Geography and Collective Memories Through Art – A free virtual workshop.

4 – 5 February 2021 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)

This free workshop is supported by the Geographical Society of New South Wales.


In this workshop we examine and experiment with the cultural and political potential of ‘memory through art’ in geographical enquiry.  We will facilitate creative practice, discussion, collaboration, and for those interested, produce a Special Issue of Australian Geographer (2022). The workshop explores the themes of memory, art, and geographical knowledge in order to motivate a creative dialogue among geographers, artists, and activists. We ask what does art do to geographies of memory? Moving beyond methodological debates we focus on art mediums as these bring to light the affective and political forces of place speaking to timely and important issues such as  colonialism, climate change, migration and peace and conflict. The proposed workshop, will also centre artistic interventions from Southern epistemologies as these continue to be underrepresented in Australian geography and humanities.

After registering your interest to attend, you will receive an email to confirm your registration for the workshop.

Keynote Speakers

Virgelina Chará is a human rights defender, educator, embroidery artist and protest music composer from Colombia. She coordinates the ‘Association for the Integral Development of Women, Youth and Children’ (ASOMUJER y Trabajo) which works with forcibly displaced families and victims of the  armed violence in Colombia. She is also the leader of the Embroidery Union at the Memory Centre for Peace and Reconciliation in Bogotá, Colombia. She is a world-renowned educator on the pedagogy and power of memory for the construction of peace.

She was born in Suárez, Cauca, which is a region where armed conflict, extractivism and neoliberal development have meant many people, including Virgelina and her family, have had to confront violence and displacement.  Since 2003 Virgelina has resided in Bogotá. In 2005 she was proposed as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

You can read more on Virgelina’s work here (left click to Google Translate to English).


Artist Libby Harward is a descendant of the Ngugi people of Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) in the Quandamooka (Moreton Bay Area). 

Known for her early work as an urban graffiti artist under the pseudonym of ‘Mz Murricod’, and her performance-based community activism, Harward’s recent series, ALREADY OCCUPIED, engages a continual process of re-calling – re-hearing – re-mapping – re-contextualising – de-colonising and re-instating on country that which colonisation has denied Australia’s First Peoples.

This political practice engages Traditional Custodians in the evolution of ephemeral installations on mainland country which has become highly urbanised and calls for an artistic response that seeks to uncover and reinstate the cultural significance of place, which always was, and remains to be there. Her current place-based sound and video work engages directly with politically charged ideas of national and international significance. 

You can find on Libby’s work here and read more on her project DABILBUNG here.



The workshop is structured in four parts:

Part 1 – 1st February 2021 by 5:00pm: In the week leading up to the event, workshop participants submit a 1 page (A4 portrait or landscape) response to the question: ‘What does art do to geographies of memory?’ The response can be written, creative, drawn, mapped, photos, collage, text, prose, or more. We will share these on our website, and will form a key discussion point for the interactive workshop event.

Part 2  – 4th February 2021, 3:00pm-5:00pm AEST:  Workshop participants will be invited to attend keynote presentations from artists who have been working with the current pressing issues of geographical research, treating them as a threshold point for their own creative responses and provocations that they may choose to share during part 3 and 4. We will centre artistic interventions from Southern epistemologies as these continue to be underrepresented in Australian geography.

Part 3 – 5th February 2021, 9.30am – 12:30pm AEST: Each participant will give an informal 5-minute talk about their creative response submitted prior to the workshop. 

Part 4 (optional) – 5th February 2021, 12:30pm – 1:30pm AEST: In the final hour, participants will collectively discuss how to take these ideas and discussions forward as a Special Issue of Australian Geographer on the workshop themes.

For questions about the workshop please contact Diti Bhattacharya (d.bhattacharya@griffith.edu.au) or Laura Rodriguez Castro (laura.rodriguezcastro@alumni.griffithuni.edu.au)

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