Ars Memoriae - memory studies reading group (session 4)

sally bayley event poster

Ars Memoriae – Memory Studies Reading Group: session 4

This is a student-led group, run in partnershire with OCLW and TORCH

Monday 10 June at TORCH (Radcliffe Humanities building)

Free Event (no need to register) - see reading list below

Open to Members of the University of Oxford only; aimed at graduate students and early career researchers.


This new student-led reading group is an opportunity for graduate students and early career researchers to discuss all aspects of memory studies and life-writing, from the personal to the political, the local to the transnational, within disciplines and without, the ordinary to the extraordinary. Ars Memoriae aims to promote and generate awareness about the growing discipline of memory studies while also recognising the pressing need to synthesise memory studies scholarship with purposeful cultural analysis.

Inspired by the Latin phrase ars memoriae, ‘the art of memory,’ our fortnightly reading group seeks to interrogate memory in all its forms while placing literary texts at the core of our conversations. As memories and the process of memory-making are fundamental to human existence, entering a dialogue with memory will inevitably require us to engage with pertinent questions of history, politics, sociology, psychology, and so on. While thinking outside the box is an essential aspect of critical inquiry today, the happening realm of memory studies, via its focus on memory, asks us a crucial question: What is a box, and do we really need one?

With literary texts and interdisciplinary scholarship that foreground memory in their discourse as our scaffolds, we, as a reading group, will think, discuss, and interrogate memory in all its forms. Our aim is also to facilitate the creation of a space where everyone can reflect on the role and place of memory in their own research and how it connects with contemporary issues of the world around us.



Session 4 special reading with Sally Bayley: The memory studies reading group, ‘Ars Memoriae,’ invites you all to the final event of the term: A reading with Sally Bayley. Dr Sally Bayley is an acclaimed author whose books explore the relationship between autobiography, biography, memoir, and literary fiction. She’s the author of the auto/biographical trilogy, which includes the volumes Girl with Dove (2018), No Boys Play Here (2021) and The Green Lady (2023): this tripartite coming-of-age narrative challenges traditional demarcations between literary categories to cast its own, unconventional form.

Sally will read and perform from her trilogy -- join us for a discussion of memory, creativity, writing, and more!

(Please note that this event replaces the regular reading group session advertised earlier).




Shivani Arulalan Pillai is a first-year DPhil Candidate in English at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. Her research interrogates the role and place of memory in the ruins of Empires, an ongoing moment that can be understood as ‘post-Empire.’ The writers of specific interest are Rohinton Mistry and Orhan Pamuk, among several others.

Malavika P Pillai is a first-year DPhil Candidate in English at St Antony's College, University of Oxford. Her research interests include memory and postcolonial studies within the South Asian context. Delving into a curated array of both fictional and non-fictional works, her exploration is complemented by the incorporation of oral traditions and archival materials. Specifically, her research centres on unravelling the cosmopolitan fabric of cultural memories within various communities in Cochin, a port city in Southern India.

Smriti Verma is a first-year DPhil Candidate in English at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. Her research examines narrativity and form as a part of tangible feminist praxis in contemporary women's autofiction, specifically looking at Deborah Levy, Rachel Cusk and Doireann Ní Ghríofa.