Please note the changed opening hours of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin since 16 April 2024. More


POEM - Participatory Memory Practices

Concepts, strategies, and media infrastructures for envi-sioning socially inclusive potential futures of European Societies through culture 

The Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK), together with six partners (five university institutes and one NGO) from Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Great Britain has initiated an interdisciplinary research and education project titled Participatory Memory Practices: Concepts, Strategies, and Media Infrastructures for Envisioning Socially Inclusive Potential Futures of European Societies through Culture (POEM). The endeavour is funded for four years (2018–22) by the European Commission with 4.5 million euros as part of the programme HORIZON 2020 (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions). It is being coordinated by the Institut für Volkskunde / Kulturanthropologie (Institute of European Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology) at the University of Hamburg).

The project investigates how an inclusive memory culture embraced by all members of society can be shaped in times of political and religious extremism. With this in mind, POEM seeks to gain a comprehensive understanding of the concepts, practices and media structures that facilitate participation by people from different social backgrounds in the development of cultural heritage at memory institutions (libraries, archives and museums).

As a component of the Innovative Training Network underlying this project, a three-year programme for doctoral candidates was established to provide in-depth theoretical and practical training to 13 young researchers from Europe, Canada, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Vietnam so that they can later become mediators in fields concerned with cultural heritage.

The doctoral position at the MEK focuses on practice-oriented research. It explores the forms and consequences of collaboration with the participation of refugees and migrants in developing participatory approaches to memory work in museums.

Research outputs

The Aftermaths of Participation. Outcomes and Consequences of Participatory Work with Forced Migrants in Museums. By Susanne Boersma. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag, 2022.

Why (not) participate!? A deck of cards to help plan and evaluate participatory work in museums. By Susanne Boersma, Cassandra Kist, Franziska Mucha and Inge Zwart. CC-BY-SA 4.0

Project funding: European Commission, HORIZON 2020, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Project website:
Duration of the project: 2018 to 2022