Research Themes

The RCMC organizes an annual program of events for scholars and the general public around several broad research themes.

In 2017, we focused in on five themes that will anchor further research and programming development:

  • Earth Matters - Planetary Histories
  • Justice and Reparative Acts
  • States of Migration
  • Un/Gendering the Collections
  • Translating Cultures: Design, Photography and Fashion in a Global Context

These themes inform the ways we seek to engage with the historical and contemporary meanings of the NMVW collections, the national and global histories of which they are a part, and the questions around issues of heritage, cultural identity and belonging they raise.

Our previous concerns with alternative histories, collections ethics and responsibility, materiality, re/presentation and digitality continue, now taken up within topics that do not only open up our collections in new ways, but also contribute to public discourses on contemporary issues such as climate change, gender, migration, social justice, and global culture.

More details about the new themes will be posted in early 2018.

Past themes

Alternative Histories addresses ongoing questions surrounding the uses of the past in the present. This research area explores the relation between history and practices of ethnographic representation, questions of temporalities within ethnographic museum practices, as well as the politics of history, heritage and memory.

Collections Histories, Ethics and Responsibilities is committed to the further development of ethical and responsible approaches for the acquisition, care and display of our collections.

Digitality explores the impact of new information and communication technology on our lives, as well as on knowledge production, data storage and the consumption and dissemination of cultural heritage inside and outside the museum.

Materiality in an Interconnected World explores the cultural dimensions of globalisation, focusing on the mobility’s of material culture, global interconnectivity, and the underlying power dynamics. It explores how the meaning of objects, styles and aesthetic forms changes over time and space.

Rethinking (Re)presentation foregrounds our interest in research that critically engages with the politics of representation, focusing on the museum as a technology of representation or on the collections themselves.