Call for conference participation:
Challenging History: understanding aims, audiences and outcomes in work with difficult and sensitive heritages
The Challenging History project steering group invites proposals for contributions to the International Challenging History conference to be held at City University London, Feb 23-25th 2012.
Since 2009, the Challenging History group has been working with heritage professionals, practitioners and academics in order to explore and interrogate issues raised in work with difficult, contested and sensitive heritages in a range of museum contexts, within and beyond the UK. The project acknowledges that all history is – to a greater or lesser degree – challenging, and encourages practitioners to consider how heritage interpretation can better acknowledge this complexity at its core.
In 2012, we wish to bring together those working in disparate and diverse locations and disciplines to help explore the practicalities, limitations and ethical implications of work in this knotty area of heritage interpretation. The programme will foster collaboration and shared understanding between academia and the heritage sector, and offer opportunities for networking, demonstrating approaches and practice, and presenting empirical research. We anticipate a vibrant and vital range of discussions and keynotes.
You are invited to submit a proposal along one or more of the following thematics related to challenging histories in Europe and beyond:
*Ethics, ownership and responsibility
*The role and positionality of audiences (including their entry narratives)
*Recognising complexity and multiplicity in heritage interpretation
*Definitions of learning, meaning making and understanding in challenging history work
*The role of empathy and personal resonance
*Framing, space and place of activity
*The role of memorialisation and commemoration
*Exploring symbols and their meanings
*Collaboration and co-production
*Using new media to extend the museum walls
*Translating challenging histories across cultures and contexts
We welcome abstracts of 300 words along the following lines:
- 20 minute paper presentation
- 90 minute workshop
- 90 minute panel presentation with discussion
Abstracts should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30th. We welcome international contributions and EU colleagues will be able to apply for a Grundtvig Visits and Exchanges grant. The programme will be confirmed by mid July and registration will open in August.
The Challenging History conference is the culmination of a two year project funded by Grundtvig and supported by the MLA. The project includes partners in the UK (Historic Royal Palaces, the Tower of London, the Imperial War Museum, Orleans House Gallery, MLA and City University), Germany (the Forum for Contemporary History) and the Czech Republic (Lidice Memorial).
Funding and costs
Non UK European participants can apply for a Grundtvig Visits and Exchanges grant to attend the conference http://ec.europa.eu/education/grundtvig/doc980_en.htm. The conference will be listed on the Grundtvig catalogue. If you require a letter of invitation to apply for your Grundtvig grant please email Alex.Drago@hrp.org.uk
UK based colleagues will be unable to apply for a Grundtvig grant for the conference fee and will be offered concessionary rates to attend the conference.
More on Challenging History…
Challenging History is at once a community of like-minded individuals, a forum for discussion, a programme of ongoing professional development for practitioners and teachers and an advocate for change in the way our audiences engage with our shared history. It originated with the Challenging History series of seminars in 2009, held at Historic Royal Palaces - Tower of London. The programme was conceived to explore the role, aims and outcomes of heritage and museum learning programmes in relation to difficult and controversial subjects (see www.city.ac.uk/cpm/challenginghistory for more on the continuing work of the project).
A challenging history is any history that is contested, or difficult and upsetting to know about.
Challenging History believes the museum and heritage sector has an important role to play covering these histories in their spaces and programmes, and must do this work to stay relevant. It also believes at a personal and societal level it is important to acknowledge and learn about these histories that contribute to our understanding of the world and how we want to live in it.