I have been working on commemorative sites and events since my PhD research and subsequent book (2013) on London's Trafalgar Square. Since then, I have focused on the four-year centenary of the First World War, an unprecedented period of global commemoration, with work based on Australian Anzac sites and events, exploring how they maintain narratives of Australian national identity. In 2016, I developed a concept of 'commemorative atmospheres' to help advance how we might understand such places, conceptually linked to my other work on atmospheres.  I have co-edited two books that adopt a comparative overview on how the war is remembered around the world in collaboration with Ben Wellings (Monash University).

In 2017 I established an international and interdisciplinary research network Commemoration Reframed, specifically focused on investigating how people experience commemoration. This network is working in partnership with the Belgian Centre for War and Society (CegeSoma) and has members based in Belgium, France, Australia, the UK, the US, Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, the US and elsewhere. The program of research culminated in a series of linked projects at the end of the First World War centenary on 11 November 2018, with an edited book in development for publication in 2020.

A new area of inquiry is concerned with commemorative responses to terrorist attacks in public, urban settings. Pilot funding from CHERISH-DE at Swansea University enabled collaborative ethnographic investigation of the 2018 first anniversary of the 22 May Manchester bombing in the UK. This project was led by Angharad Closs Stephens (Swansea University), and the team includes Martin Coward (Manchester University) and Samuel Merrill (Umeå University). Further grant applications to advance this work are under review.

This 2019 podcast with Conversations in Anthropology@Deakin discusses my work in commemorative sites and events on affects, memory, and working in a fleshy material world.


Sumartojo, S ‘Lieux de mémoire through the senses: memory, state-sponsored history and sensory experience.’ In de Nardi, S, Orange, H, Koskinen-Koivisto, E, Drozdzewski, D and High, S (eds) Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place. London: Routledge. Forthcoming.

Sumartojo, S (2018) ‘Sensory impact: Memory, affect and photo-elicitation at official memory sites.’ In Drozdzewski, D and Birdsall, C (eds) Doing Memory Research: New Methods and Approaches. London: Routledge.

Sumartojo, S and Graves, M (2019) ‘Feeling through the screen: Memory sites, affective entanglements and digital materialities’, Social & Cultural Geography. DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2018.1563711.

Sumartojo, S and Graves, M (2018) ‘Rust and dust: Materiality and the feel of memory at Camp des Milles’Journal of Material Culture. DOI: 10.1177/1359183518769110

Stevens, Q and Sumartojo, S (2018) Shaping Seoul’s memories: the co-evolution of memorials, national identity, democracy and urban space in South Korea’s capital city. Journal of Urban Design. DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2018.1525288.

Sumartojo, S (2018) ‘Memorials and State Sponsored History’ in Bevernage, B and Wouters, N (eds) Palgrave Handbook of State Sponsored History after 1945. London: Palgrave. ISBN: 978-1-349-95305-9.

Sumartojo, S and Wellings, B (eds) (2018) Commemorating Race and Empire in the Great War Centenary. Liverpool/Marseille: Liverpool University Press/Presses Universitaires de Provence. ISBN: 9781786940889.

Wellings, B and Sumartojo, S (2018) ‘Commemorating ‘black Diggers’ in the Anzac Centenary’ in Sumartojo, S and Wellings, B (eds) Commemorating Race and Empire in the Great War Centenary. Liverpool/Marseille: Liverpool University Press/Presses Universitaires de Provence. ISBN: 9781786940889

Gómez Cruz, E and Sumartojo, S (2018) ‘Mobile screens and the public event: Practices of screen use at the Anzac Day Dawn Service’, Continuum. DOI: 10.1080/10304312.2017.1422112.

Sumartojo, S (2017) ‘Local complications: Anzac commemoration at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance’ in Wallis, J and Harvey, D (eds) Commemorative Spaces of the First World War: Historical Geographies at the Centenary. London: Routledge. 

Sumartojo, S (2017) 'Tweeting from the past: commemorating the Anzac centenary @ABCNews1915'. Memory Studies. DOI: 10.1177/1750698017709873.

Closs Stephens, A, Hughes, S, Schofield, V, Sumartojo, S (2017) ‘Atmospheric memories: Affect and minor politics at the ten-year anniversary of the London bombings’, Emotion, Space and Society 23: 44-51.

Sumartojo, S (2016) ‘Commemorative atmospheres: memorial sites, collective events and the experience of national identity’. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Online first at

Sumartojo, S and Stevens, Q (2016) ‘Anzac Atmospheres’ in Drozdzewski, D, de Nardi, S and Waterton, E (eds) Memory, Place and Identity: Commemoration and Remembrance of War and Conflict. London: Routledge, 189-204ISBN 978-1-13-892321-8.

Sumartojo, S (2015) ‘On atmosphere and darkness at Australia’s Anzac Day Dawn Service’, Visual Communication 14(2): 267-288. DOI: 10.1177/1470357215579587.

Stevens, Q and Sumartojo, S (2015) ‘Memorial planning in London’, Journal of Urban Design 20(5): 615-635. DOI: 10.1080/13574809.2015.1071655.

Sumartojo, S (2015), ‘‘You aren’t an Aussie if you don’t come’: National identity and visitors’ practices at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux,’ in Lossau, J and Steven, Q (eds), The Uses of Art in Public Space. London: Routledge, 131-144. ISBN 978-1-13-879760-4.

Sumartojo, S (2015) ‘National identity and commemorative space: Co-national connections through time and site’, Landscape Review 15(2): 7-18.

Sumartojo, S (2014) ‘Anzac kinship and national identity on the Australian Remembrance Trail’ in Sumartojo, S and Wellings, B, eds, Nation, Memory, and Great War Commemoration: Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Bern: Peter Lang, 291-306. ISBN 978-3-0343-0937-0.  

Sumartojo, S and Wellings, B, (eds) (2014) Nation, Memory, and Great War Commemoration: Mobilizing the Past in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Bern: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-3-0343-0937-0.

Stevens, Q and Sumartojo, S (2014) ‘’56 after ’89: Re-commemorating Hungarian history after the fall of Communism’, in Schnoor, C (ed) Proceedings of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand. ISBN: 978-1-927214-12-1.

RELATED Projects

Digital and Spatial Affects of the 22 May Manchester Bombing. 2018. Funded by the Swansea University CHERISH-DE, and led by Angharad Closs Stephens (Swansea University).

Camp des Milles: State Commemoration in a Digital World. 2016-2018. Funded by a Visiting Research Fellowship, Fondation Aix-Marseille Université and an RMIT Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellowship.

Commemoration Reframed. 2017 - present.