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Academic interests

Mattias Ekman takes interest in the way architecture is employed in intellectual, social and cultural practices and acts, with focus on its role in technologies of knowledge and memory and a spatial underpinning in Western thought, historically and in contemporary society. Key concepts in his research include the early modern theatrum, ars memoriae, loci communes and modern concepts like collective memory (M. Halbwachs), communicative and cultural memory (A. Assmann & J. Assmann).

Ekman’s current research project Spatial orders of memory and knowledge. Architectural Schemes for Collections in Early Modern Sweden, financed by the Norwegian Research Council, proposes new understandings of the early modern culture of collecting. The project studies architectural schemes like the chamber of rarities and anatomical theatre designed by Olaus Rudbeck the Elder in Uppsala and the royal Kunstkammer and collections built up by Queen Christina. Other aspects of the research project include the investigation of principles of classification and architectural arrangement and the use of collections for representation, research and teaching in the three Nordic states – Sweden, Denmark-Norway and the duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp. Further concerns include the non-Vitruvian theory that guides architectural design of buildings for science and collections and the institutional models for the unprecedented institutions like the anatomical theatre, Kunstkammer and botanical garden.

Other research interests include societal and social processes involving monuments, memorials and sites of memory (P. Nora) and how museums and exhibitions employ architecture to structure identity formation, historical learning and symbolic remembrance. Ekman’s doctoral thesis addressed aspects of space and spatiality in the theory of collective memory (M. Halbwachs) and the role of collective memory in postmodern architectural and urban theory (K. Lynch, A. Rossi etc.). He has also initiated investigations of theory and practices of memory in early modern Sweden.

Upcoming lectures
* European Architectural History Network (EAHN), Fifth international meeting, 13–16 June 2018, National Library Tallinn

On knowledge theory and the growth of the Kunstkammer buildingtype in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries.

* Symposium: Memory and politics – new currents in memorials today, 19 June 2018, org. The Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces and KØS, Embassy of Denmark, Berlin

I will speak about the processes of making a national memorial at Utøya after the 22 July 2011 terror attack. Admission is free, but sign up latest 15 June at

* Fourth Conference of the Nordic Network for Renaissance Studies, 26–28 September 2018, House of Science and Letters, Helsinki

On the establishment of Kunstkammer – library room suites in the seventeenth century Nordic countries.

National memorial for 22 July terror attack at Utøya

In collaboration with Manthey Kula and Bureau Bas Smets, Ekman has been chosen to design the national memorial after the 22 July 2011 terror attack at Utøya. He contributes to the team with research experience in memory studies, memorials and 22 July remembrance and with architect experience. See more at Disse skal forme minnestedet ved Utøyakaia


Mattias Ekman holds a PhD in the history and theory of architecture and memory studies from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO). He lectures and publishes in Norway, Sweden and internationally and has taught on bachelor and master levels in architectural design, conservation/building heritage, history of knowledge, history of museums and memory studies. Ekman received his diploma in architecture at the Architectural Association in London and has previously worked as an architect and urban planner.


Mattias Ekman collaborates with the research project Museum: A Culture of Copies and Making Things Matter – Meaning and Materiality in Museum Displays (Mattias Bäckström), both at IKOS, and Stobaeus’s Cabinet of Curiosity: Emotions, “Curiosa” and Collecting in Early Modern Sweden and Beyond, Lunds universitet et al.

Tags: Museums and Museology, Memory studies, History of Knowledge, Museum studies, History and theory of of architecture, Cultural heritage, Mnemology, Cultural history, Collective memory, Cultural memory, Monuments, Memorials, Cabinets of curiosities, Early modern theatres


  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Jubileumsutställningarnas historiska topografi: Arkitektur som minnesstruktur för Norges förflutna: 1814, 2014, I: Hans Ruin; Johan Hegardt & Trond Lundemo (red.),  Historiens hemvist, 3 bd:iii: Minne, medier och materialitet.  Makadam Förlag.  ISBN 978-91-7061-202-2.  kapittel.  s 359 - 388 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Mediation and Preservation, In Bryony Roberts (ed.),  Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation.  Lars Müller Publishers.  ISBN 978-3-03778-491-4.  Case Study.  s 148 - 156
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Museet – minnepalass og kunnskapsteater. Kunst og kultur.  ISSN 0023-5415.  99(2), s 102- 113 . doi: 10.18261 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Spatial Orders of Memory and Knowledge. Architectural schemes for collections in seventeenth-century Sweden. Nordisk Museologi.  ISSN 1103-8152.  (1), s 148- 158 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2015). Remembrance and the Destruction of Church Windows, In Jonna Bornemark; Mattias Martinson & Jayne Svenungsson (ed.),  Monument and Memory.  LIT Verlag.  ISBN 978-3-643-90467-6.  kapittel 3.  s 43 - 61
  • Ekman, Mattias (2014). Husk! Den rumlige tilrettelæggelse af erindringen i Monumentet for Danmarks internationale indsats efter 1948, I: Anna Louise Manly (red.),  Magt Minder Mennesker – Mindesmærker i dag.  KØS Museum for kunst i det offentlige rum.  ISBN 978-87-89074-64-1.  kapittel.  s 140 - 157
  • Ekman, Mattias (2014). Remember! The Spatial Orchestration of Memory in the Monument for Denmark's International Engagement after 1948, In Anna Louise Manly (ed.),  Power Memory People – Memorials of Today.  KØS Museum of Art in Public Spaces.  ISBN 978-87-89074-65-8.  kapittel.  s 140 - 157
  • Ekman, Mattias (2012). Architecture for the Nation's Memory: History, Art, and the Halls of Norway's National Gallery, In Suzanne MacLeod; Laura Hourston Hanks & Jonathan Hale (ed.),  Museum Making. Narratives, Architectures, Exhibitions.  Routledge.  ISBN 978-0-415-67603-8.  13.  s 144 - 156
  • Ekman, Mattias (2012). Edifices of Memory. Topical Ordering in Cabinets and Museums, In Johan Hegardt (ed.),  The Museum Beyond the Nation.  The National Historical Museum.  ISBN 978-91-89176-46-1.  3.  s 61 - 86 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2011). Remembering Home. Displacement, Return and Spatial Frameworks of Memory, In Marianne David & Javier Munoz-Basols (ed.),  Defining and Re-Defining Diaspora. From Theory to Reality.  Inter-Disciplinary Press.  ISBN 978-1-84888-064-1.  Part I.  s 3 - 24 Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Registration With Video, In  Re-store.  AHO. Institutt for form, teori og historie.  faglig_bok_institusjon.  s 16 - 17
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). The Memories of Space - Appropriation of the National Gallery in Oslo as a Framework for Individual, Social and Cultural Remembrance, In  Re-store.  AHO. Institutt for form, teori og historie.  faglig_bok_institusjon.  s 20 - 22

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  • Ekman, Mattias (2017). Samtid, guldålder och utopi – tid och rum i 1600-talets musaeumsvisioner.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2017). ‘Theatre’ in early modern Europe – a concept, type or model? Mid-fifteenth century to the 1560s. Show summary
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Architectural Prototypes in Rudbeck’s theatrum anatomicum and Atlantica, or Uppsala as New Atlantis.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Early Modern Arrangements of Collections and Knowledge in Sweden. An Introduction to the Symposium.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). Skrift som konstkammare. Ordningsprinciper i samlingar på papper i 1600-talets Norden. Show summary
  • Ekman, Mattias (2016). The Anatomical Theatre in Uppsala.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2015). Museet som minnepalass og kunnskapsteater.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2015). Orchetrating Remembrance with Architecture. On the Importance of Memorials to Collective Memory.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2014). Monument: politiske verktøy og skueplasser for samfunnets erindring.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2013). Edifices : architecture and the spatial frameworks of memory. CON-TEXT. 63.
  • Ekman, Mattias (2012). A new Norwegian 'Lieu de Mémoire'? The contestation over meaning after 22 July in the government quarter in Oslo. Show summary
  • Ekman, Mattias (2012). The Spatial Framework of Memory. A Sociological Concept in Architectural Theory. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). An Edifice of Stories.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Et sted for å minnes. Aftenposten (morgenutg. : trykt utg.).  ISSN 0804-3116.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Forsøk til resymé av perspektiver i Regjeringskvartaldebatten.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Merket av minner. Stavanger Aftenblad.  ISSN 0804-8991.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Placing knowledge (in Norway’s National Gallery).
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Regjeringskvartalet og minner. Dagsavisen.  ISSN 1503-2892.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Regjeringskvartalet og minnet om andre ting.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). The Architect Who Mistook His Dissertation for a Film.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Til minne av våre verdier. Bergens Tidende.  ISSN 0804-8983.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2011). Tracing Memory in Space.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Architecture and the Art of Remembering. Theories and Strategies of Memory. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Architecture of Memory. Oslo National Gallery as Mnemonic Device. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Berlinmuren.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Framework for Memories [video]. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Hansaviertel.
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Noen tanker om en annerledes byteori - Berlinfilmer. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Remembering Home. Forced Migration and the Spatial Frameworks of Memory. Show summary
  • Gerstlauer, Rolf & Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). Contained In: The continuous production of the ultimate White Cube. (kurator) Video symposium. Show summary
  • Gerstlauer, Rolf & Ekman, Carl Mattias (2010). The impurest of all constructive acts: An Architectural Ruin ? the ultimate white cube. Verk publisert nasjonalt; Storskjermprojeksjon av en looped medley med 15 kortfilmer. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Fortelling som arkitektur - Chris Markers La Jetée. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Mnemonics as Complementary Space - Theorising Essayistic Film towards a Discourse on Lost Environments. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009, 13. oktober). Om "Of Time and the City" på Villa Stenersen. [Radio].
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Om rom og romlighet i Terry Gilliams Brazil. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). The Memories of Space - An Architect reading Aleida and Jan Assmann's model of cultural memory in connection with the National Gallery in Oslo, In  The Multiple Faces of Identity in the Designed Environment.  Architectural Design and Global Difference Research Group.  ISBN 9781842331392.  s 63 Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). The Memories of Space - An Architect reading Aleida and Jan Assmann's model of cultural memory in connection with the National Gallery in Oslo. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Tiden og byen: Introduksjon til Terence Davies film Of Time and the City. Show summary
  • Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Vår felles hukommelse, introduksjon til Alain Resnais' Toute la mémoire du monde. Show summary
  • Gerstlauer, Rolf & Ekman, Carl Mattias (2009). Film som arkitektonisk verktøy og medium. Show summary

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Published May 5, 2015 11:42 AM - Last modified May 30, 2018 9:42 AM


  • Spatial Orders of Memory and Knowledge. Architectural Schemes for Collections in Early Modern Sweden

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