Associate Members

Christine Gerbich

© 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 part of CARMAH’s „Representing Islam“ project I am interested in museums as one of the key sites for engaging in the diversity of Islamicate cultures. The relationship between museums that hold these collections and their (non-)visitors is, however, far from clear cut. My research thus aims to illuminate this relationship, especially by focussing on the value of public engagement work for team learning and capacity building within a museum institution.

This research is embedded in the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin where I am involved in two projects designed to challenge conventional ways of curating. As part of a curatorial team that develops a TOPOI-funded exhibition on an ancient Persian capital, I am supporting the interpretational planning process. I am also working as an evaluator for TAMAM – a collaborative project that supports cultural youth work in Islamic faith communities. Being part of these teams as well as a participant observer provides particular insights with regard to the making of the workplace, the practices of representing culture, and the relationships between the museum and the people who are (not) using it. In the light of recent social developments, my research aims to promote discussion on professional museum practices: How can we redefine the relationship to diverse publics and how can museum professionals be enabled to engage with an ever changing society?