Museum and Heritage Studies and Cultural Heritage Processes

At the Department of ALM, museum and cultural heritage studies began as museology at the end of the 1990s, but has in recent years come to embrace “heritage” in its broader sense, including tangible and intangible dimensions and perspectives. Hereby, the department´s research aligns with the international view on heritage as used by UNESCO in which all human activities are included as expressed in monuments, artifacts, art, rituals, landscape and conflict and disaster areas. This reflects that “heritage” partly has come to overlap “culture” and is defined as a process in which people use the past to explain and understand their own society and identity in relationship to others. 

This is an interesting development, which partly encourages the research field to become multidisciplinary, but at the same time is dependent on the disciplinary home of the researcher and the heritage sector´s needs. For example, a researcher interested in pedagogic and visitor experiences and communication, studies museum and heritage learning experiences, perhaps with special focus on gender or participation in relation to type of museum. If one is interested in the materiality of heritage collection management, artifacts and reasons for collecting, the what, how and why are considered.  If the researcher comes from environmental studies, the interests are directed towards landscape and protected areas such as biospheres, cultural and natural environments in which humans have made footprints. And if the person is a cultural anthropologist, the research can focus on development and heritage in relation to sustainability. These examples illustrate that the museum and heritage research at the department is socially oriented and ultimately aims to make a difference in people’s daily life. However, applied research never omits theoretical and conceptual discussions, but are driven by empirical research.      

The department has developed a special research competence on heritage in conflict, post-conflict and disaster areas. The research revolves around how collective memories, heritage and trauma are expressed and used in the reconciliation process, when individuals, communities and nations are striving to find their place in a transformed social and political reality. The research is directly connected to the Master profile course on heritage and conflict, which is currently part of the ALM master program, but might again be given as a freestanding course for interested students to apply to. This means that research and education are closely intertwined, which is a ground bulk in university education. 


Following researchers at the Department of ALM pursue studies related to the theme:

  • Inga-Lill Aronsson
  • Ann-Christine Norlén
  • Olle Sköld
  • Ulrika Kjellman
  • Anna Foka

Last modified: 2023-11-27