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TRACES - Transmitting contentious cultural heritages with the arts

TRACES - Transmitting contentious cultural heritages with the arts - is a three-year research project investigating the role of contentious heritage in contemporary Europe.

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

About the project

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.

By deploying an innovative research methodology based on an artistic and ethnographic approaches, TRACES analyses challenges, opportunities and practices inherent in transmitting difficult pasts and heritages in contemporary Europe. The project 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.

TRACES is made up of 36 researchers from 11 institutions across Europe (Italy, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany and Austria). Professor Arnd Schneider leads the Norwegian part. 


The project is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme ‘Reflective Society’ (Cultural Heritage and European Identities) and runs for three years. 


Tags: Historical Memory, Cultural Heritage, European identity, Art
Published June 17, 2016 12:42 PM - Last modified Jan. 23, 2018 8:42 AM