Museums in their Neighbourhoods

While the museum, its spatial structure and exhibitionary regimes have long been subject to scholarly inquiry, its position in the city and especially in neighbourhoods has often been neglected. In this session of the WeberWorldCafé, we take a closer look at the museum’s place in the neighbourhood. Drawing on a number of case studies, we ask how different museums intervene upon the spatial make-up and the social fabric of the neighbourhoods in which they are located. To what extent does the universality of the museum form and its knowledge-making structures render itself to local sociabilities, processes, and practices? How does local memory play out in different museums and what are some of the practices through which they foster or fail to foster participatory environments? What role might neighbourhood museums play in post-conflict contexts?

Entrance to the Museum Çanakkale | CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

Part of our discussion aims to extrapolate differences between art museums in the narrower sense and socio-historically oriented ones, as well as between built structures appropriated by museum projects and those originally designed as museums. In so doing, we seek to reflect upon and understand how museums feature in larger urban processes, such as gentrification, migration, and post-conflict reconstruction. Among the examples that we would like to open up for discussion are the FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum, Beit Beirut, the Çanakkale City Museum and Archive, and the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin.


Banu Karaca | Picture by Claudia Peppel

Banu Karaca (Mercator-IPC Fellow) is an  anthropologist working at the intersection of political anthropology and critical theory, art and aesthetics, nationalism and cultural policy, museums and feminist memory studies. Her recent publications examine the entrenchment of art in state violence, freedom of expression in the arts,the visualization of gendered memories of war and political violence, and visual literacy. Her current research focuses on how lost, dispossessed, and misattributed artworks have shaped the writing of Post-Ottoman art histories. 

Katarzyna Puzon | Picture by Tal Adler

Katarzyna Puzon is an anthropologist and a post-doctoral researcher on the Making Differences Project at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMAH) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research interests lie at the intersection of heritage, memory, mobility, and cities. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Beirut and currently focuses on Berlin,where she examines the politics and poetics of representation and recognition, primarily in relation to Islam and heritage-making. Her recent publications include “Saving Beirut: heritage and the city” in International Journal of Heritage Studies.


Max Weber Stiftung

The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research, focused on the areas of social sciences, cultural studies and the humanities. Our research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries across the globe with different and independent fields of focus. Through our globally operating institutes, we are able to contribute to the communication and networking between Germany and our host countries or regions. By promoting academic dialogue and merging academic and non-academic employees from several countries with different cultural backgrounds, the Max Weber Foundation is able to strengthen the internationalization of research.

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