Re-Imagining Challenging History conference – day one
29 June 2016
Day one of the Re-Imagining Challenging History conference, jointly hosted by Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales and Cardiff University, began today and set out to explore how cultural practitioners are working in innovative and responsive ways with difficult and sensitive heritages/themes.
The conference opened with a challenging appraisal of potentially lost opportunities for the sector from David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru- National Museum Wales titled ‘Avoiding Challenging History’.
David Anderson: Commemoration/memory are crucial - but forgetting can also be valuable when thinking about challenging histories #challhist— Laura King (@DrLauraKing) June 29, 2016
Samantha Heywood, Director of the Museum of World War II, followed with her keynote ‘The challenges of challenging history in the ‘real’ world’ and asked the audience if peace was simply the absence of war and as such, if the spaces between significant events needed an equal level of scrutiny.
Samantha Heywood asks us 'is peace simply the absence of war?' #challhist— Jane Henderson (@LJaneHenderson) June 29, 2016
Do we avoid challenging history in the gaps between events? The spaces in between are just as important - Samantha Heywood #challhist— Charlotte Morgan (@_charmorgan) June 29, 2016
Conference organiser, School lecturer and Challenging History network member Dr Jenny Kidd said, “A challenging history is any history that is contested, or difficult and upsetting to know about.”
“Challenging History believes the museum and heritage sector has an important role to play covering these histories in their spaces and programmes, and must do this work to stay relevant. It also believes at a personal and societal level it is important to acknowledge and learn about these histories that contribute to our understanding of the world and how we want to live in it.
“We see this conference as an opportunity to set an agenda for the work of the network in the coming years and we invite you to join the discussion using #challhist.”
Tomorrow’s sessions start from 9:30 at the National Museum Wales. The day’s first speaker will be artist and producer David Gunn.