How can museums with global, ethnographic collections help to create a more sustainable world? And, how can dialogues and collaborations with researchers, artists and specialists from the collections' countries of origin help to create new solutions to local and global problems? These are questions that 14 European museums and cultural institutions, including the National Museum of Denmark, are asking themselves in the EU-funded project Taking Care - Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums as Spaces of Care.
Taking Care is about creating new knowledge, healing colonial traumas and co-creating across cultures to build a more sustainable future. In recent years, it has become clear to museums that we are not only responsible for the preservation of our ethnographic collections, but as cultural institutions we are equally responsible for acting as a link between the historical objects and the living descendants and communities of the original creators and owners of those objects.
The role of the museum is to be a place of care (hence, ‘Taking Care’), for the cultural objects themselves, but also for a continued connection to their cultures of origin. The museum does this not only by collecting, preserving, researching and disseminating about the cultural objects.
We collaborate and co-create with representatives of Indigenous peoples. We seek to explore, share, and devise new approaches and solutions by combining our various assumptions, interests and forms of knowledge. Our collections are rich in the historical insights that they can provide, and in the collective memories that they hold. With Taking Care, we revisit our collections together in the hope of finding new inspiration, new ways of working together, and new ways of caring.
During 2022, the National Museum of Denmark will conduct creative, hands-on workshops and exhibition experiments as our contribution to the Taking Care collaboration. Taking Care is a four-year project (2019-2023) with a total financial framework of 30 million. DKK, half of which is financed by the EU's Creative Europe program.
Participating Ethnographic and World Cultures Museums in the Taking Care project and other project partners
The Weltmuseum Wien, Austria.
The Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium.
Culture Lab, Brussels, Belgium.
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, England.
Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, England.
Mucem, Marseille, France.
The Linden-Museum, Stuttgart, Germany.
The Museum am Rothenbaum Kulturen und Künste der Welt (MARKK) in Hamburg, Germany.
The Museo Preistorico Etnografico, Rome, Italy.
The Research Center for Material Culture (RCMC), Leiden, Netherlands.
The Museo Etnológic I de Cultures Del Món, Barcelona, Spain.
The Slovenski Etnografski Muzej, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
The Världskulturmuseum, Stockholm, Sweden.
Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures
Workshop at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
14th-16th of September 2022
As we focus on futures of sustainability and social and cultural equity, the role of the modern ethnographic museum must aim at being a place of positive cultural encounters and innovative, co-creation. They must be places that include diverse ways of knowing and where narratives of diversity can be rediscovered, re-imagined and collaboratively shared with source communities, stakeholders and the public. As such, the National Museum of Denmark aims to be a space for caring for things and for people together, instead of being conceived primarily as a keeper of material heritage. We call our part in Taking Care Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures.
Ethnographic museums are repositories of culture, but also living venues for the celebration of cultural diversity, resilience and change. The Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures workshop at the National Museum of Denmark seeks to explore what role(s) museums might play in highlighting, showcasing and supporting the adaptability inherent in traditional knowledge systems. Museum collections represent a vast storehouse of assorted examples of cultural adaptations to changing times, environments, and historical circumstances. Just as it has been for millennia, cultural knowledge has been vital to human survival and it will continue to be so in the future, but perhaps not in the same ways as in the past. Thus, the Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures initiative at the National Museum of Denmark explores how museums can support these kinds of efforts (e.g. through industry, technology and research) in ways that are mutually beneficial to all involved.
The session participants listed in the programme represent source communities and stakeholders that have been invited to engage directly with the ethnographic collections that fit their interests and expertise. We hope that by coming together, communicating, learning, and engaging with one another we can reach new ways of understanding, build equitable collaborations and see how different pasts and pathways might help us find more sustainable futures together.
14th of September Workshop
CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC
15th of September Workshop (Teams)
Open to the public and live-streamed
MEETING-ID: 373 335 275 284
16th of September Workshop (Teams)
Open to the public and live-streamed
MEETING-ID: 311 048 446 659
Wednesday 14th of September (closed to the public)
Place: Brede Værk, I. C. Modewegs Vej 5B, 2800 Kongens Lyngby
13:00-14:00 Registration (informal gathering and welcome snacks)
14:00-14:10 Welcome and opening remarks by Christian Sune Pedersen
14:10-14:30 Introduction to the National Museum of Denmark by Christian Sune Pedersen.
14:30-15:00 Analyses of the 700 years old gut skin parkas from the Nuulliit site, North West Greenland by Anne Lisbeth Schmidt (senior researcher, National Museum of Denmark).
15:00-15:30 Coffee break
15:30-16:00 Plastics – from museum object to microplastics by Yvonne Shashoua (professor, National Museum of Denmark).
16:00-16:30 Activating Arctic Heritage by Bjarne Grønnow & Henning Mathiessen.
16:30-18:00 Guided tours viewing our facilities including selected ethnographic artefacts.
18:15 Informal dinner buffet for Taking Care partners and invited co-creators.
Thursday 15th of September 2022 (open to the public and live-streamed)
Place: National Museum of Denmark, Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 CPH, Room: Biografen/the Cinema
Session 1 (9:00-12:00): ‘Turning the Gaze Outside-In – Exploring Danish Pasts in Graphic Storytelling.’
This sessioninvestigates native lifestyles and practices in a Danish setting by inviting an international graphic storyteller to explore ways to narrate this to a Danish and global community. Turning the Gaze Outside-In brings together South Korean graphic novelist, Ancco (Choi Kyung-jin), whose oeuvre have already touched upon these issues, together with collections and expertise in the National Museum of Denmark related to pre-Christian Scandinavian practices such as animism. With this approach, Turning the Gaze Outside-In seek to revitalize museum practices through an open-ended approach to the possibilities of engagement with historical collections.
9:00-9:15 Introduction (to the session) by Martin Petersen (NMD).
9:15-9:45 Turning the Gaze Outside-In – Exploring Danish Pasts in Graphic Storytelling: A conversation between Ancco, Sarah Santangelo and Martin Petersen.
9:45-10:15 Productive troubles: Between science, art and future makings by Martin Appelt (senior researcher, Arctic collections, National Museum of Denmark).
10:15-10:30 Coffee break.
10:30-11:00 Nationalizing the Transnational: The Ten Kings of the Otherworld in the Webtoon Sin kwa kamkke (Along with the Gods, 2010-2012) by Barbara Wall (associate professor, Korean studies, University of Copenhagen).
12:00-13:00 Lunch break.
Session 2 (13:00-16:00): ‘Upcycling the Past.’
Cultural knowledge and the material objects and traditions through which they are reflected are not static and diverse Indigenous traditions and technologies are an excellent example of this. The resilience of cultural heritage through craft is vital not only to Indigenous communities and identities, but also directly linked to the ways in which it can be translated into the modern world and made applicable to contemporary lives. In this session we explore the resilience and re-discovering of techniques and solutions “hidden” in the Greenlandic winter house and the gut skin costumes. How can we upcycle these two elements of Greenland’s past, and are upcycled elements part of our sustainable futures?
13:00-13:15 Introduction (to the session) by Asta Mønsted and Martin Appelt (NMD).
13:15-13:45 Greenland Architecture – past and presence by Inge Bisgaard (architect, Greenland National Museum and Archive).
13:45-14:15 Hands on the past - the work on making new versions of traditional kapiseq and umikby Anne Mette Olsvig (director of Qasigiannguit Museum in Greenland).
14:15-14:45 Kalaallisuut – The Greenlandic Traditional Clothing byAviâja Rosing Jakobsen (curator, Greenland’s National Museum and Archive).
14:45-15:15 Coffee break.
15:15-15:45 “Sometimes we preserve things best by renewing them”: Culturally Sustainable Inputs to the Future Architecture of Greenland by Asta Mønsted (project manager and PhD, the National Museum of Denmark).
15:45-16:15 Co-Creating Futures by Martin Appelt (senior researcher, National Museum of Denmark).
16:45-17:45 A collective guided tour around the Ethnographical Collections
19:25 Meet in front of the National Museum (Frederiksholm Kanal 12) and walk together to the Restaurant.
20:15 Dinner for Taking Care partners and invited co-creators at Madklubben (Store Kongensgade 66, 1264 København K).
Friday 16th of September 2022 (open to the public and live-streamed)
Place: National Museum of Denmark, Ny Vestergade 10, 1471 CPH, Room: Festsalen/Marble Hall
Session 3 (9:00-12:00): ‘Stories of Revitalization’
This workshop focuses on the ways in which Indigenous stakeholders, artists and entrepreneurs are actively translating traditional knowledge, crafts and technologies into the modern sphere and the ways in which this process can be a powerful tool for decolonization. We have chosen to focus on the theme of weaving in both material and metaphor. Materially, weaving techniques and technologies have emerged and evolved independently in diverse locales and times. Weaving represents the bringing together of materials into something more than merely the sum of their parts. Textiles serve not only utilitarian requirements such a shelter and warmth, but also fulfil myriad symbolic functions as well as aesthetic expressions. Designs not only please the eye, but also tell stories and echo histories. The workshop draws on two different textile forms from the Americas: Tlingit Chilkat designs from the Pacific Northwest Coast and Tupinambá feather-woven capes from eastern Brazil. The session will create a dialogue around the Tupinambá and Tlingit dance robes specifically, but also around discussions of ethnographic collections research in general and questions of repatriation and responsible collaboration with Indigenous and international partners.
9:00-9:15 Introduction (to the session) by Mille Gabriel and Matthew Walsh.
9:15-9:45 Tlingit Primary Sources: Wearing Our History by Shgendootan George.
9:45-10:15 The Voice of the Assojaba by Glicéria Tupinambá.
10:15-10:40 Coffee break.
10:40-11:00 Indigenous Concepting & Collecting: The experience of Tupinambá with Museu Nacional of Rio de Janeiro by Prof. Renata Curcio Valente.
11:00-11:20 Karanga Aotearoa: The repatriation and journey home for Maori and Mariori ancestors by Te Arikirangi Mamaku-Ironside (repatriation coordinator, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa).
11:20-12:00 Caring Traditions: panel discussion moderated by Matthew J. Walsh with Shgendootan George, Glicéria Tupinambá, Renata Curcio Valente, Te Arikirangi and Mille Gabriel.
12:00-12:30 All sessions: Moderated reflections and discussion in plenum. Part I.
12:30-13:30 Lunch break.
13:30-14:30 All sessions: Moderated reflections and discussion in plenum. Part II. (all non-participants in the technical meeting continue).
13:30-15:00 Technical Meeting (Taking Care partners only). Room: U1. Hybrid-facilitated meeting.
Ancco is a Korean graphic novelist, and a prolific writer-artist whose dark, humorous and auto-fictive oeuvre is an exploration and interrogation of personhood, gender and identity. Ancco has previously collaborated with NMD in two projects which explore object collections and contemporary Danish society through the graphic storytelling medium.
Sarah Santangelo, student, Graphic Storytelling, Animation workshop, VIA
Barbara Wall, associate professor, Korean Studies, University of Copenhagen.
Martin Appelt, senior researcher, National Museum of Denmark.
Martin Petersen, senior researcher, East Asian Collections, National Museum of Denmark.
Inge Bisgaard works at Greenland’s National Museum and Archives, where she advises and oversees Greenland's built cultural heritage. She has recently received the prestigious Europa Nostra prize for her hard efforts to secure the cultural heritage of Greenland. Among her important work includes her travels along the Northeast coast of Greenland registering and classifying the hunting- and expedition huts dating back to the 18- and 1900s.
Anne Mette Olsvig is the director of Qasigiannguit Museum in Greenland. She runs and leads the Living Settlement Qasigiannguit, which gives the modern visitor the opportunity to participate actively in a historical period through interactive hands-on workshops and open-air events. During the summer, local volunteers re-enact the life on a summer settlement either under an umiaq (traditional Inuit skin boat) or in a skin tent of the 16-17th century. Working with volunteers in Qasigiannguit have resulted in a growing collection of garments and tools that have been created to copy elements from the era. Through the winter months Qasigiannguit Museum train visitors in old techniques from the Inuit culture inside their historical buildings.
Aviâja Rosing Jakobsen is a curator at Greenland’s National Museum and Archive. Her research area includes among others studies of the kalaallisuut, traditional Greenlandic clothing.
Asta Mønsted is a project manager at the National Museum of Denmark. She holds a PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology (2022) and a MA degree in the same discipline (2016), both from the University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on the material and immaterial cultural heritage of the Greenlandic Inuit, especially their winter house, of which we even today may learn about sustainability.
Shgendootan George was raised in the Tlingit village of Angoon, Alaska, in her clan house Kéet Ooxhú hít, the Killer Whale Tooth House. She is Dakl'weidí (Killer Whale clan) and the child of the Deisheetaan (Raven/Beaver clan). Shgendootan is a practicing artist who recently retired from a 22-year teaching career. Her primary art forms are Chilkat and Raven's Tail weaving that she learned from Clarissa Rizal and Cheryl Samual, and Tlingit beadwork that she learned from her grandmother Lydia George.
Glicéria Tupinambá is an artist, activist, and one of the female leaders of the Serra do Padeiro village, located in the Tupinambá de Olivença Indigenous Land, in Bahia. She was a teacher at Colégio Estadual Indígena Tupinambá Serra do Padeiro, and is currently studying Indigenous Intercultural Licentiate at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Bahia (IFBA). An Indigenous director, she directed, with Cristiane Julião from the Pankararu people, the award-winning documentary Voz das Mulheres Indígenas (2015). For her role in the struggle for land, in 2010, she was imprisoned, along with her baby. In 2019, she spoke at the 40th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, denouncing the violations of rights against indigenous peoples by the Brazilian State. She has participated in several group exhibitions, such as ‘Os Primeiros Brasileiros’, at the National Archives and ‘Kwá Yepé Tusuru Yuriri Assojaba Tupinambá – This is the great return of the Tupinambá mantle’.
Renata Valente is a Post-doctoral fellow in social anthropology at the Postgraduate Program in Social Anthropology at the National Museum/UFRJ. Her research interests are in ethnographic collections and indigenous peoples’ strategies to protect their cultural heritage at the local level and at ethnographic museums. She is a Fellow of the musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris with the Profession Culture Scholarship from the French Ministry of Culture in 2019; Researcher in the ‘Shared Heritage Project’ between the National Library of France and Brazil as well as a Fellow at the Research Center for Material Culture at the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leiden, in the 2016’s edition of the Steven Engelsman Grant. Since 2019 she has worked in the Ethnology Sector of the Museu Nacional/UFRJ and is a collaborating professor in the Postgraduate Program in Visual Arts at UFRJ.
Te Arikirangi Mamaku, repatriation coordinator, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Te Arikirangi Mamaku has worked as the programme coordinator for Karanga Aotearoa since 2009. Te Arikirangi’s role focuses on coordinating logistics and communications, liaising with institutions, delivering repatriation seminars, and facilitating dialogue with Maori and Moriori communities, and government stakeholders. Throughout his time with Karanga Aotearoa, the programme has returned over four hundred Maori and Moriori ancestors from 55 international institutions and private collections in North America, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom. He is also a specialist in Tikanga Māori (Māori customs and protocols), Kapa Haka (Māori performing arts) and Te Reo Māori (Māori language).
Mille Gabriel is the senior researcher and curator of the North and South American collections at the National Museum of Denmark. She holds a PhD in Anthropology (2011) and a MA degree in Archaeology (2002), both from the University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on cultural heritage and identity issues with a particular focus on the relationship between museums and source-communities. Mille Gabriel is a member of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO (2016-) and a former board member of ICOM Denmark (2010–2017).
Matthew J. Walsh is the senior researcher in Native American Studies at the National Museum of Denmark. He is an American archaeologist with a PhD in anthropological archaeology, an MA in anthropology with a specialization in archaeology (2012) both from The University Montana and a BA in anthropology (with honors) from the University of Washington. He has held post-doc positions with the Arctic Research Center at Aarhus University, The National Museum of Denmark and with the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. His research focuses on evolutionary archaeology, cultural transmission studies and comparative ethnology in wide-ranging contexts. He is currently a co-editor of the European Association of Archaeologist’s newsletter The European Archaeologist (TEA).