AHRC Leadership Fellowship: Virtual Holocaust Memory

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Dr Matthew Boswell from the School of English has been awarded an AHRC Leadership Fellowship for a project entitled ‘Virtual Holocaust Memory: from Testimony to Holography’. Commencing in October 2015, the Fellowship will investigate the ways that digital culture and the passing of time are shaping a new era of Holocaust remembrance in a rapidly changing and more interconnected world. Recognising the role that the internet, digital archives and social media are playing in the transmission of Holocaust memories, the Fellowship will explore phenomena such as interactive museums, digital reconstructions of camp sites and even holograms of survivors which are being developed by the University of Southern California Shoah Foundation, one of the partners on the project.

As well as considering the changing nature of Holocaust memories in a philosophical and theoretical sense, the Fellowship will involve close collaboration with organisations who are actively involved in keeping those memories alive, such as the National Holocaust Centre and Museum (UK) and the Holocaust Survivors’ Friendship Association (UK). In September 2016, a two week events programme will be held at the newly-opening Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre. Using video conferencing technology, the programme will involve survivors of the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide, as well as their families, museum professionals, volunteers, non-governmental organisations, academics and members of the public. These events will consider how digital technology is shaping Holocaust memory in different global contexts and participants will reflect on how their experiences, skills and expertise might contribute to the future development and use of such technologies.

Also connected to the Fellowship will be a seminar series for early career researchers at the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York entitled ‘Memory, Trauma and Violence’, where a new generation of researchers will present work-in-progress and engage with world-leading academics on a regular basis.

Image © USC Shoah Foundation, 2014.