The Study Group on Memory and Cultural Heritage in Places of Suffering (acronym of its name in Portuguese: NEMPLuS) is a project of the Postgraduate Program in Social Memory and Cultural Heritage (PPGMP) of the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel). The Group began in April 2018 and brought together faculty, researchers, undergraduate and graduate students of the PPGMP, as well as students from the Department of Museology, Conservation and Restauration of the Institute of Human Sciences of UFPel.
NEMPLuS was registered with the Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) in 2020. The majority of the researchers associated with the Group carry out their postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate research through the funding agencies such as Coordinating Agency for Advanced Training of Graduate Personnel (CAPES) and Research Agency of the State of Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS)
The core mission of the Group is research on memorial and heritage processes involving places (both physical or symbolic) that possess traumatic significance to certain groups or communities. Places that bear the memory of suffering are places that simultaneously possess political capital, pedagogical potential, legal documentary value, as well as affective meaning. Hence, when vestiges of a traumatic event, in the form of physical locations, are made into museums and declared as cultural heritage, they acquire different and very unique functions within the sociohistorical and temporal contexts in which they are inserted. Above all, these places play commemorative and dialectical roles that involve sensibilities that reaffirm or counter narratives of collective trauma and requires negotiation by societies on the local, national, or global level. Even more, they are also affected by the contemporary challenges that other expressions of cultural heritage face: management conflict of spaces, touristification, and spectacularization of the Past.
In this way, the primary objective of NEMPLuS is to research, debate, and reflect on the dynamics of cultural heritage in places related to traumatic events and challenges in transmission of Memory. Along these lines, the Group has conducted research on the following themes:
Places relating to public health policy;
Places relating to collective tragedies;
Places relating to Human Rights violations committed by civic-military dictatorships, as well as during Latin American civil conflicts.
The Group is also associated to a network of Latin American researchers such as the professors: Ruben Chababo (Universidade Nacional de Rosário, Argentina) and Luis Carlos Toro Tamayo (Universidade de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia).