TRACES Midterm Meeting

Humboldt-Universität and Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin

The TRACES Midterm meeting brought together all eleven TRACES partners to discuss and analyse current issues and difficulties each Creative Co-production (CCP) and work package is facing, as well as to think through the concepts of “Contentious Heritage” and “Reflexive Europeanisation”.
The meeting was divided into internal workshops (Monday, September 25th to Wednesday, the 27th) for members of the TRACES Work Packages CCPs, and selected Guests, and a public conference titled “Critical Heritages and Reflexive Europeanisation” on Thursday, Sept. 28th and Friday, the 29th at the Berlin Wall Memorial. The public conference took place in collaboration with the EU-Horizon2020 project CoHERE (Critical Heritages: Performing and Representing Identities in Europe).

The meeting was held at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH) and the Berlin Wall Memorial from September 25th to the 29th, 2017.


DAY ONE –  Monday, September 25th 2017, CARMAH, Humboldt University, Berlin

Welcome by Tal Adler, Humboldt-Universität

Opening by the coordinator Klaus Schönberger, Universität Klagenfurt

Individual Presentations of the Five CCPs

CCP1 “Absence as Heritage”

CCP2 “Awkward Objects of Genocide: The Holocaust and the Vernacular Arts in and beyond Polish Ethnographic Museums”

CCP3 “Casting of Death”

CCP4 “Dead Images”

CCP5 “Transforming Long Kesh Maze”


DAY TWO –  Tuesday, September 26th 2017, CARMAH, Humboldt University

The second day of the Midterm meeting started off with morning activities for TRACES partners, such as the presentation of the WP2 and a workshop which focused on the development of a new questionnaire for WP1. The workshops which took place in the afternoon were followed by plenary sessions to discuss results of each working group and were open to TRACES partners as well as invited guests.

Work Package 2 Presentation

Workshop 1: WP1 Questionnaire Development

Workshop 2: Analysing Encounters with Difficult Collections

by Anna Szöke, Karin Schneider and Nora Landkammer

Museum collections might be sensitive, difficult or awkward – because of the history they embody, the research practices they are or were connected to, the history of their acquisition, because of their sacred or cultural value, or because of the thoughts and emotions they awaken. Objects become contentious through their readings, through challenging them and the institution hosting them, through enactment. The workshop focused on jointly analysing these enactments in data from encounters with collections from TRACES research actions. In which ways does an object become contentious? How is the moment when ethics comes in to be described: is it controversy, fear, anger, consternation, empathy? Who are the stakeholders/the positions implicated by the encounter?

Tal Adler

Workshop 3: Reflexive Europeanisation – The Makings of Europe in Local Field Sites

by Regina Römhild, Marion Hamm

The aim of this workshop was to engage with the diverse experiences, practices, and imaginations of making Europe as seen from the different TRACES field sites. The focus is the TRACES concept of reflexive Europeanisation. In that concept, we draw on the notion of a plurality of non-teleological, non-exclusive histories and presences of Europe. The workshop focused on the question in which ways our work in local/national/multiscalar heritage configurations can shed light on diverse imaginations and makings of Europe, and how they are related to contested issues of identity, difference and conflict.


DAY THREE – Wednesday, September 27th 2017, CARMAH, Humboldt University

The third day of the Midterm meeting was designed for TRACES partners only and began with the presentation of Work Package 4. The workshops, each followed by a plenary session in order to discuss the results of the small working groups, were aimed at analysing data of CCP (and other) material as well as conceptualising the planned final publication.

Workshop 4: Data Analysis Sessions on CCP (and Other) Material

Workshop 5a: Presentation of the Concept of the Final Publication and Introduction to Working Group (WP4)

Workshop 5b: Conceptualisation of the Final Publication (WP4)


DAY FOUR – Thursday, September 28th 2017, Berlin Wall Memorial

Conference “Critical Heritage and Reflexive Europeanisation”

The conference was a two-day international event promoted by the major EU-funded research projects CoHERE and TRACES, hosted at the Berlin Wall Memorial.

During the symposium, emerging and established scholars from the two research programmes discussed European heritage practices, narratives and their role in the current cultural context. Drawing on the two projects’ research activities and preliminary findings, the selected contributions aimed to draw out the conference topics through three cross-thematic panels, “Neglected Heritages”, “Performing Heritage(s)” and “Heritage and Crisis”.

The conference also featured voices from another EU-research project, UNREST, and input from the European Commission. A keynote speech by Prof. Astrid Erll and a roundtable with museum researchers and practitioners, discussing post-colonial approaches to contentious collections, concluded the programme.

Opening and Welcome by Axel Klausmeier

Introduction of CoHERE and TRACES by Chris Whitehead and Klaus Schönberger

First Cross-thematic Panel “Neglected Heritages”

with Julie Dawson, Francesca Lanz, Rhiannon Mason and Ilaria Porciani (Chair: Luca Basso Peressut)

Why do some pasts slip into oblivion? How are practices of remembering and forgetting shaped? Might there be cases where ‘forgetting’ is the better option? When, how and why should these heritages be ‘reactivated’, represented and transmitted?

Second Cross-thematic Panel “Performing Heritage(s)” (1st Session)

with Mads Daugbjerg, Suzana Milevska and Blaz Bajic (Chair: Klaus Schönberger)

In what ways may heritage practices, processes and enactments enable the performance of multiplicity, diversity or the ‘subversive’? In what ways is heritage social and political practice? Can conflict-based, agonistic heritage practice be conducive to the creation of a new European imagination?

Third Cross-thematic Panel “Performing Heritage(s)” (2nd Session)

with David Clarke & Marianna Deganutti, Zofia Woycicka, Martin Krenn & Aisling O’Beirn and Francisco J. Ferrandiz (Chair Hans Lauge Hansen)

Fourth Cross-thematic Panel “Heritage and Crisis” (1st Session)

with Hans Lauge Hansen, Wulf Kansteiner & Cristian Cercel, Chiara De Cesari and Arnd Schneider & Leone Contini (Chair: Chris Whitehead)

What roles can and should heritage play to address social division and crisis in Europe? How can heritage – and especially contentious, difficult and competing heritage – contribute to a “reflexive Europeanisation”? Should it? How is heritage imbricated in conditions of crisis (social, political, ideological, financial), and how can heritage practice react to crisis?

Presentation “Cultural Heritage Topics in the Upcoming 2018-2020 H2020 Work Programme and European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018” by Zoltan Krasznai

Keynote Speech by Astrid Erll, Professor of Anglophone Literatures and Cultures at Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main and Initiator of the Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform


DAY FIVE –  Friday, September 29th 2017, Berlin Wall Memorial

Guided Visit to Berlin Wall Memorial Site and Exhibition

Roundtable “Inside, Outside and In-between: Decolonizing Engagements with Contentious Collections”

The roundtable was dedicated to the colonial legacy in ethnographic (and other) collections, and more specifically to the relations, tensions and possible alliances between activist, scholarly and institutional positions working on decolonizing perspectives. How can critical engagement with contentious collections inside and outside institutions (museums, cultural centres, universities) be brought into contact? How can alliances be built? Which obstacles and contradictions emerge in this process? With international guests as well as speakers from the Berlin context, the roundtable aimed to connect international reference cases and current debates and activities in Berlin on colonial legacies and collections with research of TRACES and CoHERE partners. The discussion with researchers working on different cases of contentious heritage tried the enable an exploration of colonial heritage as a resource for national as well as European self-reflection in the light of “multidirectional memories”.

Statements: Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Tahir Della, Hodan Warsame and Julia Binter

Responses: Chiara De Cesari, Stephanie Endter, Wayne Modest, Regina Römhild, Zuzanna Schnepf-Kolacz and Simone Zeefuik

Moderation: Erica Lehrer

Organised by: Regina Römhild, Anna Szöke, Karin Schneider, Nora Landkammer

First Cross-thematic Panel “Performing Heritage(s)” (3rd Session)

with Tal Adler & Joan Smith & John Harries, Cristina Clopot, Ruta Muktupavela & Valdis Muktupavels and Areti Galani & Gabriella Arrigoni & Lia Galani (Chair: Klaus Schönberger)

Second Cross-thematic Panel “Heritage and Crisis” (2nd Session)

with Ayhan Kaya, Esther Poppe, Lia Galani and Susannah Eckersley (Chair: Chris Whitehead)

Closing Remarks