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Military Lecture: Heritage, Meaning, and Remembering Well in 21st Century Canada
April 14, 2022
Tune in for “The torch; be yours to hold it high”: Heritage, Meaning, and Remembering Well in 21st Century Canada, presented by Dr. Geoffrey Bird on Thursday April 14th, 2022 at 7 pm.
Interpreting John McCrae’s immortal poem, In Flanders Fields, as a call to action to remember is particularly prescient in our world today. But in the context of commemoration and remembrance of the world wars, what should holding the torch high look, and feel, like? Is there a good or preferred way to remember?
This presentation explores the idea of remembering well, both in the role played by various forms of war heritage—from sites, artefacts and art, to rituals and traditions of commemoration—and the meanings we construct from them. Our attention will involve considering the experience of visiting iconic Canadian sites such as Ypres, Vimy, and Normandy as well as lesser-known sites across Canada and elsewhere. Of particular interest to this interdisciplinary discussion is to explore concepts such as sense of place associated with sites of war memory, and the extent to which they are managed, as well as the significance of storytellers as guardians of remembrance.
About Dr. Geoffrey Bird:
Dr. Geoffrey Bird, PhD, is a Professor in the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University, Victoria, BC. Geoffrey created the War Heritage Research Initiative in 2015 and has produced over 30 short documentary films exploring Canada’s world war heritage from the world wars. His doctoral research focused on the battlefields of Normandy and the role played by tourism in remembrance. Geoff has consulted for agencies such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Education First Tours in their design of the Vimy 100 Education Expo in Arras, France.
Prior to RRU, Geoff’s career involved serving as a naval reserve officer, with the provincial government in the field of post-secondary education, and leading a community development project in Vietnam while at Capilano University. He also worked as a heritage interpreter at the Canadian National Memorial at Vimy Ridge. One other significant experience: Geoff volunteered at McCrae House while attending University in Guelph! He has lived and worked in Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and across Canada, and calls Victoria home.
Missed the live event? Watch the recording of Heritage, Meaning, and Remembering Well in 21st Century Canada below:
Offered in partnership with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada.