If you have any questions about the project please contact us below.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Your message has been sent!
Thank you for contacting us. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
send a new message
Words by Asta Mønsted

'Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures' Workshop at the Nationalmuseet

14th-16th of September 2022 in Copenhagen

As we focus on futures of sustainability and social and cultural equity, the role of the modern ethnographic museum must aim at being a place of positive cultural encounters and innovative, co-creation. They must be places that include diverse ways of knowing and where narratives of diversity can be rediscovered, re-imagined and collaboratively shared with source communities, stakeholders and the public. As such, the National Museum of Denmark aims to be a space for caring for things and for people together, instead of being conceived primarily as a keeper of material heritage. We call our part in Taking Care Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures.

Ethnographic museums are repositories of culture, but also living venues for the celebration of cultural diversity, resilience and change. The Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures workshop at the National Museum of Denmark seeks to explore what role(s) museums might play in highlighting, showcasing and supporting the adaptability inherent in traditional knowledge systems. Museum collections represent a vast storehouse of assorted examples of cultural adaptations to changing times, environments, and historical circumstances. Just as it has been for millennia, cultural knowledge has been vital to human survival and it will continue to be so in the future, but perhaps not in the same ways as in the past. Thus, the Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures initiative at the National Museum of Denmark explores how museums can support these kinds of efforts (e.g. through industry, technology and research) in ways that are mutually beneficial to all involved.

The session participants listed in the programme represent source communities and stakeholders that have been invited to engage directly with the ethnographic collections that fit their interests and expertise. We hope that by coming together, communicating, learning, and engaging with one another we can reach new ways of understanding, build equitable collaborations and see how different pasts and pathways might help us find more sustainable futures together.


Wednesday 14th of September  (Brede Værk, I. C. Modewegs Vej 5B)
Closed to the public

13:00-14:00 Registration (informal gathering and welcome snacks)

14:00-14:10 Welcome and opening remarks by Christian Sune Pedersen

14:10-14:30 Introduction to the National Museum of Denmark by Christian Sune Pedersen

14:30-15:00 Analyses of the 700 year old gut skin parkas from the Nuulliit site, North West Greenland by Anne Lisbeth Schmidt (senior researcher, National Museum of Denmark) and Martin Appelt (senior researcher, Arctic collections, National Museum of Denmark)

15:00-15:30 Coffee break

15:30-16:00 Plastics – from museum object to microplastics
by Yvonne Shashoua (professor, National Museum of Denmark)

16:00-16:30 Activating Arctic Heritage by Bjarne Grønnow & Henning Mathiessen

16:30-18:00 Guided tours viewing our facilities including selected ethnographic artefacts

Thursday 15th of September 2022 (National Museum of Denmark, the Cinema)
Open to the public and live-streamed
Workshop link
MEETING-ID: 373 335 275 284, PASSWORD: w5W6t2

Session 1 (9:00-12:00): ‘Turning the Gaze Outside-In – Exploring Danish Pasts in Graphic Storytelling.’

This session investigates native lifestyles and practices in a Danish setting by inviting an international graphic storyteller to explore ways to narrate this to a Danish and global community. Turning the Gaze Outside-In brings together South Korean graphic novelist, Ancco (Choi Kyung-jin), whose oeuvre have already touched upon these issues, together with collections and expertise in the National Museum of Denmark related to pre-Christian Scandinavian practices such as animism. With this approach, Turning the Gaze Outside-In seek to revitalize museum practices through an open-ended approach to the possibilities of engagement with historical collections.

Planned talks:

9:00-9:15 Introduction (to the session) by Martin Petersen (NMD)

9:15-9:45 Turning the Gaze Outside-In – Exploring Danish Pasts in Graphic Storytelling:
A conversation between Ancco, Sarah Santangelo and Martin Petersen

9:45-10:15 Productive troubles: Between science, art and future makings
by Martin Appelt

10:15-10:30 Coffee break

10:30-11:00 Nationalizing the Transnational: The Ten Kings of the Otherworld in the Webtoon Sin kwa kamkke (Along with the Gods, 2010-2012)
by Barbara Wall (associate professor, Korean studies, University of Copenhagen)

11:00-11:45 Discussion

12:00-13:00 Lunch break


Session 2 (13:00-16:00): Upcycling the Past.’
Open to the public and live-streamed:
Workshop link
MEETING-ID: 373 335 275 284, PASSWORD: w5W6t2

Cultural knowledge and the material objects and traditions through which they are reflected are not static and diverse Indigenous traditions and technologies are an excellent example of this. The resilience of cultural heritage through craft is vital not only to Indigenous communities and identities, but also directly linked to the ways in which it can be translated into the modern world and made applicable to contemporary lives. In this session we explore the resilience and re-discovering of techniques and solutions “hidden” in the Greenlandic winter house and the gut skin costumes. How can we upcycle these two elements of Greenland’s past, and are upcycled elements part of our sustainable futures?

Planned talks:

13:00-13:15 Introduction (to the session) by Asta Mønsted and Martin Appelt (NMD)

13:15-13:45 Greenland Architecture – past and presence by Inge Bisgaard (architect, Greenland National Museum and Archive)

13:45-14:15 Hands on the past - the work on making new versions of traditional kapiseq and umikby Anne Mette Olsvig (director of Qasigiannguit Museum in Greenland)

14:15-14:45 Kalaallisuut – The Greenlandic Traditional Clothing
by Aviâja Rosing Jakobsen (curator, Greenland’s National Museum and Archive)

14:45-15:15 Coffee break

15:15-15:45 Sometimes we preserve things best by renewing them”: Culturally Sustainable Inputs to the Future Architecture of Greenland
by Asta Mønsted (project manager and PhD, the National Museum of Denmark)

15:45-16:15 Co-Creating Futures
by Martin Appelt

16:15-16:45 Discussion

16:45-17:30 A collective guided tour around the Ethnographical Collections

Friday 16th of September 2022 (National Museum of Denmark, Marble Hall)
Open to the public and live-streamed
Workshop link,
MEETING-ID: 311 048 446 659, PASSWORD: d9Du7B

Session 3 (9:00-12:00): ‘Stories of Revitalization’

This workshop focuses on the ways in which Indigenous stakeholders, artists and entrepreneurs are actively translating traditional knowledge, crafts and technologies into the modern sphere and the ways in which this process can be a powerful tool for decolonization. We have chosen to focus on the theme of weaving in both material and metaphor. Materially, weaving techniques and technologies have emerged and evolved independently in diverse locales and times. Weaving represents the bringing together of materials into something more than merely the sum of their parts. Textiles serve not only utilitarian requirements such a shelter and warmth, but also fulfil myriad symbolic functions as well as aesthetic expressions. Designs not only please the eye, but also tell stories and echo histories. The workshop draws on two different textile forms from the Americas: Tlingit Chilkat designs from the Pacific Northwest Coast and Tupinambá feather-woven capes from eastern Brazil. The session will create a dialogue around the Tupinambá and Tlingit dance robes specifically, but also around discussions of ethnographic collections research in general and questions of repatriation and responsible collaboration with Indigenous and international partners.

Planned talks:

9:00-9:15 Introduction (to the session) by Mille Gabriel and Matthew Walsh

9:15-9:45 Tlingit Primary Sources: Wearing Our History by Shgendootan George

9:45-10:15 The Voice of the Assojaba by Glicéria Tupinambá.

10:15-10:45 Coffee break

10:45-11:15 Indigenous Concepting & Collecting: The experience of Tupinambá with Museu Nacional of Rio de Janeiro
by Prof. Renata Curcio Valente

11:00-11:20 Karanga Aotearoa: The repatriation and journey home for Maori and Mariori ancestors by Te Arikirangi Mamaku-Ironside (repatriation coordinator, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

11:20-12:00 Caring Traditions: panel discussion moderated by Matthew J. Walsh
with Shgendootan George, Glicéria Tupinambá, Renata Curcio Valente, Te Arikirangi and Mille Gabriel

12:00-12:30 All sessions: Moderated reflections and discussion in plenum. Part I

12:30-13:30 Lunch break

13:30-14:30 All sessions: Moderated reflections and discussion in plenum. Part II

For more on the speaker here