22nd Nov 2017 5:30pm-7:00pm

Edward Street 102


Dr Patricia Prieto-Blanco (University of Brighton)


Focusing on a friendship book from a female concentration camp in Ravensbrück, belonging to Slovenian prisoner Viktorija, this paper conceptualises the friendship book as an object of resilience as well as a tool that assists or nurtures resilience. Concepts of relational resilience, memory, post-memory and affordances are applied to the analysis of the friendship book, which builds bridges between disciplines and cultures. This tiny and yet so powerful autograph book pierces time (Barthes, 1980) bridging between past and present, as well as between the personal and the cultural.

We have interpreted Viktorija’s memory book as a place of relational resilience (Jordan, 2005) as the book was used to collect ideas of freedom, common suffering and homeland, which helped these women to cope in a context of severe risk. The analysis of the texts shows that resilience is not only a tool of supported vulnerability and adaptation to risk, but it is also an active process of resistance. Accordingly, this paper suggests that resilience needs to be approached beyond adaptability to risk and consider the relevance of resistance for individual and collective coping with severe circumstances. We propose to inquiry the ways in which resistance to oppressive socio-political contexts impact existing conceptualizations of personal and collective resilience.

Outside of the concentration camp, this memory book becomes an instrument of post-memory (Hirsch, 2008) and a remnant of the past (Agamben, 2009). By extracting material qualities of the memory book, an exploration of collective coping, resistance and resilience can take place. In doing so, we intend to highlight the power of art to convey feelings and emotions through aesthetics (Bennett, 2005) while responding to socio-political contexts. This also allow for an exploration of distributed agency and the contextual properties of perceived affordances (Rammert, 2008).


Tanja Kovačič (born 1979) is a researcher at the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) at NUI Galway, Ireland. Her area of research has evolved around topics of socialist and post-socialist youth, resilience, narrative and epistolary inquiry. As part of her PhD project, she explored youth coping strategies in a context of a radical social change in Slovenia. Additionally, she read letters written by two American soldiers during the II WW and researched their pathways to resilience in a context of severe risk. In the past year, Tanja has worked on a knowledge transfer project in the area of transforming children’s and youth services; conducted in a partnership with the Atlantic Philanthropies, Lumos foundation and UCFRC.

Patricia Prieto-Blanco (born 1981) lectures photographic practices and visual culture at the University of Brighton, UK. Her area of expertise are visual methods of research and reception studies. She is the new editor of MeCCSA PGN Networking Knowledge, as well as an advocate of interdisciplinary, participatory and practice-based research and a proud member of HYSTERIA radical feminist collective.

Domingo Martinez (born 1983) lectures didactics of arts at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid. His research explores the theory and practice of contemporary art through cultural memory in order to explore artistic approaches to incorporate memory in artwork. By drawing onto work produced by twenty contemporary artists, his research revealed that an inamovible concept of history is continuously challenged by art practices. Martinez’s own practice has been praised through awards, scholarships and it has been featured in solo and groups shows in Spain and the UK.