16th Oct 2019 5:30pm-7:00pm

G4, Grand Parade

Erica Masserano (University of East London)

London and many other communities across the UK and the world are undergoing fast-paced bouts of gentrification, with few residents actually being able to participate in the conversation about the city. As the city changes, new pasts are built in order to serve new futures; but what non-hegemonic narratives are being sidelined in the process? This project focuses on the life narratives of community members from intersectionally disenfranchised neighbourhoods, the interplay of memory, experience and identity, and the richness of their relationship with the territory.

In collaboration with CityLife, (https://citylifestories.co.uk/), a group of University of East London writers, journalists and historians has been engaging in memory-based work with community elders, contributing to an in-progress archive of life narratives by Londoners in the form of non-fiction literary pieces which my PhD research will later analyse.

How do we engage with community members and elders from marginalised communities?
Marginalisation and authenticity; ethical interviewing, oral history and artistic practice

What does it mean when we claim to give voice to others?
Voice and representation; the performativity of life narratives and the role of the researcher

How do we select the correct analytical tools for our research from a cross-disciplinary perspective?
Concepts and analytical strategies from literary life writing, narrative studies and cultural studies

How do we ensure that the archives we create stay active?
Distribution, participation, public discourse and the future of the city

What does memory-based work teach us about the present, and how can we use it to build the future?
Against essentialisms and for a progressive, future-oriented nostalgia

Erica Masserano is a PhD scholar in Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at the University of East London. Her interests include writing and translation, workers and migrants’ rights and intersectional perspectives. She is funded by the Stuart Hall Foundation. (http://stuarthallfoundation.org/what-we-do/fellowships-and-scholarships/erica-masserano-uel/)