Liz Ševčenko is founding director of the Humanities Action Lab, a growing consortium of over 30 universities, led from Rutgers University-Newark, that collaborate with issue organizations and public spaces to develop student- and community-curated public memory projects around contested social issues. HAL’s latest project is Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice, a traveling exhibit, web platform, and public actions confronting histories of environmental racism and their legacies for the climate crisis, created by over 500 students and frontline community leaders across the hemisphere COI was preceded by States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue of Local Histories, which inspired the Rikers Public Memory Project, a collaboration with Just Leadership USA and Create Forward. HAL grew out of the Guantánamo Public Memory Project, an international collaboration of universities and organizations Ševčenko launched from Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, to build a global conversation about the past, present, and future of the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay.
Ševčenko was founding director of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of historic sites that foster public dialogue on pressing contemporary issues. Prior to starting the Coalition, Ševčenko served as Vice President for Programs at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, developing exhibits and educational activities that connect the stories of the neighborhood’s immigrants past and present. She writes on intersections of social justice, heritage, and memory in journals and edited volumes in a variety of fields. She received her BA in history from Yale University and her MA in history from New York University. In 2017 she was awarded the Rome Prize in historic preservation from the American Academy in Rome to start her forthcoming book, Public Memory for a Post-Truth Era: Fighting Denial through Memory Movements
Rome Prize in Historic Preservation, 2018
Public Memory for a Post Truth Era: Fighting Denial through Memory Movements (Routledge, June 2022)
“Digital Public History for the Post-Truth Era: Creating Platforms for Collective Reckoning with Violence and Trauma.” In Serge Noiret and Mark Tebeau, eds., Handbook of Digital Public History (De Gruyter, May 2022)
“Public Histories for Human Rights: Sites of Conscience and the Guantánamo Public Memory Project.” In Jim Gardner, ed., Oxford Handbook of Public History (Oxford University Press, 2017)
“Remembering the Age of Mass Incarceration,” Museums and Social Issues, Spring 2017
“The Humanities Action Lab: Mobilizing Civic Engagement through Mass Memory Projects,” Diversity and Democracy, Winter 2017
“Prison Public Memory in the Era of Mass Incarceration,” American Quarterly, September 2016, Volume 68, Number 3, 823-834
“Riding Preservation’s New Wave: How to Build on Movements for Memoria,” in Max Page and Marla R. Miller, eds., Bending the Future: Fifty Ideas for the Next Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in the United States (University of Massachusetts Press, 2016)
“Dialogue as a Resource for Heritage Management: Stories from Sites of Conscience,” in David Myers, Stacie Nicole Smith, and Gail Ostergren, eds., Consensus Building, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution for Heritage Place Management (Getty Conservation Institute, 2016)
“The Guantánamo Public Memory Project: Experiments in New Media and National Dialogue,” Exhibitionist, Fall 2013
with Sarah Pharaon and Bix Gabriel. “Sites of Conscience: Connecting Past to Present, Memory to Action.” Exhibitionist (Fall 2011) Vol.30 No.2
“Sites of Conscience: Heritage of and for Human Rights.” In Helmut K Anheier and Yudhishthir Raj Isar (eds), Cultures and Globalization: Heritage, Memory and Identity (SAGE, 2011), pp.114-123.
“Sites of Conscience: Lighting Up Dark Tourism.” In Marianne Hirsch and Nancy Miller (eds) Rites of Return: Diaspora Poetics and the Politics of Memory (Columbia University Press, 2011).
“Sites of Conscience: Reimagining Reparations,” Change Over Time: An International Journal of Conservation and the Built Environment Spring 2011 (v. 1, no. 1) pp. 6-33.
with Jack Tchen. “The ‘Dialogic Museum’ revisited: A Collaborative Reflection.” In Bill Adair, Benjamin Filene, and Laura Koloski (eds), Letting Go? Sharing Historical Authority in a User-generated World (Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, 2011) pp. 80-97.
“Sites of Conscience: New Approaches to Conflicted Memory,” Museum International No. 245–246 (Vol. 62, No. 1–2, 2010) pp. 20-25
with Brandon and Ereshnee Naidu. “Utopian Dreams or Practical Possibilities? The Challenges of Evaluating the Impact of Memorialization in Societies in Transition,” International Journal of Transitional Justice, November 2010 (v. 4, no. 3) pp.397-420.
with Maggie Russell-Ciardi. Foreword and guest editors. “Sites of Conscience: Opening Historic Sites for Civic Dialogue,” The Public Historian February 2008 (v. 30, no. 1) pp. 9-16.