Associate Members

Harriet Merrow

© Tal Adler

CARMAH members’ portraits were captured in March 2017, on the ‘New55 PN’ – a new handmade instant film for large format, 4”x5” cameras. This film was launched through crowdfunding in 2014 as a reinvention of the discontinued, legendary ‘Type 55’ by Polaroid. Since the sixties, Polaroid’s unique ‘Type 55’ starred in many artists’ and professional photographers’ projects. ‘Type 55’ provided both an instant print and a superb negative from which more (and larger) prints could be made. Like so many photographic material in the last 10-15 years, ‘Type 55’ was discontinued in 2009. Tal Adler decided to use the ‘New55 PN’ not only for its beautiful quality but also to reflect, and participate in, the revival of (photographic) heritage.

As a student in the Master’s programme of the Institute of European Ethnology, I focused mostly on decolonization, curatorial practices and different forms of knowledge transferal in museums, specifically concerning how difficult heritage is addressed and represented/re-produced. My background in art history as well as my previous work at a small Berlin-based theatre gave me insight into cultural institutions and our socially contingent, evolving viewing practices and habits. My Master’s thesis ‘Unpacking the Giftschrank: (Post-)colonial Curating at the Deutsches Historisches Museum’ looked at the conceptualisation, creation and reception of the DHM’s 2016/17 special exhibition German Colonialism.

As a student assistant at CARMAH and within the TRACES project ‘Dead Images’, I supported the team in organisational matters (e.g. website maintenance, assistance during symposia and conferences, literature procurement for course syllabi). I assisted the team in tasks related to research fellows’ projects, such as the preparation, co-conducting, transcription and translation of interviews. I also helped curate the Media Review on Museums, wherein the media discourse on transformations in ethnological museums and their collections (focusing on how their colonial pasts are dealt with) between 2017 and 2020 is compiled. During my time as a student assistant, I co-authored the reflections ‚Decolonising Museum Practices?‘ and ‚Present Imperfect, Future Intense: The Opening of the Humboldt Forum‘.