Academic contributions

Publications

Boersma, S. Competing narratives – Stories of forced migrants within ethnographic museums. Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (Special Issue: ‘Collaborative Projects as an avenue to transgress Western Epistemologies’) [forthcoming, Summer 2023]

Boersma, S. The Aftermaths of Participation. Outcomes and Consequences of Participatory Work with Forced Migrants in Museums. Transcript, Bielefeld. [forthcoming, November 2022]

Boersma, S. Book review: Material Culture and (Forced) Migration, edited by Yi-Neumann, Lauser, Fuhse & Bräunlein. Journal for Refugee Studies. [forthcoming]

Zwart, I., Boersma, S., Kist, C. & Mucha, F. Care-ful participation in museums [Book review: The Museum as a Space of Social Care by Nuala Morse]. Museum Worlds, Vol. 9, 2021. Access online.

Boersma, S. Exhibiting migration. In: Boersma, S. & Wittenzellner, J. (Eds.): The better life – Photographs by Göran Gnaudschun. Exhibition catalogue, Museum Europäischer Kulturen 25, Imhof Verlag, Berlin, 2021, pp. 12-15 [German] / pp. 108-111 [English].

Boersma, S. Aandacht voor ‘de vluchteling’ – Stereotypische representatie van vlucht in musea [A spotlight on ‘the refugee’ – Stereotypical representation of flight migration in museums]. Boekman Extra, Amsterdam, Maart 2021. Download hier.

Boersma, S., Chahine, A., Mucha, F. & Zwart, I. The Archive of Forgotten Memories – A Participatory Process of Reflexivity. In: Tietmeyer, E., Edenheiser, I. & Boersma, S. (Eds.): What’s Missing? Collecting and Exhibiting Europe. Museum Europäischer Kulturen 24, Reimer, Berlin, 2021.

Boersma, S. Facilitators of integration? Museums and their potential role in empowering refugees, Museological Review, Issue 24, June 2020, pp. 114-122. Access online.

Edited volumes

Boersma, S. & Wittenzellner, J. (Eds.): The better life – Photographs by Göran Gnaudschun. Exhibition catalogue, Museum Europäischer Kulturen 25, Imhof Verlag, Berlin, 2021. Order it here.

Tietmeyer, E., Edenheiser, I. & Boersma, S. (Eds.): What’s Missing? Collecting and Exhibiting Europe. Museum Europäischer Kulturen 24, Reimer, Berlin, 2021. Order it here.

Hutchinson, L. & Boersma, S. (Eds.) Sculpture Park Hill. A social history of the sculpture park’s location. S1 Artspace, Sheffield, 2017.

Past & forthcoming conference presentations

‘Feeling at home in the museum – Transforming into and maintaining a ‘safe space’ for participants, Panel ‘Museums, participation and belonging’, en/counter/points workshop, Museum Friedland, July 2022.

‘The aftermaths of participation’, Alternative presentation, POEM Closing Conference ‘Futures of Participatory Memory Work’, University of Hamburg, March 2022.

‘Connecting people, connecting practices – The potential of extending participatory work into the online realm’, Paper presentation with Cassandra Kist, SIEF Conference ‘Breaking the Rules: Power, Participation, Transgression’, University of Helsinki [online], June 2021.

‘Constructing a (different) message – Reflecting approaches and narratives that constitute discourses on migrants in museums’, Paper presentation, IMISCOE Spring Conference ‘Messaging Migration and Mobility’, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford [online], March 2021.

‘A story to keep – Infrastructures for the inclusion of forced migrants’ narratives in museum collections’, Curated Session ‘Infrastructures and future possibilities for participation’, Association for Critical Heritage Studies Conference, University College London [online], August 2020.

‘The museum as a facilitator – Stimulating the integration of recent refugees in Berlin’, ASA19 Conference on ‘Anthropological Perspectives on Global Challenges’, University of East Anglia, Norwich, September 2019.

‘Extending and internalising participatory practices’, POEM Opening Conference on ‘Participatory Memory Practices: Connectivities, Empowerment, and Recognition of Cultural Heritages in Mediatized Memory Ecologies’, Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg, December 2018.

‘Interpreting Public Sculpture’, Museum Studies Dissertation Conference, University of Leicester, Leicester, June 2016.

Academic projects

The aftermaths of participation – Outcomes and consequences of participatory work with forced migrants in museums (PhD Thesis)
Museum Europäischer Kulturen – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (SPK) & Universität Hamburg / Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network EU H2020 Action POEM
Ongoing (until May 2022)

This research project draws on the rapid increase of museum projects with and about forced migrants since the refugee protection crisis in 2015. My work maps participatory practices with forced migrants in cultural, historical and ethnographic museums and discusses the outcomes and consequences of different elements of the processes for museums, but more importantly for the participants.

Its analysis is based on four case studies: the exhibition ‘Aleppo’ at the Tropenmuseum, the artist intervention and exhibition ‘daHEIM: Glances into Fugitive Lives’ at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the re-labelling project ‘Museum Takeover’ at Leicester Art Museum and Gallery, and the engagement project ‘So sehe ich das…’ which was later presented as an exhibition at the Friedland Museum. The cases bring forward different examples of how museums responded to what formed, at the time, the most prominent political and public debate. Their approaches, the scales of the projects and their political or local contexts vary, yet their interest in inviting in forced migrants to be part of the debate aligned. The discussion of these cases is based on conversations with the museum practitioners and the project participants. With a specific focus on the experiences of the participants themselves, my research addresses the need for such projects and the challenges they present.

What’s Missing? Collecting and Exhibiting Europe (Conference)
Museum Europäischer Kulturen – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (SPK)
June 2019

As part of the team at the Museum Europäischer Kulturen (MEK), I helped organise the conference ‘What’s Missing? Collecting and exhibiting Europe’. For this conference, I edited and proofread abstracts and biographies and compiled the conference programme. As the main person of contact for the speakers, I communicated all necessary information and helped with travel arrangements. During the conference days, I set up the powerpoint presentations and provided technical support throughout the conference, as well as taking part in an intervention with fellow POEM researchers.

Photos from the conference © Museum Europäischer Kulturen – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin/Christian Krug

Changemakers for Migration
Hello Europe, Ashoka
October 2019 – February 2020

Hello Europe, an Ashoka initiative that started in 2016 in response to the refugee protection crisis, works on accelerating new and existing projects that facilitate migration and integration. The project is expanding its scope by addressing two prominent problems within the field of migration: narrative and (European) policies. The first of these is what I worked on in the project ‘Changemakers for Migration’, which nominates migrant changemakers who have played a key role in the lives of many migrants and invites them to contribute their stories and add different perspectives to the current debates.

The stories of the changemakers and the further development of the network and its work to change the discourse can be found on the Hello Europe website.

%d bloggers like this: