Dancing around the Subject: Memory Work of Museum Landscapes at the Welsh National Waterfront Museum

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Department of Social Sciences


As the newest of the seven national museums in Wales, the National Waterfront Museum tells the story of Welsh industry and innovation. This article traces the construction and engagement of the museum’s fifteen galleries as performed landscapes in a detailed analysis of memory work. Focusing on the crafted discourse of the museum, visitor narratives as they experience the museum, and performances that regularly occupy the museum’s spaces presents a unique opportunity for landscape analysis within the context of the memory work of a museum. Swansea’s 2017 Dance Days, for example, focused around the theme of climate change and the vulnerability of the ocean while visitors were somewhat less engaged with environmental impacts as presented in the permanent collections. This article expands beyond a typical understanding of museum discourse to explore the incorporation of creative geographies of landscape, performance, and memory into more traditional museum and spatial narratives.

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Professional Geographer