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Project Manager: Merete Røstad

Popular scientific summary

MEMORYWORK is a platform for sharing interdisciplinary artistic research on performative memory work. The project is developed by artists with backgrounds in Choreography, Theatre, Performance Art and Art in Public Spaces.  

We ask questions about whose memories and which memories count, and how do we remember? Whose lives are afforded space?

Academic summary

MEMORYWORK is an interdisciplinary artistic research enquiry into the politics of remembrance and representation.​ We explore states of performative flux in which multiple temporalities, past, present and future, are entangled and coexist. Through probing into gaps or blind spots or unmarked wounds that affect us in the present (Phelan 1993), we artistically search for distinct ways to account for people’s location in history (Davis 2010: 149). We start from a critical research position that asks:   

Whose stories are heard, retold, and given attention? What are we doing with our agency and privilege to perform? What are reiterated and repurposed performatively through our artistic work?   

Our artistic concerns lie in the intangible structures that shape the way we perceive and remember the past and hence understand the world around us. The questioning is urgent both for the arts and society at large. Our performative art practices share with politics the entangled relationships between power and agency as they both become manifest through public representation (Franko 2006). As W. Benjamin argues, similar entanglements form our understanding of history: By capturing fleeting fragments of the past, we reimagine and narrate our history that shapes the future (Benjamin 1968). MEMORYWORK is preoccupied with this potential: the ways to reactivate and re-contextualize memory in public spheres.   

The project is situated in the intersection between Choreography and Public Art, informed by post-colonial and intersectional theory, historical materialism, psychoanalysis and ethnographic tools, while drawing on insights from Memory, Trauma and Performance Studies in its artistic investigation and exposition. Performatively, MEMORYWORK explores the means to make temporalities, memories and spaces coexist and publicly embodied.    

Merete Røstad and Per Roar initiated MEMORYWORK in collaboration with Sasa Asentic (Serbia/Germany), Manuel Pelmus (Norway/Romania), Eliot Moleba (South Africa), Solveig Styve Holte (Norway), Nayria Castillo (Venezuela/Austria), Ingri Fiksdal (Norway), Xavier Le Roy, Institute for Applied Theatre Studies in Giessen (France/Germany) and Myna Trustram (United Kingdom), Helena Elias, Faculty of Fine Arts Lisbon(Portugal).   

The project is supported by a group of experts who will thematically contribute to the critical discourse, contextualisation and dissemination. They include Suzana Milevska, Lars Ebert (H401), Boris Boden (Public Art and New Artistic Strategies, Bauhaus University, Weimar), Mary Jane Jacob (Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, United States) and James E. Young, University of Massachusetts Amherst


MEMORYWORK comes out of research collaboration at Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO) between the Dance and Art & Craft departments. The project involves an international group of artist-researchers, including research fellows at KHIO, as core members. They will use some of their individual artistic research projects as source material for the core activity in MEMORY WORK: a series of thematic Project Labs.  

In these Labs, the artist-researchers are joined by a group of associated research members based at different international institutions and other relevant guests and specialists. The Labs offer open events for staff and MA students at our institutions and the public at large. In addition, the Labs will operate as a generator for sharing knowledge and experiences, discussing strategies, developing artistic and discursive contributions, and disseminating results. The thematic Labs will be rendered artistically and discursively. This material builds the project’s repository, with various documentation of the artist-researchers individual projects and the research material collected on the theme.

Project facts

Project title MEMORYWORK
Project manager
  • Merete Røstad
    Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Project participants
  • Saša Asentić
    Oslo National Academy of the Arts
  • Manuel Pelmus
    Oslo National Academy of the Arts
  • Eliot Moleba
    Oslo National Academy of the Arts
  • Per Roar
    Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Start date
End date
Project status Active
Department Art and Craft
  • Arts Council Norway
  • Norwegian Artistic Research Programme
Related projects
  1. ARcTic South
  1. Merete Røstad, Eliot Moleba, Solveig Styve Holte & Per Roar: PANEL DISCUSSION: “Memory Work” (2021). Lecture. More information
  2. Merete Røstad: Repository-ethics, politics, and methodology of the AR archive (2022). Lecture. More information
  3. Per Roar & Merete Røstad: MEMORYWORK (2022). Other presentation. More information
  4. Merete Røstad: Remembrance and Forgetting as Art Practice in the Public Sphere (2020). Other presentation. More information
  5. Merete Røstad: Embodied sound Archive (2020). Lecture. More information
  6. Merete Røstad: “The Participatory Monument: Remembrance and Forgetting as Art Practice in the Public Sphere.” (2020). Lecture. More information
  7. Merete Røstad, Per Roar, Solveig Styve Holte, Eliot Moleba & Manuel Pelmus: Pilot: Preparing – engaging in memory research artistically, ethically and politically (2020). Lecture. More information
  8. Merete Røstad: “The Participatory Monument Remembrance and Forgetting as Art Practice in Public Sphere” (2019). Academic lecture. More information
  9. Natalie Hope O' Donnell & Merete Røstad: Merete Røstad, Chamber (2017). Exhibition catalogue . More information
  10. Merete Røstad: ARCHIVE (2018). Other presentation. More information
  11. Merete Røstad: Høring (2018). Other presentation. More information
  12. Merete Røstad & Mary Jane Jacob: Mary Jane Jacob og Merete Røstad: Kammer (2017). Other presentation. More information
  13. Per Roar: Docudancing Griefscapes (2017). Academic lecture. More information
  14. Merete Røstad: Å skrive kvinner inn i historien (2017). Lecture. More information
  15. Merete Røstad: Exercises in Consciousness (2017). Lecture. More information
  16. Merete Røstad: Kammer - en lydskulptur om de glemte kvinnene fra Oslo øst (2017). Visual Arts. More information
  17. Merete Røstad: Excercises in consciouness : re | staging forgetting as Art Practice in Public Space (2017). Lecture. More information
  18. Merete Røstad: We are the monuments (2016). Lecture. More information
  19. Merete Røstad: We are the monuments– workshop about forgetting as Art Practice in Public Space (2016). Lecture. More information