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‘No more heroes anymore’: Marginalized identities in punk memorialization and curation

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The 40th ‘anniversary’ of punk in 2016 was marked by various events in London including museum exhibits and public talks. Missing from far too many of these events has been the voice and experiences of marginalized punks. Was the subversive nature of punk being undermined by the realities of a display space that must cater to a wide range of users and stakeholders? Or is the inclusive platform that punk sells itself on a well-disguised miasma that arises from its perpetuation of (and belief in) troubling norms such as sexism, ableism, racism and homophobia? This article will argue that it was a combination of both. Utilizing interviews it will demonstrate the impact that the exhibit had on marginalized groups within punk and their reflections on whether it reflects wider norms within punk. Relying on the stranger fetishization theory of Sara Ahmed, this article will examine how punk’s memorialization of itself forces marginalized groups within it to be used as a means of bolstering a particular narrative of inclusivity that in reality ensures that they remain strangers within their own subculture.
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Keywords: Northern Ireland; curation; marginalized voices; museum displays; punk memorials; women in punk

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Bishop Grosseteste University

Publication date: June 1, 2019

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  • Punk & Post-Punk is a journal for academics, artists, journalists and the wider cultural industries. Placing punk and its progeny at the heart of inter-disciplinary investigation, it is the first forum of its kind to explore this rich and influential topic in both historical and critical theoretical terms.
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