Public Memory and Memorials Lab

Project icon

How can spatializing memory support healing and inspire collective action for generations to come?

We are at a pivotal point in our society that calls for heightened attention toward the transformative impact of monuments and memorials. Worldwide, memory and history in built form—memorials, monuments, museums, street names, plaques, historic preservation markers—carry a responsibility to communicate complex histories and provide spaces for healing. The construction of public memory lends weight to particular narratives, bringing us to ask: Who or what is deemed important? Whose voices are we hearing, and who is left out?

Over the past decade, we have worked with partners in the US and across the globe on a number of projects that explore new ways to shift narratives, serve as a catalyst for truth-telling, and advance collective healing through the built environment. In 2020, we established the Public Memory and Memorials Lab at MASS, an initiative that advances research, training, and built work around a central thesis: spatializing memory can heal us and inspire collective action for generations to come.

Select ongoing projects and partnerships include: The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, The Gun Violence Memorial Project, and “The Embrace