At: 28/02/2024 2:00pm, in cooperation with: Aarhus University


Leroy Lucas
Sara Dybris McQuaid

dMSA Spring 2024 session 1: When Memory Activism Meets Politics: The Bureaucracy of Commemoration, hosted by: Thea Bladt

Join us for the dMSA Spring 2024 webinar series where three researchers from Aarhus University each invite an activist and an academic from their respective research areas to take part in online conversations about memory studies in practice.

The first event in the series will be hosted by historian Thea Bladt who is currently working on the PhD-project “Commemoration and the Redress of Colonial Crimes in Denmark, the Netherlands, and the US, 1990-2022.” Bladt has arranged for the Dutch Black Lives Matter activist and founder of Keti Koti Utrecht, Leroy Lucas, to talk about his hands-on experience with joining memory activism and bureaucracy. Lucas will elaborate on how his year-long project to get a memorial for slavery commemoration erected in Utrecht gained political attention and momentum in 2020 due the global Black Lives Matter movement and its local manifestation in the Netherlands. Associate Professor at Aarhus University’s School of Communication and Culture Sara Dybris McQuaid has co-authored the book Administrations of Memory: Transcending the Nation and Bringing Back the State in Memory Studies (2022) and will provide insight into her research on how memory is governed and her idea of bureaucracy as a new social field for memory activism.


Thea Bladt is a PhD fellow at Aarhus University’s History department. Her project “Commemoration and the Redress of Colonial Crimes in Denmark, the Netherlands and the US, 1990-2022” employs methods from memory studies, transitional justice and global history in order to investigate redress in a transnational manner. Amongst other things, she carries out a structured mapping of redress initiatives (e.g., changes in school curricula, memorials, political apologies, and museum exhibitions) across the three countries.The focal point of her research is in what manner the three states commemorate their histories as former colonial powers, who the main actors behind the redress projects are, and how various types of redress travel between the three national contexts and result in global redress spikes with local particularities.


Leroy Lucas is the founder of Keti Koti Utrecht – a local branch of the annual festival celebrating the Dutch abolition of slavery. Lucas has worked together with municipal politicians in Utrecht in order to realise a slavery memorial in Utrecht, building on a broader Dutch movement working on visualising the Netherlands’ colonial past in public spaces through the erection of first a national slavery memorial (in Amsterdam in 2002) and later other, local memorials. The Netherlands does not have a national Black Lives Matter organisation, but Lucas was one of the main activist forces behind BLM demonstrations in Utrecht in 2020.

Sara Dybris McQuaid is an Associate Professor at Aarhus University. She is a contemporary historian and political scientist who works mostly across the interdisciplinary fields of peace and conflict studies and memory studies. Her research pivots around how collectives remember, forget and archive their past, particularly as part of conflict and peacebuilding processes. She is currently working on dynamics of ‘multi-level memory governance’ in transnational ‘Administrations of Memory’. She teaches on the BA in Humanities and Conflict and the MA in Intercultural Studies at AU. She is a founding member of the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts at University of Copenhagen and she co-directs the working group “Transformations of Conflict” in the COST action Slow Memory: Transformative Practices for Times of Uneven and Accelerating Change.