Next month we will be presenting at the Association of Critical History Studies 2016 Conference “What does heritage change” to be held by Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage of UQAM’s School of Management, in collaboration with Concordia University and the Center for Oral History and Digital Storytelling.

“Reflecting on the Mobile Contact Zone: Cultural Diplomacy, Touring Exhibitions and Intercultural Heritage Experiences” is taking place on Monday 6 June. For the first time the group of researchers that has been exploring this topic with regard to the two specific case studies will be together to present and discuss our cases, methods and findings.

This session explores international touring exhibitions as mobile “contact zones” which undergo processes of transformation and reconstruction as they traverse contested museological, cultural and political terrains. This approach highlights their nature as dynamic sites of encounter, performance and interpretation. We also examine how the mobile contact zone is experienced by the actors involved, both heritage professionals and visitors. Responding to the main conference theme, an overall question that the session addresses is: what do international touring exhibitions, and the intercultural heritage experiences they facilitate, change? Do they help in developing intercultural understanding, facilitating dialogue and building bridges between cultures?

The presentation introduced by Lee Davidson (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) will set the context for the exhibition projects our cases are based on as well as an overview of the research projects.

In the first part of the session, the case study is the exhibition E Tū Ake: Standing Strong. Lee and Gaëlle Crenn (Université de Lorraine, Quebec) will be presenting: Museum Practices, Indigenous Politics and Cultural Identities on Tour: A Comparative Study of a Māori Exhibition in France, Mexico and Canada. Following this topic, Mélanie Roustan’s (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Francia) talk will be Experiencing a Maori Touring Exhibition in Paris and Québec City: Heritage as Window on the Other and Mirror on Oneself.

The second part of the session deals with the Aztecs exhibition. Leticia Pérez (Escuela Nacional de Conservación, México) and Lee Davidson will present: Intercultural Practices and Collaboration in an International Touring Exhibition: Professional Perspectives on Aztecs from New Zealand, Australia and Mexico followed by Intercultural Meaning-Making: Visitor Encounters with Aztecs in Oceania.

The whole session seeks to present our interest in building a theoretical understanding of international touring exhibitions.

We will be reporting on our advances and insights from the conference. More information here

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