Tom Hurndall: Manchester student, memorial events

Ian Parker reports on the legacy of Tom Hurndall and activities to remember him.


Tom Hurndall was a photography student at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). He was fatally wounded by the Israeli Defence Forces while protecting Palestinian children in Gaza. He died on January 13th, 2004. So, this is 20 years after his death. Since then, the community has held many commemorative events, including the awarding of a prize ten years ago for a sculpture co-funded by the Arts Faculty at MMU and the Lipman-Miliband Trust (the sculpture’s placement is still being negotiated with MMU). A Network of Photographers for Palestine was set up, inspired by Tom’s work.

Tom Hurndall was murdered in Palestine

Tom Hurndall was in Palestine working with the International Solidarity Movement, a non-violent collective, and, like many others, was picked off and killed. We remember him as a courageous individual, and his particular death prompted us to have these lectures in his name, as someone who was part of a collective struggle. Details of all the lectures so far are available online (with updates on upcoming events).

There is an online, free-to-download open-access book of the first sixteen lectures, For Palestine: Essays from the Tom Hurndall Memorial Lecture Group (and the book can also be purchased as paperback or hardback).

The Tom Hurndall Memorial lectures have taken place since 2005, with generous unpaid contributions from each lecturer who has brought their own expertise to bear on a key question: what must we know about the past so we can learn from it and take forward what Tom Hurndall was witnessing when he died?

Remembering Tom Hurndall

There are two events this year at Cross Street Chapel in Manchester: the Memorial Lecture and a guest panel discussion. While the lecture traditionally took place inside MMU, this year it will exceptionally move to an outside venue. A colleague from MMU will chair the event.

A special event in Manchester, ‘Remembering Tom Hurndall 20 Years On,’ follows the Tom Hurndall Memorial Lecture. This commemorative meeting, about the life, work, and memory of Tom Hurndall, is also to mobilise and take forward the struggle he gave his life for. Guest speakers include Ghassan Abu-Sittah (Palestinian surgeon), Izzat Darwazeh (British Palestinian academic at UCL), Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian (Tom Hurndall Memorial Lecture speaker 2024), Lara Sheehi (Doha Institute), and Stephen Sheehi (William & Mary). The co-chairs are Hala Marshood and Waleed Shrouji (Palestine/Manchester).

The 18th Tom Hurndall Memorial Lecture will take place before this meeting, in person, at 4 p.m., with Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who is Global Chair in Law at Queen Mary University of London. She will speak on “The Culmination of Unchilding in Gaza.” The talk will focus on the centrality of death and the flesh in comprehending the barbarities of unchilding, arguing that the unchilded flesh in Gaza points to the failure of the discourse of humanism and children’s rights.

These activities allow us to engage in listening and speaking out against what the Israeli State did then and continues to do now.

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Ian Parker is a Manchester-based psychoanalyst and a member of Anti*Capitalist Resistance.

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