3-5 October 2016 | Polin Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw (PL)


The interdisciplinary workshop focuses on the survey and discussion of preliminary results gathered in the first phase of the creative co-production “Awkward Objects of Genocide“, part of TRACES research project. The CCP2 team will work with a group of invited discussants – including scholars, curators, and artists – to structure a discussion around the phenomenon of nonprofessional creative arts practices undertaken to memorialise the Holocaust, brainstorm preliminary interpretations of the found objects, and undertake a “curatorial dreaming” exercise (Butler and Lehrer) to envision potential artistic and curatorial interventions that would re-frame and draw new attention to this fascinating, under-recognised category of object.

The workshop focuses on three main issues (one per workshop day):

* Museums & Cultural Conflict: How to challenge the state of oblivion or “awkwardness” of the objects in question in relation to both their categorisation in their homes in (mostly) ethnographic museum collections and the anxieties or conflicts they may arouse when they are considered by curators for display? How might vernacular, low-status artistic practices offer new angles for understanding of the difficult past of Polish-Jewish relations and cultures?
* The Holocaust in Art and Art History: How to change permanently the status of “vernacular Holocaust art” within ethnographic collections? How to change the status of the art in question within broader discussions of “art and the Holocaust” or post-war Polish art more generally? What roles can artists and curators play?
* Objects as Witnesses: Can the vernacular response to the Holocaust through art be considered as a diagnostic phenomenon offering insight into bystanders (or postbystanders”) in Polish society? What social processes can it reveal?