The MeCCSA Social Movements Network and the Centre for Research on Communities and Cultures (Canterbury Christ Church University) organised the IAMCR Pre-Conference ‘Spain’s Civil War 80 years later: The wound that will not heal?’ on 18 and 19 July 2016. The event marked the eightieth anniversary of the military coup that led to the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
Keynote speakers included Peter Anderson (University of Leeds), Mari Paz Balibrea (Birkbeck, University of London), Richard Baxell (International Brigades Memorial Trust), Tom Buchanan (University of Oxford) and María Serrano Velázquez (Andaluces Diario, and speaking on behalf of Todos los Nombres).
Delegates from the UK and abroad (including Universities in Australia, Austria, Ireland, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and United States) presented their research and spoke about a wide range of issues relating to the legacies of the Spanish Civil War. Some of the themes that emerged during the conference included the role of testimony and narrative during the war, the exhumation of mass graves in the current Spanish socio-political context, forced displacements, representations of the conflict in film, news and poetry, and the analysis of contemporary memories of the conflict.
The event also included two screenings: Not reconciled by Jill Daniels (University of East London) and Campos sin memoria (Camps without memory) by María Serrano and Laura Reyna (Andaluces Diario).
In addition to the rich collection of individual presentations and keynote papers that were delivered during the conference, we organised a free public event in the evening of 18 July. Giles Tremlett, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent, and author of Ghosts of Spain (2007), delivered a public talk titled “More history, or how to solve Spain›s problem with the past”.
We also displayed an exhibition by the Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (ARMH), one of Spain’s main Memory Associations focusing on locating and exhuming mass graves of Republicans, communists and anarchists that were killed by Franco’s forces.