Public history

Agonism: Conflicting Interpretations of the Past, Participation Practices, and Transforming Cultural Venues

7 December 2023 to 8 December 2023

Agonism: Conflicting Interpretations of the Past, Participation Practices, and Transforming Cultural Venues

Photo by Liza Rusalskaya on Unsplash

Join us online for this international conference on the theoretical and practical engagement with divergent interpretations of the past and their resonances across the cultural sector.

For two days, presenters from public history, memory studies, museology, and participatory design will trace intersections of agonism, constituent power, and horizontal politics to activate their potential for transforming institutionalised practices. From digitisation practices and virtual exhibitions, to navigating contested history and memory discourses, to mobilising craft and counter-framing design practices, the case studies demonstrate the breadth of opportunities to inform a participatory agonistic practice impacting mid to long-term strategies in cultural venues.

7-8 December 2023

In-person presentations. Online attendance

Registration for Day 1

Registration for Day 2

Please register to receive the Webex link.



Thursday, 7 December 2023

Welcome and introduction from the organisers
Panel 1 / Demystifying museum procedures and harbouring divergence
  ‘But it’s tradition!’: Collecting and exhibiting traditions at the House of Alijn
Sam De Schutter
Affiliation: House of Alijn, Belgium
  Accommodating a history of differences
Karin Hansson
Affiliation: Stockholm University, Sweden 
  ‘I thought someone at the museum put this together’ - Visitor perception of conflict and participatory practice within a digital space at Celf ar Y Cyd (Art Together), Museum Wales
Kirstin Mitchell
Affiliation: Museum Wales/Cardiff University, Wales, UK
Panel 2 / The political spaces of museums
  Moving beyond the model of the irenic museum. Study of the process of co-creating a digital experience for the Arts of One World collection at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Laura Delfino
Affiliation: University of Montreal (QC), Canada
  Reconciliation between conflicting agendas at the art museum.
Karen Grøn
Affiliation: museum director at Trapholt Museums of Modern Art and Design, Denmark
  Agonistic Moments: The Case of Atelier Van Lieshout
Marco de Waard
Affiliation: Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands
Lunch break
Panel 3 / Agonistic memory practices in contested histories
  Navigating Contested History, Identity, and Cultural Expression in Post Conflict Northern Ireland
William Blair
Affiliation: Director of Collections, National Museums Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK
  Memory Discourses and Monumental Structures: Revisiting the Freedom Park Fracas [Online]
Gary Baines
Affiliation: Rhodes University, South Africa
  Somatography of memory sediments: Reinterpretation of time, place and memory
Selma Ćatović Hughes
Affiliation: American University of Sharjah, UAE
Coffee break

Keynote: Museums and Conflict: Speculative Political Designs
Helen Graham
Affiliation: University of Leeds, UK


Friday, 8 December 2023

Panel 1 / Social justice and craft practices in transforming institutions
  Co-knitting cultural heritage: Between conflict, commoning and feminine publics
Birgit Eriksson and Tina Louise Hove Sørensen 
Affiliation: Aarhus University, Denmark
  Story Chair: Working to collaboratively craft infrastructures of inclusion in heritage venues with and for women in touch with the criminal justice system
Angelika Strohmayer and Dawn Harrison
Affiliation: Northumbria University [AS] and Changing Lives Women’s Criminal Justice Services [DH], UK
  Transforming Walls, Reversing Roles. Graffiti Art in Prison
Gabriella Cianciolo Cosentino
Affiliation: Universität zu Köln, Germany
Panel 2 / Traces of counter-framing (urban) planning and social movements  
  Engaging with Uncomfortable Emotions in Participatory Design [Online]
Chioma Obasi
Affiliation: Hasselt University, Belgium
  Countering as an Agonistic Practice of Designing Movements
Noémi Zajzon, Anaïs Carlton-Parada, and Sharon Prendeville
Affiliation: Loughborough University London, UK
  Throwing Books at Monuments: An agonistic urban planning intervention on contested (counter-) monuments in Montreal, Canada
Louis-Thomas Kelly
Affiliation: University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Lunch break
Panel 3 / Horizontal approaches to memory practices
  Mouffe and Memory Studies – A Partial Agonistic Turn?
Benjamin Nienass
Affiliation: Montclair State University, USA
  Decentralizing memory practice: Towards an anarchist approach to agonistic memorialization
Laney Lenox
Affiliation: Independent, Germany / Ulster University, Northern Ireland, UK
  Transforming Cultural Institutions with Fabrics: The Cultural Activism Practices of the Sewing Group Unión de Costureros in the Context of Colombia’s Post-Conflict Transition [Online]
Ricardo Velasco T.
Affiliation: University of Minnesota, USA
15.30 Closing remarks