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Karolina Koprowska

Tag Plaszow: The Curatorial Collective as a New Generation of Museology in Poland

This paper presents the exhibition and intervention projects curated on the site of the former concentration camp in Krakow (KL Plaszow). The Curatorial Collective is a group of young graduate and post-graduate scholars working under the auspices of Jagiellonian University’s Research Center for Memory Cultures, which develops pro-bono projects dealing with memory and “difficult heritage.” The Curatorial Collective represents a generational shift in museology in its use of what Piotr Piotrowski in Critical Museum called a “horizontal perspective.” Namely, the group’s activities are based on values of collectivity, cooperation, involvement, and activism, as well as an intention to use curatorial approaches to address contemporary social problems. Projects relate to local history, memory, landscape, and public space. Interactions with its dwellers, institutions, and media are not only inevitable, but a constitutive component of the projects. By provoking interactions and building community, the Collective aims to reshape local and ultimately national collective memory by making visible and meaningful aspects of the tangible and intangible past that have been “disinherited” due to their “dissonance” with prevailing memorial norms. The presentation will discuss the challenges of creating new practices of commemoration, and draw some broader conclusions from key projects.

Karolina Koprowska is a graduate student in Polish studies and Jewish studies at Jagiellonian University, and recipient of the Polish Diamond Scholarship for graduate students (2016). Currently, she is developing the research project “Birthplace as a Critical Category of Cultural Studies: Migrations – Identity – Memory.” She has received scholarships from several institutions, including the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, and the Naomi Prawer Kadar International Yiddish Summer Program at Tel Aviv University. She is co-author of the book Szczekociny w opowiesciach mieszkancow. Czasy przedwojenne i wojna (2014), and editor of Wies: miejsce, doswiadczenie, opowiesc (2016).