Rethinking Memorials

In 2017 I was invited by artist Kate Tiernan to undertake a week-long residency at Platform in Southwark. This was around the time that the removal of Confederate war memorials was in the news and we decided to take inspiration from that to spend the week investigating the memorial landscape of Southwark. We were interested in what memorials already exist, but equally in what important things were not memorialised in the landscape, whether existing memorials were open to reinterpretation, things in the landscape that look like memorials but aren’t, and spaces ripe for memorial intervention.


On Day 1 of the residency, we walked from the studio near Southwark station to London Bridge station, investigating as we went the wider memorial landscape, existing and potential. On Day 2 we held a discussion in the studio feeding back on and expanding the themes and sites from the night before. Day 3 was devoted to training people to intervene, and a small audience heard from me on archaeology, Saini Manninen on craftivism, and Kate Tiernan on performance. The conclusion of the evening was a resolution to intervene in certain places in certain ways, to be enacted the next day.

On Day 4, we went out and intervened. We cleaned a space underneath a railway viaduct to create a new memorial space, turned some broken public art into a memorial, and used some craft leftovers to create a personal memorial near St Thomas’s Hospital.

Cleaning a new memorial space





See also:

Re-imagining memorials

Coming soon – Reimagining Memorials – 13-16 September, London