This online workshop will explore how museums engage with memories of disputed territories.

Specifically, the session will consider how museums in Armenia, the UK, Poland and the Czech Republic have recently engaged with memories of disputed territories in Europe and Asia. Scholars and heritage professionals from the museum sphere will share their diverging perspectives on representing intersecting and contradicting narratives involving various communities in critical ways of remembering past and ongoing conflicts.

The panel of experts will bring together:

Ali Mozaffari (PhD, UWA, M.Arch. Tehran University), a Senior Research Fellow with the Alfred Deakin Institute, Australia, with interests in heritage: Heritage as the cultural logic of international conflict: the tale of two carpet museums.

Rouben Galichian, a London-based scholar specializing in historical maps of Armenia and the South Caucasus region: The long-term effect of the disputed and lost territories on memory.

Harriet Morgan-Shami, former project coordinator of ‘Memories of Partition’, a Manchester Museum exhibit engaging with South Asian history (2017-18): The challenges of exhibiting the memories of partition at the Museum of Manchester.

The event will be chaired by DisTerrMem member Dr Doreen Pastor, University of Bath, UK.

The former head of the International Council of Museums, Jette Sandahl, emphasised in 2020 that ‘museums function as societal self-portrayals; they are not passive mirrors of society. They reflect societies ’dynamic contradictions and conflicts.’ While museums and heritage sites have the ability to draw out controversies, they can also function as ideological places that impress upon visitors a society’s most revered values and beliefs (Duncan and Wallach 1980). Thus, in societies that are involved in conflicts over territories, museums play a crucial role in either supporting or hindering the reconciliation process. In India, the first Partition Museum was opened in Amritsar in 2016, drawing on the painful memories of Indian partition for the first time. Meanwhile, in Armenia, museums and heritage sites in Nagorno-Karabakh are deliberately destroyed, thus fuelling the existing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In Poland, exhibitions on ‘lost homelands’ are often due to private initiatives with little governmental support, marginalising the memories of the communities in the borderlands (Sacha 2019). In this panel we seek to discuss the role of museums during conflicts, their exhibition strategies of disputed territories and the potential of museums in supporting peace-building processes. 

Who is this event for?

This event is one of a series of three 2-hour workshops taking place on 7-8-9 December 2022. These free events are aimed at policy makers, heritage professionals, NGOs, grassroots organisations, and academic and community researchers with an interest in the management of memories in border conflicts. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in discussions with the expert panel and with researchers from across the DisTerrMem project’s seven partner organisations.

Find out more and reserve your place

Please register for this free event via eventbrite at

Please note: times quoted on eventbrite show Central European Time (CET), 11am-1pm.

Zoom link to join event: / Meeting ID: 962 9973 2796 / Passcode: 529229

About the DisTerrMem project

Disputed Territories and Memory (DisTerrMem) is a five-year project funded by Horizon 2020, the European Union’s biggest research and innovation programme.

DisTerrMem brings together an international team of researchers from seven organisations who are working collaboratively to explore the management of competing memories of disputed territories across borders in non-conflictual ways in the context of peace-building. Read more about the project and its work.

Speaker biographies

Ali Mozaffari ( is Australian Research Council (DECRA) Fellow and Senior Fellow with the Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University, Australia. His research is on the geopolitics of the past and culture and the built environment with a specific focus on West Asia. His books include Heritage Movements in Asia: Cultural Heritage Activism, Politics, and Identity (published with Berghahn 2020), Development, architecture and the formation of heritage in late-twentieth century Iran: A vital past (published with Manchester University Press 2020), World Heritage in Iran; Perspectives on Pasargadae (published Routledge 2016), and Forming National Identity in Iran: The Idea of Homeland Derived from Ancient Persian and Islamic Imaginations of Place (published with IB Tauris 2014). Mozaffari is the founding co-editor of Berghahn’s series Explorations in Heritage Studies.

Rouben Galichian is an independent London-based scholar and researcher specializing in historical maps of Armenia and the South Caucasus region. Rouben Galichian has published many books and articles on the history and cartography of the Caucasus. His first book entitled "Historic Maps of Armenia. The Cartographic Heritage" (2004), which presents a collection of world maps and maps of the Caucasus over a period of 2600 years, became a bestseller in 2005.[2] His articles have appeared in various cartographic magazines, journals and periodicals, among them Imago Mundi and the IMCoS Journal. He has lectured extensively in Armenia, USA, Iran, UK and France.[3] His book entitled "The Invention of History: Azerbaijan, Armenia and the Showcasing of Imagination" (2009/2010) documents the culture and history of Nagorno-Karabakh through the centuries. His next work, "Clash of Histories in the South Caucasus" delves into the details and reasons of Azerbaijani historical and cultural falsifications, based mainly on Arab, Persian, Azerbaijani and Western sources, as well as analyzing 45 old maps, which form part of the international cartographic heritage.

Harriet Morgan-Shami was the project coordinator of ‘Memories of Partition’, a Manchester Museum exhibit engaging with South Asian history which was on display 15 August 2017 – January 2018. Harriet has also worked in engagement and participation for over 14 years in a variety of contexts including community arts organisations, cultural venues, charities, city councils, education and academia. She is an experienced creative producer particularly interested in developing projects that use literature as a starting point to engage people in high quality arts experiences. She established and managed the award-winning Writing Lives community creative writing programme in East Salford, which ran for six years with the support of the University of Salford.

Other events in this series

Memory Politics in Contemporary Wars & Violent Conflicts, Wednesday 7 December

Cultural and Civil Society Initiatives in Managing Memories of Disputed Territories, Friday 9 December

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