Areas of Research

Work Package 1 “Connectivities built by institutions”
PhD Project 4


Extending and internalising participatory practices: towards an incorporation of multiple cultural memories in ethnographical representations in the museum


This research project draws on the rapid increase of projects with and about refugees since the refugee protection crisis in 2015. It reflects on past and ongoing projects in museums that engage(d) recent flight migrants through participatory practices. Through collaborative rather than authoritative practices, museums aim to incorporate multiple cultural memories in the ethnographic representations that constitute the museum discourse. The research project maps participatory practices with refugees in cultural, historical and ethnographic museums and discusses the possibilities of increasing their long-term effective presence for (the) museum(s), participants and the public. It addresses the representation of memory within institutional frameworks and both the prospective and achieved goals of the different participants in these projects. Through measuring the projects’ impact on the museums’ collections, practices and discourses, as well as on the involved participants, the project sets out to define and possibly increase the sustainability of these museum projects.




Academic Qualifications

Oct 2018
PhD Candidate at Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Berlin, and the Institute of European Ethnology/Cultural Anthropology, University of Hamburg, Germany

Master of Arts in Art Museum and Gallery Studies, University of Leicester, United Kingdom

Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a minor in Cultural Anthropology at the University of Bologna, Italy

Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Work Experience

Nov 2017-Sep 2018
Exhibitions Manager at Atelier Van Lieshout, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Nov 2016-Nov 2017
Programme Assistant at S1 Artspace, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Oct 2016-Nov 2017
Dutch Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Jul 2016-Oct 2017
Curator (freelance) at LifeSpace Science Art Research Centre, University of Dundee, United Kingdom

Nov 2015-Jul 2016
Workshop Facilitator at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, United Kingdom

Feb 2015-Nov 2015
Office Assistant, Het Balletorkest (Dutch Ballet Orchestra), Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Nov 2013-May 2014
Marketing & Communication Assistant at ICKamsterdam (Modern Dance Company), Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Research Interests

  • Participation and Community Engagement
  • Contemporary Curatorial Practices
  • Communicating Cultural Heritage
  • Digital Museum Practices
  • (Interpreting) Public Sculpture


Boersma, S (2021). Aandacht voor ‘de vluchteling’ – Stereotype represenatie van vlucht in musea. In: Boekman Extra #23. Boekmanstichting.

Boersma, S./ Chahine, A. / Mucha, F. / Zwart, I. (2021). The Archive of Forgotten Memories: A Participatory Process of Reflexivity. In: Eidenhiser, I./ Tietmeyer, E./ Boersma, S. (Eds.): What’s Missing? Collecting and Exhibiting Europe. Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Vol. 24. Berlin: Reimer Verlag, pp. 241-245.

Boersma, S. (2020). Facilitators of Integration? The Potential Role of Museums in Integration as a Two-Way Process. In: Museological Review (24). Leicester, University of Leicester, pp. 114-124.

Boersma, S./ Hutchinson, L. (Ed.): Sculpture Park Hill. A social history of the sculpture park’s location. Sheffield: S1 Artspace, 2017.

Recent Conferences and Workshop Presentations

Boersma, S./ Tran, Q.-T./Zwart, I./ Kist, C.: “Infrastructures and future possibilities for the participation” at the digital 5th Biennial Conference “ACHS 2020 FUTURES” of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies (ACHS), 26-30. Aug. 2020.

Boersma, S.: ‘The museum as a facilitator: Stimulating the integration of recent refugees in Berlin’, ASA19 Conference on ‘Anthropological Perspectives on Global Challenges’, University of East Anglia, UK, September 2019.

Boersma, S./ Zwart, I./Mucha, F.: POEM One Stop Shop “Digital Archives of Forgotten Memories” at the 20th anniversary conference “What’s Missing? Collecting and Exhibiting Europe, Museum of European Cultures (SPK), Berlin, 25. June 2019.

Boersma, S.: ‘Extending and internalising participatory practices’, POEM Opening Conference on ‘Participatory Memory Practices: Connectivities, Empowerment, and Recognition of Cultural Heritages in Mediatized Memory Ecologies’, Museum der Arbeit, Hamburg, DE, December 2018.

Boersma, S.: ‘Q&A with Dr Rastko Sknepnek and Susanne Boersma’, Dundee Science Festival, Dundee, UK, November 2017.

Boersma, S.: ‘Interpreting Public Sculpture’, Museum Studies Dissertation Conference, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK, June 2016.


If you want to make sure you are up to date with POEM, please sign up to our newsletter. We will keep you informed on a regular basis via email of news from the European Training Network POEM, its partners, and projects.

Please be aware of the terms & conditions concerning data protection.


Coordination and Project Management

University of Hamburg
c/o: Institute for Anthropological Studies in Culture and History
Grindelallee 46 | postbox: H8 | 20146 Hamburg | Germany

+49 (0)40 42838-9940 
POEM Uni Hamburg

Concepts, strategies and media infrastructures for envisioning socially inclusive potential futures of European Societies through culture.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 764859.