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Voices of Cultural Memory

Museums/Institutes Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Museumplein 10
1071 DJ Amsterdam
+31 (0)20 5732911

Open Daily 10-18 hrs
Fri 10-22 hrs

Conversation 27 Jan

Time 12 Dec, 14:30-17 hrs


Credits: Wikipedia Commons

In social and political debates about cultural identity the connection to cultural memory has become increasingly important. Cultural memory is here understood to refer to the way in which a community constructs a shared memory of events that are of relevance to the whole group. Even those individuals who did not experience an event first-hand share in this memory, through representations of the event in cultural objects (such as artworks or monuments) and actions (such as rituals and commemorations). An example of an event that lives on in this way is the Holocaust: although most of us were born after the historical event, we all share in a general, cultural memory of this tragedy. 

In the construction of this shared cultural memory, museums play an important role. The strategies employed by museums in telling stories and conveying emotions all influence this process of construction. The audiotour is a clear example of such a strategy. In collaboration with Leiden University, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam currently carries out a research project on the impact of different technologies that can be used in audiotours. The research takes place within the context of the exhibition “I am a native foreigner,” which focuses on both personal and shared memories of migration. The researchers aim to understand how different types of audiotours influence the ways in which artworks and narratives are experienced by the museum visitor. 

As part of the ongoing research project, the museum and Leiden University are organizing a symposium around the theme of Cultural Memory. During the symposium visitors will participate in the study by visiting the exhibition and listening to two fragments of different audio guides, and share their experiences with the researchers. After that, two of Leiden University’s professors, Prof. dr. Anthonya Visser and Prof. dr. Yra van Dijk, will each give a lecture on the role of cultural memory. The symposium will end with drinks, so that speakers, researchers and visitors can exchange thoughts and ideas.

2.30 - 2.45 Registration
2.45 - 4 pm Audio tours and questionaire throughout the exhibition I am a Native Foreigner
4 pm - 5 pm Lectures by Anthonya Visser and Yra van Dijk
5 pm Drinks, or museum visit until 6 pm

Anthonya Visser’s (professor of Modern European, in particular German, Literature and Culture) research focus in literary studies is on identity and cultural memory, including Körper und Intertextualität. Strategien des kulturellen Gedächtnisses in der Gegenwartsliteratur (Böhlau 2012). Her work has always paid attention to theoretical questions concerning the position of literature in relation to other ways of producing meaning and human understanding. She is academic director of LUCAS.

Yra van Dijk (professor of Dutch Literary Studies) focuses on the media of memory, specifically Memory of war and conflict. She coordinates the European project 'Digital memory of the Holocaust', in which curators, artists and scholars collaborate to research websites, digital archives, museum installations, and social media. She convenes the “Memory and Identity” research group.

€21.50, tickets via


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