ICES Museum of Memory and Coexistence

Remembering the Past and Looking to the Future: Celebrating Diversity through Art and Memory


The International Centre for Ethnic Studies is currently working towards establishing a digital and subsequently a physical and mobile museum of memory and coexistence as part of its longstanding engagement with issues of Cultural Diversity, Justice and Reconciliation.


Recognizing the potential of museums as sites of interaction between personal and collective identities, between memory and history (Crane, 2000) and their ability to instruct and help people engage with a variety of human experiences, ICES will present a digital, physical and mobile museum derived from research and public engagement which is accessible and appeals to the multi-modal nature of human experience.


In post-conflict and post-war settings, Museums can play an important role in national reconciliation and healing as they have the potential to unleash processes of self-reflection and learning that go beyond other interventions. By combining images with text and digital tools with installations, theatre, music, and possibly the culinary arts, they are easily accessible, appeal to a wide strata of society, and trigger a broad range of emotional and intellectual responses, both spontaneous and long-term.


Through these platforms, ICES intends to tap into human experience by involving marginalized communities in producing and curating art works or installations that reflect issues and concerns specific to each community. It is also intended that the exhibits be displayed either in pop-up locations or within their own organic and indigenous locations. ICES will draw on the experiences of vulnerable and victim communities, including persons living with disabilities, women-headed households, ex-combatants and other similar groups, in generating material for this museum. The museum will celebrate diversity, coexistence, resilience and solidarity, while archiving suffering, loss, victimization and personal trauma. It is intended that meaningful participation and involvement of communities will lead to empowerment and promote respect for diversity and pluralism in Sri Lanka.




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