Kendall Phillips, associate dean of research and graduate studies in VPA and a professor of communication and rhetorical studies in VPA’s Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies, has been named the inaugural honorary fellow at the School of Visual and Material Culture at Massey University in New Zealand. The appointment cements a flourishing collaboration between Massey and SU, which began with research into aspects of memory, an area of expertise for Phillips.
Research into public memory is attracting a fertile mix of scholars worldwide, ranging from historians to artists to neuroscientists. Phillips studies a vast array of rhetorical artifacts, from comic books and film to political speeches and scientific controversies, to explore concepts of advocacy, controversy, dissent and public memory.
In 2010, Massey, SU and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa jointly presented a major multidisciplinary conference on public memory. “Contained Memory 2010” was convened by Phillips and Associate Professor Kingsley Baird of Massey, who is well known for his sculptural work, creating such significant public memorials as the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington. Since then, Phillips and Baird have co-edited an online journal, “Memory Connection,” and both are members of the Memory Waka, an international, multidisciplinary research group located in Massey’s School of Visual and Material Culture, which is part of the College of Creative Arts at Massey’s Wellington campus.
“The relationship we have begun building between our two institutions has been invaluable,” says Phillips. “I look forward to expanding that relationship and building on the global community of memory and visual scholars already connected through our Memory Waka.”
Baird credits SU, whose Public Memory Project inspired early work on memory at Massey.
“They have been very generous collaborators within that space,” he says. “There is a worldwide groundswell of interest in memorialization, especially after 9/11. Memory binds communities together. It is an endlessly fascinating area with tremendous scope for international, interdisciplinary research. Kendall is an inspiration, and we hope to broaden what is already a significant collaboration into a longstanding partnership across both our universities.”