The seminar series which has run alongside the ongoing work on the Accounts of the Conflict project came to end with the two final contributions in April and June 2014. On 16 April, Elizabeth Silkes, Executive Director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, gave a presentation on ‘Archive Development and Civic Engagement at Sites of Conscience’ at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). During her talk Elizabeth gave an overview of the work of Sites of Conscience across the world. This included the importance of preserving various types of documentation and making them publicly accessible in archives, which allow for the reflection of a diverse range of histories that go beyond the “official” narrative. This approach enables history and conflicting narratives to become a part of the public domain.
Then at The Mac, Belfast on 19 June, Ramsay Liem, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Visiting Scholar at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, spoke on ‘The Art of Remembering: Evoking Memories and Legacies of the Korean War’. In his seminar Ramsay began with a brief overview outlining how in the United States, the Korean War (1950 – 1953) has been virtually erased from collective memory. He then went on to outline how his work has attempted to uncover survivor memories and create spaces where personal stories can engage public dialogue and mobilize support for a review of that conflict. This has included a range of activities from the gathering of oral histories from Korean American elders and their children, organising a collective of artists to create a multi-media exhibit embodying themes from these interviews, and co-directing a documentary film interweaving war memories, the history and chronology of the war, and archival footage. Ramsay then went on to show some of the resources that illustrate his oral history work, such as the multi-media exhibit Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the “Forgotten War” which can be viewed at the interactive website (www.stillpresentpasts.org). In addition those who attended the seminar were then given the opportunity to enjoy a screening of “Memory of Forgotten War” (37 minutes), the most recent product of Ramsay’s work on Korean American legacies of the Korean War.
Finally anyone who was unable to come along to any of the seminars all were recorded on video and can be viewed via the Seminars page.