As part of the TRACES project (Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts: From Intervention to Co-Production) my research is focusing on three of the Creative Co-Productions (CCPs) — multidisciplinary teams of artists, researchers and places of heritage encounters. I am looking at their engagements with collections of difficult heritages, particularly those with the material culture of the human body and death, and their often troubling and violent history. I am interested how the CCPs engage with the emotional responses these collections usually provoke, the special care they demand, and how they utilize their potential of transmitting difficult heritages within Europe. Furthermore, I would like to analyze the CCPs as a new concept of mediating contentious collections and to assess them as examples for reflexive heritage and beyond institutional critique.
I am also a member of the CCP Dead Images, a collaboration between the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the University of Edinburgh and the Natural History Museums, Vienna, which explores the philosophical, aesthetic, historical and scientific implications of collections of human skulls. My research focuses on the Viennese Natural History Museum’s collection and similar collections in Europe. I explore the role of these collections in the development of anthropology and their practices of collecting from the 19th century until today. I look at how exhibition policies in Austria and Germany have developed and are intertwined with provenance research and repatriation claims, and how these influence public discourses.