Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CommGenRwa (Genocide Commemoration in the Rwandan Diaspora)
Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-08-31
The COVID-19 situation has had a significant impact on the progression of the project overall, particularly in terms of conducting fieldwork. The primary outputs of the project were to include the organisation of an interdisciplinary symposium, the development of a research monograph and the curation of an exhibition at the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Brussels. The project symposium, ‘Remembering the Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda 25 Years On’, was held at Ghent University on 16 May 2020 and included the participation of Rwandan community leaders and artists as well as academics from a range of disciplines. Due to the disruption to the planned research and dissemination activities in March-August 2020, the writing of the monograph has been delayed, and the exhibition has been postponed. One of the key objectives of the MSCA-IF is to enhance the potential and future career prospects of the researcher. This has been achieved through the securing of my next academic job at Newcastle University, UK: a Newcastle University Academic Track (NUAcT) Fellowship in the School of Modern Languages, which I took up on 1 September 2020.
Dissemination activities included presentations at 6 international academic conferences, a keynote lecture at the SFPS International Conference in 2019, invited talks at UC-Louvain and University of Warwick, and participation in two outreach activities, including a Schools Workshop at City Hall, London, in May 2019 and the Festival de la Francophone in Oxford in March 2020. 3 further events due to take place in 2020 have been postponed to 2021. I was awarded the SAGE Memory Studies Journal and MSA Outstanding First Book Award 2019 for my research monograph From Surviving to Living: Voice, Trauma and Witness in Rwandan Women’s Writing (Pulm, 2018) and, as the recipient of this award, I organised the MSA Book Award Panel at the Memory Studies Association Conference in Madrid, June 2019.
Written outputs include an article and two book reviews that have been submitted for publication, and a further three articles currently in preparation. I also contributed a piece to the Newsletter of the Belgian Cooperation in and with Rwanda, Embassy of Belgium in Kigali, ‘Commemorating Genocide in the Rwandan Diaspora’, which was published in April 2019. Two further relevant publications came out during the course of the fellowship, including a book chapter and a book co-edited with Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro, On Commemoration: Global Reflections upon Remembering War (Peter Lang, 2020).
Throughout the project I have been in constant dialogue with the communities affected by and interested in this research, and the fellowship has enabled me to develop strong, sustainable partnerships with Rwandan survivor organisations. It is vital that knowledge in this field is a result of co-production and mutually beneficial collaboration. As well as establishing lasting partnerships with Rwandan community organisations, including Ibuka-Belgique, Diaspora Rwanda Belgique, Ibuka-France, and the Ishami Foundation, my involvement in building collaborative research networks, including the ‘Central Africa and Belgium: Empire and Postcolonial Resonance’ research network and the ‘Fieldwork and Modern Languages’ working group, demonstrating the lasting impact of this research, both within the academic and community sectors.