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Last Post

Nearly four months on from the end of the Series, I wanted to write a Last Post of summary and thanks.  Here’s what we did in 2017-18, and here are the people who helped us make it happen.

We put on three In Conversation events with leading figures from the arts: the architect Daniel Libeskind, the novelist Aminatta Forna and the composer Jonathan Dove.

We held six panel-led workshops, attended by academics, creative practitioners, policy-makers and figures from the NGO and charitable sectors – from North America, Latin America, Asia, Australasia, Africa, the Middle East and across Europe and the UK.

We held three events especially for post-graduate students: a training workshop in the Pitt Rivers Museum; a creative forum involving 5-minute papers, collage poetry and candle-pouring; and a one-day graduate conference which showcased the best work of young academics across many fields relating to war and remembrance.

We heard from novelists, poets, composers and sculptors; by lawyers, musicologists, theologians and anthropologists; by war veterans and by specialists in conflict resolution.

We listened to readings of poetry – in Arabic and English, to the Syrian oud being played and to sound installations of nothing happening; we sat in extended silence to see what that could teach us; we discussed and disagreed and learned and have been moved beyond words.

We established a thriving online presence of videos, audio podcasts, a twitter feed and a blog to which more than 30 people – and counting – have contributed.  You can access our videos and audios here and here and on iTunes

We were been lucky to have not one, not two, but five poets-in-residence, who brought a valuable creative perspective to our proceedings.

We did not achieve world peace, but it was not for want of trying, and we did collect many insights into how post-war commemoration can best contribute to reconstruction and reconciliation.

All this was the work of a large number of people.  Thanks to all the following.

  • The members of our Advisory Board: Lord Alderdice, Professor Jeremy Treglown and Dr Justine Shaw – you were tremendous supporters of the Series and we are most grateful.
  • Our poets-in-residence, Susie Campbell, Sue Zatland, Mariah Whelan, Patrick Toland and Dahmicca Wright – you enhanced our discussions enormously.
  • Our keynote speakers and those who chaired events: Professor Elleke Boehmer, Professor Helen Small, Dr Jane Potter, Dr Joshua Hordern, Dr Kate Kennedy, Professor Paul Whitty and Dr Alice Kelly.
  • Professor Ros Ballaster, Sadie Slater, Chris Bayliss and Katie MacCurrach at the Oxford English Faculty; Professor Alistair Fitt and Matt Gaskin at Oxford Brookes; Dr Vicky McGuinness and the team at TORCH; the Bursary team at Harris Manchester; the events team at Brookes; and Dr. Alice Kelly for being there in the early stages.
  • All those who came from far and wide to participate in our events.

And now, we look forward to commemorating the Series itself in the form of publication.  Look out for On Commemoration: Global Reflections Upon Remembering War, which will be published by Peter Lang in 2020.

Kate McLoughlin