Public Engagement 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015

CARMAH not only invites persons to speak with us in Berlin, but also actively contributes to debates and dialogues at other institutions all over the world, as well as in the press. Below you can read about some of our research activities outside of CARMAH and our engagement with the wider academic and museum community.



Access to Waxes

Irene Hilden will give a presentation as part of the workshop on the Arab collections of the Phonogramm-Archiv, organised by the Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Berlin Ethnological Museum. 

Golden Record Studios

More than 40 years ago, a handful of US-Americans decided what would travel through space on the Golden Records for the next 500 million years. In the Golden Record Studios of the performance art collective matthaei & konsorten, a new archive is being created - with inputs from experts in the fields of anthropology, community building, body practices and logics of collecting. In her contribution, Irene Hilden looks back into the past, reflecting on early sound projects and their practices and imaginations. 

Panel discussion

Vulnerabilities and Repair

As part of Ámà: 4 Days on Caring, Repairing and Healing at Gropius Bau, this conversation between Ulrike Kluge, Kader Attia and Injonge Karangwa explored how the concept of repair can be applied to different fields and practices, translating it across various disciplines, moderated by Margareta von Oswald.  

Ever-changing and Traditional – Field Reflections on Weaving in Poland and Romania

Weaving practice is embedded in a range of personal and social values, entangled with multiple political agendas. This paper considers the complex transformation of traditional weaving in two rural sites in Poland and Romania. It explores the shifting weaving cultures and ways in which dramatic social and historical change inflected practice, skill, designs, and patterns. 

Resituating regional objects, reframing ‘neutral’ collections.

Rural heritage often appears as "out of history", locked in pristine folkloric collections or unspoiled open-air museums. The presentation by Magdalena Buchcyzk takes a critical anthropological approach to knowledge production about rural material culture in East-Central European museums. 


Arts of Memory: A Series of Discussions on the Past in Art Practices

The public program for the exhibition 'Mirror Without Memory' by Thomas Demand at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (9 September 2021 – 31 January 2022), includes a series of discussions on the construction of public memory in the arts. Contemporary artists, researchers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers will discuss the role that various arts play in the thinking and rethinking of the past. Programme by Aleksandra Evtushenko and Andrei Zavadski.  

Panel discussion

Mapping Cohabitation

There are always underlying socio-political contexts, as the sociologist of science Tahani Nadim addresses in the project Data Natures that examines data practices in natural history. The project presentations as well as a panel discussion moderated by Alexandra Nehmer (ARCH+) are intended to critically discuss the conditions of mapping and inventorying, asking about possibilities of linking data sets to new narratives of cohabitation. 

Book discussion

The Memorylands we live in

The discussion with Professor Sharon Macdonald focused on her acclaimed book Memorylands: Heritage and Identity in Europe Today (2013), now translated by Robert Kusek and published in Polish by International Cultural Centre. 

Panel discussion

The Roots of Populism

Julia Leser in discussion with Chiara Bonachhi, Matthew Kerry, and Elisabeth Niklasson. Part of the History, Heritage and Politics Divisional Research Seminar series. 

Poletayev Readings X: Future(s) of Theories

Discussion: Public History in the Digital Age

The modern world is defined by the 'expansion of the past.' The past is often at the center of various social conflicts and public debate. Moreover, the communicative infrastructure of historical culture is undergoing significant changes. Digital technologies create new types of audiences and forms of representation of the past, which calls for taking into account the hybrid nature of contemporary historical culture. Against this background, the academic status of public history is as high as ever. Yet, the practical issues related to the actualization of the past in modern culture turn out to be inextricably linked to theoretical challenges. There are numerous discussions concerning the implementation of the principles of publicity, the temporal framework of modernity, effects of digital technologies, criteria of authenticity in relation to various artifacts of the past and forms of its appropriation. Theoretical ideas and concepts require reexamination and testing with regard to new social and technological contexts. This round table proposes to discuss the state of this area of knowledge and the prospects for its further development. Participants: Serge Noiret (European University Institute), Mykola Makhortykh (IKMB), Andrei Zavadski (Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin). Chair: Daria Khlevnyuk (Poletayev Institute).  

Panel discussion

Ethische Herausforderungen der ethnographischen Forschung

Julia Leser is discussant on the panel "Ethische Herausforderungen der ethnographischen Forschung", with presentations by Timothy Williams, Ulrike Krause, Sezer Idil Gogus, and Alena Sander; Chair: Samantha Ruppel. Part of the DVPW Congress 2021 “Wir haben die Wahl! Politik in Zeiten von Unsicherheit und Autokratisierung”. 


Fremde im eigenen Land? Die Funktionen nationaler Identität

Lecture by Julia Leser. Part of the Ringvorlesung 'Nationalism' at Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg. 


Who is ID8470? Making an artistic difference in the Humboldt Forum, Berlin.

Tal Adler and Sharon Macdonald, talk at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo. Presenting Adler's Who is ID 8470? the talk also the talk also discusses the wider context of its making and reception, as well as developments and possibilities within the relationships between anthropology and art. How far might such a work make a difference to public understanding and to curatorial practices more widely?  


Animals As Objects

Tahani Nadim, lecture "Reproducing Species in and with Data" at the Ringvorlesung Animals As Objects at the Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin 



Archival Ethics and Possibilities of Representation

Tal Adler, in conversation with George Mahashe, virtual seminar 'Spirals – Art, Archives and the Curatorial', organised by Duane Jethro at the Centre for Curating the Archive at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town 


The Shape of Practice: Archiving

Tahani Nadim, together with Ego Sowinski Ahaiwe. Seminar at The Shape of a Practice, Anthropocene Curriculum, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. 


Keynote Roundtable

Sharon Macdonald and other Keynote lecturers, 5th Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (online), UCL London 

Virtual conference:

Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) - 5th Biennial Conference

26-30 August 2020: CARMAH members join the Fifth Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS) with a variety of paper presentations and moderated sessions. The conference’s theme – Futures – aims to engage seriously and critically with the often stated aims of heritage to address the concerns of future generations, whilst also asking participants to think expansively and creatively about the future of critical heritage studies as an emergent field of focus across a range of academic disciplines.  


Whole Earths Cataloguing

Tahani Nadim, together with Sybille Neumeyer, presentation and panel discussion at the symposium "Biodiversity and the Cultural Landscape", Universität Wien, Österreich. 

Public lecture:

Relating Global Histories

Duane Jethro, alongside Sergio Costa and Bernd Scherer, department seminar series ‘Mauern/überschreiten’, Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-University of Berlin 



Data Natures: Problematising Digitisations of Natural History and its Collections

Tahani Nadim, workshop 'Politics of Collecting and Knowledge Production', organised by Volkswagen Stiftung, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin 


Experimental plantings

Experimental Workshop held with Sybille Neumeyer at "Experimental Humanities", Nov 2019. Through their method of ‘experimental planting’, Nadim and Neumeyer are introducing other living and non-living records into archival tectonics. In doing so, they seek to examine questions of narratives found in and produced by agricultural practices and archives. 


Muslim Heritage on Stage in Berlin

Katarzyna Puzon, workshop 'Home, Mobility and Translocality: Muslim Identities between the Post-Soviet Space, Europe and Turkey', HSE University, Moscow 


Manoeuvring through the City of Beirut

Katarzyna Puzon, biennial conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA) 'Das Ende der Aushandlungen?', University of Konstanz 

Anthropocene river journey:

Data Flows

Tahani Nadim, research participation in the Anthropocene River Journey, organised by Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 


Reflections and Final Discussion

Sharon Macdonald, conference of the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK) 'What's Missing? Collecting and Exhibiting Europe', Dahlem Museums, Berlin 

Seminar session:

Est-ce qu’il y a un patrimoine postcolonial?

Margareta von Oswald (organizer & moderator), seminar 'Réécrire le passé colonial: enjeux contemporains des collections de musée' (EHESS), in collaboration with the doctoral students of the atelier doctoral 'Le musée comme terrain: stratifications des héritages coloniaux' (EHESS) at the Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris 


Ghosts, Silences, Hidden Things—Taxidermic Cinema Workshop

Debbie Onuoha, workshop lead, Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin 

World Café session:

Museums in their Neighbourhoods

Katarzyna Puzon, WeberWorldCafé 'Changing Neighbourhoods', organised by the Max Weber Stiftung, the Forum Transregionale Studien, the Orient Institut Beirut, and the Zentrum Moderner Orient. Werkstatt der Kulturen, Berlin 

Film presentation and talk:

Ghosts, Silences, Hidden Things: Filming in Museums, Archives, and Heritage Spaces

Debbie Onuoha, Media and Digital Anthropology Lab, Institute for European Ethnology, Humboldt-University of Berlin 



The 'Restitution Report' - What's at stake?

Larissa Förster and Margareta von Oswald, conference 'Sensitive Heritage - Ethnographic Museums and Material/Immaterial Restitutions', GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig 

Panel discussion:

Curating Colonial Legacies

Larissa Förster (chair), panel with German and Namibian academics and heritage practitioners at the symposium 'Deferred Heritage: Colonialism's Past and Present', organised by Goethe-Institut and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz; Ethnologisches Museum, Berlin 


Filming the Museum/Film in the Museum

Debbie Onuoha, 'Kolloquium INTERVENTION M21: AM HUMBOLDTSTROM: Sammeln in 19.Jh. // Einführung ins Humboldt Forum', Kunst im Kontext, Universität der Künste, Berlin 


Materializations of Mobility in Berlin

Katarzyna Puzon, the 'Moving Subjects/Making Cities' session at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), San José, California 


Politiken des Auswählens in Gedächtnisinstitutionen

Tahani Nadim, workshop 'Fachspezifische Strategien und Kriterien für die Archivierung von Forschungsdaten aus ethnografischer Forschung', organised by the Fachinformationsdienst Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie, Universitätsbibliothek, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin 

Initiating presentation:

Sensible Objekte und Provenienz

Larissa Förster, intersessional meeting 'Museum und Universität: Perspektiven der Kooperation', organised by the AG Museum of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA), in cooperation with the museums commission of the Schweizerische Ethnologische Gesellschaft (SEG), Völkerkundemuseum, University of Zurich 


Understanding Memorylands and Heritage in a Digitalized and Mobile World

Sharon Macdonald, lecture was held for the Advanced Study Group 'Heritage and Memory beyond Place' at the University of Lund, Sweden 

Panel talk:

Lebanon - Conceptual Histories of 'Heritage'

Katarzyna Puzon, 4th Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China 

Panel organisation:

Exploring Islam and Heritage across Borders

Katarzyna Puzon and Klas Grinell, 4th Biennial Conference of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China 


Family Memory, the 1884 Grave Robbery in the Lower Kuiseb and Human Remains in Berlin

Larissa Förster, conference 'Past, Present and Future of Namibian Heritage' (organised by the University of Namibia, Museums Association of Namibia and University of Basel), University of Namibia, Windhoek 


Where do 'Ethnographic' Collections from Namibia Have a Future?

Larissa Förster, conference 'Past, Present and Future of Namibian Heritage' (organised by the University of Namibia, Museums Association of Namibia and University of Basel), University of Namibia, Windhoek  


Farming data - collaborations on site

Tahani Nadim, discussant at the conference of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) 2018: 'Meetings - Making Science, Technology and Society together', Lancaster, United Kingdom 


Meeting (in) data

Tahani Nadim, panel co-organisation with Antonia Walford (UCL) for the conference of the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST) 2018: 'Meetings - Making Science, Technology and Society together', Lancaster, United Kingdom 


Friends with Books

Tahani Nadim, conference 'Radical Open Access II - The Ethics of Care', Coventry University, United Kingdom 

Workshop presentation:

Transforming the Ethnographic: Anthropology, Museums, and Colonialism

Margareta von Oswald and Larissa Förster, conference 'Exchanging Perspectives: Anthropologies, Museum Collections, and Colonial Legacies between Paris and Berlin', CARMAH & Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 


Die Empfehlungen des Deutschen Museumsbundes zum Umgang mit menschlichen Überresten (2013): Kritik aus der Perspektive der Rückfordernden

Larissa Förster, talk at the workshop 'Umgang. Menschliche Überreste in Museen und Universitätssammlungen', Hochschule für Bildende Künste, Dresden 


ETHOSlab - Speculative Instruments X Ethnographic data

Tahani Nadim, roundtable discussion with Jörg Niewöhner, Christoph Bareither, Ingmar Lippert and Rachel Douglas-Jones, Humboldt-Universität Berlin 


Knowing fish

Tahani Nadim, workshop organisation and participation, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin  

Guided tour and workshop:

Schools of Tomorrow

Tahani Nadim, school project guided by artist Isabell Spengler for the programme 'Schools of Tomorrow', Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 


Public dialogue:

VI Dialogue - Decolonise Our Reflections

Jonas Tinius, dialogue held within the collaboration between the Cité Internationale des arts and l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), 'Concrete Mirror - the interstice of anthropology and visual art', La Colonie, Paris 


Diversitätsentwicklung in Kulturinstitutionen

Jonas Tinius, lecture and moderation of two world café tables with Léontine Meijer-van Mensch (programme director Jüdisches Museum Berlin) and Paul Spies (director Stadtmuseum Berlin), annual conference of the Landesverband der Museen zu Berlin e.V., Berlin (in German) 


The Readymade Century

Margareta von Oswald, participant in symposium session 'Readymade Transcultural' , Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 

Panel discussion:

Future Memories: Erinnerungskultur(en) der Migrationsgesellschaft

Jonas Tinius, Chair and discussant of opening keynote speech and panel with Dr. Christina Johansson (Malmö University, Sweden), Léontine Meijer-van Mensch (Jewish Museum Berlin), and Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński (Vienna Academy of Fine Arts). Workshop in cooperation with the Centre for Metropolitan Studies (Technical University Berlin), W.M. Blumenthal Academy, Jewish Museum Berlin (in German) 


Gehört Provenienzforschung zur DNA des Humboldt Forums?

Paneldiscussion with Larissa Förster (CARMAH), Johannes Vogel (Natural History Museum, Berlin), Christina Haak (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Viola König (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin), Hermann Parzinger (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz), Museen Dahlem, Berlin (in German) 


Collective (In)competence

Katarzyna Puzon, with MMTW, Jornadas Filosóficas de Barcelona, Centre de Cultura Contemporánia de Barcelona 



Margareta von Oswald and Vivian Ziherl, discussion as part of the exhibition 'Odarodle - An imaginary their_story of naturepeoples, 1535-2017', Schwules Museum, Berlin 

Artist talk and book launch:

Bare Lives

Jonas Tinius, with Solvej Ovesen, Mario Rizzi, Charlotte Bank, Ramy Al Asheq, chaired moderation, artist talk, and book presentation for Mario Rizzi’s 'Bare Lives' exhibition. Part of the annual programme 'Unsustainable Privileges' at the Galerie Wedding, Berlin 

Talk organization and introduction:

After Death: Event, Narrative, Feeling

Michael Lambek (University of Toronto/Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin) gives a talk as part of the departmental lecture series Modes of Relating: Methodologies in/for a Contemporary Anthropology, Institute of European Ethnology, Humboldt University 

Roundtable discussion:

Art and Human Remains: A Discussion of the Ethics of Artistic Work with Historic Collections of Human Remains

Sharon Macdonald, roundtable discussion linked to CCP4 of the TRACES project at the Edinburgh College of Art 


Bilateral Workshop to Initiate a German-Australian Research Network on Human Remains / Sensitive Objects in Colonial Collections and their Repatriation

Larissa Förster, workshop organised by Prof. Dr. Winkelmann (Medizinische Hochschule Brandenburg Theodor Fontane), co-organised by Prof. em. Michael Pickering (Loughborough University), National Museum of Australia, Canberra 


Panel discussion:


Sharon Macdonald, Tony Bennett & Arjun Appadurai, HKW Series 'Dictionary of Now #4', Ethnological Museum, Berlin (video included) 

Panel discussion:

Beobachter unter sich: ethnografisches Forschen in der Kunst

Jonas Tinius, Workshop Cobratheater.cobra Netzwerktreffen, Uferstudios für zeitgenössischen Tanz, Berlin 

Panel discussion:

The Anthropologist As Curator: A Roundtable

Sharon Macdonald, 14th Biennial Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, University of Milano-Bicoccia 


Sensory Dimensions of Making Differences and Diversity in Museums

Sharon Macdonald, Ethnological Colloquium, University of Hamburg 


Appropriating Universal Centrality: Containing the World in Berlin’s New Humboldt-Forum

Jonas Tinius & Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, Conference 'THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD? New Monumentality, Neo-Modernism and Other Zombie Urban Utopias', University College London 

World café table:

Museum Ethics

Margareta von Oswald, 'Fellow Me!' Academy of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, Leipzig and Halle an der Salle 


November 2015

Invited talk at workshop:

Museums and Public Engagement

Sharon Macdonald, Where is the Pergamon Altar? Visitor Orientation and Managing Expectations in the Pergamon Museum, New York University, Berlin 

October 2015

Invited Lecture to the Auswärtiges Amt (German Foreign Office):

Innovativen Formen Musealer Praxis und neue Umgangsformen mit kulturellem (und naturellen) Erbe

Sharon Macdonald, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin 


Art is/as transcultural? The transcultural potential of the museum

Sharon Macdonald, Transkulturelle Kunstgeschichten in Museen, Berlin 

May 2015

Press coverage:

Verleihung der Humboldt-Professuren: Neue Museumskonzepte zur Völkerverständigung

WDR 5, interview with Sharon Macdonald (audio), May 2015