The Open UniversitySkip to content

Disturbing pasts: memories, controversies and creativity

Wainwright, Leon ed. (2017). Disturbing pasts: memories, controversies and creativity. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


In many countries, legacies of war, colonialism, genocide and oppression return again and again to dominate contemporary culture, politics and society. This anthology explores how these pasts also inspire creative means by which the past is remembered and challenged. It brings to the foreground the rich visual and creative responses that issue among artists, and how these carry suggestions for effective ways that such pasts are confronted, disturbed and transformed.

Contributors to this volume are keen to register the important idea that any meaningful encounter with the past has to be felt at the personal level, no matter how difficult to recall and painful to represent, however contested or fraught with risk and freighted with emotion. Recollecting stories of this kind is complex and sensitive, and this book recommends how it can benefit from the joint efforts of artists, curators and academics.

Based on a major project of international collaboration supported by the European Science Foundation, the volume brings together professional art practices, art history and visual culture studies, social anthropology, literary studies, history, museology and cultural policy studies. From diverse contexts are gathered voices, histories and images relating to ‘disturbing pasts’ in South Africa, Germany, Namibia, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Poland, Norway, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Australia. The results reveal a courageous and carefully examined global picture, with a variety of new approaches to confronting dominant historical narratives and shaping alternative interpretations.

Item Type: Edited Book
ISBN: 1-5261-1545-X, 978-1-5261-1545-4
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetESF (European Science Foundation)
Keywords: creativity; history; controversy; memory; art; photography; museums; cultural policy; trauma; commemoration
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > Art History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 48934
Depositing User: Leon Wainwright
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2017 10:40
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:50
Share this page:

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU