Call for Conference Participation
Migration in Museums: Narratives of Diversity in Europe
Berlin, October 23-25, 2008
Open to museum professionals, exhibition curators, researchers from the humanities and social sciences, representatives from immigrant communitiesand artists.
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 andTelevision
- Jüdisches Museum Berlin/Jewish Museum Berlin
- Jugendmuseum Schöneberg/Youth Museum Schöneberg
- Kreuzberg Museum
- Museum Neukölln
- Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin (Märkisches Museum)/City Museum Berlin
The project is supported within the framework of the Berlin Hauptstadtkulturfonds
Questions of immigration and integration have become key issues incontemporary European intellectual and political debates. In the wake ofEuropean societies’ ongoing social and economic incorporation of millions ofimmigrants and refugees, questions pertaining to the cultural representationof these processes are increasingly emerging. Debates about theinterconnectedness of immigration, history and memory, as well as oncommemorative practices in diverse societies are gaining momentum. As aconsequence, cultural institutions are challenged by rethinking and thepossibility 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 ofvisitors: more and more people of immigrant origin have become an importanttarget group as European societies diversify. Second, the predominant, andoften prevailing, national frameworks and the national historical narrativesused in historical exhibition have been questioned by immigration and thechallenge 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 historicalstudies, 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 acommon opening and a public concluding session, participants willintensively work in six different workshops. Each workshop comprises 10 to12 participants and will last for 1.5 days. The goal of the workshops is toinitiate a European process of reflection and discussion on migration inmuseums 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 request.
For further information, please visit the website: http://www.network-migration.org/workshop2008
or contact us via E-mail (Migration.Museums@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.
Netzwerk Migration in Europa e.V.
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.