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CRIT-GEOG-FORUM  May 2005

CRIT-GEOG-FORUM May 2005

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Subject:

landscapes of postcolonial memorialisation

From:

Driver F <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Driver F <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 14 May 2005 14:45:56 +0100

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text/plain

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Dear all 
some of you may be interested in this conference on landscapes of
postcolonial memorialisation at the District Six Museum, Capetown.
FD

******* 

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT 

Hands on District Six:  Landscapes of Postcolonial Memorialisation 

May 25-28, Cape Town, South Africa 

  

The District Six Museum will be hosting a four day international 
conference to reflect on ten years of its growth as an institution, and 
to prepare to play a role in the return of community to the landscape of 
District Six.  We expect to engage local and international participants 
from other museums, as well as scholars, practitioners, and activists 
working with 'sites of conscience', urban justice and restitution, 
performance, and human rights.  The International Coalition of Historic 
Site Museums of Conscience is a key partner in this venture.  

  

To register and view the full conference programme please fill out the 
online form and visit our website at 
<http://www.graphicmail.com/sendlink.asp?HitID=1115905757000&SiteID=2042 
&EmailID=12274795&Link=http://www.districtsix.co.za/> 
www.districtsix.co.za.  For more information, contact 
<mailto:[log in to unmask]> [log in to unmask] 

The Conference sessions are as follows: 

  

Wednesday 25 May 2005 

Day I: Orientation to District Six  and Community Engagements 

  



Orientation to District Six and communities:  Engagements with Langa, 
Manenberg and Protea Village 

This day highlights the complex histories and geographies of forced 
removals through three distinctive sites and communities, each of which 
have complex relationships with District Six and Cape Town in general. 
Interrogating the notion of excursions into the Cape Flats, participants 
will  visit  the above sites and confront, engage and discuss the 
effects of forced removals with District Six  Museum staff, community 
residents and other participants as well as engage with the contemporary 
memory projects at these sites 


Manenberg: 

This session will discuss the impact of forced removals on communities, 
as well as the formation of social and cultural identities in the past 
and present. Other than 'returning', what other mechanisms of 
restitution might be possible for displaced communities? In this session 
community practitioners and session participants will reflect and 
theorise on their own practices and will also explore how museum 
practitioners might interact with communities such as Manenberg and 
develop practices that engage with issues beyond the often 
singularly-represented story of forced removals. 

  

Langa: 

Through activities with the Langa Heritage Foundation and community 
groups in the area, the session addresses the challenges of heritage 
practice in Langa - and its relation to the township tourism industry in 
Cape Town. Ndabeni land claimants, Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum and the 
newly established Langa Heritage Foundation together with Gugu S'thebe 
will share their views on the politics of heritage institution-making as 
a community development practice.  The session will reflect on the 
dis/enabling possibilities around government policies  around heritage, 
arts and culture in Langa. 

  

Protea Village: 

This excursion will question existing and emerging heritage practices by 
calling attention to the significance of mapping a range of 
environmental and societal relations for living memory in Protea 
Village, a small community that arose at the nexus of three colonial 
farm estates demarcated along the slopes of Table Mountain. The session 
explores how exhibitionary practices may contribute to community 
political and cultural goals of connecting living memory to land 
restitution claims. 

  

  

Thursday 26 May 2005 

Day II: Key debates in Memorialisation, Human Rights and Heritage 
Practice 



  

Keynote  Presentations 

Short presentations will raise questions about discourses of power in 
national memorialisation processes and projects. Speakers will consider 
how political spaces of dialogue and contestation over memory and 
heritage may open up and hence change implicit theoretical and 
pedagogical understandings of existing heritage management, museum 
development and memorialisation practices. Case studies from South 
Africa and internationally will be raised to explore the particular 
features of the South African memorial complex, as well as to understand 
the spaces, critical memorial practices, and heritage site work of South 
Africa in relation to sites  of trauma internationally. 

  


  

Workshop 1: Towards a National Heritage Site: District Six as a National 
Site of Forced Removals.  

This session raises questions around how the introduction of 'intangible 
heritage' as a legal category might act as a means to strengthen the 
work of 'living heritage' practitioners. It seeks to bring existing 
theoretical and legal definitions of heritage into dialogue with 
existing heritage practices that affirm knowledges located in 
'non-traditional' sources, such as performance, oral traditions and oral 
histories. 

  

Workshop 2. Contestation of Memory in a Post-liberation / democratic 
Society: Building National Consensus around Memorialisation. 

  

Using examples from throughout South Africa, this session questions the 
role of the state and independent initiatives in contemporary practices 
of memorialisation and nation-building. What does it mean to represent 
or understand a historic site as a national space of memory? How do 
projects such as the District Six Museum, Freedom Park and the 
Sophiatown initiatives, promote national consensus? In which ways is 
this problematic? 

  

Workshop 3. Site Museums of Conscience: The Pedagogy of Memorialisation 
- Possibilities for Influencing  a Human Rights Culture. 

  

This session engages with questions around the origin and the purpose of 
the need to memorialise/remember; the nature of memorialisation in 
relation to a social justice /human rights agenda as well as the notion 
of a 'hierarchy of victimhood'. We will explore human rights issues and 
strategies, the identity of the District Six Museum as a place of memory 
work and share perspectives and interpretations of pedagogical practice 
across a range of sites of conscience. We will explore the educational 
relationships and practices that emerge from the memorialisation of 
socio-political trauma and what the underlying theories are that drive 
our work. 

  

Friday 27 May 2005 

Day 3: Methodologies and Public Engagement 



  

Workshop 1: Living Memory & 'Collections' 

  

In this session we wish to consolidate our understanding of how we work 
with notions of living memory and intangible heritage. To develop the 
concept of 'living collections', we will re-examine traditional museum 
archival practices that define 'the archive' as a repository of memory, 
and propose instead archival practices defined by a human rights and 
restorative justice agenda. We privilege the voices speaking through the 
District Six Museum collection by inviting those people who contributed 
to the collection to speak of the processes and the meaning of these for 
them. 

  

Workshop 2: Exhibitions & Education: Exploring Dynamic Possibilities 

This workshop will  take place and critically engage with  three 
exhibition spaces in the museum  namely, the central space defined by 
the  floor map  of District Six and  the memory cloth, the  Gallery  and 
the  Memorial Hall.  Participants will be asked to reflect on 
experiences and heritage practices within their own organisations. The 
relationship between  the museum space and the site of District Six in 
the creation of exhibitionary and pedagogical tools will be a key focus. 
We will deal with issues related to the pedagogical challenges and 
possibilities of dynamic exhibitions that lead to the creation of spaces 
for exploration, living testimony and storytelling, conservation and 
ongoing development. 

  

Workshop 3: Performing Identities/Performing Memory 

Rather than treat memory as a static site or narrative, this session 
explores how memory is performed, and remade through music, theatre, 
carnival, live poetry, festivals and other acts and spaces of 
performance. The session reflects upon and performs the memory of forced 
removals through bodies, artefacts, music, mobile processions, 
festivals, and rituals. Artists and will introduce their creative 
performances and   together with workshop participants consider why 
performance arts are important in the (re)constitution of living memory 
and heritage 

  


Workshop 4: Urban Reconfiguration & Public Participation 


This session attempts to articulate ways of working with memory to 
ensure socially just engagements with new projects of urban development. 
The museum now enters a new phase where it is challenged to engage with 
the ex-residents' return to the area and the redevelopment of the 
District Six site. Questions will be raised around the ways to inspire 
and sustain effective public engagement in issues raised by various 
developments which are shaping the city. It is hoped that the session 
will draw from the experiences of practitioners in the fields of memory, 
urban design, housing and settlement development who have each in their 
different ways grappled with the problems of participatory and community 
processes.    

  

  

Saturday 28 May 2005 

Day IV: Hands On District Six : " Memories and Dreams" 

OPEN DAY IN  DISTRICT SIX 


  

The activities of the closing day of the conference are intended to 
re-orient former and current, returning and non-returning District Six 
residents, Cape Town communities affected by forced removals, the City 
and conference guests to the physical site of District Six.  

  

From 11h00-15h00 there will be a morning programme of creative workshops 
for invited community organisations, guests and conference delegates at 
the Lydia Williams Centre for Memory in Chapel Street, District Six.  W 
e will ask the fgreater Cape Town public to join us  in  site From 14h30 
to 15h45  we will  process from the Lydia Williams Centre to the site of 
the District Six Memorial Park  and perform a site  ritual on the site. 

  

The day's activities will also provide a platform for community groups 
forcibly removed to the outskirts of Cape Town to engage in discussions 
and expressions about land restitution, place-based memories, the 
politics involved in negotiating returns to these spaces, and the 
forging of working relationships between communities and groups involved 
in heritage development and managing the city. Community groups and 
guests will be asked to create tangible forms and outcomes to express 
memories, opinions, feelings, and perceptions about their place in Cape 
Town, in their own communities and the return to District Six. We wish 
to facilitate support networks and interaction between ex-residents of 
District Six (non/returning), the existing Chapel Street/District Six 
community, our partners and other conference delegates.   

  

  

Partners: The International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of 
Conscience, District Six Beneficiary and Redevelopment Trust, Ford 
Foundation, South African Heritage Resources Agency, Constitution Hill, 
Rockefeller Foundation. 

We extend an invitation to: museum practitioners, human rights 
practitioners, scholars, activists, persons affected by forced removals 
and dispossession and other interested persons.  


  

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