Memory, and Contested Memory

Memory Studies at University of Rome, III. Professoressa Annalisa Tota and her team at Roma III are specialists in ‘technologies of memory’, by which they mean cultural media. They study how memory is always collective – it takes shape in relation to available cultural images, narratives, and structured arrangements of sensory materials – such as music. They also study how memory is selective, how somethings are foregrounded, others backgrounded. This selectivity – including the question of what there is ‘to be remembered’ – is always political. It is often also Political. For example, Tota is especially interested in traumatic memories and in when what we know and how, at times what we know and/or remember, cannot be openly stated but needs to be coded aesthetically – as ‘fiction’, as ‘art’, as ‘music’. (see her magnificent article, “I know, but I have no proof”.) We presented some of the theoretical issues relating to music, action and time to a group of students and staff in December and this was followed by useful discussions about remembering, forgetting and the role of the arts, specifically music.

Care for a Revolution?

Our Project Partner, Mountbatten Hospice hosted a wonderful conference entitled Care for a Revolution? Some striking talks and keynotes from Adam Kay, Tracey Bleakley, Dame Barbara Monroe, Barbara Gale, Sam Kyeremateng and (member of the Care for Music Advisory Board) Nigel Hartley.

Two days discussing how to enrich our languages of death and dying, how to build responsive, sustainable, and creative communities of care (see photo of Nigel’s keynote below), volunteering, help/self help, and the importance of fleeting, often very tiny, acts of kindness between people. Death and dying, illness – these involve much more than the physical symptoms. They are characterised by total pain, and culture (music) has a role to play in the transfigurement of that kind of (psycho- social- physical- existential- ) pain. Lesson: dying is fundamentally social and death can be our friend. At the end of day one, the Mountbatten Choir lifted everyone’s spirits.

CEO Nigel Hartley, Keynote

Writing in the Light

September 2, 2019. A Dream Team for an intimate seminar on writing and craft. Gary and Tia were thrilled to welcome the pre-eminent ethnographer, methodologist and theorist, Distinguished Professor Paul Atkinson, Advisory Board Member, Dr Simon Procter, and Dr Emilie Whitaker, expert on care, ethnography, and aesthetics. Afterward, we toasted Paul’s forthcoming book, the third in his Trilogy on ethnography from Sage, Writing Ethnographically, out in December.

Emilie Whitaker, Simon Procter, Paul Atkinson, Gary Ansdell, & Tia DeNora

Our discussion was wide-ranging: ‘how much’ observation is needed to convey the embodied and experiential richness of craft practices and craft nous? How to avoid being drawn into hackneyed tropes and narrative structures? How to shift gears in the writing from microscopy to macroscopy without dropping the connecting threads? And finally, how to find words and textual formats for expressly non-verbal, liminal, aesthetic, ambiguous and often political processes? All critical issues for writing about care for music/music therapy, care, and craft.