The DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium held its first collaborative international workshop at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm (Sweden) on 24-25 October 2018. Entitled “Oral History and Digital Heritage”, the Consortium organized the event in collaboration with staff members from the Museum and invited oral historians and other scholars from Sweden, Norway and Finland to explore ideas and exchange ways of thinking about the impact of digital heritage on contemporary engagements with the past. Workshop participants discussed what is gained and lost when cultural heritage becomes digital, and who benefits or loses most from this process. Click here to read more about the event to view the programme
Malin Thor Tureby and Jesper Johansson delivered a paper presentation about the research project DigiCONFLICT at the Oral History Associations Annual Meeting, which was hosted at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada on 10-13 October 2018. Their presentation discussed the aims and research questions addressed by the DigiCONFLICT research project, with specific focus on the Swedish research team’s case study, entitled “Oral History as Digital Heritage in the Age of Migration”. Among other aspects, the presentation considered the theoretical and methodological approaches used in that case study, especially in relation to the research field of oral history, which was the scientific framework of the event.
On 4 September 2018 Ewa Manikowska delivered a presentation entitled “A European Museum: A challenge to the idea of a European cultural heritage” in the framework of the 47th Session “A European Heritage in the Making: External Borders and Internal Boundaries on the Move” of the 4th ACHS Conference organized by the Zhejiang University of Hangzhou.
On 5 September 2018, Gil Pasternak was invited to deliver a keynote conference paper titled “Online Communities Offline: Digital Heritage in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, as part of the international, interdisciplinary symposium Commemoration, Memory, Archive: Investigating Commemorative and Memorial Uses of Personal, Non-Professional Images in the Digital Age in the Global South, which was organised at the University of Sussex, 4-5 September 2018. Gil’s paper looked at two digital heritage projects that emerged in Israel-Palestine in the second decade of the twenty-first century as a means to propagate politically charged Israeli and Palestinian national histories. Instigated by Israeli politicians, on the one hand, and by authoritative Palestinian institutions, on the other, the two projects have been geared towards digitizing and uploading family photographs online, in order to evince the exclusive connection of each people to the same land. Similar in spirit but significantly different in scope and means, the projects have thus perpetuated at least two contested visual narratives about the history of the same geographical region. Each of these claims it for one nation, playing down (even erasing) the otherwise undeniable historical presence of the other. Informed by archival research, digital ethnography, and fieldwork, Gil’s paper described the assumptions and desires that led political officials on both sides to consider family albums and digital heritage as appropriate means to negotiate national identities and activate patriotic sentiments. Gil pointed to the temptation to understand the initiatives as digital enactments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet he argued that they shape the lived experience of regional politics not through their online presence, but rather by involving individuals of all walks of life in the digitization and communal narration of personal photographs, offline.
We are very pleased to announce that Gil Pasternak, DigiCONFLICT Project Leader and the Principal Investigator of the DigiCONFLICT UK research team has been appointed Adviser for the Apna Heritage Archive project initiated and managed by the Black Country Visual Arts (BCVA) organisation.
The Apna Heritage Archive hosts a collection of over 2000 historic photographs and memorabilia relating to Punjabi migration to Wolverhampton from 1960 to 1989. In his role, Gil will offer the BCVA a series of consultations and training workshops to contribute to the expansion of the Apna Heritage Archive in compliance with good standardised methodological practice. These will involve: provision of knowledge about digitisation methods and the rationale underpinning their employment; practical guidance and advice on the cultivation of participatory culture to ensure the usefulness of the Archive to the communities whose cultural heritage it intends to preserve; ongoing considerations of current academic research interests in arts, humanities and social sciences with a view to rendering the Archive equally valuable to the work of academics in fields such as cultural history, visual culture, migration studies and others; and advice on organisation, curation, presentation and display of the collection.