Associate Members

Anna Szöke

© Tal Adler

As CARMAH’s Geschäftsführerin and research manager my role is to assist director Sharon Macdonald in the strategic advancement of the centre and its research projects. I also support CARMAH’s researchers in national and international research funding applications, with developing scientific events and collaborations, managing public relations, and with organizational tasks related to employment and scientific work.

I was also a member of the TRACES project (Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts: From Intervention to Co-Production). My research focused on three of the Creative Co-Productions (CCPs) — multidisciplinary teams of artists, researchers and places of heritage encounters. I looked 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. Furthermore, I looked at how the CCPs engaged 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. I analyzed the CCPs as a new concept of mediating contentious collections and assessed them as examples for reflexive heritage and beyond institutional critique.

As 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 explored the philosophical, aesthetic, historical and scientific implications of collections of human skulls, my research focused on the Viennese Natural History Museum’s collection and similar collections in Europe. I explored the role of these collections in the development of anthropology and practices of collecting from the 19th century until today. I looked 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.