Project Type
Small grant projects
Our Projects

Performing Pain: Mnemotechnologies of remembrance in Abia and its impact on informal (music) education, memory, peace and recovery

Investigating how the community of Abia, in northern Uganda, who experienced a horrific LORD’s Resistance Army massacre in 2014, perform their pain through mnemotechnologies of remembrance, and its impact on music education, memory, peace and recovery.

This project examines counter-memory of the war in a space dominated by hegemonic state and foreign narratives.

Main aims:

  • To assess the impact of the LRA war on the cultural ecology of Lango.
  • To examine how the communities perform their pain.
  • To examine the impact of these performances on memory and remembrance, recovery and justice, as well as informal music education.


  • To encourage the artistic community of Abia by amplifying their voice.
  • Documentation of the Abia massacre is a critical part of understanding the past and the present in order to shape the future we want.
  • Promotion of Indigenous Knowledge.
  • Contribution to the larger body of ongoing research in memory studies, peace justice and reconciliation.


  • A published academic article.
  • A mini-conference to disseminate findings
  • A dissemination meeting with Abia communities.
  • A showcase dance festival in Abia
  • Video clips of the dance sessions/ mini-documentary will be developed and uploaded on the EdJAM website.

“Yi wa yom matek me winynyo ni otim ikweda me Lira University abino Abia me niangngo kit ame lweny Ototong owunu kede jo Abia kede pollere wok me nenno kit ame myel tekwaro oballe kede acalo adwoggi me lweny. Omio wan oniang ni wii jo kara pe owil kedwa kom atwalli, dok yii wa yom me titiwu kit a wan oneno kede can, kede dang dok me wero rem cwinywa kede myello amyela karacel kedwu; cwiny me Abia; Cwiny tuku me Abia ame pe tye cannoro onyo colpinyoro me kare okato ame twero nekko.”

Shagon Smith Okello , Amyel, Apwony Myel, kede Atel wi Kampuni me Abia Boys.

“We are quite excited to learn that Lira University researchers are coming to Abia to investigate the impact of the LRA war on Abia community and especially on the dance industry. We feel like we have not been abandoned after all, and are happy to share our memories, to sing our pain and to dance with you as we celebrate the spirit of Abia; the creative and resilient spirit of Abia that refuses to be crushed by dark memories of the past!”

Shagon Smith Okello , Dancer, Dance Trainer and Manager, Abia Boys

Meet the team:


Dr. Okaka Opio Dokotum

Assoc. Prof. of Literature and Film, and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Lira University.

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Dr. Laury Lawrence Ocen

Senior Lecturer and Researcher, Museum and Heritage Studies

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Anamo Modester

Outreach Director, Curator and Archivist at the Lango Tourism Board

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Akullo Emily

Research Assistant/Monitoring & Evaluation, Director, CRIID Consults

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