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Museum Ethnography and Culture Representation of Communities Everyday Life in Istria


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The poster was presented at the Herrenhausen Symposium "Positioning Ethnological Museums in the 21st Century", Hannover-Germany, 21-23.06.2015. Author: Mario Buletic, Ethnographic Museum of Istria/University of Ljubljana (Croatia/Slovenia). The main objective of the presented research project is to analyze critically different approaches present in the field of museum practice with ethnographic background in Istrian region in Croatia.

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Museum Ethnography and Culture Representation of Communities Everyday Life in Istria

  1. 1. RESEARCH PROJECT The main objective of the research project is to analyze critically di erent approaches present in the eld of museum practice with ethnographic background in Istrian region. It explores: past and present forms of representation problem(s) of ethnographic and ideological authorities in such representations present, past and future of collecting and museum’s collections impact that museum work can have on the daily life processes questions regarding participative and inclusive strategies within museum activities RESEARCH QUESTIONS Speci c questions derived from the general research framework and serve as the research guidelines are: what do exhibitions and ethnographic collections represent and which discourses they try to articulate? how the exhibits, policies and strategies of collecting are trying to represent people's everyday life related to past and present social contexts? what are supposed to be material and immaterial cultural markers in processes like identity construction, perception of self and other i erent cultural and social practices? how the change on epistemological level in anthropology and recent repositioning of museums’theory and practice have contributed to rethink the ethno- graphic museums and collections on local level? What is the implication of authorities and power in museum practice? Are the intercultural dialogue, inclusion of social and cultural di erences, tolerance, active participation, cosmopolitanism and sustainable way of life some of the values that museums are promoting through their work and how? 4. Digital media and museum practice Accessibility of the content, edu- cation, participation and inclusion of local community within museum’s activities can be con- sidered as the most challenging general purposes of any museum. Digital media represent an impor- tant tool and a creative resource for collaborative and dynamic dialogue with the local (and wider) community available today. The conclusive part of the research and the subsequent practical cases will be dedicated to the issue of use of digital tech- nologies in museum practice. STRUCTURE 1. Theoretical framework Theoretical approaches taken in account that serve to de- velop the analytical tools are related to: critical theory ap- plied within cultural studies relative to questions on repre- sentation, authority and power relations; theory on practice in questioning the everyday life practices; materiality and rela- tional actor-network approach in relation to museum studies; new museology, inclusive, so- cially engaging and participa- tive turns in museum practice that in uenced positioning the museum's role and function in today's society. 3. Museums and communities It explores the active role and engagement that museums and museum professionals have in communities’life and wider society. The idea is to analyze the importance and question the social responsibil- ity and awareness as challenges for museums of today and of tomorrow. Practical cases focus on educative workshops with high school youngsters within museums and traditionally ex- cluded narratives in local ethnographic accounts. 2. Local context Analysis of cultural represen- tations of everyday life prac- tices and achievements in ethno-anthropological disci- pline during the past times in Istria. The focus is on the rela- tionship between policies of collecting and displaying aspects of material and in- tangible culture relative to Istrian cultural area. To this is part is associated the practi- cal work and analysis of the exhibition made for the 50th anniversary of the Ethno- graphic Museum of Istria. EXPECTED OUTCOMES Principal goal of the research is to emphasize the importance and to question the social responsibility and awareness as challenges for museums of today and tomorrow. Expected results of the research can have multiple dimensions. On one hand, it aims to generalize topics as representation of culture in museology and levels of embodiment that di erent representations can have in everyday life processes. Moreover, it takes in account the shift from the classical concept of ethnographic museums to places and open spaces that question professional and political authority; that perform as cultural mediators between institutions and communities rather than positioning as professional authorities; that are more oriented to ful llment of social needing of communities they belong or they are supposed to represent. METHODOLOGY The research will be conducted both on analytical and practical level. The active engagement in creating content through the museum practice can be considered as the main methodological approach in the research project. The idea is to propose answers to research questions in the form of results coming from the concrete practical work as a museum curator and ethnographer. Re ections and analysis on research topics are accompanied, interlaced and interdependent with di erent cases of practical museum work: exhibiting curatorial work educative activities eldwork documentation and research collections management MUSEUM&ETHNOGRAPHY REPRESENTATIONS MATERIALITY/ MATERIAL CULTURE STUDIES “UNPACKINGTHE COLLECTION” A-N-T APPROACH CRITICALTHEORY IN ANTHROPOLOGY & CULTURAL STUDIES PARTICIPATION/ INCLUSION IN MUSEUMS EXCLUDED NARRATIVES QUESTIONING AUTHORITIES HISTORICAL&SOCIAL BACKGROUND THEORY OF PRACTICE & STUDIES OF EVERYDAY LIFE 2. LOCAL CONTEXT 3. MUSEUMS & COMMUNITIES 4. DIGITAL MEDIA & MUSEUM PRACTICE 1.THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK MUSEUM PRACTICE AS A METHOD EXHIBITING CURATORIALWORK/ COLLECTIONS MANAGEMENT EDUCATIVE/PEDAGOCICAL ACTIVITIES FIELDWORK DOCUMENTATION & RESEARCH DOCUMENTING/ REPRESENTING MEDIATING/SHARING KNOWLEDGE Appadurai, A. (1986). The Social life of things : commodities in cultural perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bennett, T. (1995). The Birth of the Museum: History, Theory, Politics. London: Routledge. Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a Theory of Practice. New York: Cambridge University Press. Byrne, S., Clarke, A., Harrison, R., Torrence, R. (Ed.). (2011). Unpacking the Collection. Networks of Material and Social Agency in the Museum. New York: Springer. Cli ord, J. (1997). Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ Pr. de Certeau, M. (2011). The practice of everyday life. Berkeley: Univ of California Pr. du Gay, P., & University, O. (1997). Production of culture/cultures of production. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Golding, V. (2009). Learning at the Museum Frontiers: Identity, Race and Power. London: Ashgate. Hall, S. (Ed.). (1997). Representation. Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage Publications Ltd. Henning, M. (2005). Museums, Media and Cultural Theory. McGraw-Hill Education. Hooper-Greenhill, E. (1992). Museums and the shaping of knowledge. New York: Routledge. Karp, I., & Lavine, S. D. (Eds.). (1991). Exhibiting Cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display.Washington: Smithsonian Books. Knell S. MacLeod S. and Watson S. (Ed.). (2008). How museums change and are changed. London: Routledge. MacDonald, S. (2011). A companion to museum studies. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell. MacDonald, S., & Basu, P. (2007). Exhibition Experiments. Oxford: Wiley- Blackwell. Marcus, G. E., Cli ord, J.. (1986). Writing culture: the poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press. Miller, D. (Ed.). (2005). Materiality. Durham: Duke University Press Books. Miller, D. (2009). Stu . Cambridge: Polity. Pearce, S. (1992). Museums, Objects, and Collections: A Cultural Study. Leicester: Leicester University Press. Sandell, R. (Ed.). (2002). Museums, Society, Inequality. London: Routledge. Sandell, R., & Dodd, J. (2001). Including museums. Leicester: University of Leicester. Simon, N. (2010). The Participatory Museum. Santa Cruz: Museum 2.0 Vergo, P. (1989). The New Museology. London: Reaktion Books. Watson, S. (Ed.). (2007). Museums and their Communities. London: Routledge. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM OF ISTRIA / PAZIN ROVINJ HERITAGE MUSEUM LABIN NATIONAL MUSEUM HERITAGE MUSEUM OF POREČ ETHNOGRAPHIC COLLECTIONS BUZET / BUJE ECO-MUSEUMS /VODNJAN& ROVINJ HISTORICAL AND MARITIME MUSEUM OF ISTRIA / PULA ... CROATIA ISTRIA PULA ROVINJ LABIN POREČ PAZIN BUZETBUJE Museum Ethnography and Culture Representation of Communities Everyday Life in Istria Mario Buletić Ethnographic Museum of Istria/ University of Ljubljana Croatia/Slovenia Austro-Hungarian Empire administra- tion in Istria World War I End of WWI Istria joins the Kingdom of Italy National Fascist Party takes the power in Italy - March on Rome Archeological Museum founded in Pula Fascist Racial Laws World War II Beginning of Anti- fascist Resistance Italy signs the Armistice Nazi occupation in Istria World War II ends Istria joins the So- cialist Federation of Yugoslavia 1945-47 Anglo- American protec- torat - border con- testations and ani- mositis between Slavic and Italian population in Istria Establishment of Free Territory of Trieste - Zone A: US/British adminis- tration; Zone B (bigger part): Yugo- slav administration Ethnographic exhibition and publication of “Testimonies of Slavic Origins of Istrian Population” during the visit of International Co- mission responsi- ble to monitor the question of bor- ders between Yugoslavia and Italy People’s Museum founded in Pazin (1952-1955) 1950s-60s Other Museums open in Istria (Rovinj, Poreč, Pula, Labin...) People’s Museum in Pazin becomes the Ethnographic Museum of Istria Treaty of Osimo concluded the border questions between Italy and Yugoslavia. It is estimated that between 1945-75 between 150.00- 250.00 persons left Istria, mostly Italians. 1960s-70s Process of col- lecting the mate- rial culture, domi- nantly from rural areas, document- ing the“disap- pearing way of life due to grow- ing industrailiza- tion and tourism” Inauguration of new permam- nent exhibition in Ethnographic Museum of Istria War for the Indip- endence in Croatia Istria joins the new Croatian state Ethnographic Museum of Istria becomes a Regional Institu- tion (1994) “Interpretative turn”in museum; policies oriented to local commu- nities and regional cultural agenda New Permament Exhibition Project (2006) Tourism-dominant local economy; Istrian regionalism (croatian/italian biculturalism ): dominant cultural mainstream policy Croatia joins the European Union The future of ethnographic museums and collections? . . . 1815 1914 1903 1918 1925 1922 1928 1938 1939 1941 1943 1945 1955 1962 1975 1991 1986 Provincial Museum for Arts and History founded in Poreč Representation of Istrian traditional customs and material culture in Festival of Folk- lore in Venice 1947 1946 2000 2006 . . . 2013