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Participative Strategies in Collecting the Present

The papers presented at COMCOL’s annual conference of 2 November 2011 (hosted by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) have been published as issue 63 of Berliner Blätter, a publication of Panama Verlag, Berlin. Editors of the publication were Léontine Meijer-van Mensch and Elisabeth Tietmeyer, chair and vice-chair of COMCOL. Contributions were written by Zvjezdana Antos, Zelda Baveystock, Pina Cardia, Kathrina Dankl, Christine Fredriksen, Dennis Herrmann, Angela Jannelli, Aleksandra Janus, Dorota Kawecka, Renée Kistemaker, Jonas Koch, Arjen Kok, Léontine Meijer-van Mensch, Peter van Mensch, Tena Mimica, Tanja Rozenbergar, Elisabeth Tietmeyer, Thomas Michael Walle, Markus Walz, and Annemarie de Wildt.

The publication can be ordered as book (14.90 euros) or as e-text (9.90 euros). See: http://shop.panama-verlag.de

Léontine Meijer-van Mensch & Elisabeth Tietmeyer (eds.), Participative Strategies in Collecting the Present. Berliner Blätter. Ethnographische und ethnologische Beiträge 63/2013 (Panama Verlag, Berlin). ISSN 1434-0542 / ISBN 978-3-938714-28-7.

Museums need to find answers to what it means to be part of a participative culture, i.e. a culture in which members believe that their contributions matter and in which they feel some degree of social connection with one another. In documenting contemporary culture, participative projects add new perspectives to collections. At the same time they provide participants with a better understanding of the specificity of museum work. This better understanding fosters people’s sense of ownership in a museum. Yet, the participative method of collecting is not uncontested. It may question the autonomy and authority of the museum professional involving a re-definition of the professional as an “external expert” acknowledging the “internal” expert knowledge of the members of the community concerned.