Newcastle University (Project Lead)

The UNEW team focus on critical museum and heritagetheory and practice, including cultural engagement, commemoration, protest and participation, in relation particularly to migration and belonging. Using ethnographic techniques including semi‚Äźstructured interviews, participant observation, and critical museum and heritage methods of site visits, visual, display and object analysis, visitor research and bibliographic research, they investigate cases of museums, community groups and cultural political actors from the UK and Germany, which relate to issues of contested and difficult belonging.

Dr Susannah Eckersley and Dr Helen Mears will analyse museums, cultural and heritage sites, and activities taking place within or associated with them which address migration and issues of contested belonging – including racism, xenophobia, diversity, forced migration, refugees and citizenship - in relation to theories and practices of participation, dialogue, attachment and the negotiation of identities within contemporary Europe. In Germany, cases focus primarily on historical forced migration, on contemporary refugees and the ways in which belonging or not belonging rest on both internal emotions and external perceptions.

In the UK, Windrush and EU citizens and Brexit are the primary cases, highlighting different ways in which cultural actors intervene in or avoid the political space. Wider issues of contested belonging, often connected to perceptions of difference and ‘othering’, whether through racialisation, xenophobia or are drawn out through these cases. The responsibilities and aims of museums, cultural associations and activist groups in places of contested migrant and citizen belonging, will be analysed in relation to ongoing (re)negotiations and conflicts over uses of public space. The examples of historical and contemporary migration, inclusion and exclusion presented in museums in both countries will also be analysed in relation to the notion of a ‘shared’ European past and future.

en/counter/points Project Leader and Principal Investigator

en/counter/points Research Associates

Dr Helen Mears (RA 2019-2021)

  • Research Associate
  • RA October 2019 to December 2021

Project Administrator June 2019 - June 2022