«Material Memory» and Postmigrant Society
Proposals for collection development and interpretation at the Swiss National Museum
National Museums claim authority in defining ‚cultural heritage’. Migration histories, as relativisations of national commemorative cultures, usually have a marginal position in such materialised narratives with their mechanisms of in- and exclusion. Based on the term of a postmigrant society, this contribution thus asks how the Swiss National Museum could take into account postmigrational realities, and with which consequences for the institution itself. Starting from the present collecting practices, recommendations for new strategies are developed by means of analysing international case studies. In doing so, issues of representation, criticism of objectifications as well as the question ‘who is collecting?’ play an important role.
Memory, Archive and Mediation
Approaches for mediation practice with refugees
Is it possible to speak of a collective memory of people who have fled their places of home? Can mediation contribute to contruct a collective memory of refugees?
In a first step, this paper differentiates memory from history, followed by a dicussion of theories of memory. Memory is the operation by which past events are reconstructed and organized to give sense and values to our current reality. This is followed by a dicussion of the archive: the archive is understood as a system of ordering and knowledge production, a place of the cultural memory. This theoretical background informs a reflection on my own practice in mediation, connecting cultural memory, gallery education and political empowerment of refugees.