Christopher Whitehead er ny professor 2 i museologi
Whitehead har nylig vært en av lederne ved et stort EU-prosjekt innen museologi, og ved IKOS skal han undervise i emnet 'MUSKUL4100 - Kritiske kulturarvstudier'.
Please tell us about your background
I trained and worked as an art historian and art curator, but my research activities today are much broader. They encompass museums of different types (especially history museums) and heritage, with particular emphases on the cultural politics of memory, display, knowledge construction and interpretation.
I am currently working on political uses of the past, time and place and contested histories and heritages, especially where these relate to contemporary social tensions and conflict. I have interests in social constructionism, theories of representation, cultural cartography, art theory, epistemology and Turkish, Italian and (more recently) Scandinavian museum and heritage politics.
I recently managed the Newcastle University work package of the EU FP7 'MELA' project: European Museums and Libraries in/of the Age of Migrations - a 2.7 million euro award working with 8 other institutions across Europe, led by the Politecnico di Milano. In this context I led a team that researched how museum representations articulate the relationships between places, cultures and identities in Europe.
Alongside these activities I maintain research interests in the general areas covered in my monographs on the 19th Century Art Museum (Ashgate 2005), Museums and the Construction of Disciplines (Bloomsbury 2009) and Interpreting Art in Museums and Galleries (Routledge 2012). My most recent book is on Museums, Migration and Identity in Europe (Ashgate 2015).
What will be the focus of your work at IKOS?
At IKOS I am teaching MUSKUL4100, which provides an overview of the field of Critical Heritage Studies and introduces some of the most significant problematics involved in our relationships with the past. How do we conceive of heritage and what part does it play in our lives? Is it always ’good’? Who decides what is heritage, how and why? Do people always agree on what is heritage and what is not? How is heritage managed, and what are the politics of this?
These are just a few of the questions addressed in the course, which equips students with the ability to reflect critically on heritage practice and politics and to incorporate resulting insights into their academic and future professional activity, as well as helping them to understand their own relationship and attitudes to heritage and the past.
As well as teaching I am also involved in research work, notably as an advisor on the project 'Museum: a Culture of Copies'.