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Anna Reading: Inaugural Lecture

Edmond J Safra Lecture Theatre
21/10/2015 (18:30-20:00)

Part of the Arts & Humanities Festival 2015 - Fabrication.

Presented by the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries.

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A story of memory: gender materiality technology

Inaugural lecture by Anna Reading


More than once upon a time, in the future-past before you, the earth storied humans, memories woke from rivers and rocks. Then memories moved from the red of human blood to the red of ochre to the red of rare earths in laptops, tablets and mobile phones. Men and women made reminders; they mined, grooved and painted their own human tales, forgetting that memories wake from rivers and rocks. This inaugural lecture tells a story of memory to explore how technologies fabricate and transform mnemonic practices in ways that are materially and energetically gendered.

In the 21st century, digital cultures combine with economies of globalisation to create a ‘globital memory field’ that penetrates the human body and extends into the seen Universe. Yet, in what ways does the globital memory field simply reproduce old legacies and memories of gender? 

The lecture includes excerpts of Anna Reading’s work as a memory activist researching Eastern Europe during 1989, the Roma and the Holocaust, and the mobile witnessing of atrocity and terror. It closes with discussion of a recent project that combines her work as a performer and playwright with her academic work, to generate new imaginaries in the archive incited by live storytelling.

Anna Reading is Professor of Culture and Creative Industries and Head of the Department of Culture, Media & Creative Industries at King’s College London. She is an Honorary Visiting Professor in Communication at the Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney. She is the author of Polish Women, Solidarity and Feminism (1992); Communism, Capitalism and the Mass Media with Colin Sparks (1998) and The Social Inheritance of the Holocaust: Gender, Culture and Memory (2002). Anna’s work as a memory activist also includes writing plays and developing community and activist led storytelling projects with NGOs that tackle difficult pasts and taboo subjects.

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