WorkLab General Conference 2024

Welcome to The Museum of Work and the WorkLab General Conference 2024! The theme for the conference is "Future Workers' Museums – Creativity in Times of Crisis?".

10 december 2024 12 december 2024
Arbetets museum, Norrköping

Peter Holgersson

WorkLab General Conference December 10-12, 2024, Norrköping, Sweden

Theme: Future Workers’ Museums – Creativity In Times Of Crisis?

Call for papers

In present time, the destruction of cultural heritage buildings and objects due to war or natural disasters has become an urgent topic to manage in wider society, as well as among museum professionals. In Europe it has become a key issue in EU politics.[1] Actions taken of disaster preparedness and emergency planning for collections is nowadays familiar tasks for labour history museums and archives. At the same time, we face loads of practical work with digitization of cultural heritage collections alongside societal threats of hacker attacks, deep fake, and interference of politics in museum and archive governance. Digital technologies progress in a high speed and become more accessible to use. New methods of depicting cultural heritage, industrial work, workers’ memoirs, and workers’ movements, such as the use of immersive media, 3D and AI provide possibilities to keep pace with technological changes in wider society and potentially attract audiences. But can also entail risks and problems that we need to deal with.

What do we, museums, and archives, gain by adopting new methodologies, and what are the risks? In what way can we use oral history in the future? What can we learn from different national contexts and from previously used methods, which are possible to develop and adapt to today’s reality? And how do we store and protect the material? Which networks, forms of cooperation and professional knowledge need to strengthen? How do we keep up with contemporary discourses and stay relevant for our audiences and for societies?

The conference invites papers and workshops relating to this broad theme, including the following suggested topics:

  • Digital technologies and methods in exploring and displaying worker´s memoirs, professional skills, artefacts, and workers´ movements.
  • Examples of political inference in museum and archive governance and ways of resistance to political threats.
  • Risk management, emergency planning and preservation.
  • Audience experiences, exhibitions, active collecting, and co-creation processes with audiences.
  • Utopian ideas and creative approaches in times of crisis, today and earlier in history.

This year’s General Conference of WORKLAB – will bring together WORKLAB members, museums, archives, and researchers to discuss the role of methodology and in particular new ways of depicting cultural heritage in the collections, research, and exhibition activities of labour history museums in times of crisis.

Practical information

The WORKLAB General Conference 2024 will take place in the amazing surroundings of the Museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden. Please send your 500-word abstract for papers and workshops themes (including suggestions on participants and chair) no later than September 15, 2024, to Helena Törnqvist helena.tornqvist@arbetetsmuseum.se

Please include a short biography as well. Presentations will be 20 minutes and 10 minutes for discussions.

For registration and questions, please contact helena.tornqvist@arbetetsmuseum.se

Location and transportation

The Museum of Work is in the city of Norrköping. It is possible to travel by train (for instance directly from Berlin, Hamburg, and Copenhagen to Norrköping), by plane with KLM to Linköping 40 km from Norrköping (from the city of Amsterdam-Linköping and Helsinki-Linköping) or to Arlanda airport and change to train to Norrköping (approximately 1,5 hours ride).

Hotel suggestions

Best Western Princess hotel is located 1 km from the train station and 0,30 km from The Museum of Work. Conference participants will have a reduced price.

General Assembly

The Conference includes the general assembly of WORKLAB. It is open for all WORKLAB members, and we also welcome those who consider joining our network. We are going to discuss upcoming projects and elect the members of the board. If you are interested to take an active role in WORKLAB or want to suggest someone for the assembly, please contact the current chairman Søren Bak-Jensen (sbj@arbejdermuseet.dk)


[1] https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/en/news/commission-invites-member-states-contribute-collection-3d-digitised-cultural-heritage-assets


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