Public history

CfP: Making History Together: Public Participation in Museums

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CfP: Making History Together: Public Participation in Museums
The international online symposium “Making History Together: Public Participation in Museums” will take place on 15 December 2020. It will bring together scholars, museum professionals and heritage practitioners to discuss how participatory history is constructed, developed, and implemented in museums.

The Public History as the New Citizen Science of the Past (PHACS) project at the University of Luxembourg (Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History) invites proposals for presentations to a one-day online symposium about public participation in the creation, enrichment, uses, and presentations of historical collections and exhibitions in museums.

Public participation and participatory practices have now become crucial for many cultural institutions and broader cultural policies. As potential forums of discussion, museums are one of the most symbolic spaces to develop a participatory culture. Museums have slowly but surely been extending their focus from curated collections to more inclusive practices by reaching out to audiences, communities, and external partners.

While collaborative and participatory projects in art and science museums have been documented fairly well, history museums, historical collections and exhibitions, and the overall production of history in museums raise specific issues. In line with works and research on public history, co-production, shared authority, and community engagement, this symposium invites to explore how we can make history together and establish new forms of historical storytelling through collections, exhibitions, and projects in museums.

In the light of the numerous participatory collections of COVID19 items and memories currently created by museums through online platforms, the symposium also proposes to discuss how digital technology can contribute to reinventing the role and functioning museum.


We welcome submissions that discuss and demonstrate specific participatory projects and approaches, as well as those that address broader methodological and epistemological issues pertaining to the making of history in museums.


Possible themes include:

  • Public engagement in history museums: methodological and theorical approaches
  • Typology and analysis of the forms of public participations
  • Feedback on participatory projects and experiences in museums
  • Analysis of participants, motivations, involvement, recognition
  • Analysis of impacts and consequences of participation (on participants, institutions, narratives, collections)
  • Empirical studies dedicated to participation in museums
  • Historicisation of the relationship between museums, participation, audiences
  • History museums and online participation
  • Participatory design of museum technologies
  • Public participation, negotiations, and conflicting interpretations
  • Ethics of public participation  
  • Museums facing COVID19 (practices, engagement of audience, special collections, etc.)

We are of course open to other proposals / ideas related to the main topic of the conference.



Presentations (15 to 20 minutes) will be delivered online and in English.

To apply, please send

  • a 500-word (in English) abstract of the presentation
  • a short biography (in English) (200 words max) including name, institutional affiliation, and email address

to before 30 October 2020.


Important dates

  • 30 October 2020: Deadline for abstracts
  • 7 November 2020: Notification of acceptance
  • 15 December 2020: Symposium (tentatively 9:30 – 16:30, GMT+2, Central European Time)


Scientific Committee

  • Thomas Cauvin (PHACS - C²DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Valérie Schafer (C²DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Karin Priem (C²DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Christopher Morse (C²DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Jens van de Maele (C²DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Lars Wieneke (C²DH, University of Luxembourg)
  • Blandine Landau (C²DH, University of Luxembourg)



For any questions, please contact us at


The symposium is made possible thanks to the ATTRACT grant from the Luxembourg National Research Fund.