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  ICME Newsletter 42, December 2005


  4. ICME PAPERS 2005


Another ICME conference is over. With 90 participants, and LOTS of discussion, I consider the Nafplion conference to be a great success. It is especially pleasing that so many of our Greek colleagues showed enthusiasm in debating "Can Oral History Make Objects Speak?". My thanks go to Teti Hadjinikolaou (President of the Hellenic National Committee of ICOM) for inviting ICME to Greece and Kanellos Kanellopoulos (Director of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation) for sharing both his museum, his employees and his "friends of the museum association" with us. Of course, special thanks are due to Dr Marlen Mouliou and her colleagues for working so hard on the organization of the conference and post-conference tour.

A number of participants have emailed conference photos to us, which have been added to the ICME2005 pages.

I heard quite a few positive comments about the theme "Ethical aspects of Oral Traditions - Intellectual Property and Cultural Institutions" during the last day of the conference. The presentations by Wend Wendland and Professor Dionyssia Kallinikou appear to have awakened an interest for working on Intellectual Property issues within ICME, and my own question of whether we need to adapt our professional codes of ethics to these issues also received favorable response. As an answer to that, I will look into IP activities that ICME might involve itself with over the coming months. If you have ideas about this, let me know!

To those of you who were at the conference: thank you for sharing your thoughts. To those of you who weren't: I look forward to seeing you in Miami next July!

<address> Regards from
Daniel Winfree Papuga


Can Oral History Make Objects Speak? This was the title and the question posed at the ICME conference, held in Nafplion / Greece October 18 to 21, 2005.

The central theme was first considered by Henry Bredekamp, CEO of the IZIKO Museum, South Africa, with reference to the role of oral history in the critical review of the apartheid and post-apartheid history of South Africa. In his critique Henry focused on the Iziko Bo-Kaap Museum in Cape Town, which maintains a lively dialogue with informants from the local population. One project is based on photographs made in the 1950s, which were now "made to speak". In this context, he dwelled on the dialogue between curators and the inhabitants. This showed that the field of research was very much governed by social as well as hierarchical rules.

Henry Bredekamp´s keynote address was followed on the first day by a spirited reception at the "Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation". The organizers had to provide for a total of thirty contributions, workshops, discussion roundtables and excursions during the next three conference days. The central question of the conference was divided by the organizers into five sub-themes. Certain papers were exemplary and addressed the question in detail within this classification.

First, methods of integrating oral history in exhibitions were presented, including the presentation and critical review of both finished projects and project concepts. In June 2006, a museum dealing with the subject of coastland tourism is to be opened in a 1920s bourgeois villa in Middelkerke near Oostende/Belgium. The project leader Mieke Renders showed in her paper that the exhibition concept is primarily based on interviews made with the former inhabitants of the house as well as present-time tourist and the local population.

Chul-In Yoo from the Cheju National University, Korea emphasized in his paper the selectivity of memory on the example of an interview with an arrested participant of the rising of April 3, 1948. He also referred to a reflective approach in the presentation of such extreme memories in exhibitions.

A memory project was criticized by Maria Patsarika of the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, University of Newcastle, U.K.. The opening of a contemporary art centre in an abandoned industrial mill complex called "Baltic Mills" in Newcastle-Gateshead was preceded by an oral history project titled "Baltic Memories", which turned out later to be just an empty marketing ploy. The contributions of the contacted informants were not included in the content conception of the converted industry complex, so that the idea of integrating a community into a culture project failed.

Three contributions were from Croatia. Zvjezdana Antos, Curator at the Ethnographic Museum Zagreb, prepared short films documenting local craft traditions for two exhibition projects. Her objective is the conservation of such orally transmitted skills. In connection with her films, she also reported on a new self-awareness at the documented localities.

Damodar Frlan, Director of the Ethnographic Museum Zagreb, spoke about an African art collection that was well-documented by interviews with the collection owner.

Olga Orlic of the Ethnographic Museum Istria showed how objects and stories were interconnected within the framework of an exhibition on weaving. The educational aspects were especially impressive, an extensive program was offered, largely relying on the presence of a weaver who was still keeping the culture alive in daily work.

The host country offered numerous interesting contributions, including the one by Fotini Lekka. Fotini explained how life stories are being collected for a local contemporary history museum in Karditsa, Thessaly, in order to establish a documentation centre that would not only manage history, but also deal with identity, the present time and the perspectives of a city. Bärbel Kerkhoff-Hader of the Bamberg University, Germany, described a student project focusing on a well-known bookbinding business in the city that was closed in 1996. The research into relics, people and memories should result in an excellent exhibition.

A media-based undertaking was presented by Giorgos Pehlivanides of the Laboratory of Image, Sound and Cultural Representation at the Department of Cultural Technology and Communication of the University of the Aegean, Greece. Along a trade street in Mytilini, Lesvos, various media were used to research everyday life as well as historical, social and economic aspects. The results were eventually integrated in a computer-supported matrix, reproducing the street and its spheres of life. By using small technical manipulation aids, the visitors were able to select certain themes and experience them through audio only recordings, audio-visual installations or text displays. It was interesting that the technical structure was also very simple and quite easily adaptable to other contents.

The use of oral history resources in the museum itself was finally discussed in the second part. Ino Maragudaki, also of the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, University of Newcastle, UK, presented here a study of oral history displays in exhibitions used by visitors, which was conducted in three museums. The results have not yet been applied by the institutions involved, which is unfortunately often the case when studies are carried out within study courses in co-operation with a museum.

Two segments of the congress agenda were dedicated to the dialogue and the passing on of information between information groups and museums on the one hand and within intermediation programs and new media on the other hand.

Lori Gross of the "Museum Loan Network" at the MIT, USA (http://loanet.mit.edu), presented here an extensive networking project dealing essentially with the lending of objects among museums, but also aimed at increasing the information value of the available museum objects.

An interesting contribution to the subject of memory culture was made by Emma Wilson, of the Museums, Libraries and Archive Council, UK. As in many European countries, a museum - in this case the Imperial War Museum - developed a concept for a memory project about the end of World War II for the year 2005 under the title "Their past your future". Unlike Austria, where one central exhibition attempted to display the collective memory and offered "mainstream history", the UK project travelled with six identical exhibition displays to 50 stations in England and initiated a dialogue on site with all age groups of the regional population. It should be noted here that the conference would have benefited from a contribution or two dealing with the polarity between individual memory and collective memory, as well as the constitution of new concepts of history.

Meg Hart, Las Palmas, Spain used the exhibition "Voices and Echoes Exhibition" to illustrate how oral history can be used in the exchange between generations to build awareness and sensitivity for the local social conditions.

At the end of the conference, in the formulation of a second important theme: Ethical aspects of oral traditions - 'Intellectual property and cultural institutions' Wend Wendland discussed the legal problem of intellectual property with regards narrated history. WIPO, the "World Intellectual Property Organization" in Geneva, is developing guidelines to regulate the scientific and, beyond that, the commercial treatment of intangible cultural heritage partly in response to indigenous concerns about the exploitation of traditional cultural expressions. The role of museums and researchers in the constitution of such guidelines was also discussed in this context. Martin Skrydstrup, Columbia University, Department of Anthropology, New York, highlighted the complexities of this area with examples from his ethnographic field research among the Fang people in Gabon.

This small selection from a congested and very interesting presentation agenda should end with words of appreciation to the organizer. Thanks are due to the entire staff of the Hellenic Committee of ICOM, especially Marlen Mouliou and her friendly and dedicated team, for the brilliant organization of the conference as well as the associated excursions.

<address>Matthias Beitl
http://www.volkskundemuseum.at/ </address>



Riki Van Boeschoten made a keynote address under the title Oral History and Sound Technology, focusing on the equipment, archiving and digitalization of oral history interviews. The workshop was then divided into two groups.

Workshop I, organized by Zvjezdana Antoš, dealt with the topic of organizing an Oral History Program. It started with the presentation of selected examples of databases available on-line, which illustrate the ways of archiving audio and video material from the domain of oral traditions in the digital form. In this context, the database of the Imperial War Museum in London (http://www.iwmcollections.org.uk/) was presented, as well as the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum database (http://www.ushmm.org/research/collections/) and the excellent website with educative content: Campfire Stories with George Catlin - An Encounter of Two Cultures (http://www.catlinclassroom.si.edu/cl.html). During the discussion, we arrived at the conclusion that ethnographic museums are approaching a time when they should develop databases to archive oral traditions in digital form, which will be interconnected and accessible online in the future. A very important aspect in this connection is the selection of data, and every museum also has a great ethical responsibility in terms of what data to select and offer to its visitors and by which criteria. Since this issue is still in its beginnings and has caused great interest of the workshop participants, it will be certainly much discussed in the future.

Workshop II, organized by Riki Van Boeschoten, dealt with the issue of Preparing for the Interview and Interviewing Skills. In the introductory part of the workshop, examples of building up rapport between the interviewer and the interviewee were presented, along with some guidelines on building up an interview guide. The workshop participants worked on preparing their own interview guides and then discussed the results.

<address> Zvjezdana Antoš, Senior Curator Ethnographic Museum, Zagreb, Croatia
http://www.etnografski-muzej.hr </address>

<h3>ICME PAPERS 2005</h3>

More than 35 papers were presented during the ICME conference in Nafplion. At the moment, these are being collected from the authors for editing and uploading to the ICME web site. However, some of them are already available for downloading in PDF format on the ICME2005 pages

More papers will be available shortly!



ICOM-ICME Annual Conference 2006, Miami, Florida July 10-12, 2006

Mark off July 10-12, 2006 on your calendar, plus a day in advance for pre-conference activities, and 3 days after for the post-conference tour!

ICME has been invited to hold its annual meeting in Miami, Florida, USA next year. Final details are still being confirmed, but the general format of the annual meeting will consist of a limited number of papers, museum visits including discussions with staff, and walking tours with community scholars.

Registration forms, registration fee information, post-conference tour costs and other details will be distributed on the ICME list and available on the ICME web site before the end of the year at http://icme.icom.museum

To help you in planning, however, here is a tentative schedule:


Sunday, July 9 ­ Arrival, reception and pre-conference walking tour 


Monday, July 10 ­ Paper sessions at the Deering Estate in Cutler

Tuesday, July 11 ­ Museum visit & paper session in Downtown Miami, and community tour of " Little Havana"

Wednesday, July 12 ­ Museum visit and paper sessions in South Beach Thursday, July 13 ­ Departure, or participation on the post conference tour


Thursday July 13 -Saturday, July 15 - Post Conference Tour of Florida, including visits to museums, sites and communities in Orlando, Clewiston, Debary, St. Augustine, and Delray Beach.

Two Miami hotels have been selected for the conference, with special ICME rates of $85 (+ tax):

More information about these hotels will also be included in the update later this month.

Contact: Annette Fromm, ICME Secretary

The Deering Estate at Cutler, 16701 SW 72 Ave, Miami, Florida 33157, USA

Tel: +1 305 235 1668 ext 258

Fax: +1 305 254 5866



Museum-community relationships have been a prevalent theme at ICME conferences, as well as at ICOM general conferences. For example, during the 1995 conference in Stavanger, the ICOM general assembly passed a resolution concerning 'Museums and Communities' which noted that "local museums all over the world which are undertaking innovative activities focusing on everyday topics of community life, trying to challenge traditional models and reaching beyond the limits of exhibition spaces, are facing threats of closure and lack of support from their governing bodies". Further, the resolution encouraged the development of strategic planning initiatives leading towards "coordinated action for the benefit of museums, of museology and the communities which they serve." http://icom.museum/resolutions/eres95.html

More than ten years after this resolution (and precisely 60 years since the founding of ICME), do we find differences in how museum ethnography approaches the issues of community dialog and collecting objects? Conversely, are there any resonant themes from our 'founding fathers', which are equally relevant today?

Should we ask:

  • How far can we expand 'museum' boundaries in terms of physical space or social influence?
  • What makes the 'local' museum a focus for community dialog, projects and activities?
  • Can museums act as discussion forums for 'difficult' social topics?
  • Should museum collection policies reflect community needs and interests?
  • Are there basic changes in relationships between museum indigenous constituencies and the public domain?

ICME therefore invites papers discussing "Connections, Communities and Collections" for the 2006 ICME conference. Paper proposals of up to 250 words may be submitted to ICME2006@yahoogroups.com until March 15, 2006.


In July, 2005, the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research (CCR) at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra co-hosted a meeting of indigenous activists, museum directors, curators, anthropologists, archaeologists and legal scholars together with the Griffith University, the National Museum of Australia and the World Archaeological Congress (WAC). The principal organizers, Paul Turnbull at the University of Griffith and Mike Pickering at the National Museum of Australia jointly convened the conference. They had chosen the conference theme to critically explore: (1) the successes and failures of efforts to resolve cultural property disputes at national and international levels over the past two decades; (2) to assess centralized cultural policies from the vantage point of indigenous community experiences with repatriation. In their call for papers they stated that: "It seems timely to take stock of what has occurred since the Vermillion Accord [adopted by WAC in 1989] by a conference that hears from museum personnel and researchers who have been involved in repatriation, and from indigenous community representatives and knowledge custodians charged with the responsibility of reclaiming remains and culturally significant items. We need to ask what have been the benefits of repatriation? What have been the problems? And how well have the concerns of indigenous people, scientists and educators been met?" Over three intensive days, the altogether 28 conference presentations explored the meanings, values and properties of human remains, secret-sacred material, objects of cultural and historical significance and access to sacred sites. In the following, I will focus on the papers which I deem to hold most relevance with respect to the current debate within ICME/ICOM on repatriation.

W. Richard West, Jr. the founding Director of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) in Washington D.C. gave the plenary address. Distinguishing between "political patrimony" and "cultural patrimony," he contended that the Greek case for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures belonged to the first register, whereas NMAI's repatriation efforts where of the latter: "We're on a cultural journey, not a political one," as he coined it. West conveyed how NMAI's domestic experiences with repatriation to Native American communities have informed their international approach. He illuminated this consistency by drawing on NMAI's repatriations to local communities in Canada, Peru and Cuba. These efforts were driven by the same strict logic which applies to NMAI's repatriations in the national arena: contemporary cultural value for living communities. West explained that this approach had been straightforward with respect to Canada, but difficult to sustain with regard to Peru and Cuba. In the latter two cases, state authorities in Lima and Havana attempted to cease the repatriated material. It took diplomatic mediation and skillful negotiations to secure that the objects ultimately returned to the local communities for whom NMAI had intended them. West underscored that NMAI's international approach is thoroughly underwritten by national experiences with legal regimes (NMAI Act of 1989 & NAGPRA 1990), and that it is still being developed.

One panel session explored a central question which perhaps has been under-exposed in the debate on cultural property: What is the status of the object post-repatriation? That is, what happens on the ground in the local community receiving repatriated objects? Drawing on case studies from Canada, Moira Simpson at Flinders University of South Australia, argued that "repatriation can be seen to have contributed to the revival and revitalization of knowledge, skills, and ceremonial practices, and so had a tangible, positive influence upon the cultural and spiritual well-being of individuals and the community as a whole." She concluded that given such benefits for "source communities," museums needed to take their "social and cultural responsibilities" more seriously in the 21st century. Contrary to Simpson's position, Philip Batty, Senior Curator at Museum Victoria, conveyed the complex problems associated with repatriation of secret-sacred material in Central Australia, the so-called churingas: "There was a general ambivalence on the part of the owners about accepting the objects, and even a sense of confusion about what to do with them once we had handed them over," he said. Batty vividly depicted his repatriation experiences from Aboriginal communities suffering from poverty and declining health. In such communities, repatriation was a low priority and could even retrigger old intra-communal hostilities. Drawing on provenance research, he argued that repatriation "is more about white redemption and the amelioration of guilt, than about whether this or that object was stolen or sold". He concluded that if the cultural heritage of indigenous Australia should be preserved beyond the current century, the establishment of "keeping houses" jointly controlled and managed by traditional owners and appropriate museums would be the most viable option. Kim Akerman, Consulting Archaeologist, also addressed the complex issues which arise with respect to the repatriation of the class of objects referred to as churingas. His paper "You Keep it - We are Christians here," argued that the historical vicissitudes of migrations and conversions to Christianity by many Aboriginal communities implied that the descendants of the groups from which these churingas were alienated, often had different world views than their original custodians. In sum, these three papers illuminated the complex social micro-dynamics within the receiving group, making clear how salient an adequate understanding of "community" is in the repatriation debate. This notion is often naturalized and taken for granted, but these papers showed that "community" should rather be historicized and questioned as a categorical entity.

Other important contributions included a paper entitled "Facing up to the past" by Patrick Greene, chief executive officer of Museum Victoria in Melbourne. Green summarized the final outcome of the case which broke in May 2004, when the Dja Dja Wurrung Native Title Group prevented the return of two mid-nineteenth century bark etchings and a carved wooden figure on loan to Museum Victoria from the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens in London. This case has attracted worldwide media attention. At the INTERCOM/ICME joint session on cultural property in Seoul (2004), the case was mentioned as a signpost of more confrontational attitudes in the debate. However, Greene's paper skillfully moved our assessment of this case beyond any stereotypes. With rich circumstantial detail, he conveyed the larger predicament: On the one hand, Museum Victoria had to recognize the legitimate interest of indigenous communities protected by Australian national law, and on the other hand, the museum had to honor an international loan agreement. After six months of detailed consultation with the Dja Dja Wurrung community, as well as court-ordered mediation, no negotiated resolution was reached. Then Museum Victoria challenged the legal "declaration", which prevented it to honor its international loan obligation. The court ruled that the declaration protecting Aboriginal cultural material could not be prolonged beyond 30-days by an inspector. After this time-frame the responsibility to extend the declaration passed to the minister, who in the wake of the ruling stated that he would neither make temporary or permanent declarations in respect of the bark objects. The implication of this was that the objects were returned to England at the end of May 2005. What has this case taught us? Greene drew some interesting lessons for the future debate. One of them was that the power of objects to reinvigorate cultural practice in Aboriginal communities - in this case a lost bark etching technique - should not be underestimated. Another lesson Greene distilled from the case, was that "Museums should open a dialogue with communities whose cultures they hold to explore the range of possible options that may include short-and long-term loans, repatriation, cultural exchanges and partnerships....For all the difficulties that will be encountered there is a much greater potential for enrichment of knowledge and understanding to the benefit of all." 1

Howard Morphy, Director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research, gave a presentation which was a visual feast. He showed different images of Aboriginal Art and explored the intricate dialectics between their cultural values and their commoditization by market forces. He warned about any hasty repatriation decisions and concluded that successful outcomes demanded long-term consultation and collaboration.

Deidre Brown at the University of Auckland gave an interesting presentation on Maori experiences with repatriation in the international arena. Her paper examined a current proposal to extend "natural world cultural property rights to indigenous objects" and she questioned the role of "virtual reality technologies" to either "assist or thwart repatriation by indigenous communities".

The repatriation issues relating to human remains were represented amongst others by Claes Hallgren from Folkens Museum in Stockholm, who took us on "skeleton hunting" in the company of Eric Mjöberg's Scientific Expedition to Australia (1910-11). Sweden recently repatriated the human remains removed by Mjöberg's expedition back to Kimberley. Hallgren's contribution contextualized Mjöberg's expedition endeavor within the history of anatomical sciences, as well as turn-of-the-century popular sensibilities making skeleton hunting "attractive" as public consumption. In the same vein, Paul Turnbull at the Griffith University explored histories of skeleton collecting in Australia. His paper poignantly demonstrated how historical research can inform our understanding of the current ethical complexities of repatriation. In his paper "Turning Points in History" Amareswar Galla, Vice President of ICOM, turned to his rich personal experiences from repatriating human remains in the 1980s in Australia and his work with the restructuring of apartheid museums in South Africa in the 1990s.

A feature which made this conference singularly compelling was the fact that the academic perspectives were complemented and enriched by narratives of repatriation conveyed by several indigenous community Elders. From Bob Wetherall, Henry Atkinson and Bruce Thomas we learned a great deal about the relations between repatriation, ancestral connections and Aboriginal systems of knowledge. Ultimately, these presentations gave a unique insight into what it means to "restore a culture through repatriation" from the vantage point of the receiving group. Unfortunately, space prevents me to do justice to these rich presentations here.

The conference also featured perspectives on cultural property transactions between different nation states. Adam Shoemaker at the Australian National University gave an interesting paper entitled "Repatriating the Congo," contextualizing the return of 114 objects between 1976-82 from the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Belgium) to the Institut des Musées nationaux du Zaïre (Democratic Republic of the Congo). An excellent catalogue has been published on this case by Boris Wastiau2, but Shoemaker's paper made a strong argument for further research to achieve a more detailed understanding and comprehensive assessment of this case.

My opening address "Claiming Cultural Property across International Borders" asked if the normative language of cultural property - restitution, return, and repatriation - capture the aspirations of Native peoples. My paper surveyed and compared the genealogies, logics of exchange and visions of justice inherent in and projected by these discursive terms.

Altogether, the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research offered a unique collaborative and interdisciplinary environment for this important conference, which provided many novel and innovative insights into the complex phenomenon of repatriation. On the final day the organizers had arranged a tour of the National Museum of Australia, which opened in 2001. This museum is a remarkable piece of architecture, one which excites all the senses. Its galleries explore many particular pasts, illuminate a range of presents and point to many imaginable futures for what its moveable CIRCA theatre calls "this abstract notion called Australia". The Museum indulges in the art of visual storytelling and does away with the "Do not touch" approach, which tend to infuse the air of most museums. During the conference, Mike Pickering, the Head of the Museum's repatriation section, gave the paper "Despatches from the Front Line?" in which he presented the repatriation policy and practice of the institution. Pickering stressed the need for this institutional practice to be underwritten by theoretical considerations. Echoing his argument, the National Museum of Australia will publish all the conference papers in the second half of 2006. Paul Turnbull expects this forthcoming volume to carry the same title as the conference. I am confident that this publication will constitute a key touchstone and a rich source for ICOM/ICME's cultural property debate in the years to come.


  1. GREENE, PATRICK. 2005. So near, and yet so far. museums journal, september: 14-5.
  2. WASTIAU, BORIS. 2000. Congo, Tervuren :aller, retour: le transfert de pieces ethnographiques du Musee royal de I'Afrique centrale a I'lnstitut des Musees nationaux du Zaire, 1976-1982.
<address>Martin Skrydstrup, Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology
Columbia University, New York. mcs2005@columbia.edu

While ICOM is an international organization with 3 official languages (French, English and Spanish), it is embarrassing that for many years, ICME communication has been in only one language. While we have had simultaneous translation facilities at some conferences, on the whole, we have worked in English.

What are the language needs & preferences of ICME members, and how can these needs be fulfilled?

One way of making information about ICME available for non-English speakers might be to utilize some of the recent developments in automated translation software, such as google translation or altavista/babelfish. Among other languages, automated translation is available from English into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, Croatian, Japanese, Korean and Chinese.

Here are links to French and Spanish, automated translation software. Those of you who understand these languages are invited to test the software out yourself, and give uks comments. This may be a way of making ICME information available for a wider public, even if the translations include mistakes and 'funny' translations.

Tell us what YOU think!

president@icme.icom.museum, editor@icme.icom.museum


The area of the most northwestern Italian region Friuli Venezia Giulia has many museums of country life. Many of them are founded by small communities - such as Aiello del Friuli, Pagnaco/Fontanabona, Claut, Farra d'Isonzo, etc. One, named "Cjase Cocèl" in Fagagna (not far from Udine) is particular in many ways, notably calling itself an "ecomuseum". The expressed goal of the museum is to preserve the collective memory of their community using museum pedagogy to maintain a living museum. In this way, they also try to preserve various traditional skills and knowledge, through which their museum is seen as a working place, or as a big workshop. Therefore, they have reconstructed not only all the buildings and inner spaces of a complete household as it looked like at the beginning of 20th century, but also keep living cattle, donkeys and poultry. They also often organize cheese production, cooking courses, threshing, etc. What is remarkable is the fact that most of the work is done by local volunteers who consider it important that young people learn about changes in local economy and life in general, trying out some of the old techniques and skills in person.

Putting much emphasis on museum pedagogy, the museum organized an annual conference entitled "School in the museum: about museum pedagogy in Cjase Cocèl", most recently held on 5th November 2005 in Fagagna, in the museum auditorium. Speakers included Gian Paolo Gri, associate professor of cultural anthropology on the Udine University. Professor Gri talked about the newly adopted National Chart of Museum Professions in Italy, where the activity of museum pedagogues is finally seen as an inevitable program of every museum. But his contribution was not only very informative; he also mentioned some problems such as: are ethnographic museums or museums of country (or rural) life in Italy starting to be mostly meant for children, while art and other museums are more orientated toward the adult audience? He also stressed the problem of the subject - in questions often put in museum pedagogy for children: "Who were we?", because the relation and identification of today's children and youth to their grandparents' life routine is quite problematic. G. P. Gri stressed that learning the process of producing things by active participation usually deepens children's relationships to the interpreted culture. Lorenza Corradini from "Museo degli usi e costumi della gente trentina" from San Michele all'Adige discussed avant-garde pedagogical ideas of their founder Giuseppe Šebesta (who died this year) and about their Museum Statute which includes a part about the necessity of museum pedagogy programs. She also talked about the problem of which culture/cultural identity to choose for interpretation, since they live in a multicultural situation on the border with Austria. Ms Corradini also presented her museum's advanced pedagogic programs, some of which are realized in collaboration with artists. Carmen Metus and Elia Tomai spoke about Cjase Cocèl museum and its ideas and mission, some of which are mentioned at the beginning of this article. The last speaker, Franca Battigelli - an associate professor of geography at the University in Udine - emphasized the significance of rural landscape that should be "read" as a structure of signs, and which should be a kind of a prolongation of museums such as Cjase Cocèl. She talked about lost sounds - such as church bell ringing, lost odors and other elements of landscape and environment. She stressed the necessity of a didactics of rural landscape and informed about related projects within the frame of "Italia Nostra" organizations and museums in Tuscany. In the afternoon section, several Elementary schools from the region presented their pedagogical experiences in the host museum.

For a small community Museum, open for the broader public only on Sunday and based on volunteer work, both this Conference and the entire year-round museum activity is quite impressive and exemplar

<address> Lidija Nikocevic, Ethnographic Museum of Istria
http://www.emi.hr </address>


January 4-20, 2006: "Social Ecology of Museums, Heritage and Tourism", ANU Heritage Action Field School, Vietnam. http://rspas.anu.edu.au/heritage/

January 9-12, 2006: "Sustainable Heritage Development: Cultural Diversity - Heritage Tourism - Cultural Economics", The 2006 Sustainability Conference in Hanoi and Ha Long Bay, Vietnam. Including the participation of ICOM Vietnam and UNESCO Hanoi. http://sustainabilityconference.com/

February 9-10, 2006: "Material Culture, Identities and Inclusion", PhD Student Conference, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK. http://www.le.ac.uk/museumstudies/ka43/attic/conference.htm

March 22-26, 2006: Seventh Mediterranean Social and Political Research Meeting (MSPRM), Florence & Montecatini Terme, Italy. 13 workshops are scheduled, including: Spaces of Memory and Practices of Restoration; From Local to Global - Visual Arts in the Eastern Mediterranean between International Markets and Local Expectations. http://www.iue.it/RSCAS/Research/Mediterranean/mspr2006/

March 24-26, 2006: "Movements, Migrations and Displacements in Africa", University of Texas at Austin, USA. Deadline for paper proposals: December 1, 2005 http://www.utexas.edu/conferences/africa

March 29-31, 2006: "Place In Native American History, Literature and Culture", 2006 American Indian Workshop, University of Wales Swansea, UK. Deadline for paper proposals: January 15, 2006. http://www.swansea.ac.uk/schools/humanities/conferences/american_indian.html

March 30-31, 2006: "Strangers on the Shore", Conference on Early Coastal Contacts with Australia. National Museum of Australia, Canberra. http://www.strangersontheshore.com.au

April 10-14, 2006, "Cosmopolitanism and anthropology", Association of Social Anthropologists (ASA) Diamond jubilee conference 2006, University of Keele, UK. http://www.theasa.org/asa06

April 12 - 15, 2006: "WORLD'S FAIRS & EXPOSITIONS", Joint Conference of the Popular Culture / American Culture Association, Atlanta, GA, USA. http://www.h-net.org/~pcaaca

April 25-27, 2006: "The Museum: A World Forum", Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK. http://www.le.ac.uk/museumstudies/professional/conferences.htm

April 27 - May 1, 2006: "A Centennial of Ideas: Exploring Tomorrow's Museums", American Association of Museums Annual Meeting & Centennial Celebration, Boston MA, USA. http://www.aam-us.org/am06/

May 3-6, 2006: "Ethics, Politics and Human Subject Research In the New Millennium", Second International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. Deadline for paper proposals: December 1, 2005. http://www.QI2006.org

May 17-20, 2006: "Cultures and Colonization in French Africa", French Colonial Historical Society 2006 annual meeting, Dakar, Senegal. http://www.frenchcolonial.org

June 17-18, 2006: "Passion, play and the everyday: Oral history and the consumer society", Annual Conference of the Oral History Society, Sheffield, UK. Proposal deadline: December 2, 2005. http://www.oralhistory.org.uk/conferences/

July10-12, 2006: "Connections, Communities and Collections", ICOM-ICME annual conference, Miami, Florida, USA. http://icme.icom.museum

July13-15, 2006: ICME post-conference tour, Florida. http://icme.icom.museum

July23-29, 2006: "The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World", 16th ISA World Congress of Sociology, Durban, South-Africa. http://www.ucm.es/info/isa/congress2006/

August 30 - September 2, 2006: "Cultural Encounters in Urban Space", European Association of Urban Historians Annual meeting, Stockholm, Sweden. http://www.historia.su.se/urbanhistory/eauh/invitation.htm

September 7-9, 2006: "'Of Asian Origin' : Rethinking Tourism In Contemporary Asia", Singapore. Proposal deadline: December 1, 2005. http://www.ari.nus.edu.sg/conf2006/tourism.htm

September 18-21, 2006: European Association of Social Anthropologists, Biennial Conference 2006, Bristol, UK. http://www.nomadit.co.uk/~easa/easa06/

September 25 - October 1, 2006: "Foodways and Lifestyles in the Search for Health and Beauty", 16th International Ethnological Food Research Conference of the International Commission for Ethnological Food Research, Innsbruck (Austria) and Merano (Italy). Proposal deadline: December 1, 2005. http://www.siefhome.org/wdb.php?sel=3053

October 11-14, 2006: "Textile Narratives and Conversations", Textile Society of America Symposium, Toronto, Canada. Proposal deadline: December 1, 2005. http://www.textilesociety.org/

November 15-19, 2006 105th AAA Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA, USA. http://www.aaanet.org/mtgs/mtgs.htm


I am so pleased that you all had such a great conference and tour in Nafplion. All my Greek students told me it is a most spectacularly beautiful part of Greece and they are not at all biased! I really must visit. Someday.

Japan in October and November was wonderful. As some of you know I gained some Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation funding to visit three museums: the National Museum of Japanese History (Rekihaku), Edo-Tokyo Museum and Lake Biwa Museum. The National Museum of Japanese History and Lake Biwa Museum both organized an International Seminar on the broad theme of 'Intergenerational Reminiscence and Citizenship.' The Japanese speakers were, without exception, excellent but since space is restricted here I select just two papers to outline for you. The papers, one from each conference, remain in my memory because of the strong visual elements, which is one of my preferred learning styles and because my Japanese is sadly rather weak.

At Rekihaku Dr Tanaka Yoshiaki from the Sumida Cultural Heritage Museum movingly described his work with survivors of the World War 11 Tokyo Air Raid. These survivors were facilitated through reminiscence, in finding visual expression for their traumatic memories, painting that about which it was still 60years on too painful to speak. This work will form part of the new displays at Rekihaku, whose current exhibitions are predominantly concerned with the ancient past and history beyond living memory.

At Lake Biwa MM discussed method. First a most innovative and extremely beautiful 'Mandala' methodology, whereby elder's answers to questions about the past are cut, grouped and colored into a large paper. Individual university students collaborate in this work of gathering elder's memories and so the form of the final Mandala varies enormously. Next MM showed the way elder's memories are presented by artists in the traditional form of bi-fold screens, which prompts further dialogical exchange amongst participants invited to view.

My own contribution at these two sites was a workshop 'Embodied knowledge: minds, hands and hearts' followed by a lecture ' Power, knowledge and concord: promoting citizenship through intergenerational reminiscence'. The workshop, which uses sweets as a way to prompt memory through the five senses, perhaps unsurprisingly proves to be an enjoyable learning experience, while the rather dense paper can be a bit more like hard work!

At Edo-Tokyo Museum I first organized the sweets workshop especially for the museum staff and was then invited to observe the new 'Genki' (Health) project, which is a collaborative venture carried out with the psychology dept of Tokyo University. Edo-Tokyo's Genki project is conducted in a traditional 1950s Japanese house. The elders enter, touching the artifacts before sitting at the low table, where the smell of tatami matting combines with the old ticking clock to aid their memory work and psychological sense of well-being in a learning community. It is further hoped that the extra walking activity involved in the historical investigation of their locality, which is measured on pedometers provided by the University partners, will eventually lead to an improvement in the elder's physical health. Edo-Tokyo intends to disseminate the Genki findings through an International Symposium that I aim to attend, with a provisional date scheduled on 18th February 2006, so watch this space!

Well, now I want to send you all my very best wishes for an exciting Xmas and a peaceful New Year. I hope to meet many ICME members in Miami. Meanwhile, keep well everyone.


Viv Golding, Editor of ICME-news

E-mail: editor@icme.icom.museum

Contact address: University of Leicester

Department of Museum Studies

105 Princess Road East

Leicester LE1 7LG. UK

Telephone: +44(0) 116 252 3975 

Fax: +44(0) 116 252 3960

The deadline for the next issue is 20th February 2006. Please send your news to any of the above contact addresses, although email is preferred.

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