Mr Michael Holden

Personal profile

Biography and Research Interests:

In December of 2020 I completed my PhD in the Department of Theatre, Film, Television, and Interactive Media at the University of York, where my work was supported by the White Rose College for the Arts and Humanities; I also hold a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in English Literature, both from the University of Sheffield. My PhD thesis, titled ‘Mapping Memory: Cartography in Contemporary Holocaust Culture,’ investigates the use of maps in cultural and aesthetic works that seek to represent the memory of the Holocaust.

Broadly, my research engages with Holocaust and genocide studies, memory studies, cartography, and theories of space, specifically as they relate to literature and other aesthetic forms. Particularly, I am interested in the notion of memory as a fluid, transnational, mobile phenomenon, and the ways in which this idea of memory finds expression in artistic works, especially via the medium of cartography.

PhD Thesis:

My thesis, titled ‘Mapping Memory: Cartography in Holocaust Culture Culture,’ asks how authors and artists respond to the legacy of the Holocaust in contemporary cultural works through the use of cartography. Particularly, it is concerned with establishing what relation questions of memory – both cultural and individual – bring to bear on the cartographies included within the works of Miriam Katin, Amy Kurzweil, Jérémie Dres, W.G. Sebald, and Nikolaus Gansterer. Accordingly, it employs a theoretical framework combining scholarship in both cartography and memory studies. Broadly, maps within the works of these authors can be conceived of as fluid, flexible entities that challenge popular conceptions of cartography as near-objective; this is in part owing to their connection with the questions of Holocaust memory inherent to each work – maps tend to mirror mnemonic concerns in accordance with their fluidity. Consequently, my thesis offers a potential avenue for an increased understanding of how spaces of the Holocaust are interpreted from a contemporary (cultural) perspective.

Music, Migration, and Mobility:

My current work, as postdoctoral research associate on the AHRC-funded Music, Migration, and Mobility project, is concerned with developing a framework for the integration of historical narratives and the representation of multiple mobilities into digital cartographic forms, as well as the practical application of this theoretical framework to the production of a range of maps relating to the project research. 

The project focuses on the lives and works of emigre musicians who fled Nazi-occupied Europe and established themselves in Britain in the mid-twentieth century. It seeks to highlight the importance of mobility and migration to the biographies of these individuals, to emphasise the contributions they made to British cultural life, and to challenge (musical) nationalisms and notions of fixity and stasis, particularly as they pertain to the production and reception of classical music. Alongside Royal Holloway, the project is led by the Royal College of Music, and is conducted in conjunction with the University of Salzburg. 

ID: 41159422