An Exploration of Memory-making in the Digital Era: Remembering the FEPOW Story Online

Authors


Abstract

Symptomatic of the digital era, web-memorials and web-communities have become highly prevalent as a means of commemorating the past. Drawing on the analysis of fepow-community.org.uk, an online network devoted to honouring the stories of Allied soldiers interned by the Japanese during the Second World War (also known as FEPOWs), and an online survey of its members, this paper examines the extent that such platforms facilitate more inclusionary allowances for doing so vis-à-vis physical sites of memory. Specifically, while web-memorials do remedy some of the shortcomings linked to the latter, they too are plagued by criticisms limiting them as a more democratic way of remembering. It also highlights how physical sites of memory provide certain affective resonances virtual memorials do not. Consequently, both genres of memory are often capitalised upon complementarily (rather than in a mutually exclusive way) as each feeds into the other, both salient to memory work.

Ancillary