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Photo: ADN-ZB- Röhnert/ Wikimedia Commons
Activity theme

Conveying Difficult Pasts: Theory, History and Memory

How can we exhibit histories of war, occupation, dispossession, famine, violence and genocide? How do you bridge the possible discrepancy between history and memory? What graphic material do you choose to (not) show? And how can you fill the absence of material traces often encountered in histories of destruction? During two discussions with experts from heritage sites and museums, we will try to answer these questions.

The first session is an interview with director of the Dutch Resistance Museum, Liesbeth van der Horst engaging with the current polemics regarding the museum’s new permanent exhibition on Dutch wartime experiences. Moreover, Van der Horst will speak about the choices curators have to make when composing a permanent exhibition about a national past.

The second panel reflects on the above questions of the commemoration, education and exhibition of violent pasts with four representatives of internationally renowned institutions. Bram Beelaert (Red Star Line Museum), Ioanna Dekatri (Ministry of Education, Greece), Adam Kerpel-Fronius (Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas) and Jeremy Maron (Canadian Museum for Human Rights), will reflect on the tension and contestation surrounding difficult pasts: how do you negotiate between different stakeholders and divergent understandings of the past in the same museum space? And how can heritage and memorial institutions engage with present-day debates on migration, violence and war without drawing superficial analogies between the past and present? 


Bram Beelaert (Curator and researcher at Red Star Line Museum, Antwerp)
Ioanna Dekatri (Ministry of Education, Greece)
Liesbeth van der Horst (Director of the Dutch Resistance Museum, Amsterdam)
Adam Kerpel-Fronius (Research project management at Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, Berlin)
Jeremy Maron (Curator and researcher at Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Winnipeg)

Moderation panel 1: Anne-Lise Bobeldijk (Wageningen University & Research)
Moderation panel 2: Charley Boerman (Radboud University) & Marguérite Corporaal (Radboud University)

This panel is organized by Heritages of Hunger, an NWO-funded research project executed by Radboud University, Wageningen University & Research and NIOD. Heritages of Hunger does research on the legacy of European famines and the commemoration, heritage and educational practices associated with these famine pasts.

Organizing Committee: Anne-Lise Bobeldijk and Anne van Mourik

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