Category Archives: News

HZK-CARMAH Colloquium – The Phyletic Museum

What time: 06 February 2023, 2 p.m. right on time.
Where: The event will take place at the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik (Haus 3, Gerlachbau next to the Tieranatomische Theater, Campus Nord, Philippstraße 13) and virtually (access data for the video conference will be provided on request by email to

The Phyletic Museum in Jena was founded in 1907 by Ernst Haeckel, who made Charles Darwin’s theories known in Germany. The main theme of the museum is accordingly evolution. In the museum, living and dead animals are related to people of the past and present. The film project accompanies the work of the museum educator and shows her practices in dealing with objects, her interpretation of the (biological) world and the communication of biological knowledge to the public and the student body. The focus is on the history and use of the teaching collection of the Institute of Special Zoology at the University of Jena, which the museum houses – and the small and large irritations that its objects trigger in viewers.

Wolfram Höhne is an author and filmmaker. He works at the interface of art and cultural heritage research. He is currently the academic coordinator of the research training group “Identity and Heritage” at the Bauhaus University Weimar and the Technical University Berlin.

Larissa Förster is a cultural anthropologist working on the (colonial) history of museum and university collections, provenance and restitution research, and questions of postcolonial memory culture. She is an associate member of CARMAH. Together with the historian Holger Stoecker, she wrote the book “Haut, Haar und Knochen. Koloniale Spuren in naturkundlichen Sammlungen der Universität Jena” [engl. transl. “Skin, hair and bones. Colonial Traces in Natural History Collections at the University of Jena”] (2016).

Michael Markert is a historian of science and works on natural science teaching collections and their objects – zoological wall charts, anatomical models, physical apparatus – as well as related topics such as collection ethics and digitisation. He is currently a project manager developing workflows for enriching museum metadata at the Thuringian University and State Library.

The film and lecture are in German.

Margareta von Oswald: Working Through Colonial Collections. An Ethnography of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin

Reckoning with colonial legacies in Western museum collections

What are the possibilities and limits of engaging with colonialism in ethnological museums? This book addresses this question from within the Africa department of the Ethnological Museum in Berlin. It captures the Museum at a moment of substantial transformation, as it prepared the move of its exhibition to the Humboldt Forum, a newly built and contested cultural centre on Berlin’s Museum Island. The book discusses almost a decade of debate in which German colonialism was negotiated, and further recognised, through conflicts over colonial museum collections.

Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork examining the Museum’s various work practices, this book highlights the Museum’s embeddedness in colonial logics and shows how these unfold in the Museum’s everyday activity. It addresses the diverse areas of expertise in the Ethnological Museum – the preservation, storage, curation, and research of collections – and also draws on archival research and oral history interviews with current and former employees. Working through Colonial Collections unravels the ongoing and laborious processes of reckoning with colonialism in the Ethnological Museum’s present – processes from which other ethnological museums, as well as Western museums more generally, can learn.

With a preface by Sharon Macdonald.

Ebook available in Open Access.

Resonance Room as part of the exhibition YOYI! Care, Repair, Heal at the Gropius Bau

The Resonance Room shares local knowledge and experiences of mental health in Berlin.

Since September 2021, a number of projects have developed that question the understanding of and approach to mental health in this city: How do individual health and society interact? How does history affect the present? What forms of care, solidarity and community are designed and practised in urban society?

The resonance of different voices from the neighbourhood, academia and civic society can be experienced here. As a meeting place, the Resonance Room gathers these voices and engages them in dialogue.

The Resonance Room was developed by Dr. Margareta von Oswald, Mindscapes Curatorial Research Fellow (HZK, CARMAH, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Diana Mammana, Project Manager Neighborhood Exchange at the Gropius Bau.

Mindscapes is Wellcome’s international cultural program on mental health.

Absent Presences in the Colonial Archive. Dealing with the Berlin Sound Archive’s Acoustic Legacies by Irene Hilden

Irene Hilden’s PhD thesis on the Berlin Sound Archive (Lautarchiv) is now available, published by Leuven University Press.

The book focuses on sound recordings produced under colonial conditions. It examines sound objects and listening practices, revealing the “absent presences” of colonial subjects who are given little or no place in established national narratives and collective memories.

Irene Hilden is postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Ebook also available in Open Access.

DAOULA | sheen. West African Wild Silk on Its Way

Exhibition opening on November 17, 2022, 6 pm.

Opening at the TA T in November 2022, DAOULA – SHEEN focuses on the natural formation and cultural history of wild silk obtained from caterpillars in West Africa and the multifaceted view of this unique material by microbiologists, material scientists, and architects from Germany.

DAOULA – SHEEN is a project of the Cluster of Excellence »Matters of Activity. Image Space Material« at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, funded by the DFG.
Curated by Laurence Douny, Karin Krauthausen, and Felix Sattler with a film installation by Thabo Thindi.

Exhibition at Tieranatomisches Theater


HZK-CARMAH-Kolloquium am 14. November 2022

1st HZK-CARMAH Colloquium in winter semester 22/23

14 November 2022, 2 p.m. right on time.

The event will take place at the HZK (House 3, Gerlachbau next to the Tieranatomischen Theater TAT, Campus Nord, Philippstraße 13) and virtually (Access data for the video conference will be provided on request by email to

How can science be curated? What (new) museum concepts and practices are needed for exhibiting academic collections and research as well as scientific processes and activities? Three recent science exhibitions and museums are the focus of the previous day: the FORUM FOR SCIENCE, ART AND DOUBT of the Ghent University Museum (open since 2020), the first show “After Nature” of the HUMBOLDT LABORATORY in Berlin’s Humboldt Forum (2021) and the basic exhibition of the Göttingen FORUM WISSEN (2022). What they have in common is the curatorial concern to show science in the making, i.e. the process of knowledge production, and to provide a glimpse behind the scenes to show how scientists research and work. On the one hand, it asks how such processes are (or can be) exhibited and what tensions arise in relation to representative claims. On the other hand, it will be examined which understanding of science is being exposed and which museum concept is being tested.

Dr Daniela Döring is a cultural scientist and post-doctoral researcher at the research college “Wissen | Ausstellen” at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. She previously held academic, curatorial and teaching positions at the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin, the Braunschweig Centre for Gender Studies and the Institute for Arts and Media at the University of Potsdam. In her research, she interweaves curatorial practice and academic discourse, focusing on science exhibitions, diversity and gender in museums, body and gender history, and cultural techniques of surveying and datafication.

Captured Voices. Sound Recordings of Prisoners of War from the Sound Archive 1915–1918 by Britta Lange

The cultural studies scholar Britta Lange researched sound recordings of male prisoners of war from the Sound Archive of the Humboldt University of Berlin produced in German camps during the First World War by scientists of the Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission. In this book, she traces the voices that are preserved today on shellac records. Each chapter constitutes a new encounter and raises complex questions: How can the historical testimonies not only be heard but also be listened to today? And what forms of translation do they demand? Captured in multiple ways, the voices in this comprehensive study not only reveal their historical making as sound recordings, but also reflect contemporary interpretations of archival and scholarly practice. The English e-book includes a streaming feature for the sound recordings co-produced by Britta Lange and Sebastian Schwesinger. It is translated from German by Dr. Rubaica Jaliwala as part of a grant from the Deutscher Übersetzerfonds.

Britta Lange’s book Gefangene Stimmen is now also available in English as an e-book titled Captured Voices, translated by Rubaica Jaliwala as part of a grant by the Deutscher Übersetzungsfonds.

The Royal Model Chamber of the University of Göttingen

Analysis of the historical practice of a university teaching collection, including the objects that still exist today.

Author: Oliver Zauzig.

This research paper is about the königliche Modellkammer (Royal Model Chamber) of the University of Göttingen. This historical teaching collection has left numerous traces to this day. Despite the professionalisation of the collection’s work and the constant integration of the models into the university curriculum of the Faculty of Philosophy, especially applied mathematics, appropriate conditions of use existed almost at no time.
In the 1880s, the collection was dissolved, and the process of dissolution is documented in detail in the files. In addition, 24 models from the former collection have been preserved until now.
The structure and scope of the Göttingen Model Chamber correspond to the universal model collections of the time, whose origins can be found in courtly, municipal and bourgeois art chambers. Models and model collections for example were used for purposes of demonstrating power, for planning and designing, as patterns, for playing and experimenting, but above all in teaching and education. In addition to researching the everyday practice of historical collection work, the focus is on investigating curricular use with the royal model chamber.
To this end, some of the historical models of the collection that still exist today were examined in detail, analysed, questioned in relation to their historical curricular practice and individually contextualised. Especially through the encounter with the objects, a variety of questions emerged.
Ultimately, the numerous gaps in information that inevitably open up when researching the everyday use of the historical teaching collection through written material and objects force a predominantly heuristic approach.

To the publication (edoc).


13.07. – 12.08.2022

An exhibition in three Elevations
Elevation I: 13.07. – 21.07.
Elevation II: 25.07. – 01.08.
Elevation III: 04.08. – 12.08.
Open Mon – Sat, 12 – 20 h

Lichthof Ost in Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Opening 12.07., 18 – 22 h

I AM ELEVATING IN ALL WAYS – Poster (c) Marina Engelhardt

13.07. – 21.07. | Elevation I: Bedroom
Mariela Georg, Lauren Lee McCarthy, Ofra Ohana, Julia Plawgo, Agrina Vllasaliu

25.07. – 01.08. | Elevation II: Office
Mats Andersen, Pia vom Ende, Alicja Rogalska, Julian Willming, Anna Witt

04.08. – 12.08. | Elevation III: Gym & Wellness
Paula Ábalos, Josepha Edbauer, Johanna Käthe Michel, Hannah Neckel, Fette Sans

More information and program

Book presentation to celebrate the publication of ”Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities”

Book presentation to celebrate the publication of Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities.

Looking at diverse trajectories of people and things, the volume examines developments in various parts of Europe, including France, Germany, Russia, Turkey and the Balkans. We will discuss entanglements between heritage, Islam and Europe and ways in which these entanglements have played out against the backdrop of recent developments, such as debates on restitution, decolonising museums or the ‘refugee crisis’.

The roundtable discussion will include inputs from Wendy Shaw, Peter McMurray, Jesko Schmoller, Avi Astor, Diletta Guidi, Banu Karaca, Mirjam Brusius, Christine Gerbich and Rikke Gram, and the editors, Katarzyna Puzon, Sharon Macdonald and Mirjam Shatanawi.

The event will take place in the framework of the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik / CARMAH Colloquium Series.

The event will take place at the HZK (House 3, Gerlachbau next to the Tieranatomischen Theater TAT, Campus Nord, Philippstraße 13: and virtually.