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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alison Atkinson-Phillips
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Public memorials play an increasing role in the repertoire of commemorative practices through which societies attempt to come to terms with difficult or uncomfortable pasts. Increasingly, memorials are also used to acknowledge lived experiences of loss and trauma. This represents a shift in the kinds of experiences memorials can be expected to acknowledge and challenges ideas of what a memorial is and what it does. This chapter draws on research conducted within Australia, and considers three examples of memorials that are influenced by transitional justice approaches to truth-telling, and which are used to bring difficult stories of child abuse, forced separation of families and loss of land into the public sphere. Using a narrative therapy approach, this chapter considers the relationships of power that allow such stories to be told in particular ways. These examples offer insights into the strategies survivors of human rights abuses and their supporters use to claim the right to speak and to have their stories heard, and the ways such testimony is constrained. At their best, memorials to lived experience are part of an arsenal of tools available to survivors and their supporters to bear witness to difficult pasts. The materiality of the memorial form can be helpful in assisting such histories to be absorbed into mainstream narratives.
Author(s): Atkinson-Phillips A
Editor(s): Santos, C; Spahr, A; Crowe Morey, T
Publication type: Book Chapter
Publication status: Published
Book Title: Testimony and Trauma: Engaging Common Ground
Print publication date: 19/03/2019
Online publication date: 06/03/2019
Acceptance date: 01/01/2018
Series Title: At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries
Place Published: Leiden
Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item