, and continually brought into being.

Her work is inter-disciplinary, drawing insights from performance studies, peace studies, arts practice and non-representational theory..

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Daniel Jewesbury was born in south London in 1972 and studied Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin between 1992 and 1996. Upon graduating Daniel moved to Belfast where he studied for a PhD in the Media Studies department of the University of Ulster between 1997 and 2001. In recent years Daniel’s work has been concentrated on 16mm film-making, but he has also exhibited photography, text pieces, radio works and sound installations and he has made performances.

Daniel has shown internationally, including at Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana, and in 2001 won the Victor Treacy award at the Butler Gallery in Kilkenny. He was a founder of the film-screening organisation Cinilingus and of the audiovisual festival Visonic, both of which organised major events across Northern Ireland. In 2010 Daniel curated the exhibition re:public at Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin, in collaboration with GradCam, the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, with whom he is a Visiting Fellow.

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Robert Porter joined University of Ulster in 2003 as a researcher and then moved to a lectureship in 2005. After reading Politics and Scholastic Philosophy (BA, Queens University Belfast), he then pursued a research degree in Contemporary European Philosophy and Political Theory (PhD, Queens University Belfast).

Since finishing his doctoral work at Queens University Belfast, Robert has been particularly interested in the problem of how political ideas are ideologically reproduced in and through cultural and aesthetic forms of various sorts (for example; film, the novel, language, architecture, urban development, painting).

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Katarzyna Puzon is a PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at the Polish Academy of Sciences and is currently a visiting fellow at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, Freie Universität Berlin. She received her MSc in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and her research interests are in memory studies, visual anthropology, urban space and the modern Middle East. Her doctoral project focuses on the ways visual and performing arts address memory in the post-conflict urban setting of Beirut.

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Dr Silvija Jestrovic studied playwriting and dramaturgy at the University of Belgrade (1989-1992) and completed her postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto in 2002. From 1990 to 1996 she was a freelance playwright, dramaturge and journalist. Before coming to Warwick in 2005, she was SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer at York University in Toronto. Whilst at Warwick she had designed modules that address her interest in performance and exile, avant-garde theatre, playwriting, and theatre and performance theory.

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Dr. Miriam Paeslack is assistant professor of Arts Management. Trained in Germany, Italy and the United States, she received her PhD specializing in Art History and the History of Public and Civil Law from the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Her research focuses on the political, cultural, and social implications of urban imagery, as well as the significance of the city image in respect to memory and identity. Her primary research focus has been on 19th, 20th and 21st century Berlin, but she has also published on photography and film of religious spaces in Cyprus, and of cities in the United States and Asia. She has delivered talks and has chaired panels on her interdisciplinary work at international conferences such as CAA, GSA, EAHN, and MSA, and at universities in the US and Europe.