About

This is an AHRC-funded project which is part of the ‘Care for the Future’ theme. It examines what makes a centenary commemoration different to any other. From the recent commemoration of suffrage, revolution and the sinking of the Titanic, to the events of the First World War, this project places contemporary centenary events in the context of historical celebrations and commemorations in order to interrogate exactly who is now remembering for whom, and how.

At the heart of the investigation are two paradoxes: first, the significance attributed to the acts of memory and commemoration is often accompanied by references to obsolescence and calls to forget – temporal significance on the one hand is perceived as contemporary insignificance on the other; second, the processes of remembering are by default devoid of witnesses but nevertheless continue to have immediate resonance within families and communities. As those tasked with caring for the future, museums and heritage sites are at the centre of negotiating these controversial, and very public, paradoxes.

This interdisciplinary, cross-sector project brings together academics and practitioners to contextualise, compare and convey the significance of the centenary. It will involve a series of workshops beginning in April 2013. The project is led by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the Universities of Cardiff and Sheffield, Historic Royal Palaces (Tower of London) and the National Library of Wales.

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