Anniversary—an act of memory

solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations from memory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
a performance series in 60 Acts
Monica Ross and Co-Recitors 2008-2013
On the 14 June 2013, the day of the sixtieth and concluding act of Anniversary—an act of memory at the 23rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Monica Ross died of cancer.
The sixty performances reached their conclusion as a series but it is a sincere hope that others may be encouraged and inspired to continue the endeavour to promote human rights throughout the world and if using Anniversary—an act of memory as a model or template, Monica Ross would be only too delighted.
The performances may have concluded but the work will continue.  

How to organise your own recitation

To access advice and suggestions about organising your own Act of Memory recitation visit here.


Upcoming events

Monica Ross: An Act of Memory
To coincide with the Exhibition Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy at the British Library.
Sunday 14 June 2015 14.00- 16.00 at the British Library


A collective recitation, from memory, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This event marks two years since the 60th and concluding performance of Anniversary—an act of memory conceived by artist Monica Ross. That act took place at the 23rd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. It was also the day the artist died.
This is an open recitation so please feel free to attend and or choose an article to learn off by heart and recite on the day. Many co-recitors from Anniversary—an act of memory will be taking part in this recitation which will be led by Andrew Mitchelson.
The first recitation was held in the British Library as part of Taking Liberties in 2008 and this will be the last recitation initiated by the Monica Ross Fund. This recitation will follow workshops in collaboration with Chickenshed Theatre, Chelsea, local schools and the British Library Youth Forum. The workshops are devised to develop a set of online resources for adults and children to use as a guide for staging Acts of Memory recitations independently as Monica Ross had wished.
This work raises awareness of and increases public engagement with the breadth, depth and life work of the artist Monica Ross. This recitation constitutes a fitting testament to her unique contribution to the field of experimental and theoretically engaged performance art practice.

Monica Ross’s archive is now held digitally with the British Library.

Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
London NW1 2DB  


Recent events

Monica Ross: A Symposium
Friday 28 November 2014 at the British Library, London
The launch of marks the start of the acquisition of the Monica Ross Archive by the British Library.
The British Library will hold the archive in a digitised format, the Physical archive resides with the Monica Ross Trustees.
The Glass-House Trust supports the digitisation of the archive.
Monica Ross: A Symposium Monica Ross (1950–2013) was one of the most significant feminist artists and distinguished educators of her generation. This symposium celebrates her life and work, and the forthcoming acquisition of her digital archive by the British Library.
Monica Ross: valentine
England & Co. Gallery     90-92 Great Portland Street, London W1W 7NT
Friday 28 November through December 2014
In memory of Monica Ross
Saturday 14 June. 7pm
The White Building, Hackney Wick, London, E9 5EN
The 14th of June 2014 was the first anniversary of both Monica’s death and the culmination at the United Nations in Geneva of Anniversary—an act of memory. An anniversary recitation of The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was led and supported by Andrew Mitchelson who recited the preamble and ‘vacant’ articles. LADA kindly provided a relaxed environment in a space where we could come together to remember Monica.

Acts 59-60 10-14 June 2013

Palais Des Nations
The United Nations in Geneva
Avenue de la Paix 14, Geneva 10

In collaboration with British company Architects of Air, the UK Mission to the United Nations in Geneva  presents  the 59th Act of Anniversary—an act of memory. Architects of Air have  installed a 1000 square meter inflatable Luminarium sculpture in the grounds of the Palais Des Nations, the global centre of Human Rights and the Headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva. This week long Art Installation takes place 10 June-Friday 14th June 2013 and will be filled with activities and events including a live hip hop performance by former child soldier and now international music and Hollywood artist Emmanuel Jal and multilingual audio recordings of why human rights matter to people around the world.  The week’s events will also include the last 2 collective recitals of Anniversary—an act of memory, collective  and multilingual recitations from memory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Act 59 will be presented by Geneva School children on Wednesday 12th June and culminate with Act 60 at the closing event with members of UN Agencies, Local Dignitaries and civil society groups  on Friday 14th June.

Act 59 will take place in the Pentalum Luminarium on Wednesday 12th June 12.00 pm

Led by Andrew Mitchelson with Children and Staff from  Ecolint -the International School of Geneva For further details please contact Shona Wright, Principal, Middle School, Tél 022 787 2471 /

Founded in 1924, the International School of Geneva (Ecolint) is the oldest and largest international school in the world.Our school is a not-for-profit foundation whose mission is to provide the local and international communities with a high quality international education.

Each student is welcomed to the school with a respect for their personal and cultural identity and is offered an education which allows them to develop their abilities to their highest potential.Through our French, English and dual language programmes on our three campuses, we prepare our 4,300 students to be part of an international community based on mutual understanding, respect and shared humanitarian values.

Go to page Act 59 to see the wonderful list of  co-recitors and their choice of Articles and languages for tomorrows performance!

Anniversary—an act of memory, images from Acts 31-52, 2011-2013 photos: Brigitte Boldy, Max Cutting, Abel Loureda, Bernard G Mills, Alice Ross, David Sinden, Suzanne Treister

Special Announcement April 2013 – New British Sign Language (BSL) Translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights included on the United Nations translations database

Anniversary—an act of memory and Signworld are very pleased to announce that Signworld’s landmark translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) into British Sign Language (BSL) has been accepted for inclusion on the United Nations website alongside 400+ translations of spoken languages.   As far as we know this may be the first  translation of the entire Preamble and 30 Articles of the UDHR into any sign language.The translation is presented by Tessa Padden and Nicholas Padden and has been sponsored and produced by the Newcastle and Bristol-based company Signworld as a contribution to Anniversary—an act of memory. We are very pleased to present and share this translation of the UDHR into British Sign Language. 

Find it on the OHCHR website HERE
You can also find it on You Tube

Full info and a Press Release are HERE


Act 60  Human Rights Council, United Nations, Geneva: collective 14 06 2013
Act 59  Human Rights Council, United Nations, Geneva: collective 13 06 2013
Act 58  Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland: collective 08 06 2013
Act 57  Raised Voices Choir, SOAS, London: collective 30 05 2013
Act 56  Speech Acts 3, Cambridge: solo 28 05 2013
Act 55  Promised Land, Dilston Grove, London: collective 21 05 2013
Act 54  Oyster Project, Lewes: collective 02 05 2013
Act 53  Memory, Dedication and Community presented by Neath Port Talbot College and South Wales Police 22.04.2013
Act 52   International Womens DaySpoken, Signed and Multi-Lingual recitation, The Globe Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne 08.03.2013
Act 51  A Homecoming Martin Luther King DayBader International Study CentreHerstmonceux Castle, East Sussex  21 .01.2013
Act 50  FEM_2012, 9th Trobada Internacional de Dones Artistes d’Art d’Accio i Performance, Placa del Vi, Girona World Aids Day 01.12.2012
Act 49  Experimentica 2012: Unseen, Chapter, Cardiff 24.11.2012
Act 48  Accion!Mad 2012Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid 16.11.2012
Act 47  Southwark Cathedral ,with Children from the Cathedral Schoolpresented by Beaconsfield 13.11.2012
Act 46 The Federation of International Human Rights Museums Conference, Liverpool 10.10.2012
Act 45 THE REAL TRUTH A WORLD’S FAIR a project by Suzanne TreisterRaven Row, London 11.08.2012
Act 44 Winning Hearts and Mindsopen call programme by Critical Art Ensembledocumenta 13, Kassel 20.06.2012
Act 43 Redbridge Green Fair, Essex, 04.06.2012
Act 42  MAY DAY… MAY DAY ….  a live stream solo recitation hosted by Lighthouse, Brighton 01.05.2012
Act 41 Grounds of Birmingham Cathedral, Fierce Festival, presented by VIVID 31.03.2012
Act 40  Arnolfini, Bristol 17.02.2012
Act 39  New Schoolhouse Gallery, York Holocaust Memorial Programme 2012, 20.01.2012
Act 38 We Are All Equal with Sheffield Socialist Choir and Northern Refugee Centre, Nelson Mandela Room, Sheffield Town Hall, presented by Site Gallery 10.12.2011
Act 37  Counterpoint/ Platforma Festival 2011, Rochelle School, London 01.12.2011
Act 36  To Reverse the Usual Order of Things – a recitation in British Sign LanguageBALTIC, Gateshead, presented by Wunderbar Festival 02.11.2011
Act 35  Scarborough Library and Information Centre, presented by Crescent Arts, Scarborough, 29.10.2011
Act 34  Swiss Cottage Library Gallery, London, 21.09.2011
Act 33  Lanternhouse, Ulverston, Cumbria 16.07.2011
Act 32  Cumbria Multi-Cultural Womens Network, Barrow Multi-Cultural Centre, presented by Lanternhouse 14.07.2011
Act 31 Brighton Festival 2011 29.05.2011
Act 30  Critical ReflectionsInside Out Festival 2010, London 28.10.2010
Acts 01-29 ….

Anniversary―an act of memory is a performance series in 60 acts of solo, collective and multi-lingual recitations from memory of the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by Monica Ross and Co-Recitors embodying a struggle for personal and public memory and the attainment of human rights as a continual process of individual and collective negotiation and re-iteration.  Ross first challenged herself to memorise and publicly recite the Declaration as a response to the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes by police in London in July 2005 in the solo performance rights repeated—an act of memory at BeaconsfieldLondon 2005.

Act 1 of the Anniversary—an act of memory series was a solo recitation in Ours By Right an Equal Opportunities Commission event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Declaration held during the exhibition Taking Liberties: the struggle for Britain’s Rights and FreedomsBritish Library, London 07.12.2008.

The aim has been to realise 60 recitations in different communities and contexts. Since 2008 Acts have taken place in Madrid, Berlin and Galway and across the UK  in settings such as the House of Commons, Southwark Cathedral, Art Festivals, Galleries, Theatres, Libraries, Community Fairs, Campaigns and Conferences. The recitations include stand alone works and collaborations such as with Sheffield Socialist Choir, Mikhail Karikis’s opera and film Xenon, Suzanne Treister’s A World’s Fair and an additional Act of Memory with Brighton Festival Choir celebrating Aung San Suu Kyi as Guest Director at the launch of Brighton Festival 2011. The recitations have been large and small, public and private and have marked anniversaries such as International Womens’ Day, Martin Luther King Day, International Human Rights Day, Holocaust Memorial Day and Act 42 a live streamed solo recitation on May Day 2012 from Lighthouse, Brighton.

Anniversary—an act of memory will reach Act 60 at the 23rd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, in collaboration with Architects of Air. By June 2013 almost 1000 Co-Recitors of all ages and backgrounds will have memorised and publicly recited articles of significance to them in 50+ languages, including endangered and indigenous languages and British and other Sign Languages.  

Act 36 a recitation with Wunderbar Festival 2011, presented at BALTIC, Gateshead, was recited primarily in British Sign Language (BSL).  In April 2013 a landmark translation of the UDHR in BSL, produced by the Newcastle & Bristol based company  Signworld  as their contribution to the series, became the first Signed translation of the UDHR to be included on the United Nation’s language database.

Between May 2011-2013 recitations in the UK have been produced by Michelle Hirschhorn as Anniversary—an act of memory UK Tour 2011-2013 with the support of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

More information about each Act from 1-60 can be found  HERE 

Video / Video Screenings
In June 2011 Live Art Development Agency published acts of memory 2005-2010, a double dvd which includes selected video and stills from Acts 01-30 was and is available from their online shop U
nbound. The video Anniversary—an act of memory 2009-2010 (HDV 105’, 2011) is also available for exhibition and screening and has been shown at Beaconsfield, London 2011; Swiss Cottage Library Gallery, London 2011; Arnolfini, Bristol 2012; and in Corpo-Cópia: Library of Performing Rights, Panorama Festival, Rio, Brazil 2012.

actofmemory youtube channel
The essence of Anniversary — an act of memory is on performance as a live and generative medium. From the outset the work has been conceptually and physically organised around the act of spoken repetition a means to practice ‘presence of mind’ and  strengthen awareness and the ability to voice and act on Human Rights.  Every recitation is recorded using photography and video and edited in consultation with the co-recitors so that after the series of recitations are completed in 2013, video can be posted on this website and you tube as an open archive of the 60 recitations constituting the work of Anniversary—an act of memory in it’s entirety.

 Images from Acts 01-28 (2008-2010) photos: Alex Delfanne, Bernard G Mills, Joel Chester Fildes, Georges Torode

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. The world’s most translated document it is available in over 380 languages, Plain English and  Signed Versions.

Amnesty International defends freedom of expression and offers an international platform for artists such as Monica Ross and the performances of Anniversary – an act of memory. More than ever we need creative ways to report human rights violations, acknowledge human stories, to tell the world the truth.’
Chloe Baird-Murray, Creative Relationships Manager, Amnesty International UK

The British Institute of Human Rights welcomes and endorses Anniversary — an act of memory as a significant contribution to advocating the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is a truly exemplary commitment from the cultural sector that responds itself with dignity to the continued demands of the Declaration for justice for all of us. We have responded to its call for alliances and allegiances towards collectively realising its aims for Monica Ross to perform her work 60 times across the whole of the UK and urge you to do the same.’ Ceri Goddard, Acting Director, British Institute of Human Rights

Many Thanks To All the Producers, Curators, Community and Human Rights Activists, Teachers, Lawyers, Artists, Friends, BSL Interpreters, Project Assistants, Interns, Volunteers, Technical Managers, Organisations, Venues and Collaborating Partners who have enabled Anniversary—an act of memory to take place 2008-2013.
Special Thanks To Michelle Hirschhorn, Producer, UK Tour 2011-2013; Beaconsfield, Live Art Development Agency and Andrew Mitchelson for supporting the work  from its origin as the solo performance rightsrepeated—an act of memory at Beaconsfield in 2005; Bernard G Mills for his photography and video of the entire series 2008-2013; Jason E Bowman for project support and development 2008-2009.
Most of all Thank You To All the Co-Recitors whose generosity and courage has repeatedly and uniquely given life to this work since the first tentative steps towards a collective recitation at Basement, Brighton in December 2008.

Anniversary — an act of memory is developed from  the solo performance rightsrepeated — an act of memory, a response to the shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes by Police in London on July 22 2005. rightsrepeated — an act of memory  was first performed in Hayley Newman’s Woodshed in the exhibition Chronic Epoch Beaconsfield, London, 2005. rightsrepeated — an act of memory was also presented by Live Art Development Agency in Performing Rights, at PSi 12, Queen Mary, University of London 2006 and the National Review of Live Art, Glasgow 2008; and by Leif Magne Tangen in Representations of the Artist as an Intellectual, D21 Kunstraum Leipzig 2008.

Recitations in the UK May 2011-2013 are produced by Michelle Hirschhorn as Anniversary—an act of memory UK Tour 2011-2013 with the support of public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England