september, 2015

23sep16:00- 17:20Panel 3. Difficult HeritagePost-Socialist Objects16:00 - 17:20 Jagiellońska 26, 03-719 WarszawaKino Praha

Event Details

Kosmala Katarzyna, Anna Sznajder, University of the West of Scotland, Reinterpreting Post-Socialist Spaces – Women, Heritage and Bobbin Laces in Bobowa, Southern Poland.

Preservation of cultural heritage is related to reproduction of social life and construction of social memory (Arantes 2007), which is reshaped by social groups, who create own images of the world through agreed upon versions of the past constructed by communication rather than private remembrance (Cattell, Climo 2002). Heritage in this sense can be used for dialoging with the past and the present, linking time, space and community in the search for a new value. This paper draws upon archival data and photographs from the image-based research conducted in 20102013 in Bobowa community in Southern Poland. Visual methods used for studying lacemaking heritage during The International Bobbin Lacemaking Festival exposes various craft-based and skills-based communication strategies adopted during the event. The festival was inaugurated in 2000 and continues as a major annual event for local community of lacemakers. Recognized as a distinctive for the place and craft made in Bobowa from generations, the event gathers craftswomen and lacemaking groups from Poland and across Europe. The festival presents contemporary interpretation of material culture and its people, considered to represent local heritage. Photography applied in studying a dialogue between interculturalism and localism, continuity and change, historical narrative and contemporaneity demonstrates, how post-Socialist space heritage negotiate with the ideology of neo-liberal economy. New socio-economic trends have been reshaping heritage components, such as authenticity, continuity, attachment and identity (Filippucci 2009). Debate on visual representations of craftswomen practices are interlinked with reflection upon symbolic meaning of the produced work for places preservation and promotion of its heritage. The festival is an occasion for celebrating material culture and allows for reconstruction of collective memory by participating in the lacemaking events .



Arantes, A., (2007) ‘Diversity, Heritage and Cultural Politics’ Theory, Culture, Society, 24 (7-8). Sage.

Cattell, M., Climo, J., (2002) ‘Introduction: Meaning in Social Memory and History: Anthropological Perspectives’ Cattell, M., Climo, J., (eds.) Social Memory and History. Anthropological Perspective. Altamira Press.

Fillipucci, P., (2009) ‘Heritage and Methodology. A view from Social Anthropology’ Sørensen, M., Carman, J., (eds.) Heritage studies. Methods and approaches. Routledge.


Grossman Alyssa, University of Gothenburg, Inadvertent Heritage’: Forgotten Objects in Post-communist Romania.

Domestic spaces are often described as housing material objects connected to practices of heritagization and memory. Yet as Bachelard (1958) observed, dwelling places may function not only as carriers of memory, but also as containers for things that have been forgotten. Attics, cupboards, closets, and storage rooms may contain artifacts that have accumulated over the course of many years, disregarded for long periods of time.

My research centers around remembrance work in post-communist Romania, analyzing how its inhabitants are evaluating the past, present, and future through everyday interactions and material practices. Looking at forgotten objects in people’s homes, I am interested in their existence as ‘inadvertent heritage’, artifacts serving to provoke unexpected and poignant recollections at later moments in time.

This paper discusses various settings where I asked individuals in Bucharest to revisit the contents of their household storage areas, to rummage through disused possessions, and to share with me the thoughts, reminiscences, and narratives about the communist period emerging through such encounters. As a visual anthropologist, I have used film to further explore these “re-rememberings” of forgotten objects as points of rupture, sparking moments of Benjaminian historical awakening, and providing new insights into contemporary perceptions of both the past and future.


Pohrib Codruta Alina, Maastricht University, Documenting Romanian Things: Sociobiographical Objects on Film.

This article looks at two Romanian documentaries – Metrobranding (2010; dir. Ana Vlad and Adrian Voicu) and My Beautiful Dacia (2009; dir. Stefan Constantinescu and Julio Soto Gurpide) – in order to flesh out how Romanian documentary film performs a type of grassroots heritage of communist iconic brands as well as an ethnography of the biographies entangled with these objects. An intimate engagement with the relationship between people and the objects they produce, Metrobranding problematizes the transition from state-planned economy to capitalism from the perspective of a ‘lost generation’, whose professional and personal biographies are closely tied to the mono-industrial towns in which they live and by looking into the cultural biography of brands. My Beautiful Dacia offers different entry points into the social life of the Romanian car brand Dacia, which went into production in 1968 and was taken over by Renault after the fall of communism. Touching upon several issues that beleaguer the post-communist Romanian society: migration, the inequalities of the transition, the Romanian Revolution of 1989, the documentary operates metonymically and turns a brand into a vehicle for past aspirations and present-day global realities. In looking at these documentaries, I will be tracing the interplay between the aesthetic choices made by the directors and the types of stories they tell about post-communist materialities and identities. What are the implications of staging the cultural biographies of communist brands as sociobiographical objects that can give insight into individual and collective identities? Where does this return to materiality fit in the broader mnemonic landscape of post-communist Romania? How does it compare to the effervescence of online grassroots heritage of communist things? Is there an inherent nostalgia in this focus and how is it dealt with by the directors?


(Wednesday) 16:00 - 17:20


Kino Praha

Jagiellońska 26, 03-719 Warszawa

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