23. June 2021
Public history relies essentially on the public – the viewers, spectators, the audience and their presence in designated premises, on guided tours, or open-air tribunes. For the past 16 months the public’s access to museums, exhibitions, commemorative events and other historical representations or performances was limited due to the Covid-19 restrictions, and in some cases, it still is. The financial and structural implications that the Covid-19 crisis will have on the future of cultural and historical institutions and the way they function, remain to be seen. What seems to be evident, however, is the fact that the pandemic had a major impact on how cultural-historical institutions approach and use digital tools in order to maintain their work in the absence of a physical audience. In most cases, the only way for these institutions to continue was to migrate their events, exhibitions, commemorations, tours and performances to the digital sphere. After at least 16 months of operating in such a “crisis-mode,” it is time to take stock of these experiences and to ask what the “big leap” to the digital sphere means for future practices and for theorizing about public history. We would like to inquire into these issues by linking theoretical reflections of different disciplines such as public history, ethnology, museology, memory studies and history didactics with practical observations, by connecting concrete examples or individual experiences with various concepts and analytical frameworks.
The workshop is being organized by the Cultures of History Forum, the online publication platform of the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena that addresses the evolution of historical cultures in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. For this reason, the geographical focus of the workshop will be mostly on the experiences made in this region, but more general theoretical explorations about the use of digital technologies in public history are also welcome. We are especially interested in papers that reflect on the process of transfor¬ming cultural and educational activities from on-site to on-line events or formats.
The following aspects could be addressed:
1. Actors and narratives
2. Technology and practices
Applications are not restricted to responding solely to these questions; we also encourage applications that introduce other aspects of the topic. It is, however, decisive that applicants not only reflect on best practices but also elaborate on the theoretical and conceptional aspects of digital public history, or develop ideas for how to place the experiences of the Covid-19 crisis into broader conceptual and theoretical frameworks.
The workshop will provide space for exchange on trends, practices and experiences of digital public history in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. It is our aim to publish some of the papers as a special issue in the online-journal Cultures of History Forum.
Please send an abstract with max. 1000 words and a short biographical note by October 15, 2021 to Juliane Tomann and Eva-Clarita Pettai. The workshop is planned as an on-site event in Jena, Germany, and the Imre Kertész Kolleg will cover accommodation and travel expenses according to the rules and regulations of the respective Thuringian legislation. Should you have any further questions regarding possible topics or practical matters, please do not hesitate to contact us.