Performing Europe's Past in Australia Workshop

The point of the workshop was to exchange knowledge, discuss research ideas, theoretical frameworks and strategies for a unique, interdisciplinary publication with the Routledge series Critical Heritages of Europe.

The project seeks to explore new spaces and contexts for European memory that have developed in Australia, the new approaches to dealing with traumatic or suppressed memory and competing narratives of Europe’s past as they are remediated in cultural practices (incl. literature, performance, film, photography, digital storytelling and commemorative rituals). It assumes that whilst the impact of Australia’s Anglo-colonial heritage has been well examined, the position of European migrants more broadly has been at times unacknowledged and under-researched.

While EU’s efforts have focused on constructing a transnationalised conception of history, various counter-narratives have been gradually emerging across Europe, reifying national, regional and ethnic-bound pasts, redrawing boundaries and divisions. The project hypothesises that re-enacting representation of the past away from its point of origin encourages a more critical or subversive engagement with the past, and possibly a more cosmopolitan relationship between different historical experiences. Thus, it proposes an innovative way of examining how “European memory” is represented when detached from its point of origin and how it transforms unfolding across and beyond cultures and communities.

By focusing on the processes of travel and dislocation, moving people and objects to new locations marked by different memories and heritage, the project will consider if/how performing Europe’s past in Australia contributes to fostering new kinds of identification, remembering the past outside of national(ist) frames and narratives, or possibly responds to the escalating crisis of European integration.


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Date & time

Fri 22 Nov 2019, 9.30am


Nye Hughes Room, ANU Centre for European Studies


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