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Political Memory and its Archives: Symposium

Friday 25 May 2018, 1.00PM to 5.45pm

How is political memory layered, recorded and reconfigured? This symposium considers some of political memory’s many archives, in the literal and the figurative senses, and explores the traces left by exile, displacement, war and political struggle.

The symposium has been conceived as a platform for interdisciplinary discussion and features 30-minute talks on political history’s intersections with archives, memory, film, literature and the visual arts.


  • Dr Lauren Arrington (Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool)
  • Professor Max Silverman (Department of French, University of Leeds)
  • Kate Sweeney (English and Creative Writing, University of Newcastle)
  • Dr Clare Tebbutt (History, University of York)
  • Professor Michael White (History of Art, University of York)

Max Silverman’s talk will explore interrelations between ethics, performance, and the palimpsestic memory of war and extreme violence, through Je Veux voir/I Want to See, a 2008 film by Lebanese filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. Lauren Arrington’s talk will consider the long memory carried by struggles for equality and social justice, focusing on the suffragists’ uses of alternative media and their revival in the #MeToo and #Wakingthefeminists movements. Clare Tebbutt’s talk will focus on the archive of Ray Gosling, and will considers how the form and content of the physical archive speak to the entanglement of personal and political in Gosling’s political campaigning. Michael White’s talk will discuss the relation between the photomontage and practices of self-archiving, focusing on Dada’s atomised international archive after 1945, and the varied reengagement with montage practices demonstrated by George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield and Hannah Höch after periods of exile and displacement. In the closing talk, drawing on her work on the Bloodaxe Books Poetry Publishing Archives, Kate Sweeney will focus on archives and invisible labour, and will present a recent animation produced in collaboration with poet Anna Woodford.

This event is free and open to all. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. To register please email (Dr Emilie Morin, English and Related Literature, University of York).


Lunch will be provided at 13:00 in the Berrick Saul foyer.


Professor Max Silverman (University of Leeds): ‘Memory, Ethics and Performance’

Dr Lauren Arrington (University of Liverpool): ‘Feminism and the Archives of Social Justice’

Two 30-minute papers followed by a Q&A.

15:00-15:30: Coffee


Dr Clare Tebbutt (University of York): ‘Gay Rights, Housing Justice and Other Ephemera: Finding Politics in the Personal Archive of Ray Gosling’

Professor Michael White (University of York): ‘Montage Reassembled: Dada in the Postwar Archive’

Two 30-minute papers followed by a Q&A.


Kate Sweeney (University of Newcastle): ‘”These Are The Things I Never Wrote About”: Administration and Hidden Labour in the Bloodaxe Books Poetry Publishing Archives’

17:30-17:45: Closing discussion.


Location: BS/008, Berrick Saul Building

Admission: All welcome