Historical Memory

In the last three years, I worked with memory practitioners and intellectuals from several countries in  a resource material for conducting historical memory work in conflict zones. These resources began as a project of the Colombian Historical Memory Group (Grupo de Memoria Historica), which was created in 2005 as part of the National Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. I was one of the researchers of the group. As part of that work the commission held collective memory workshops around Colombia. Many who participated in these workshops appreciated the various methods that were used and wanted to know more about them so that they could hold similar sessions. Resource material was created that spoke to the what, how, and why of this sort of work.

That toolkit was well received in Colombia, and it was suggested that it could also be useful to those doing memory work in other contexts of violence.  So as to make the toolkit more appropriate and relevant in other countries and contexts, a dialogue was opened. Thirty-three memory workers in twenty countries (across four continents) read and commented on an initial English translation and adaption of the toolkit.  Twenty of these then attended a workshop held in Vancouver in 2011, to engage in further discussion and feedback.

The website and publications resulting from this work can be found in the links below:

Remembering and Narrating Conflict. Resources for Doing Historical Memory Work. Recordar y Narrar el conflicto. Herramientas para reconstruir memoria histórica. Remembering and Narrating Conflict offers resource materials for those working on storytelling, historical clarification, documentation truth telling, and memory work initiatives in different regions of the world.

The original version of the Grupo de Memoria histórica is also available online in Spanish and described below:

Recordar y Narrar el Conflicto. Herramientas para reconstruir memoria histórica. Este material ofrece elementos conceptuales, metodológicos, éticos y psicosociales para el impulso de procesos autónomos locales de esclarecimiento de la verdad y construcción de las memorias. 

Another resource material for historical memory work can be found in our website on the research project Against Mass Atrocities: Community based Strategies to Document Human Rights Abuses (Colombia and Uganda). Co-directed with Erin Baines. Project website: http://www.communitytj.moonfruit.com/#