22 July 2016

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Commemorative spaces

One project I’ve been involved in this year has involved war memorials. Across the cycle of my year this has shifted in and out of focus; something I pick up when in particular places and at particular times. Typically I find memorials to visit when visiting family in Lincolnshire, but I’ve also looked at memorials whilst at conferences or on holiday. I visited the Caythorpe War Memorial this week, stopping briefly in the village at the end of a long journey from the west of Cumbria to south Lincolnshire. The memorial was erected at the end of the First World War, and was added to in the 1940s, and twice more in the 2000s. Nearby there is a memorial to service personnel who died in the Falklands Conflict, originally erected at Aldershot in 1982 and moved to its current location in 2000. Thinking about the seasonality of my visits to these nodes of collective memory reminded me of the cyclical nature of the memorials themselves. A small green outside a medieval churchyard has been used as a focus for commemoration across 97 years. Some of the acts of remembrance leave permanent marks, with the addition of memorials or plaques. Others are ephemeral – the laying of wreaths and the internalised thoughts and feelings of those who visit it.

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