Symposium | 1 Mar | RCMC

Diasporic Objects

From connecting indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest with museum collections to helping migrants build a sense of home, diasporic objects that have migrated from one context to another bear witness to and mediate the ruptures, reforged connections, and cultural negotiations between human groups.  

The aim of this symposium is to understand the important role that diasporic objects play in connecting human groups and individuals. This one-day event will bring together experts from diverse regions and academic fields with the goal of discussing how diasporic objects mediate relations between human groups across different times, territories and cultures.   

The program will combine community scale perspectives, which include discussions on the role that diasporic objects play in museum practices (e.g., connecting communities across the world), as well as individual perspectives that explore how diasporic objects help migrants build a sense of home and belonging in a foreign context. Those speaking on museum practices will discuss how diasporic (colonial) objects help to create, reconfigure and sometimes obstruct communication and collaboration between museums and the ‘source’ communities of their collections. Those examining the relationships between diasporic objects and home-making, will look at the more intimate scenarios in which people engage with diasporic objects in daily practices and personal histories, and how they help mediate complex experiences and constructions of home in the context of migration and displacement.  

Finally, bringing these two scales together, closing discussions will explore the kinds of relations and affective states that various engagements with diasporic objects afford. In turn, how do certain objects and affects challenge or complicate conventional understandings of the museum, of home, of the intimate and communal? 


09:00-09:30   Registration and tea

09:30-10:00  Welcome: Wayne Modest and Laura Osorio

10:00-10:45  T.b.d  Laura Osorio (Organizer-Museum of Cultural History, Oslo/FEL Junior Scholar)

1.   Diasporic objects and museums

10:45-11:30  T.b.d. Paul Basu (Professor of Anthropology, SOAS, UK)

11:30-12:15  T.b.d.  Hector Garcia (Gold Museum, Bogotá, Colombia)

12:15-13:00  T.b.d.  Wonu Veys (Curator of Oceania, National Museum of World Cultures, NL)

13:00-14:00  Lunch

2.  Diasporic objects and the construction of home

14:00-14:45  T.b.d. Sandra Dudley (Professor of Anthropology, University of Leicester, UK) 

14:45-15:30  T.b.d.  Maja Povrzanovic Frykman (Professor of Ethnology, Malmö University, SE)

15:30-16:00  Coffee Break

16:00-16:45  T.b.d.  Pim Westerkamp (Curator of South East Asia, National Museum of World Cultures, NL)

16:45-17:30 ’Fishbowl’ discussion. Leader of the discussion: Wayne Modest.

Closing Remarks

About the event

Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 09:00 to 17:30
Museum Volkenkunde | Paviljoen | Steenstraat 1, Leiden, the Netherlands


Event Organizer - 2017 FEL Junior Scholar
Laura Juliana Osorio Iregui

Laura Juliana Osorio Iregui is a PhD candidate at the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo. Before that, she obtained her Master's degree in History of Art, Theory and Display at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia.  Her research interests include heritage, material culture, craft and cultural policy. For the past 5 years she has been studying South American indigenous communities, both prehispanic and contemporary. Through her past work experience in museums, such as the Gold Museum in Colombia, she has had the privilege of working directly with living indigenous communities and their material culture.

Related tags