On 24 May 2019 Gil Pasternak delivered a keynote lecture in the 5th international annual conference After Post-Photography, which was held at the European University in St Petersburg (23-25 May 2019). Entitled, “Photography in Politics: Remembering and Being Together, With Photographs”, Gil’s presentation explored how the absorption of photography into politics has aided in cementing a general understanding of photographs as memoranda, indexical records of the past, and aide-memoires more broadly. Studying how the relationship between photography and politics emerged, and what factors might have contributed to strengthening it over time, Gil began with a discussion of photography in professional politics, analyzing how statesmen have conceptualized the medium in relation to the concepts of evidence and commemoration, and how they employed it as such for political gain. Turning attention to the governed layers of society, in the second part of his talk Gil explored how photography has served them to evoke the memory of the past, in concrete efforts to contest or support rulers, state power, stagnant doctrines, and institutional histories. Lastly, in the final part of his talk Gil explored some of the roles that photography has been tasked to perform in the context of sociocultural and identity politics. Here he considered its perception as a medium capable of challenging memories of stereotypes, as well as one that is able to reshape archives and historical collections. Prioritizing examples from a variety of continents, historical moments, digital and material environments, the talk clarified how politics has affected photographic uses, practices, meanings, and also photographic digital heritage more recently, in ways that have swayed people’s memories and, thus, also their lives.
A collaboration between the Department of Historical Studies and the Centre for Critical Heritage Studies at the University of Gothenburg, and the Department of Archaeology, Conservation and History and the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo, the workshop Choosing the Past: Whose stories do we tell? was held on 20-21 May 2019. Its purpose was to critically evaluate the role of historians in the production of narratives about the past, present and future. These stories are used actively to shape and preserve memories and identities on both an individual and group level, operating on various levels. They are personal, local, regional, national and global. Although they facilitate the creation of communities, a sense of belonging, and shared interests and values, they can also be excluding. Titled, “Oral history and Narratives as Cultural Heritage”, Thor Tureby’s talk explored how oral history can be used to include or exclude immigrants and refugees in cultural heritage.
On 16 May 2019 Ewa Manikowska gave the lecture “Das ‘tribal’ Museum. Zeitgenössische Ansätze zur institutionellen Vergangenheit in Polen” at the Zentrum für Historische Forschungen of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Berlin, in the framework of the Klaus Zernack Colloquium 2019 series (Identitätsfabriken? Museen und historische Bildung in Polen). You may view the 2019 series programme here
Organized by the Swedish National Heritage Board in collaboration with the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change on 15-16 May 2019, the conference intended to elucidate and complicate the relationships between cultural heritage and migration, with specific consideration of innovative methods within local integration practices, and historical and global contexts. Key questions asked How does migration relate to notions of place, home and borders as heritage? How can migration be understood as a form of cultural heritage? And how can cultural heritage professionals enhance their expertise in relation to migration? Thor Tureby was invited to contribute to group discussions on these and similar themes.
The Swedish Historians Meeting was held at Linnaeus University in Växjö on 8-10 May 2019. Malin Thor Tureby and Jesper Johansson presentation focused on their case study Oral History as Digital Heritage in the Age of Migration. They paid specific attention to the question of how Swedish cultural heritage institutions have been creating digital and non-digital narratives and collections about as well as with persons categorized as migrants and refugees.
On 18 March 2019 Gil Pasternak visited Nesher’s Heritage Centre (Haifa District, Israel), where he spoke to community documentarists of photographic heritage about the decision-making processes they undergo when digitising historical family photographs and the factors that inform their choices. As part of his visit to the Centre, Gil also provided a series of consultations on the cultivation of participatory digital culture amongst youngsters and across generations.
On 11 March 2019 Gil Pasternak visited the Library and Memorial Centre in Kiryat Tivon (Haifa District, Israel) where he met with community documentarists and contributors of photographic cultural heritage. Learning about their work methods and the expectations they have of their growing community’s archive of historical family photographs, Gil provided individual consultations on how to find and evaluate the historically informative qualities of family photographs as material objects, considering among other things what steps need to be taken in preparation for their digitisation and continued preservation.
On 5 March 2019 Ewa Manikowska presented a paper entitled “Between Universalism and Tribalism. National Museums in Abeyance” at the conference Parmi les Hommes, les Objets et les Signes. Hommage à Krzysztof Pomian organized by the Institut National d’Historie de l’Art, the Sorbonne, and the Polish Academy of Sciences in Paris (4-6 March 2019). Conference information and programme can be accessed here and you can listen to the paper here
On 18 February 2019, Gil Pasternak contributed to the AA School’s public event “Slow Seeing: The Analog in Photography”, which was organised as part of the AA Collections Talks series. Gil delivered the presentation “Film Photography in a Digital World”, in which he explored some political factors that have affected the growing interest in film photography, since the end of the Cold War in particular. Gil also contributed to a lively discussion about photographic digitisation and the challenges facing archivists when intending to turn material photographic objects into digital images without losing their material characteristics, which are equally as important as the images they depict. The event was chaired by AA Head of Photography Sue Barr, and other speakers and panelists were Daniel Blochwitz (independent curator and artistic director of Photo Basel), renowned photographer John Spinks, and Programme Director for Sotheby’s Institute of Art MA course in Contemporary Art Juliet Hacking.
On 30 January 2019, Gil Pasternak was invited to contribute to the international research symposium Photography and Resistance: Reflections on Photography as a Medium of Resistance and as a Resistant Medium, organised by Dr Kylie Thomas in the School of Humanities and the Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics at the University of Brighton (29-30 January 2019). Pasternak delivered the paper “Battling Xenophobia in the Polish Homeland: Photographic Education and Practices in the Jewish Landkentnish Movement (1926-1938)”, to explore the photographic methods that the Poland‑based Landkentnish (Yiddish for “knowing the land”) movement employed in the interwar period to preserve Jewish Heritage, promote Jewish culture, and establish Poland as a home for the Jewish people at a time when Polish nationalism arose. Based on the results of a collaborative research with Polish photography scholar Marta Ziętkiewicz, the paper discussed the origins of the Landkentnish movement, the photographic sources and resources it created, the exhibitions it put on display, and its employment of snapshots and illustrated magazines. Drawing on extensive archival research and surveys of the movement’s surviving publications, the paper Gil delivered demonstrated how photography assisted the movement in contesting Polish historical amnesia by evincing the deep-rooted historical connection between the Jewish community of Poland and the Polish land.
Alicja Jagielska-Burduk co-authored and published an article on cultural heritage education entitled, “Council of Europe Cultural Heritage and Education Policy: Preserving Identity and Searching for a Common Core” (with Piotr Stec, University of Opole). The article was published in the journal Revista Electrónica Interuniversitaria de Formación del Profesorado (Interuniversity Electronic Journal of Teacher Formation), and is available online.
Upon the release of the book Vi gör vad vi kan. Volontärer om flyktingmottagandet i Sverige från 2015 (We Do What We Can: Volunteers on the Refugee Reception in Sweden from 2015), a special book-launch seminar was held at St Paul’s Church in Stockholm on 13 January 2019. The book was published by the association Liv i Sverige (Life in Sweden) and Migra förlag (Migra publishing house), featuring narratives by 50 volunteers who talk about their involvement in the refugee-reception activities that took place in Sweden in the fall of 2015. Malin Thor Tureby and Jesper Johansson have written the book’s final chapter, on the history of Swedish refugee reception during the 1900s. During the festive seminar, which showcasted musicians from Afghanistan and talks by some of the volunteers themselves, Malin Thor Tureby and Jesper Johansson presented the results of their research on the subject.
On 10 December 2018, Malin Thor Tureby participated in the workshop “Research-Driven Digitization – Data-Driven Research: Opportunities and Consequences”, which was organized at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm by the National Heritage Board and the Nordic Museum. The workshop encouraged interaction and cooperation between universities and memory institutions with a view to exploring digitization and uses of digitized materials in archives and collections. Key discussions that emerged during the workshop revolved around questions such as: How to facilitate navigation in the digital world that today is a reality for both the scientific community and memory institutions? What are the opportunities and implications of digitalization for research in the humanities? How can memory institutions and the research community jointly develop strategies for digitization that will be useful and used in research?
On 19 November 2018, Alicja Jagielska-Burduk delivered a presentation at the international symposium “New Heritage Challenges in Crisis Contexts: The Dynamics of Law within the Development of International Protection of Cultural Heritage”, which was organized by the French National Commission for UNESCO. Alicja’s presentation focused on major trends in public policies of heritage protection, in the context of Eastern Europe in particular.
At the international conference Museums in Times of Political Change: Looking at Eastern Europe, organized by the Bundesinstitut für Kultur und Geschichte der Deutschen im östlischen Europa in Oldenburg on 7-9 November 2018, Ewa Manikowska delivered the presentation “Museums in the time of populism: Poland’s crisis of democracy as a threat to cultural heritage”, which looked at the recent controversies around the Museum of Second World War (in Poland).
Ewa Manikowska took part in the 5th International Conference of the International Association of Photography and Theory, which was entitled “Photographs and Conflict: Archiving and Consuming Images of Strife.” Manikowska chaired a roundtable discussion, where, together with Pam Meecham (UCL Institute of Education) and Sarah Tuck (Valand Academy – University of Gothenburg & Hasselbald Foundation), she discussed War, Photo Archives, and the Temporalities of Cultural Heritage.
On 13 November 2018, Gil Pasternak delivered a professional training session on uses of family photographs in cultural heritage digitisation and digitalisation initiatives. Titled “A Particularly Photogenic History: On Family Photographs at Home, in Public, and in Digital Heritage”, the session was held at the Rishon Le Zion Museum (Israel) as part of a professional development workshop organised for community coordinators of the Ben-Zvi Institute’s project Israel Revealed to the Eye. During his session, Gil explored the history and development of family photography from the nineteenth century to the present day, assessing conventional practices, functions, and distribution technologies. He then investigated a selection of significant instances in which family photographs have been brought into social, cultural and political environments, discussing what made family photographs, as otherwise private types of objects, most fit for purpose. Lastly, in the final part of his session, Gil analysed the growing interest in family photographs in state-led and grassroot community cultural heritage digitisation and digitalisation initiatives. The session’s overall intention was to equip heritage documentarists with knowledge and understanding of the multiple social, cultural, and political uses of family photographs in general, and their scholarly and academically perceived connection to tangible and intangible forms of cultural heritage in particular.