Digital Horizons, Virtual Selves: Rethinking Cultural Heritage in the Museum


Research Center for Material Culture presents: Digital Horizons, Virtual Selves: Rethinking Cultural Heritage in the Museum.


How should museums remember the digital age? This conference brings together curators and theorists to share and explore approaches towards researching, collecting and displaying digital heritage in the ethnographic museum.
The conference aims to open up a space to create new definitions and roles for digital objects in the museum, to study the artistic, social, cultural and political aspects of digital practices and to explore possibilities for collecting and preserving digital cultures for the future.

Invited speakers will examine questions such as:

  • How can ethnographic museums reflect on the impact of digital technologies on identity, culture and society?
  • Should the ethnographic museum offer a memory space for digital practices and objects, and if so which of those could be of interest?
  • How might the study of digital cultural practices enable new perspectives on collections held by (ethnographic) museums? How might the acquisition of digital objects challenge what we understand (ethnographic) museum objects, and associated concepts of material authenticity, originality and aura, to be?
  • To what extent do digital technologies enable a rethinking of the foundational principles and practices of ethnographic museums and their colonial past?



  • Session 1: How Digital Technologies Shape the Museum
  • Session 2: Digital Politics
  • Session 3: Digital Subjectivities, Cultural Memory and Virtual Worlds



  • Bart Barendregt (Leiden University)
  • Victoria Bernal (University of California, Irvine)
  • Robin Boast (University of Amsterdam)
  • Annet Dekker (Piet Zwart Academie, Tate London)
  • Tjarda de Haan (Amsterdam Museum)
  • Katja Kwastek (VU University Amsterdam)
  • Jessica De Largy Healy (Musée du quai Branly, Paris)
  • Kieran Long (Victoria & Albert Museum, London)
  • Deirdre McKay (University Keele)
  • Thomas Poell (University of Amsterdam)
  • Anna Reading (King's College, London)
  • Mirko Schäfer (Utrecht University)
  • Stephan Schwingeler (ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe)

Registration is compulsory.

Thursday 21 January 2016 to Friday 22 January 2016