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Words by Asta Mønsted

Invited speakers for the 'Different Pasts – Sustainable Futures' Workshop

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.
For more on the hybrid workshop here.

Invited Speakers

Session 1: ‘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.

Ancco, is a Korean graphic novelist, and a prolific writer-artist whose dark, humorous and auto-fictive oeuvre is an exploration and interrogation of personhood, gender and identity. Ancco has previously collaborated with NMD in two projects which explore object collections and contemporary Danish society through the graphic storytelling medium.

Sarah Santangelo, student, Graphic Storytelling, Animation workshop,VIA

Barbara Wall, associate professor, Korean Studies, University of Copenhagen

Martin Appelt, senior researcher, National Museum of Denmark

Martin Petersen, senior researcher, East Asian Collections, National Museum of Denmark


Session 2: Upcycling the Past.’

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?

Inge Bisgaard works at Greenland’s National Museum & Archives, where she advises and oversees Greenland's built cultural heritage. She has recently received the prestigious Europa Nostra prize for her hard efforts to secure the cultural heritage of Greenland. Among her important work includes her travels along the Northeast coast of Greenland registering and classifying the hunting- and expedition huts dating back to the 18- and 1900s.

Anne Mette Olsvig is the director of Qasigiannguit Museum in Greenland. She runs and leads the Living Settlement Qasigiannguit, which gives the modern visitor the opportunity to participate actively in a historical period through interactive hands-on workshops and open-air events. During the summer, local volunteers re-enact the life on a summer settlement either under an umiaq (traditional Inuit skin boat) or in a skin tent of the 16-17th century. Working with volunteers in Qasigiannguit have resulted in a growing collection of garments and tools that have been created to copy elements from the era. Through the winter months Qasigiannguit Museum train visitors in old techniques from the Inuit culture inside their historical buildings.

Aviâja Rosing Jakobsen is a curator at Greenland’s National Museum and Archive. Her research area includes among others studies of the kalaallisuut, traditional Greenlandic clothing.

Asta Mønsted is a project manager at the National Museum of Denmark. She holds a PhD in Prehistoric Archaeology (2022) and a MA degree in the same discipline (2016), both from the University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on the material and immaterial cultural heritage of the Greenlandic Inuit, especially their winter house, of which we even today may learn about sustainability.

Session 3: ‘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.

Shgendootan George was raised in the Tlingit village of Angoon, Alaska, in her clan house Kéet Ooxhú hít, the Killer Whale Tooth House. She is Dakl'weidí (Killer Whale clan) and the child of the Deisheetaan (Raven/Beaver clan). Shgendootan is a practicing artist who recently retired from a 22-year teaching career. Her primary art forms are Chilkat and Raven's Tail weaving that she learned from Clarissa Rizal and Cheryl Samual, and Tlingit beadwork that she learned from her grandmother Lydia George.

Glicéria Tupinambá is an artist, activist, and one of the female leaders of the Serra do Padeiro village, located in the Tupinambá de Olivença Indigenous Land, in Bahia. She was a teacher at Colégio Estadual Indígena Tupinambá Serra do Padeiro, and is currently studying Indigenous Intercultural Licentiate at the Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Bahia (IFBA). An Indigenous director, she directed, with Cristiane Julião from the Pankararu people, the award-winning documentary Voz das Mulheres Indígenas (2015). For her role in the struggle for land, in 2010, she was imprisoned, along with her baby. In 2019, she spoke at the 40th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, denouncing the violations of rights against indigenous peoples by the Brazilian State. She has participated in several group exhibitions, such as ‘Os Primeiros Brasileiros’, at the National Archives and ‘Kwá Yepé Tusuru Yuriri Assojaba Tupinambá – This is the great return of the Tupinambá mantle’.

Renata Valente is a Post-doctoral fellow in social anthropology at the Postgraduate Program in Social Anthropology at the National Museum/UFRJ. Her research interests are in ethnographic collections and indigenous peoples’ strategies to protect their cultural heritage at the local level and at ethnographic museums. She is a Fellow of the musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris with the Profession Culture Scholarship from the French Ministry of Culture in 2019; Researcher in the ‘Shared Heritage Project’ between the National Library of France and Brazil as well as a Fellow at the Research Center for Material Culture at the Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde in Leiden, in the 2016’s edition of the Steven Engelsman Grant. Since 2019 she has worked in the Ethnology Sector of the Museu Nacional/UFRJ and is a collaborating professor in the Postgraduate Program in Visual Arts at UFRJ.

Te Arikirangi Mamaku has worked as the programme coordinator for Karanga Aotearoa since 2009. Te Arikirangi’s role focuses on coordinating logistics and communications, liaising with institutions, delivering repatriation seminars, and facilitating dialogue with Maori and Moriori communities, and government stakeholders. Throughout his time with Karanga Aotearoa, the programme has returned over four hundred Maori and Moriori ancestors from 55 international institutions and private collections in North America, Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom. He is also a specialist in Tikanga Māori (Māori customs and protocols), Kapa Haka (Māori performing arts) and Te Reo Māori (Māori language).

Mille Gabriel is the senior researcher and curator of the North and South American collections at the National Museum of Denmark. She holds a PhD in Anthropology (2011) and a MA degree in Archaeology (2002), both from the University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on cultural heritage and identity issues with a particular focus on the relationship between museums and source-communities. Mille Gabriel is a member of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO (2016-) and a former board member of ICOM Denmark (2010–2017).

Matthew J. Walsh is the senior researcher in Native American Studies at the National Museum of Denmark. He is an American archaeologist with a PhD in anthropological archaeology, an MA in anthropology with a specialization in archaeology (2012) both from The University Montana and a BA in anthropology (with honors) from the University of Washington. He has held post-doc positions with the Arctic Research Center at Aarhus University, The National Museum of Denmark and with the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. His research focuses on evolutionary archaeology, cultural transmission studies and comparative ethnology in wide-ranging contexts. He is currently a co-editor of the European Association of Archaeologist’s newsletter The European Archaeologist (TEA).