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Remembering the dead: artist-academic collaborations

The Grief Series

After something of an unintended blogging hiatus - the end of project funding and being back into teaching is to blame - we've had good news. As part of the ongoing collaboration with the Grief Series, this spring will see us welcome a group of artists from the Faro de Oriente in Mexico. Thanks to a British Academy Rising Star Engagement Award and Arts Council funding won by the Grief Series, the artists will be here for a two-week residency.

This will involve working with historians and community groups to build 'offrenda' - Day of the Dead shrines, which commemorate the deceased. We've worked with this idea before, as the Grief Series artists have used this tool to help people remember those they've lost. This residency will focus in on the question of who gets to be well remembered after they die, and whose lives are not well grieved, remembered or recorded in history. This is a really relevant and timely question as, for example, the recent debates about the lack of recognition of colonial servicemen in the First and Second World Wars show.

The artists will be based at the Theatre in the Mill, Bradford, from 29th April - 2nd May and in the Merrion Centre, Leeds, from 6th-10th May 2019. Visitors will be able to drop in to join in the process - adding a memory to the shrine, or getting involved in making the art itself.

We'll be hosting a workshop to accompany this, with a great range of speakers talking about a variety of groups whose lives aren't well marked in the historical record (programme below, for info). We're hoping to record talks to share publicly.

And, for anyone interested in our collaborative processes, we'll be also hosting an evening events, where academics and artists can view the art, ask about the process, and meet potential collaborators over a mezcal and canapé. Places are free - book now.


Workshop: Remembering the dead: artist-academic collaborations

10-10.30am: Coffee, tea and registration


Panel 1: Remembering the Dead in Mexico: a walk round the studio, featuring artists Marco Medina,Vlady Diaz and Laura Pirez


Panel 2: Grievable lives

Laura King, ‘Grievable lives: remembering refugees after death, c.1900-50s’

John Siblon, ‘Africa, ‘grievable bodies’, and imperial hierarchy

12.30-1.30pm: Lunch


Panel 3: Re-inventing ritual: Connecting to the seasonal, making the invisible visible, emotional labour visible.

Making hidden histories visible, with artists Ellie Harrison and Bethany Wells


Panel 4: Disenfranchised Grief

Billie Gina Thomason, 'Gender Passing Individuals - Who Were They?'

George Severs, ‘HIV/AIDS, memorialisation and activism’

Ross Horsley, “Lost Voices: Remembering the Dead in an Oral History Project”

3:30-4:00pm: Refreshment break

4.30-5:30pm: Roundtable conclusion, followed by drinks