“In his thesis, “Reading Monuments: Politics and Poetics of Memory in Postwar Northern Uganda”, Dr. Laury Lawrence Ocen presents monuments as material objects located on former sites of war to remember experiences of mass killings and abductions only.

By so doing, other equally important experiences of war such as hunger, infant and child mortality, disease, beatings by soldiers, suicide, curfew laws, etc. are ignored or ineffectively represented.

To take care of these forgotten experiences of micro suffering during the war, Ocen suggests remembrance options that allow peasants, children, small traders, women, and other marginal groups to remember the war in their own fashion.

Ocen argues that systems of remembering dictated by financers and power holders may not be totally ignored, but practiced alongside private memory practices in the remote countryside.

Ocen also discusses the importance of memory practices that accommodates local cultures, values and customs, instead of adopting fully foreign practices embedded in commemorations, prayer days, anniversaries, and museum storages.”

Makerere Institute for Social Research

Dr. Laury Lawrence Ocen (right) with Dr. Ben Jones at the CPAR Uganda Lira Learning Centre after the successful launch of the Challenging Categories research project in April 2021.

This is why we, CPAR Uganda, are privileged to work with Dr. Ocen in his capacity as the Co-Investigator of the “Challenging Categories: Educated Unemployed Youth as Institutional Innovators in Rural Uganda” research project that he is implementing in partnership with the Principal Investigator, Dr. Ben Jones of the School of International Development of the University of East Anglia.

In accordance with the research project proposal, “Dr. Ocen will lead on issues of data collection for humanities research, with a particular focus on explorations of concepts and categories through film, text, image and sound.” We are already learning a lot from Dr. Ocen and we anticipate that the knowledge and skills which we are learning from him will greatly facilitate us in our efforts to ensure that the three studies under the Challenging Categories research project “make a critical contribution to debates around the UN’s Education for All agenda.”

It is our hope we can achieve our role and research objective through using innovative creative ways for research findings dissemination – film, poems, artwork, and others – that we will have learned from Dr. Ocen.

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