Norwegian version of this page

TRACES - Transmitting contentious cultural heritages with the arts

TRACES investigates contentious heritage sites (museums, collections, historical buildings etc.) in various European locations in relation to their communities, and the policies of the heritage providers. It specifically investigates and intervenes into these contested heritage sites through ethnographic and artistic means, by creative co-productions which involve heritage providers, communities, and ethnographic and artistic researchers.

Interior of the Mediaș synagogue, Romania. (Photo: Christian Binder)

About the project

TRACES is a three-year project funded in 2016 by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. Through an innovative research methodology, TRACES investigates the challenges and opportunities raised when transmitting complex pasts and the role of difficult heritage in contemporary Europe.

SAI with Professor Arnd Schneider, leads the Norwegian part.

European cultural heritage is inherently complex and layered. In the past, conflicting or controversial perspectives on different historical memories and experiences have been colliding in the rich cultural landscape of Europe and continue to do so in the present. These contentious heritages are often particularly difficult to convey to a wide public and can impede inclusivity as well as prevent the development of convivial relations. Nevertheless, if transmitted sensitively, they can contribute to a process of reflexive Europeanisation, in which the European imagination is shaped by self-awareness, on-going critical reflection, and dialogue across different positions.

TRACES involves a multi-disciplinary team that brings together established and emerging scholars, artists, and cultural workers to develop a rigorous, creative and all-round investigation on contentious cultural heritages, and to experiment with innovative research methodologies. In order to achieve these objectives, TRACES has initiated a series of “Creative Co-Productions” in which artists, researchers, heritage agencies, and stakeholders collaborate on long-term projects researching selected cases of contentious heritage and developing new participatory public interfaces. Theoretical investigations pertaining to different research fields and disciplines will support and complement these art-based research actions, analysing and expanding their outcomes with the aim to identify new directions for cultural institutions and museums to effectively transmit contentious cultural heritage and contribute to evolving European identities.



The project is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Programme ‘Reflective Society’ (Cultural Heritage and European Identities).


Published June 17, 2016 12:42 PM - Last modified Nov. 24, 2017 11:11 AM