Paper presented at the Centre for Public History, Heritage and Memory Research Seminar Series at Nottingham Trent University
This paper examines commemorative activism as an emerging political field and mode of civic engagement that exposes established mechanisms of law, local planning, and representative democracy as dysfunctional. Drawing on interviews and participant observation with activists, heritage bureaucracies and local planning authorities based in Wales and in Trinidad and Tobago, the paper explores how struggles to remove symbols of colonial violence from the public realm (a monument in Carmarthen, honorific statues, portraits and placenames in the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia) reveal a broader re-writing of notions of truth, justice, democracy and historical responsibility. The paper extends concepts of ‘moral economy’ (Jackson 2009 after E.P Thompson 1971) and ‘geographies of responsibility’ (Massey 2004) to the making and policing of commemorative constituencies where government working groups, public surveys, national commemorative audits and historical review committees, define the scope and remit of legitimate participation in decisions about public memory.
07 Dec 2022
Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
Degree of Recognition
public memory, Thomas Picton, commemorative activism