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 Lauren Constance

Lauren Constance

Research student,

Overview

I am currently a PhD student researching about memorialisation in Japanese museums.  I became interested in this area while writing my undergraduate dissertation entitled: ‘Hiroshima’s forgotten voices: hibakusha video testimony and memorialisation’.


I hold a BA in Spanish and Japanese from Cardiff University (2015-2019).  During my time as an undergraduate I spent 5 months on Toyo University’s (Tokyo) exchange programme and 5 months in Argentina teaching English.


I am a member of the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS) and the European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS). 

Research

Research interests

My main research interest is history and how historical events are memorialised in museums. In my PhD research, I am exploring how historical events are memorialised in Japanese museums, with particular focus on the use of eyewitness testimony and digital technology.


I am a Postgraduate co-Deputy Lead for the History and Heritage research theme within the School of Modern Languages (2021-2022). 


Papers and Presentations


Constance, L. 2022. Digitalisation and Visualisation of Eyewitness Accounts in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum (paper). Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Fukushima: Articulations of the nuclear. Cologne: University of Cologne. 19 May 2022.


Constance, L. 2022. Eyewitness Testimony in Japanese Memorial Museums (presentation). British Association for Japanese Studies/Japan Foundation Postgraduate Workshop 2022. Norwich; University of East Anglia. 25 February 2022.  


Constance, L. 2021. Eyewitness Testimony in Japanese Memorial Museums (paper). Ypres and Hiroshima: Eye-Witness Testimony, Transnational Memory and Memorialisation Practices. Cardiff; Global Language-based Area Studies Research Theme, Cardiff University School of Modern Languages. Online, 15 December 2021.


Constance, L. 2021. Digitalisation of eyewitness testimony in Japanese memorial museums (presentation). European Association for Japanese Studies 17th PhD Workshop 2021. Leuven; KU Leuven. Online, 20 August 2021. 


Constance, L. 2021. Digitalisation of eyewitness testimony in Japanese memorial museums (presentation). Cardiff University School of Modern Languages PGR Conference 2021. Cardiff; Cardiff University School of Modern Languages. Online, 30 June 2021. Available here.


Constance, L. 2021. Digitalisation of eyewitness testimony in Japanese memorial museums (paper). Cardiff University Breaking Boundaries Conference 2021. Cardiff; Cardiff University. Online, 13 May 2021.


Constance, L. 2021. Eyewitness testimony in the Japanese museum (presentation). British Association for Japanese Studies/Japan Foundation Postgraduate Workshop 2021. Online, 25 February 2021.  

Teaching

I am currently teaching the Japanese seminars for the 2021/2 module ML8100 - Introduction to Translation Methods.


I am working towards the Cardiff University Education Associate Fellowship Programme, leading to HEA Associate Fellowship.

Thesis

The digitalisation of eyewitness testimony in Japanese memorial museums

The bombing of Hiroshima over 75 years ago was the first time nuclear weapons had been used in warfare. The impact of the bomb was devastating and continues to affect people today. As an unprecedented event in human history, the bombing continues to be memorialised, in anniversaries, commemorations and in museums. However, eyewitnesses to historical events, such as the Hiroshima bombing, are passing away, and with them their personal insights into the past. Although researchers such as de Jong (2018) have argued that in the digital era, eyewitness video testimonies are a staple of memorial museums, this may not be the case in Japan. This paper therefore addresses the issue of memorialisation of eyewitness testimonies in Japanese museums.  


My overarching research question is: ‘How can video testimony be digitalised in Japanese memorial museums?’. Through fieldwork visits (which will hopefully take place in early 2022) to different types of Japanese museums, semi-structured interviews with museum staff, eyewitnesses themselves and study of visitor books, I will analyse how these institutions exhibit video testimony and explore variations in their practices. I will supplement these methods with digital research methods, to assess how the exhibits are received by visitors using review websites, discussion forums and social media to reveal insights into their expectations of and attitudes towards the use of digitalisation. However, if restrictions on international travel continue, I will use these digital methods as my main resources to gather data. This also opens up the opportunity to discuss ethical questions regarding the use of digital research methods.


Keywords: memorial museum, ethics, testimony, oral history, digitalisation, dark tourism, heritage


 

Funding source

The Great British Sasakawa Foundation

Supervisors

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Dr Christopher Hood

Reader in Japanese Studies

Ruselle Meade

Dr Ruselle Meade

Lecturer in Japanese Studies