The Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the Reinwardt Academy jointly organize the international training Sharing Stories on Contested Histories. This training originates from the need to gain more expertise on the engagement with contested heritage and explores approaches and tools available to present contested heritage from multiple perspectives. The first edition of Sharing Stories on Contested Histories took place in December 2018. The second edition is scheduled for December 1-13, 2019. The call for applications for this training is now open, closing on June 15.
When it comes to presenting shared pasts, heritage institutions in the Netherlands have become more and more aware of the need to become more polyvocal, engaging, diverse, (self)reflective and participatory. Inclusive, representative and participatory modes of sharing cultural heritage and the therewith linked histories add relevance to our institutions and society at large. In the Netherlands, this awareness has resulted in an ethical rethink and change on working practices on collecting, designing exhibitions and setting up learning programmes. It is a work in progress, however, which highly benefits from exchanges of expertise with other countries.
Set-up of the training
The training is for upcoming heritage professionals and academics from the Shared Cultural Heritage partner countries Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, United States of America, and the Netherlands. It is case-oriented and practical in approach. The programme consists of practice-based lectures, discussions and talks, fieldtrips to museums, workshops and training sessions, and self-study based on selected literature provided in advance.
Central to Sharing Stories on Contested Histories is the analysis of exhibitions in a case-study museum. Building on their own expertise and on insights gained from visits to other museums and heritage institutes as well as professional exchanges and lectures, the participants reflect on the way heritage is presented. The majority of the two-week training takes place in Amsterdam.
The three main learning goals are as follows.
1. Both from a practical and theoretical point of view, participants explore the relevancy of museums nowadays. As a strategy to overcome grid-locked discussions and polarized bubbles, constructivist and empathic multivocal storytelling is investigated.
2. Through activity-oriented assignments and workshops participants experience the various concepts of exhibiting, storytelling, tour-guiding and educational programmes and as such get a new and immersed understanding of this way of exploring museum collections and their stories.
3. Because we are working as professionals amongst professionals there will be a constant flux of exchanging knowledge, ideas and concepts. As such, a community of practice for peer-learning and co-creation will arise that is influential, beneficial to all involved and through the use of new media interconnected and sustainable.
Programme and partners 2018
The first edition of Sharing Stories on Contested Histories took place in December 2018. The second edition is scheduled for December 1-13, 2019. The 2020 edition has yet to be scheduled.
For more information on the 2018 programme as well as summaries of the lectures and readings, please view See also at the bottom of this page. Besides the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands and the Reinwardt Academy, other organizations involved in the training of 2018 were Amsterdam Museum, Dutch Culture, Rijksmuseum, National Archives, Black Archives, Black History Tours, Imagine IC, Tropenmuseum, West Den Haag, Mauritshuis.
How to participate?
Young heritage professionals and academics from Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname and the United States of America are encouraged to contribute to the international dialogue and practice of navigating complex stories by applying for the 2019 training scheduled for December 1-13. A total of 22 participants will be invited on the basis of a selection procedure. This call for application closes on June 15.
Potential participants wishing to apply for the training and museums and heritage institutions looking for ways to be involved in this initiative, are welcome to contact for further information Arjen Kok, Project Leader Sharing Stories on Contested Histories (Cultural Heritage Agency) A.Kok@cultureelerfgoed.nl.
Please find more information here.