[URBANTH-L]CFP: Migration in Museums: Narratives of Diversity in Europe

Angela Jancius jancius at ohio.edu
Sat Apr 19 13:51:20 EDT 2008

From:    "Rainer Ohliger" <rainer.ohliger at ohlgin.de>

Migration in Museums: Narratives of Diversity in Europe

A Call for Conference Participation

Open to museum professionals, exhibition curators, researchers from the
humanities and social sciences, representatives from immigrant communities
and artists.

organized by

Network Migration in Europe e. V.,

ICOM Europe (International Council of Museums),

Centre de Documentation sur les Migrations Humaines, Dudelange (Luxemburg)
in cooperation with the following six Berlin-based museums

- Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen/Museum of Film and

- Jüdisches Museum Berlin/Jewish Museum Berlin

- Jugendmuseum Schöneberg/Youth Museum Schöneberg

- Kreuzberg Museum

- Museum Neukölln

- Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin (Märkisches Museum)/City Museum Berlin

Date: October 23-25, 2008

Location: Berlin (in participating museums)

The project is supported within the framework of the Berlin


Questions of immigration and integration have become key issues in
contemporary European intellectual and political debates. In the wake of
European societies’ ongoing social and economic incorporation of millions of
immigrants and refugees, questions pertaining to the cultural representation
of these processes are increasingly emerging. Debates about the
interconnectedness of immigration, history and memory, as well as on
commemorative practices in diverse societies are gaining momentum. As a
consequence, cultural institutions are challenged by rethinking and the
possibility of reconceptualizing their work. This is particularly true for
(historical) museums and their narratives. Museums in Europe currently
encounter a threefold challenge. First, they face a new social structure of
visitors: more and more people of immigrant origin have become an important
target group as European societies diversify. Second, the predominant, and
often prevailing, national frameworks and the national historical narratives
used in historical exhibition have been questioned by immigration and the
challenge it poses to national master narratives. Third, the history of
immigration itself becomes a rising field for historical reflection,
research and commemoration, thus diversifying the landscape of historical
studies, historical exhibitions and museums.

Scope and Goals of the Conference

The conference will bring together museum professionals, exhibition
curators, researchers from the humanities and social sciences, (cultural)
representatives from immigrant communities and artists. The format will
transcend the traditional format of an (academic) conference. Next to a
common opening and a public concluding session, participants will
intensively work in six different workshops. Each workshop comprises 10 to
12 participants and will last for 1.5 days. The goal of the workshops is to
initiate a European process of reflection and discussion on migration in
museums in order to generate new ideas, new concepts, new narratives and new
perspectives. We do not expect lengthy papers from participants, but rather
short and sharp contributions for intensive discussions enabling new
interpretations, which will confront established patterns of thought and
practice and will enrich our imagination in the field. The minutes of the
workshops will be the basis for a publication to be launched in 2009.

Framework of the Conference

The conference will be the concluding event for a research and interview
project with immigrant artists (film makers and writers) in ten European
cities (Amsterdam, Athens, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Luxemburg, Madrid,
Oslo, Paris, Warsaw). The interviews will focus on the reflections of these
intellectuals on history and historical narratives, be it their own life
histories as immigrants, be it their reflection upon the history of their
countries of origin/destination, be it European history, be it immigration
history. These interviews will result in a webpage and a documentary.
Moreover, the film footage is planned to work as intellectual stimulus for
the conference and workshops, and it will be shown in the participating six
museums from October 23 to 25. The interviewed artists will be invited to
Berlin as participants in the conference and workshops.


Applications for participation are welcome through the deadline of May 30,
2008. Your application should include a mini essay/sketch of ideas (a max.
of 600 words), a short biographical note (not more than two pages) and a
list of (selected) publications, curated exhibitions or other relevant work
in the field of immigration and/or museums. The essay should reflect upon
and discuss the following question:

"How to represent and/or exhibit diversity in Europe?"

The text can be a classical mini-essay or a sketch of ideas for a cultural
project in a museum or an exhibition. It can also touch upon wider questions
and travel beyond the museum's walls. Versions of these essays (though not
in an elaborated academic form) will serve as input statements for the
workshops in order to trigger discussions.

Applications will be considered on a competitive basis. In addition to 40
invited speakers, 25 to 30 places are open to respondents to this Call for
Participation. Limited financial support for the participants is available
to subsidize travel and accommodation expenses. It can be granted upon

For further information, please visit the website:

or contact us via E-mail (Migration.Museums at web.de). Applications should be
sent to the given email address by May 30, 2008. The selection committee
will choose and notify the participants by the end of June 2008.

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