The exhibition “Mapping Memory – Atlas of Rwandan Life Stories” offers an immersion into the world of memory mapping through a selection of works and maps produced from 21 life stories of Rwandan exiles in Montreal. The life histories were collected between 2009 and 2012 by the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) at Concordia University in close collaboration with the PAGE-Rwanda association. The narratives were mapped between 2017 and 2022 using two different and complementary approaches that resulted in the production of two series of maps: (1) a series of technological maps made with Atlascine, an open-source application specially designed for this project to allow the spatial enhancement of the narratives and navigation between the narratives based on the places that structure them; and (2) a series of hand-drawn and hand-painted sensory maps that highlight the emotional, intimate, and the universal dimensions of certain key moments of these narratives simultaneously. By presenting these different forms of cartographic expression, the objective of this exhibition is twofold: 1. to contribute to the perpetuation of the memory of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis of Rwanda among various audiences, including students and young people from the Rwandan community; and 2. To create a space for exchange and dialogue between the university and the community to improve our understanding of the power and the limitations of maps to represent and circulate memory.

This exhibition was conceived in collaboration with the PAGE-Rwanda Association of Montreal. It will take place in two phases. It will begin in Montreal at the Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling (COHDS) and at the Acts of Listening Lab (ALLab) at Concordia University at the end of April 2023, where it will be part of the annual genocide commemoration program. It will then travel to the Exarmas exhibition space at Bordeaux-Montaigne University in France in November 2023. During this showcase, members of the Rwandan community, whose stories were mapped, will offer guided tours of the exhibition and share their experiences with the public.

The two-part exhibition contributes to the transmission of the memory of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis of Rwanda and offers a new and original pedagogical support to encourage this transmission, as well as deepens and valorizes the result of several years of research dedicated to the study of the relationship between maps and memory.

Click here for details on the exhibition in Montreal from April 28, 2023 to May 18, 2023.

Mapping Memory – Atlases of Rwandan Life Stories Exhibition at COHDS-ALLab, 28 April to 18 May, 2023.