Museums, Citizenship and Belonging in a Changing Europe - SWICH - Research Center for Material Culture
25 November 2016

Museums, Citizenship and Belonging in a Changing Europe

Annual Conference | 24-25 Nov 2016 | RCMC

Museums, Citizenship and Belonging in a Changing Europe brings together scholars, curators and artists to think critically about the ways museums engage with complex and polarized debates on citizenship and belonging.

Citizenship and Belonging

Over the last few decades, museums, including ethnographic and world cultures museums, have been conscripted into national and transnational debates around questions of citizenship and belonging. Influenced by, among other factors, political, popular and academic debates about who belongs to the nation, what constitutes national culture/heritage and how this heritage has been (mis)represented, museums have responded in diverse ways, mobilising their collections to connect with diverse citizens within society, including (post) migrant citizens. 

In this two-day conference we want to look critically at some of these different responses by museums to the debate on citizenship and belonging. Focused on ethnographic or world-cultural museums within diverse (so-called) multicultural polities, we are interested to think critically about how we might reposition these museums in the postcolonial moment when citizenship and belonging are in question. 

What are the different theories of citizenship that can be useful to think about the role that ethnographic and world cultures museums can play, in the present and in the future? How should these museums address their colonial histories to better serve the (postcolonial) societies of which they are a part?

Confirmed speakers

  • Sandra Dudley (University of Leicester)
  • ​Monica J. Edmondson (artist)
  • Peter Geschiere (University of Amsterdam)
  • Lina Issa (artist)
  • Engin Isin (The Open University)
  • Alana Jelinek (University of Cambridge)
  • Rhiannon Mason (New Castle University)
  • Ruth Phillips (Carlton University)
  • Barbara Plankensteiner (Yale University Art Gallery)
  • Judy Jaffe-Schagen (University of Amsterdam)
  • Mirjam Shatanawi (National Museum of World Cultures)
  • Pooyan Tamimi Arab (Utrecht University/National Museum of World Cultures)
  • Rolando Vázquez (UCR/ University of Utrecht)

Book launch

The conference starts on Wednesday afternoon with the book launch of The Return of Curiosity: What Museums are Good for in the Twenty-First Century by Prof. Nicholas Thomas (University of Cambridge).

Location: Nooterzaal, Research Center for Material Culture

Want to look back all the talks during the conference? Visit the RCMC YouTube channel.

This project is part of the European project SWICH.

Co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the EUSharing a World of Inclusion, Creativity and Heritage