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Call for Papers – 29th AEMI Conference Antwerps 2019

Migrating Memories
Dialogues on the relationship between memory, heritage and migration

The 29th annual AEMI meeting is hosted by the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, which tells the story of millions of passengers who travelled from Antwerp, the Red Star Line’s main European port, to North America.

Migration has been integral part of mankind’s history from ancient times, but individual and collective displacement have reached unparalleled proportions in the past decades. When migrants and refugees cross borders and try to settle in new environments, they do not only carry their important documents and belongings with them, but also traditions, memories and experiences of the places where they used to live. UNESCO defines heritage as “our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations”. But memory and heritage change when people are on the move.

Amongst heritage professionals and policymakers there is a growing awareness that culture and cultural heritage can be employed to meet the challenges of integrating migrants and refugees into society by means of participation. Through participative initiatives and encouraging active involvement from all social groups integration can be understood as a process of mutual understanding of each other’s past and present, culture and environment. More and more research and heritage institutions take up a role in safeguarding ‘migrating’ memories and cultural heritage.

How do memories and heritage change through the (often perilous) journeys to a safe haven and better future? How do migrants and refugees cope with trauma and loss of family links? How does this impact on their new lives and on the places where they settle in? How does the new ‘home’ relate to the old one? What is their cultural contribution to the receiving societies? What about roots and family ties? How are memories and heritage passed on to the next generations? What about migrating heritage? These are only some of the issues this conference asks.

Indicative topics of interest to the conference include:

Migration and Memory

  • Representing migration
  • Migration, memory and (cultural) identity
  • The role of religion in remembering and coping with trauma
  • Events and places transforming memories and identities
  • Remembering, forgetting an imagining the pre-exile past
  • (Re)construction of memory and identity through diasporic narratives
  • Biographical approach of (the history of) migration
  • Individual stories versus collective narratives
  • Heritage and multiplicity in historical narratives. New narratives
  • Multiperspectivity in heritage education. Clashing frames of reference

Home and Away

  • Remembering home
  • (Re)constructing home in displacement
  • Transnationalism and ties with ‘home’

Roots and Routes

  • Relationship between place attachment and mobility
  • Memory and feeling in journey narratives
  • Displaced heritage and family histories. Going back to the roots
  • Genetic-genealogical research. Fact and fiction in genetic ancestry
  • Passing on memories and heritage to the next generations
  • Intergenerational aspects of migration

Migrating Heritage

  • Networks and networking
  • The impact of disaster/exile on heritage
  • ‘Refugee heritage’. ‘Culture of exile’. ‘Heritage in/of/on exile’. Museum-in-Exile
  • The roles and responsibilities of heritage organizations towards migrants and their heritage
  • The (in)tangibles of migrating heritage
  • Form everyday object to migrating heritage

Cultural diversity and exhibiting migration

  • Multiculturalism. Interculturality. Transculturality
  • Participation and empowerment. Cultural participation as an instrument for the integration of migrants and refugees in cultural life and society
  • Participative and biographic collecting
  • Collecting migration
  • Re-interpreting and re-contextualizing existing collections
  • Decolonizing heritage and places
  • Shared (cultural) heritage

The conference is designed to encourage provocative dialogue across the fullest range of disciplines and institutions. During the conference there will be a mix of presentations: papers, poster presentations, discussions and workshops. Abstracts of 300-400 words (including a short CV) in English should be sent as soon as possible but no later than Monday 1 April 2019 to: .

Conference participation is free of charge for AEMI members. Non-members are welcome to participate; only a small fee will be charged for coffee breaks and lunches. The language of the conference will be English.

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