Critical Traces of the Future in Exhibition Projects About Migration

The Case of the Project Meinwanderungsland

“The museum of the future will be post-migrant or it will no longer be.” [1]

The trend in museum studies and practice toward the topics of future and migration is evident in the current exhibition landscape. Recent publications studying museums in German-speaking countries [2] clearly show that the future of museums can no longer be imagined without migration. One example is the anthology Das Museum der Zukunft (The Museum of the Future), [3] published in 2020 which presents a variety of perspectives on the topic. While migration researcher Ljubomir Bratić advocates for a “museum of migration,” [4] for example, journalist Manuel Gogos (author of the epigraph) argues that there is no museum without migrant-situated knowledge (production), revealing the already existing post-migrant present by looking into the future. [5]

The present article shows how futures are being articulated in the exhibitionary complex of migration, which consists of a network of actors, practices, discourses, infrastructures, and materialities, and involves the museum as an institution. This network operates, with reference to the sociologist Tony Bennett, according to very particular institutional logics and is deeply rooted in power/knowledge relations and politics of time. [6] I am particularly interested in how the exhibitionary complex of migration is involved in a change in the knowledge production of migration. In this article, I will look at this through the future practices of exhibition projects, focusing on the way futures are articulated in the present musealization of migration. With the concept of ‘doing futures,’ I look at actions that make future musealization and knowledge production thinkable and possible, and wherein the so-called ‘perspective of migration’ plays an increasingly important role. This musealization approach understands migration as a persistent practice, as a social relationship and transforming force, as a fact that cannot simply be managed or governed and that organizes itself in transnational networks. [7] It centers a migrant-situated knowledge, which means the internalized and everyday knowledge of migrant actors. [8] To analyze this, I look at current exhibition practices, because “the past and the future are however not aligned automatically, but are articulated in the ‘now.’” [9]

Using the example of the outreach project Meinwanderungsland (my immigration country) (2018–2020) I demonstrate how ‘futures’ are negotiated in museum practice: Which imaginative and anticipatory practices are at play? What futures are becoming apparent here? How does Meinwanderungsland transform the production of knowledge through its critique and future-making practices? On the one hand, Meinwanderungsland provides an example of such a perspective of musealization; on the other, it also constitutes a unique case in a specific context and location. [10] Looking at the project’s practice of critique, the article shows how Meinwanderungsland set the course for what art theorist Gerald Rauning refers to as a different ‘instituting practice.’ [11]The main hypothesis is that exhibition projects can establish future-making practices that not only imagine counter-narratives but also transform the production of knowledge of migration through their different forms of critical practice. To this end, I first situate the project within the exhibitionary complex of migration as well as in the socio-political context. The main focus here is on exhibition projects that focus on musealization from the ‘perspective of migration.’ Second, I outline my theoretical perspective and methodology as regards on exhibition projects and ‘knowledge regime analysis.’ Subsequently, exhibition projects are understood as networks within networks, as sites of knowledge practice and production, as political fields and finally as fields of interaction in the knowledge regime of migration. This research approach aims to analyze changes in knowledge production in interaction with social processes. It should be said that only parts of the knowledge regime research program can be applied in this article. Thereafter I establish an understanding of ‘future-making practices,’ operationalized as anticipatory and imaginative practices in the knowledge regime of migration. Third, I follow two lines of argumentation through my description and empirical analysis of Meinwanderungsland. The first examines the project’s orientation towards the future based on social-, institutional-, and self-critical practice. The second line of argument looks at the potential, the so-called ‘futurability’ of the project itself and thus at the spaces it opens to enable transformations in knowledge production.

1_A Brief History of Musealization from the ‘Perspective of Migration’

The ‘perspective of migration’ has found its way into the German-speaking museum world since the 2000s as a result of migrant critiques of representation and struggles for social participation, as well as by trends and conjunctures in politics, historiography, and museum and migration studies. [12] As early as the 1990s, migrant activists in particular began to demand recognition of migration as an essential part of the German memorial landscape. One important example is the negotiations surrounding the Documentation Centre and Museum on Migration in Germany (DOMiD), [13] founded in 1990, and its early demands for a German migration museum. [14] After the turn of the millennium, further initiatives and collaborative projects were founded—especially in the course of the anniversary of the labor recruitment agreement between Germany and Italy in 2005—and initiated exhibition projects and networks for the remembrance and musealization of migration. [15] The inclusion of migrant perspectives and narratives in the exhibitionary complex arose within a heated political and societal climate. On the one hand, migrants became more visible in public as a result of migrant struggles in previous decades, which also called for integration efforts by the societal majority. [16] This expressed itself in cultural and political activities. [17] The debate about legal strengthening [18] and the invention of the ‘Migrationshintergrund’ (migration background) [19] also made migration a much-discussed topic. On the other hand, the consequences of the intensified racism of the 1980s and 1990s were still quite prominent. [20] The debate on a new immigration law that finally came into force in 2005 marked a break in rejecting Germany’s self-definition as a society of immigration and increased the visibility of migrant voices. [21] It was in this context that Projekt Migration (2002–2005) was created: a collaborative and interdisciplinary research exhibition project, which, with its artistic displays, curatorial strategies, education formats, and approaches to critical migration research, was a novelty in the genealogy of the German exhibitionary complex of migration and placed the ‘perspective of migration’ at the center of the musealization of migration. [22] In the summer of 2007, the Nationaler Integrationsplan (National Integration Plan) finally established at the highest political level that migration should be considered a central topic for cultural institutions such as museums. As a result, the Deutscher Museumsbund (German Museum Association) and with it especially city museums began to approach the topic. [23] Initially present in special exhibitions, the theme was occasionally incorporated into permanent exhibitions or made part of the history of institutionalization. [24]

Further initiatives and collaborations followed in the 2010s, again especially in city museums such as those in Stuttgart, Frankfurt am Main, and Munich, that focused on the integration of migration as a cross-cutting or special theme. [25] At the same time, those museums, which for a long time only dealt with emigration, now also saw themselves as actors in the history of immigration. [26] A few years earlier, DOMiD had already undergone significant changes in the institutionalization and professionalization of its archive and collection. Following these changes, the association no longer saw itself as an actor in the politics of remembrance of Turkish migrants, but of migration per se. [27] In the context of the ‘long summer of migration’ in 2015, migration was increasingly at the center of negotiations within museums, and  musealization from the ‘perspective of migration’ gained momentum. The events in the Balkans and at Europe’s external borders, in which migrants’ agency plunged the border regime into crisis, caused consequences both at the borders and within Europe and its cities. In Germany, artistic, academic, and activist collectives emerged that understood migration as a force that transforms and constitutes society, and used exhibitions as part of their practice. [28]

The project Meinwanderungsland is part of this boom of migration in the exhibitionary complex. It was designed by DOMiD as a three-year education and outreach project that toured all 16 federal states and 24 cities from 2018 to 2020. As a mobile museum, the project team brought along an interactive exhibition and storytelling platform, which was accompanied by online campaigns, workshops and further supporting programs. The aim of the project, funded by the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration (Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration), was to convey the history of German migration society from the ‘perspective of migration’ and to encourage visitors to relate to it themselves. [29] In 2019, during the Meinwanderungsland project, both the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the federal government approved funding for DOMiD’s migration museum (working title: Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft; House of the Immigration Society) that the association had long demanded. The institutionalization of migration history received another strong boost in the second half of the 2010s in the federal funding of several museums. [30]

Meanwhile, highlighting migrant knowledge is no longer progressive or niche. Museums are increasingly seen as social and political actors that shape society and are shaped by it. [31] Nevertheless, the implementation in practice and the structural conditions for this knowledge production from a ‘perspective of migration’ are still very diverse and thus require close observation and interrogation. In this article, I analyze Meinwanderungslandto look behind the scenes of this perspective and to show which future orientations go hand in hand with these practices.

2_Thinking of Exhibition Projects as Networks—Doing Ethnographic Research in the Knowledge Regime of Migration

A brief history of the exhibitionary complex of migration in Germany shows that exhibition projects should not be researched as islands separated from society, but as decentralized actors in a complex web of power/knowledge relations. [32] Such an approach is in line with the general development of empirical knowledge research, which argues for a historical perspective and follows Foucauldian understanding of knowledge. [33] More recent approaches within the anthropology of knowledge criticize person- and institution-centered research on knowledge(s) and focus mostly on power dynamics within knowledge production. In this sense, exhibition projects are conceptualized as networks of knowledge production(s) to analyze how and under which conditions knowledge is integrated or precisely not integrated into other (museum) contexts. [34] As material-semiotic nodes, they play an active role in the negotiation of relations of inequality and are “potentially powerful arenas for reflecting upon them.” [35] Such a perspective asks how exhibition projects themselves produce forms of knowledge and how these are organized, transported and circulated, or immobilized. [36] In this way, they can also be conceptualized as actors who work in a network and thus shape society and enable it to act, whether in the form of further projects or by offering opportunities and spaces for political action. [37] In terms of political anthropology, exhibition projects can be understood as networks in the context of which “resources are distributed, people are categorized and cultural meanings are produced.” [38] Such ethnographic research does not rely on a classical top-down understanding of politics but understands politics as a social negotiation process, and identifies the socio-economic relations of inequality and epistemic injustices in which it is decided which source of knowledge is considered accepted and which is rejected. [39] Exhibition projects thus have the potential to negotiate social standpoints and publics, especially through the products that exhibitions present. These are embedded in socio-material contexts, part of discursive formations as well as symbolic orders, and are anything but neutral in terms of their representation. [40]

However, I aim to move beyond merely interpreting the medium of the exhibition as symbolic representations; rather, I am interested in the practice and interaction behind these projects. For this reason, I also understand Meinwanderungslandas an exhibition project, even if the exhibition is only a small part of the project. I assume that this theoretical conceptualization could also be applied to other museum projects, such as collection or education projects. Therefore, I do not consider exhibitions as such as the central research object, but rather the actor-network and practice that belongs to it. [41] A prerequisite to taking this viewpoint is to include not only human actors but also non-human ones and their practices in the research that is “exhibits, displayed objects, architectures, discourses, and also relationships that come into existence in the curatorial situation and constitute it.” [42] Furthermore, this conceptualization not only includes visible actors such as curators or managers in the corpus of analysis, but also, for example, architects, designers, educators, politicians, or journalists, and non-human actors like databases, books, or theories. The effects, practices, relations, and conditions that are located in this network can be analyzed in a methodological program of ‘knowledge regime analysis,’ as I expand it in the context of my dissertation. [43] The cornerstones of this methodology are described below. The analyzed project is understood as part of the exhibitionary complex, but is examined within the knowledge regime with regard to my specific research question: How does Meinwanderungsland transform the production of knowledge through its critique and future-making practices?

Knowledge regimes are “historically changing arenas of action and formation,” [44] which emerge as the “result of power relations and competitive struggles between knowledge actors and the forms of knowledge represented by them.” [45] The approach of knowledge regime research aims to grasp changes in knowledge production and analyze them in interaction with social processes. As localizable fields of interaction, the exhibition projects dealt with here are part of and simultaneously shape the knowledge regime of migration. Applied to the practices in exhibition projects, the aim is to analyze the transformations of the knowledge productions on migration, historically as well as at present, and to understand their continuous reforms. In so doing, it becomes apparent that the way that knowledge production is modified is not by the decision of individuals, but rather emerges in a “structured chaos.” [46] The analysis of this chaos is based on a genealogical approach, which understands present knowledge as the result of discontinuities, ruptures, and shifts. Knowledge thus always refers to historically situated “epistemic procedures and effects […] that are acceptable at a particular moment and in a particular area.” [47] This also means a historical specificity with which supposedly objective knowledge is questioned and “the location and embodiment of knowledge […] is emphasized against various forms of non-localizable and thus irresponsible knowledge claims.” [48]

To implement the knowledge regime analysis, I propose a methodology that builds on a mix of methods similar to the ‘ethnographic border regime analysis.’ [49] This entails a Foucauldian discourse analysis, praxeographical analysis of networks, as well as theoretical conceptualizations of hegemony. [50] Through the methods of discourse and exhibition analysis, archival work, and focused interviews, [51] I bring together diverse forms of material. This research archive draws attention to the mobile and multiple locations of my field. In the sense of a ‘multi-sited ethnography,’ my field is located in different places. [52] For the further analysis of this multi-layered material, I borrowed methods from critical cartography to capture the dimensions of knowledge production. Following Adele Clarke’s situational analysis, I consider mapping to be an appropriate method for systematizing and ordering the empirical material and making it accessible for analysis. [53] The analytical exercises developed by Clarke—the creation of situation maps, maps of social worlds/arenas, and position maps—are reminiscent of the three aspects of critical mapping as an artistic research mode, as described by the composer and theater director Julian Klein. The human geographers Lea Bauer and Eva Nöthen extend this concept by linking it to debates of activist urban research and describe the research mode in three steps: “(1) the (collection) of diverse perceptions, (2) the playful-experimental relating of these collected perceptions and (3) the artistic re-imagination of things or socio-spatial matters.” [54]

The Meinwanderungsland project is part of the knowledge regime of migration and shapes it through its discursive practices, actors, infrastructures and networks. For the analysis of the project, I have zoomed in on the critical practices of the project and on what difference these make concerning the knowledge regime and knowledge production of migration. I monitored the project’s critical practices and thus the traces of future knowledge production that were practiced within the framework of Meinwanderungsland through displays, concept papers, exhibition views, academic and press articles, interview transcripts, and my own field notes. Applied to my article context, Bauer and Nöthens’ three versions of mapping assemble and systematically record and connect all actors, practices, discourses, infrastructures, and materialities that are relevant in the context of Meinwanderungsland and its critical practice in the first step. This requires an ethnographically trained view of “putting oneself into modes of perception from a wide variety of contexts” [55] as well as a commitment to the research question and the courage to radically construct the field. [56] The questions of delimitation are based on those of political anthropology, which is oriented towards central actors, dominant logics, instances of control, and concentration of power. [57] The second step is to make historical and contemporary connections, ruptures, and conjunctures as well as the silences and absences in this network tangible. The goal is an arrangement in which “several levels of reality are activated at the same time and can be delimited from each other by framings.” [58] The third step, which the authors call “re-imagining […] socio-spatial matters,” is about analyzing and questioning situations and relationships more closely in response to my research question: What future practices are implemented in Meinwanderungsland? How does Meinwanderungsland transform the production of knowledge through its future-making practices within the knowledge regime?

3_Future-Making Practice in Exhibition Projects

Using a constructivist and praxeographic understanding of knowledge, as it is in knowledge regime analysis, concrete fields of research become conceivable “that deal with practices, with places and persons, with institutions and materialities, with power and contexts, but also with relationships in the sense of relations.” [59] In this article, the practice in Meinwanderungsland becomes the object of research. Through the various mappings, the practice becomes apparent as a social and political knowledge practice: it links to social and local resources and distributional issues in the social power structure, and connects to social and political power relations in a respective historical constellation. In this regard, it is negotiated which knowledge actors are considered acknowledged and which are rejected, which patterns of interpretation are provided and which are not. [60] Consequently, exhibition practice in general generates material and symbolic-discursive effects that have an ex- or inclusive impact. [61] It presupposes socio-material interactions and historical knowledge and binds knowledge at present to the actors, things, and institutions involved, and thus helps to produce future knowledge.

Hence, this knowledge practice is deeply involved in politics of time and—particularly interesting in my case—in futures. It becomes particularly apparent in the work with objects and historical material, that the intertwining of past, present, and future is actively worked on, because multiple temporalities “coexist or cross over” here. [62] Postcolonial critique highlighted museums’ involvement in the politics of time by showing the museum order as a temporal order that repeatedly banished ‘the others’ into another time with colonial-hegemonic and Eurocentric narratives. Also, the exhibitionary complex of migration, where processes of othering are often the agenda, is involved in the production of different temporalities which often refuse simultaneity. [63] Thus, sedimented conflicts lie in these migration objects and narratives that highlight power relations. The cultural anthropologists Beate Binder and Silvy Chakkalakal emphasize the positionality of these time productions. Transferred to the exhibitionary complex of migration, this therefore not only produces a specific knowledge of migration but also “temporal positionalities.” [64] Futures are consequently always formulated from a specific standpoint and are part of temporal logics that go hand in hand with normative implications. Every set of exhibition practice thus draws on a situated “archival grid through which the past might be accessible in an imagined future.” [65] We are dealing with “the simultaneity of power space […] and of possibility space.” [66] This perspective joins more recent approaches of feminist and ethnographic research on futures, which aims to complicate the understanding of future and to distance itself from an objectivist understanding of time as a container. In doing so, they pursue a praxeological and knowledge anthropological approach that emphasizes the standpoint-based and power-critical “Sozialität der Zeit” (sociality of time). [67] Following this, the field of futures is “crisscrossed by inequalities and imbalances.” [68] A praxeological approach to futures explores the ‘doing futures’ in the exhibitionary complex and analyzes how these are designed in the interplay of practices, discourses, and materialities, because “futures do not merely exist: they are constantly institutionally produced […], (per)formed and represented.” [69] The present practices become “the potential turning point between the future not yet determined and the past that is not any longer determining.” [70] The cultural anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s work inspired me to grasp the future orientation in the current practice of exhibition projects like Meinwanderungsland. He understands the future primarily through historical relations of inequality that shape the present and form the basis for the future. Appadurai addresses future orientation among others through the practices of ‘imagining’ and ‘anticipating.’ [71]

To question exhibition projects in terms of their imaginative practices means to look at the kind of musealization and knowledge production that they practice. I understand imaginative practices as discursive practices of representation “in which sign systems, argumentations, narratives and visualities are produced and circulate.” [72] This gives rise to alternative discourses on the future of migration, which are part of the specific logic of knowledge production of migration. They form “a space of explicit and thematized knowledge that influences other practices and also their tacit knowledge.” [73] As a “knowledge practice imagination […] thus brings forth a ‘new time’ in the form of future and future knowledge.” [74] In this sense, I understand future blueprints, orientations, and practices as performative and political. Consequently, making future and future knowledge in and through exhibition projects on migration is always to be understood in terms of power relations. I am interested in their potential to change the production of knowledge and thus the knowledge regime of migration. This involves the second future orientation of ‘anticipation.’

To question exhibition projects on their anticipatory practices emphasizes the production of knowledge and asks for the anticipatory in the sense of a space of possibility to change the musealization and knowledge production of migration. I understand anticipation to be an activity that “prepares the groundwork for that future to occur.” [75] This potential of exhibition projects to produce new knowledge in practice that calls for action is what I would like to call ‘futurability,’ following the Heritage Future [76] project’s reference to Franco Berardi: “a layer of possibility which may or may not develop into actuality.” [77] With ‘futurability in the knowledge regime’ I mean the discursive as well as material transformations in the knowledge production of migration through exhibition projects. This involves transformations that affect not only the projects themselves, but also the knowledge regime in which they are located. So how can projects like Meinwanderungsland become places in which a transformation of structures, practices, and logics of musealization and ultimately of the knowledge production of migration itself is initiated and already in its beginnings realized?

4_Meinwanderungsland’s Critical Traces of the Future

In my analysis, I try to grasp the future orientation of exhibition projects about migration through the different dimensions of the critical practice of the project Meinwanderungsland itself. This linking of theory and empiricism is based on the assumption that any critique of the present and the past in exhibition projects always points beyond itself and imagines and anticipates possible futures. Accordingly, the futures formulated in the project have “already arrived in the here and now as a critical trace” [78] in the networks of the knowledge regime, and therefore can already be analyzed. To clarify the translation, a small digression into my understanding of critique is necessary.

With reference to the political scientist Isabel Lorey, critique is always practice, goes beyond a textual critique, and aims to change social structures. [79] Even for the philosopher Michel Foucault, critique was not about ordering judgement, but about a practice that eludes judgement, law, or categories. Critique enables new contexts, is risky and dares the new. Through this perspective on critique, the disappearance of categorizations becomes conceivable. Critique, however, does not exist in a vacuum, but is always to be understood in relation, it is historically and locally situated. [80] Being critical in relation to exhibition projects thus means establishing a reflective relationship to the field of knowledge production and musealization. Hence, the concept of critique used here is related to the three dimensions suggested by art theorist Gerald Rauning: social critique, institutional critique, and self-critique. With recourse to Foucault, he argues for “instituting practices” [81] that succeed in combining these forms of critique without holding on to the institution or being able to fully detach themselves from it. Critique is not understood as a total withdrawal from museum spaces and institutions, but as an intervention. [82] In the following, Rauning’s three dimensions are described within the practice of the project Meinwanderungsland and then discussed theoretically with regard to the impact on the knowledge regime and knowledge production of migration. Subsequently, I will focus on the potential that lies within this project to initiate changes that go beyond it.

5_Counter Narratives: No (Urban) Society without Migration

The occasion was 2015, to say once again clearly that the migration society is at a crossroads. […] On the one hand, there is a great solidarity […], but on the other hand, there are also very strong prejudices and a strong hostility. [83]

Following the quote of the project leader, the exhibition project Meinwanderungsland took the polarized discourse of 2015, initiated by ‘the long summer of migration,’ as its starting point, and focused on the usually invisible contexts and stories of migration that were already highlighted by the motto “every story counts.” [84] Even though the motto sounds inclusive, it is unclear at first glance who exactly is meant here. This becomes more explicit in the public part of the project report. In this context, Meinwanderungsland argued against a society “that largely ignores the formative influences of migration” and in which “predominantly White German persons […] are regarded as central figures of history.” [85] Through the “new, multi-perspective culture of memory […] that no longer excludes people with transnational family histories and the lived realities in our migration society,” [86] a multi-layered imaginative narrative can be identified in the project that formulates a critique of hegemonic White historiography. It should be said here, however, that narrative development, just like future practices in such projects, cannot be formulated apart from the project proposal and the interest of the funding bodies. In the case of Meinwanderungsland, this meant putting a target group focus on the part of the population that did not see migration as standard in society and communicating this to them. In the project, however, it turned out that it was very difficult to locate this part of the population and that there were also other target groups that the project was meant to address. The focus on the historical perspective can be illustrated by the example of the five wheeled, furniture-like cubes that formed the central element of the exhibition and storytelling platform. Drawers in each cube contained objects, listening stations, and texts on themes such as labor migration, refugees, education and language, and racism, and the compilation of the materials and information made evident a critique of the previous narrative-making of migration. This intent was clarified by a curator when discussing, for example, the cube on labor migration: “We put East and West in a cube to make a narrative out of it, i.e. contract workers in one drawer and guest workers in the other, and then emphasized the similarities in each case.” [87] This highlights a critique of the frequent focus on migration in West Germany in the exhibitionary complex of migration.

Fig. 1: Cube with listening station, source: DOMiD-Archiv, Cologne

The classic museum timeline, another part of the exhibition platform, also showed a different kind of chronology of migration history. Through large posters attached to the walls of the exhibition tent, the history of the migration society could be traced from the ‘perspective of migration.’ This was achieved in the chronology mainly by making often invisible events visible, such as the founding in 1985 of the Initiative Schwarze Deutsche (Initiative of Black People in Germany). [88] On the one hand, it becomes clear here that a ‘different’ story is to be told; on the other hand, the power of the curators also becomes apparent. Who decides which date is relevant for the history of the migration society? A member of the team described the challenging practice behind it to me:

That was also quite a long process, to look […] at what actually goes into it, what do we actually tell and how, we wanted to offer a narrative that […] does not always tell migration history as a story of migration policy, as was the case in German historiography for a long time. [89]

Fig. 2: Chronology, source: DOMiD-Archiv, Cologne

A table with objects and photos of objects of everyday migrant life made it possible to engage hands-on with the ‘materialities of migration’ and with connected migration biographies. [90] These ordinary objects, such as an old camera or shoes, were loaned by migrants who also participated in the stories told about them here. The ‘counter-chronology’ and the object work clarified the central position of migrant-situated knowledge. The aim, not only to translate scientifically elaborated or published knowledge but to center migrant-situated knowledge, was achieved by telling the stories of the lenders and not finding scientific papers about the objects. This perspective is a rejection of positions in public debates on memory politics that discuss migration as a problem and a new phenomenon. [91]

Fig. 3: Insight into the exhibition and narrative platform, source: DOMiD-Archiv, Cologne

Meinwanderungsland narrated migration not only as a self-evident phenomenon of (urban) society but also as characterized by racism and colonial violence as part of migration history. This can be seen in the accompanying program in many events, workshops, the transcultural and postcolonial city tours, and eyewitness talks. [92] The position was: “It is quite clear that you cannot and should not avoid the topic of racism when you tell the story of migration.” [93] A practical example of this context can be found in the educational materials produced in the course of the project. In the school workshop “Learning with Objects—Understanding Racism,” [94] the project staff used a socio-critical approach to address a younger generation. The workshop’s goals—to “develop social empathy; empower those affected or themselves; develop solidarity and a sense of community; strengthen self-responsibility, civil courage, and democratic participation, and thereby facilitate participation in social life” [95]—further demonstrate the actors’ socially transformative agenda. With the help of a wide variety of materials from the DOMiD collection, they attempted to convey the topic to the students in a way that is relevant to everyday life, central to which is a socio-critical attitude that seeks to stimulate the dismantling of stereotypes and prejudices to provide impulses toward new, inclusive narratives. However, this critical approach to racism also meant the project being exposed to racist comments in the public space. [96]

Apart from workshops with students “who are still building their world view,” [97] the anticipatory practice is also evident, for example, in a workshop with young journalists that took place in cooperation with Neue deutsche Medienmacher*innen (New German Media Makers) at the Deutsche Journalistenschule (German School of Journalism) in Munich. The training of journalists was specifically focused on bringing the ‘perspective of migration’ into future reporting. For this purpose, perspectives from academia and journalism were brought together to create awareness of historical contextualization and differentiated reporting on migration. [98]

What does this practice mean for the narratives and the social critique that Meinwanderungsland centers in the knowledge regime? With reference to urban space, the project tried to convey migration as a self-evident part of history. In doing so, it follows the imperative: “No (urban) society without migration!” The urban researcher Erol Yıldız has formulated the statement “city is migration,” referring to the structural connection between urban transformation and the history of migration. [99] Meinwanderungsland situated the ‘perspective of migration’ centrally in the musealization of migration, creating a narrative counter to the prevailing dominant narratives and gaining its “coherence and agency from the struggles of migration itself.” [100] This migrant-situated knowledge shows migration as a central motor and transformative force of (urban) society. [101] According to the racism researcher Manuela Bojadžijev, this results in an almost “dialectical figure of thought” [102] with regard to the conditions of migrant struggles. The musealization of migration from the ‘perspective of migration’ means recognizing migrants as political subjects and making their counter-movements central. For this, the perspective of migrant practices and the mostly invisible histories is constitutive. [103] This means establishing a critical relation to history “not just in comparison with yesterday, but in the sense of a critique for tomorrow.” [104] This orientation towards an anti-racist future can be described as “curating as anti-racist practice,” [105] which, through the search for counter-narratives and the breaking of hegemonic regimes of looking and showing, is about making a more equal, and more solidary world conceivable.

6_Para-Institutionalize: ‘The Migration Society in the Museum, the Museum of the Migration Society’

With its mobile platform, Meinwanderungsland sought out public spaces such as pedestrian zones and libraries. For the planned Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft, which is to be completed in Cologne in 2027, the project aimed to learn about the target audience, and to reach a cross-section of the population through direct exchange with the urban society. [106] For this purpose, the team provided an extra area with folding chairs where visitors could sit, engage in conversation, and learn more about the migration society in a hands-on way. By explicitly creating exchange spaces in the mobile exhibition and a narrative platform, the team pursued a participatory approach that regards as “experts […] not (only) the project staff, but the (post)migrants and participants” [107] themselves. The project saw itself as a “museum on the road” [108] and thus anticipated the migration museum: “We didn’t say we are NGO DOMiD or anything, we said: ‘We are the Migration Museum.’” [109] While on the one hand, it was helpful to refer to the museum as an institution with authority in society to legitimize the project, on the other hand, contradictorily, the team’s core competence was not any grounding in museum work; as one organizer stated: “I had no other museum background, but that was less relevant for the job advertisement. It was actually an outreach project […] that’s why […] my education skills were relevant.” [110] By zooming into the knowledge regime of migration, a change in the prevailing practices also becomes apparent here. It is not curatorial practices that come first here, but educational ones. The exhibition design also played a key role in supporting the visual orientation of the project toward the future. Thus, the mobile exhibition and storytelling platform was delimited by the figure of an arrow pasted on the ground, [111] “which indicates the direction of the migration society, namely: We are going into the future.” [112] The future is thus not only an implicit topic, but one that is also figuratively and rhetorically integrated.

Fig. 4: View from above of the design of the platform, source: DOMiD-Archiv, Cologne

The understanding of the project as processual was also illustrated through its digital education formats, which included a multimedia station that invited people to share their own relations to the migration society. Here, it was suggested that they might begin their own stories and statements with prompts such as: “Es ist Meinwanderungsland, weil…” (It is my-immigration-country because) and “Mein Migrationsobjekt ist…” (My migration object is…). Directly afterwards, these collected stories then became part of the mobile exhibition and could be read by other visitors, or viewed and commented on in a video loop. [113] Ideas about a future migration society often became apparent in these messages, and imaginative practice thus directly materialized in an effort to “make the country of immigration one’s own, and actively shape it.” [114] Taking active visitors as the starting point allowed them the possibility of changing not only the exhibitions, but also, one might hope, the society.

Fig. 5: Multimedia-Station, source: DOMiD-Archiv, Cologne

Because connection with other civil society and political actors in the cities was central to the project’s practice, DOMiD sought involvement in regional as well as supra-regional concerns and struggles. For example, the challenges, approaches, and formats of multilingualism were discussed with experts from theory and practice in the 2019 panel discussion Stuttgart Stories on Multilingualism, which took place as part of the International Weeks against Racism Stuttgart (nationwide action weeks organized around the 21st of March, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination). [115] Shortly thereafter, however, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic posed a major challenge for Meinwanderungsland. The project team reacted with various digital strategies, which they had already practiced through the Virtual Migration Museum, another visionary project by DOMiD. [116] The social media campaign became even more central, and the Meinwanderungsland website documented the collected contributions of the participatory actions. There was a blog, video clips, and online events such as webinars and virtual exhibitions, including the online photo exhibition Die Angehörigen (The Relatives), which focused on portraits of bereaved families of victims of right-wing and racist violence and which took place in cooperation with Schauspielhaus Köln and the activist alliance Tribunal NSU Komplex auflösen. [117] Meinwanderungsland thus connected the analogue with the digital world in its practices: “from the real marketplace to exhibitions and workshops to social media,” as the team described it. [118]

What does the institutional critical practice of Meinwanderungsland now mean for the influence of museum structures in the knowledge regime? Regarding institutional critique, it can first be said that the project was not a simple exhibition project that could be found in typical museum spaces. Their practices can best be described using the cultural scientist and art mediator Nora Sternfeld’s term ‘para-institutional,’ meaning working both with and against the institution of the museum. These practices

question the powerful functions of the museum on the basis of its own emancipatory functions: from the revaluation of values to public assembly to critical education. […] Insofar as the para-museum is thereby equally related to the museum in its potential for change and to the social struggles that crisscross logics of domination, it is at the same time entirely part of the museum and part of another order that is possibly just to come. And thus, in the truest sense of the word, a museum of a possible other future. [119]

These para-institutional strategies show a certain interest in institutions, but as counter-institutions, as interventions in the museum exhibitionary complex. [120] Conditions are rearticulated, for example, in the program, audience, and staff, not merely criticized from the outside. This practice is always based on a claim to transformation and change. Practices thus often call themselves ‘museums,’ and also want to become part of museums. [121] In a continuation of a critique that has been voiced since the 1970s, [122] Meinwanderungsland renounced the circumscription of the museum as an ivory tower and a place of science in favor of the recognition of other actors and forms of knowledge, suggesting that the museum should (re)enter into a relationship with society and intervene politically. In so doing, museum practice would be reoriented towards political practice, according to the motto like ‘The migration society in the museum, the museum of the migration society.’ This would be accomplished through alliances with civil society actors outside the museum and through visitors who are no longer passive, but instead are co-creators, thus challenging the view of authority. This vision is about a place where “the audience here no longer recognizes itself only as an observer of the world, but also as an actor in it.” [123] It is not about merely facilitating knowledge, but making it productive, and actively, democratically producing it, while also criticizing the forms of organization, conditions of production, and decision-making processes. The project’s focus is on the process rather than on the product of the exhibition, in order to break with the temporal logics of a museum. The cultural anthropologist Friedrich von Bose writes:

If the process is put first, then the explorative aspect of collaborative curating, the joint search for alternative futures in and with the museum, can also constantly change the institutions in a practice-based reshaping of the institutional structures. [124]

In this sense, the potential for mistakes made by learning institutions is anticipated here; the museum does not appear as or attempt to be omniscient, but sees itself as a learning institution, more as a communication and collecting platform than an exhibition-making entity. [125]

7_Involved-Positioning: Engaged Musealization of Migration

From the beginning, reflecting on one’s own position and involvement was very important within the Meinwanderungsland project. This was initially due to the composition of the team, which had not worked with DOMiD before, but instead together first started to learn about and build upon DOMiD’s long-standing knowledge. The team specifically studied DOMiD’s imaginative practice, which is strongly characterized by a view of the future; as a team member described it: “This look into the future, that you don’t just have this ‘now moment,’ but things have to be written and recorded now for the next generations. It still shapes us in our work today.” [126] The team then concentrated on working with objects from the DOMiD collection, because, as one of the project leaders described it to me: “We don’t want to be the ones who speak alone now, […] rather, we try to let objects speak, or through the objects, tell the stories of the lenders.” [127] The examination of one’s own role not only concerned the lack of expertise about DOMiD but also one’s own specific social positioning:

We wanted to work from multiple perspectives and always take different positions into account. We could not simply stand there and tell the story of the migration society from different perspectives, because we did not represent it ourselves. [128]

The selection of the team members itself was at first highly demonstrative of the role that institutionalized application structures play in this field, and which networks are thus addressed and activated. In the course of the project, strong changes in the composition of the team resulted in DOMiD staff becoming part of the Meinwanderungsland team and also in new staff joining with different perspectives, interests, and emphases in relation to the musealization and education of migration. One project manager commented that this restructuring “was important; that also brought about a shift in the project […] in the direction of empowerment” and also “to address people […] who locate themselves as migrants even more strongly.” [129] Thereafter, the target group was no longer those who did not feel they belonged to a migration society, but rather the migration society itself.

Reflections on the distribution of roles on the team were a constant companion of the project; conversations would often sound like: “We have talked a lot about it among ourselves. How is that for you now? […] That was good and that was certainly a lot of learning within our team.” [130] This attitude of learning, of utmost importance among the team, was also evident in their later reflections on the difficulties in approaching visitors on the street, when DOMiD staffers learned that people had to be approached very actively if they were to be further engaged. A DOMiD staff member explained the crucial role of self-reflection in this project:

I think we have helped to shape this musealization […] and at the same time we have also reflected on it and learned from it. This reflection on how the topic of migration appeared and was dealt with in the museum landscape, we also process it back. And we always go a step further. I have the feeling that it is an association where you can actually take risks and try new things out. [131]

In addition, the project leaders also described a new role that emerged in the course of their work:

As a project team, we also tested new museum spaces and practices of exchange: in this step, we were no longer the authoritative, curatorial instances that prescribe content and interpretations, but functioned as translators and moderators of the exchange of knowledge of our migration society. [132]

What does self-critical practice mean for the knowledge production of migration? Given the danger that self-reflective critique can too easily remain a surface-level gesture rather than effecting structural changes, participatory approaches must always be read critically. In the Meinwanderungsland-project, self-involvement is acknowledged and taken as a starting point. The history of the institutions and the power structures are objectified not only in institutions but also in the employees who incorporate and reproduce the institutional habitus in social interactions. This is why critique is always about the thematization and politicization of one’s own involvement. [133] The actors in the project also valued the knowledge that had already been produced. Critical practice, as social scientist Alex Demirović writes, is thus “not a given, but requires a specific effort to preserve previous critical knowledge and produce new ones.” [134] I use the term ‘engaged musealization’ to describe the involved critical practice for a different future, since it places a high priority on self-reflection and one’s own political situatedness in museal practice, and constantly questions one’s own position in an engaged way. One’s own museal practice is not anticipated in advance as explanatory and omniscient but mediating and moderating. This is a musealization that is interested in dismantling discrimination and the related conditions of injustice within the knowledge production.

8_‘Futurability’ or: What Comes After Critique?

The previous empirical chapters have considered the project’s orientation towards a future as an imaginative and anticipated goal and the impact they have on knowledge production in the knowledge regime of migration. In conclusion, this chapter wants to show what potential existed in the project and what real changes have been brought about by the critique of the exhibition project. Traces in the exhibitionary complex of migration can be identified that point back to Meinwanderungsland and projects with similar critical practices. So what came after the critique that was evident in Meinwanderungsland’s future practices? Or in other words: “How can the critique of the museum have consequences in the museum that we do not already define and know beforehand?” [135]

There are already many outreach projects and numerous initiatives that deal with the topic of migration. However, #Meinwanderungsland takes a completely new approach to education: Here, not just one story is told. Instead, a wide variety of stories are included and heard, so that the project becomes a symbol of our plural society. It encourages a change of perspective: In the history of Europe, migration has always been the rule, never the exception. [136]

The quote is taken from praise by the Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft (Cultural Policy Association), which for the first time in July 2021 awarded the Zukunftspreis “KULTURGESTALTEN” (Future Award “Shaping Culture”) as part of the Future Forum for Cultural Policy. Meinwanderungsland was recognized in the category of ‘individual projects,’ revealing the project’s impact on the exhibitionary complex more broadly. The education practice, especially, has continued to have an impact, particularly in the institutional and self-criticism that goes hand in hand with a new understanding of education that encompasses “active anti-racism and anti-discrimination work.” [137] The project’s influence on the Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft is evident in DOMiD’s executive director’s reaction to the award:

This commitment to the migration society, which our house stands for, has become the motto of Meinwanderungsland: Every story counts. The award is a motivation for us to continue on our path towards a new type of museum that emerges from society. [138]

Meinwanderungsland continues to be an important “trial balloon” [139] whose impulses flow into other museums; this includes, for example, calls for a new understanding of the museum audience because Meinwanderungsland reached beyond a typical museum public. [140] In addition, the project established a strong network among different institutions and actors in Germany. As a flagship project of the Commissioner for Integration, Meinwanderungslandachieved more visibility for DOMiD itself in the political sphere; it also drew attention to the DOMiD collection, and expanded the collection with multimedia projects. The framework of Meinwanderungsland anticipated that is now being implemented. Here it is to be shown

how migration has inscribed itself in German history and shapes our society today. As a cultural and meeting place, the new house will also offer space to discuss central questions about identity, living together and participation. [141]

The self-critique also left a mark on DOMiD itself because the discussions “we had in the team were of course reflected on DOMiD as a whole all the time and were then also discussed in a large group […] also because the project went on for three years, it was not just a project. It was a lot about DOMiD and where we were going.” [142] The following quote by DOMiD’s executive director illustrates that Meinwanderungsland has influenced DOMiD’s understanding of museums and museum practice:

I really see museums as places that can and should have an impact on society. […] It’s about an open place of exchange that enables participation, where discussion and negotiation processes take place. A place that actually reaches out to the people. […] We have just made a first outreach attempt with the project Meinwanderungsland. [143]

Not much time has passed since the Meinwanderungsland project ended, so it remains to be seen what further critical traces the project has left behind.


This paper shows how Meinwanderungsland created narratives, para-institutional and involved practices for a different production of knowledge and musealization of migration. On the one hand, the project made the future imaginable in the present and, on the other hand, it set the course for a different future. Despite the challenges, the exhibition project succeeded in combining social critique and institutional critique with critical self-questioning, such that critique thus became a “permanent process of instituting.” [144] Despite the various forms of critique, the musealization of migration remains an essential vehicle for DOMiD—and many other actors who previously lacked agency within an institutional framework—to give migrant-situated knowledge a central place in society. In this sense, it counteracted unequal distribution in the knowledge regime by adding voices, actively forming networks, introducing an ‘instituting practice,’ and critiquing other rules and networks of the game of knowledge production and structural framework conditions. Meinwanderungsland set impulses for a new way of education, and developed and consolidated formats that have become models for future museum practice. The project had a ‘futurability’ that representatively and structurally helped the ‘perspective of migration’ to become more permanent, both in the exhibitionary complex and in the knowledge regime of migration on a representative and structural level. These forms of ‘engaged musealization’ may not directly dissolve resistant hierarchies, but they can help counteract injustices in the knowledge regime of migration.

_How to Cite

Farina Asche. “Critical Traces of the Future in Exhibition Projects About Migration: The Case of the Project Meinwanderungsland.” On_Culture: The Open Journal for the Study of Culture 15 (2023). <>.
CC-BY 4.0


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  • [58] Lea Bauer and Eva Nöthen “Kritisches Kartieren als künstlerischer Forschungsmodus,” 159–160.
  • [59] Konrad Kuhn, “Wissen,” in Kulturtheoretisch argumentieren: Ein Arbeitsbuch, eds. Timo Heimerdinger and Markus Tauschek (Münster: Waxmann, 2020), 526.
  • [60] Isabell Lorey, “Konstituierende Kritik: Die Kunst, den Kategorien zu entgehen,” in Kunst der Kritik, eds. Birgit Mennel, Stefan Nowotny, and Gerald Rauning (Wien: Turia und Kant, 2010), 47–64, here: 57.
  • [61] Henriette Lidchi, “The Poetics and Politics of Exhibiting Others,” in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices, ed. Stuart Hall (London: Sage Publications, 1997), 153–219.
  • [62] Rebecca Bryant and Daniel M. Knight, The Anthropology of the Future (Cambridge: University Press, 2019), 15.
  • [63] Friedrich von Bose, “Das Museum der Zukunft ist auch nicht mehr das, was es mal war: Zur Zeitlichkeit im Museum,” in Das Museum der Zukunft: 43 neue Beiträge zur Diskussion über die Zukunft des Museums, eds. schnittpunkt and Joachim Baur (Bielefeld: transcript, 2020), 269–274, here: 269–270.
  • [64] Beate Binder and Silvy Chakkalakal, “Dangerous Temporalities: Die unerträgliche Ungleichzeitigkeit des Gleichzeitigen,” Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 16, no. 1 (2022): 105–107, here: 106, translated by the author. Original quote: “Temporale Positionalitäten.”
  • [65] Elizabeth Edwards, The Camera as Historian: Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012), 7.
  • [66] Silvy Chakkalakal, “The World that could be: Gender, Bildung, Zukunft und das Projekt einer Anticipatory Anthropology,” Zeitschrift für Volkskunde 114, no. 1 (2018): 3–28, here: 10, translated by the author. Original quote: “der Gleichzeitigkeit von Machtraum […] und von Möglichkeitsraum zu tun.”
  • [67] Andreas Reckwitz, Kreativität und soziale Praxis: Studien zur Sozial- und Gesellschaftstheorie (Bielefeld: transcript, 2016), 119.
  • [68] Silvy Chakkalakal and Julie Ren, “Un/doing Future, Unsettling Temporalization,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 46, no. 5 (2022): 845–850, here: 847.
  • [69] Chakkalakal and Ren, “Un/doing Future,” 848.
  • [70] Opitz and Tellmann “Future Emergencies,” 111.
  • [71] Arjun Appadurai, The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition (London: Verso, 2013).
  • [72] Reckwitz, Kreativität und soziale Praxis, 127, translated by the author. Original quote: “in denen Zeichensysteme, Argumentationen, Narrationen und Visualitäten hergestellt werden und zirkulieren.”
  • [73] Reckwitz, Kreativität und soziale Praxis, 127, translated by the author. Original quote: “ein Raum expliziten und thematisierten Wissens, das andere Praktiken und auch deren implizites Wissen beeinflusst.”
  • [74] Chakkalakal, “Anticipatory Anthropology,” 18, translated by the author. Original quote: “Wissenspraxis bringt Imagination […] also eine ‚neue Zeit‘ in Form von Zukunft und Zukunftswissen hervor.”
  • [75] Bryant and Knight, Future, 28.
  • [76] Heritage Futures was a 4-year interdisciplinary and international research project that explored the role of cultural practices for futures. For further information see: Rodney Harrison et al., Heritage Futures: Comparative Approaches to Natural and Cultural Heritage Practices (London: UCL Press, 2020).
  • [77] Franco Berardi, Futurability: The Age of Impotence and the Horizon of Possibility (London: Verso, 2017), 3; Harrison, Heritage, 35.
  • [78] von Bose, “Zeitlichkeit,” 273, translated by the author. Original quote: “als kritische Spur schon längst im Hier und Jetzt angekommen.”
  • [79] Isabell Lorey, “Kritik und Kategorie: Zur Begrenzung politischer Praxis durch neuere Theoreme der Intersektionalität, Interdependenz und Kritischen Weißseinsforschung,” transversal texts 10 (2008): 1–11, here: 6.
  • [80] Foucault, Was ist Kritik, 383.
  • [81] Rauning, “Instituierende Praxen,” translated by the author. Original quote: “instituierende Praktiken.”
  • [82] Rauning, “Instituierende Praxen,” 5.
  • [83] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [84] DOMiD, “Pressemitteilung: Deutschland ist #Meinwanderungsland,” meinwanderungsland, August 24, 2018, <>, translated by the author. Original quote: “Jede Geschichte zählt.”
  • [85] Authaler and Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 77, translated and transposed by the author. Original quote: “das die prägenden Einflüsse von Migration weitestgehend ausblendet”; “überwiegend Weiße deutsche Personen […] als zentrale Figuren der Geschichte gelten.”
  • [86] Authaler and Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 77, translated and transposed by the author. Original quote: “neue, multiperspektivische Erinnerungskultur […], die Menschen mit transnationalen Familiengeschichten und die gelebten Realitäten in unserer Migrationsgesellschaft nicht länger ausschließt.”
  • [87] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [88] DOMiD, “Historyslider 1985,” accessed February 10, 2023, <>.
  • [89] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [90] Authaler and Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 77.
  • [91] Regina Wonisch, “Museum und Migration: Einleitung,” in Museum und Migration: Konzepte-Kontexte-Kontroversen, eds. Regina Wonisch and Thomas Hübel (Bielefeld: transcript, 2012), 9–32; Hess, “Movements of Migration,” 17.
  • [92] Authaler and Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 78.
  • [93] Team Member Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 23, 2019.
  • [94] DOMiD, “Mit Objekten lernen – Rassimus begreifen,” accessed February 20, 2023, <>, translated by the author. Original quote: “Mit Objekten lernen – Rassismus begreifen.”
  • [95] DOMiD, “Mit Objekten lernen – Rassimus begreifen,” 2, translated by the author. Original quote: “Soziale Empathie entwickeln; Betroffene oder sich selbst empowern (stärken); Solidarität und Gemeinschaftsgefühl entwickeln; Eigenverantwortung, Zivilcourage und demokratische Partizipation stärken und dadurch die Teilhabe im gesellschaftlichen Leben erleichtern.”
  • [96] DOMiD, “Projektpräsentation 26.11.2020,” unpublished material, 38.
  • [97] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [98] Neue Deutsche Medienmacher*innen, “Tätigkeitsbericht 2019,” accessed February 28, 2023, <>, 17.
  • [99] Erol Yıldız, “Stadt ist Migration,” in Eigensinnige Geographien Städtische Raumaneignungen als Ausdruck gesellschaftlicher Teilhabe, eds. Malte Bergman and Bastian Lange (Wiesbaden: Springer VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 2011), 71–80, here: 71, translated by the author. Original quote: “Stadt ist Migration.”
  • [100] Serhat Karakayalı and Vassilis Tsianos, “Mapping the Order of New Migration: Undokumentierte Arbeit und die Autonomie der Migration,” PERIPHERIE: Zeitschrift für Politik und Ökonomie in der Dritten Welt 24, no. 97/98 (2005): 35–64, here: 36, translated by the author. Original quote: “Kohärenz und Wirkungsmacht aus den Kämpfen der Migration selbst.”
  • [101] Hess, “Movements of Migration,” 19.
  • [102] Manuela Bojadžijev, “Geschichte der Migration neu schreiben: Erkundungen und Entdeckungen jenseits der Grenzen nationaler Geschichtsschreibung,” in Crossing Munich: Beiträge zur Migration aus Kunst, Wissenschaft und Aktivismus, eds. Natalie Bayer et al. (München: Verlag Silke Schreiber, 2009), 102–105, here: 105, translated by the author. Original quote: “dialektische Denkfigur.”
  • [103] Bojadžijev, Die windige Internationale, 285.
  • [104] Bojadžijev, “Geschichte der Migration,” 105, translated by the author. Original quote: “nicht nur im Vergleich mit gestern, sondern im Sinne einer Kritik für morgen.”
  • [105] Natalie Bayer, Belinda Kazeem-Kamiński, and Nora Sternfeld, eds., Kuratieren als antirassistische Praxis (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2017), translated by the author. Original quote: “Kuratieren als antirassistische Praxis.”
  • [106] Authaler und Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 77–78.
  • [107] DOMiD, “Projektpräsentation 26.11.2020,” unpublished material, 4, translated by the author. Original quote: “Expert*innen […] nicht (nur) die Projektmitarbeitenden [sieht], sondern die (Post)Migrant*innen und teilnehmenden Personen.”
  • [108] Authaler and Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 77, translated by the author. Original quote: “Museum unterwegs.”
  • [109] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [110] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [111] See figure 4. Source: DOMiD-Archiv, Cologne.
  • [112] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [113] Authaler und Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 77–78. To give some examples of the mentioned stories: “New ideas enrich our country and this is only possible with migration,” “Migration can help us to get more open-minded.” See more: <>.
  • [114] Caroline Authaler cited in “Pressemitteilung: Deutschland ist #Meinwanderungsland,” meinwanderungsland, August 24, 2018, <>, translated by the author. Original quote: “sich das Einwanderungsland zu eigen zu machen und es aktiv mitzugestalten.”
  • [115] DOMiD, “Veranstaltungsflyer: Stuttgarter Geschichten der Mehrsprachigkeit 13. März 2019,” accessed February 10, 2023, <>.
  • [116] See DOMiD e.V., “Virtuelles Migrationsmuseum,” accessed February 28, 2023, <>. For further information on the event see: DOMiD, “Podiumsgespräch: ‘Stuttgarter Geschichten der Mehrsprachigkeit’,” accessed February 28, 2023, <>.
  • [117] Authaler and Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 78.
  • [118] Jury Kulturgestalten, “Laudatio #Meinwanderungsland,” accessed 10 February, 2023, <>, translated by the author. Original quote: “vom realen Marktplatz über Ausstellungen und Workshops bis zu Social Media.”
  • [119] Martina Griesser-Stermscheg et al., “Das Museum der Zukunft,” in Das Museum der Zukunft: 43 neue Beiträge zur Diskussion über die Zukunft des Museums, eds. schnittpunkt and Joachim Baur (Bielefeld: transcript, 2020), 17–31, here: 29, translated by the author. Original quote: “stellt die machtvollen Funktionen des Museums anhand von dessen eigenen emanzipatorischen Funktionen in Frage: Von der Umwertung der Werte über die öffentliche Versammlung bis zur kritischen Bildung. […] Insofern, das Para-Museum dabei ebenso auf das Museum in seinem Veränderungspotenzial und auf die sozialen Kämpfe, die Herrschaftslogiken durchkreuzen, bezogen ist, ist es zugleich ganz Teil des Museums und Teil einer anderen Ordnung, die möglicherweise erst im Kommen ist. Und damit im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes ein Museum einer möglichen anderen Zukunft.”
  • [120] Chantal Mouffe, “Kritik als gegenhegemoniale Intervention,” in Kunst der Kritik, eds. Birgit Mennel, Stefan Nowotny, and Gerald Rauning (Wien: Turia und Kant, 2010), 33–45, here: 40.
  • [121] Bini Adamczak and Nora Sternfeld, “Konvergenz der Zukünfte: Über widerständige Ästhetiken, imaginative Gegengeschichten und Institutionen als Beziehungsweisen,” in How to Relate: Wissen, Künste, Praktiken / Knowledge, Arts, Practices, eds. Annika Haas et al. (Bielefeld: transcript, 2021), 79–93, here: 91.
  • [122] Sharon Macdonald, “Museen erforschen: Für eine Museumswissenschaft in der Erweiterung,” in Museumsanalyse Methoden und Konturen eines neuen Forschungsfeldes, ed. Joachim Baur (Bielefeld: transcript, 2010), 59–72.
  • [123] Kerstin Poehls, “Zum Stand der Dinge: Migration in Museum: Überlegungen zur auratischen Praxis in Ausstellungen,” in Crossing Munich: Beiträge zur Migration aus Kunst, Wissenschaft und Aktivismus, eds. Natalie Bayer et al. (München: Verlag Silke Schreiber, 2009), 94–96, here: 96, translated by the author. Original quote: “das Publikum hier nicht länger nur als BetrachterIn der Welt, sondern auch als AkteurIn in ihr erkennt.”
  • [124] von Bose, “Zeitlichkeit,” 273, translated by the author. Original quote: “Denn wenn der Prozess in diesem Sinne vorangestellt wird, dann kann in einer praxisbezogenen Umgestaltung der institutionellen Gefüge auch das Explorative des kollaborativen Kuratierens, die gemeinsame Suche eben auch nach alternativen Zukünften im und mit dem Museum die Institutionen stetig verändern.”
  • [125] Susanne Gesser et al., “Das partizipative Museum,” in Das partizipative Museum: Zwischen Teilhabe und User Generated Content: Neue Anforderungen an kulturhistorische Ausstellungen, eds. Susanne Gesser et al. (Bielefeld: transcript, 2012), 10–19, here: 11.
  • [126] Team member Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 23, 2019.
  • [127] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [128] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [129] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [130] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [131] Team member Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 23, 2019.
  • [132] Authaler und Lehmann, “Erinnerungskultur,” 78, translated by the author. Original quote: “Als Projektteam erprobten wir dadurch auch neue museale Räume und Praktiken des Austausches: Wir waren in diesem Schritt nicht mehr die autoritativen, kuratorischen Instanzen, die Inhalt und Deutungen vorgeben, sondern fungierten als Übersetzer*innen und Moderator*innen des Wissensaustausches unserer Migrationsgesellschaft.”
  • [133] Nora Sternfeld, Das radikaldemokratische Museum(Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 73–84.
  • [134] Alex Demirovic, “Zur Neuformierung kritischen Wissens,” transversal texts 12 (2005): 1–5, here: 4, translated by the author. Original quote: “keine selbstverständliche Gegebenheit ist, sondern dass es der spezifischen Anstrengungen bedarf, früheres kritisches Wissen zu bewahren und neues zu erzeugen.”
  • [135] Nora Sternfeld, “Um die Spielregeln spielen: Partizipation im post-repräsentativen Museum,” in Das partizipative Museum: Zwischen Teilhabe und User Generated Content: Neue Anforderungen an kulturhistorische Ausstellungen, eds. Susanne Gesser et al. (Bielefeld: transcript, 2012), 119–126, here: 123–124, translated by the author. Original quote: “Wie kann die Kritik am Museum im Museum Folgen haben, die wir nicht bereits vorher definieren oder kennen?”
  • [136] Jury Kulturgestalten, “Laudatio,” translated by the author. Original quote: “Es gibt bereits etliche Outreach-Projekte und zahlreiche Vorhaben, die das Thema Migration behandeln. #Meinwanderungsland geht dennoch einen ganz neuen Weg der Vermittlung: Hier wird nicht die eine Geschichte erzählt. Vielmehr finden unterschiedlichste Geschichten Eingang und Gehör, sodass das Projekt zum Sinnbild unserer pluralen Gesellschaft wird. Es regt einen Perspektivwechsel an: Migration ist in der Geschichte Europas immer die Regel, nie die Ausnahme gewesen.”
  • [137] Jury Kulturgestalten, “Laudatio,” translated by the author. Original quote: “Aktivem Antirassismus und Antidiskriminierungsarbeit.”
  • [138] DOMiD, “Pressemitteilung: DOMiD gewinnt Zukunftspreis ‘Kulturgestalten’ 8.7.2021,” July 8, 2021, <>, translated by the author. Original quote: “Dieses Bekenntnis zur Migrationsgesellschaft, für das unser Haus steht, ist zum Motto von Meinwanderungsland geworden: Jede Geschichte zählt. Die Auszeichnung ist für uns Ansporn, unseren Weg fortzusetzen für ein Museum neuen Typs, das aus der Gesellschaft heraus entsteht.”
  • [139] Team member, Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 23, 2019.
  • [140] Team member, Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 23, 2019.
  • [141] DOMiD, “DOMiD gewinnt Zukunftspreis,” translated by the author. Original quote: “wie Migration sich in die deutsche Geschichte eingeschrieben hat und unsere heutige Gesellschaft prägt. Als Kultur- und Begegnungsstätte soll das neue Haus zudem Raum bieten, um zentrale Fragen um Identität, Zusammenleben und Teilhabe zu diskutieren.”
  • [142] Project Manager Meinwanderungsland, Interview May 11, 2021.
  • [143] DOMiD Executive Director, Interview July 25, 2019.
  • [144] Rauning, “Instituierende Praxen,” 1, translated by the author. Original quote: “permanenter Prozess der Instituierung.”