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Religion - Living Heritage

Udgivelserne redigeret af Marie Vejrup Nielsen et al. Religion i Danmark 2009-2017 og Religion i Aarhus 2013 findes tilgængelige på samtidsreligion.au.dk, hvor der også er en søgebase over godkendte trossamfund i Danmark.

Ahlin, L, Borup, J, Fibiger, MQ, Kühle, L, Mortensen, V & Pedersen, RD 2012, 'Religious diversity and pluralism' Journal of Contemporary Religion, vol 27, nr. 3, s. 403-418

Bugglen G., C. Paine, S. Brent Plate. 2017. Religion in Museums- Global and Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Bloomsbury Academic

Christiansen, L., Galal, L.P., & Hvenegård-Lassen, K. (forthcoming) (red.) “Organised cultural encounters: Interculturality and Transformative Practices; Special Issue” Journal of Intercultural Studies, 38 (6) (publiceres i december 2017)

Clifford, J. 1997. “Museums as Contact Zones.” I Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Gabriel, M. 2015. ”Fortiden, fremtiden og det etnografiske museum: Samtidsindsamling, videndeling og medkuratering.” I U. J. Dahre og T. Fibiger (red.) Etnografi på museum: Visioner og udfordringer for etnografiske museer i Norden, s. 25-53. Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag

Galal, Lise Paulsen (2015), “Dialogens arrangement. Når muslimer og kristne mødes’. Tidsskrift for Islamforskning, Vol. 9, Nr. 2, 12.2015, pp. 48-67.

Golding, V., & Modest, W. (red.) 2013. Museums and communities: curators, collections and collaboration. London ; New York: Bloomsbury.

Laursen, J.. 2013. ”Dansk Jødisk Museum - Minoritetsmuseum eller kulturmuseum?” Mindretallenes selvbillede, Sønderborg.

Marselis, R. (forthcoming): Bridge the Gap: Multidirectional Memory in Photography Projects for Refugee Youths, Special Issue Journal of Intercultural Studies, 38 (6) (publiceres i december 2017)

Marselis, R. 2016. “On Not Showing Scalps: Human Remains and Multisited Debate at the National Museum of Denmark” i Museum Anthropology, 39(1), 20–34.

Nightingale, E., and M. Greene. 2010. “Religion and Material Culture at the Victoria & Albert Museum of Art and Design: The Perspectives of Diverse Faith Communities.” Material Religion 6 (2): 218–35

O’Neill, M. 2005. “Making Histories of Religion”. I G. Kavanagh (ed.), Making histories in museums. London: New York.

Paine, C. 2000. Godly Things: Museums, Objects and Religion. London: Leicester University Press.

Paine, C. 2013. Religious objects in museums:Private lives and public duties. London: Bloomsbury.

Pearce, S. M. 1995. On Collecting. An Investigation into Collecting in the European Tradition. London: Routledge.

Pratt, M.L. 1991. Arts of the contact zone. Profession: 33–40.

Reeve, J. 2012. “A Question of Faith: The Museum as a Spiritual or Secular Place.” In Museums, Equality, and Social Justice, red. R. Sandell and E. Nightingale. Museum Meanings. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York: Routledge.

Sandell, R., J. Dodd, R. Garland-Thomson. 2013.  Re-Presenting Disability: Activism and Agency in the Museum. London: Routledge

Schütze, L. M. 2014. En fornemmelse for migration. Sted, materialitet og religion i udstillinger på immigrantmuseet og Københavns Museum (upubl. ph.d.-afhandling). Det Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet.

Based on the competences of the participating institutions and through their cooperation, the project will develop concepts that focus on religion in the collections, documentation processes and dissemination of Danish cultural history in museums. The project will thus contribute to an increased awareness of the potential of incorporating the religious perspective in this work, thereby enabling the museums to convey contemporary religious diversity and the role of religion in the everyday life of Danes, historically and today through collection, dissemination and dialogue with the museum's audience.


Project objectives

  • To visualize how objects that relate to religious traditions and identities are already part of the museum's existing collections and exhibitions, and to demonstrate the need for new ways to convey the role of religion in the lives of the Danish people through the renewed understanding of these objects.
  • To explore and develop approaches to how the museum can become a contact area for cultural meetings that focus on religion.
  • To develop strategies and concrete actions aimed at museums' practice of collecting, documenting and disseminating, opening up the religious perspective in relation to all cultural-historical museums.
  • To contribute with research that can provide the basis for the development, analysis and evaluation of concepts for religion and culture in the context of cultural history museums.

Background of the project

In Europe and Denmark today, the presence of different cultures within the same population is part of the public debate, often focusing on religion and religious identity. Against this background, it is increasingly necessary for society to find contexts for a discussion of the perspective of contemporary religious diversity. This project will develop concepts for this through the integration of a perspective on religion as part of the museums cultural history practice. So far, only a few Danish cultural history museums have religion as responsibility, and only a few have chosen to raise topics about religion and religiousity in their dissemination. The background can be found in the fact that religion is seen as a conflictual subject, where the museums may appear unintentionally positional. Also, there is a lack of integration of religious studies as a discipline in the museum work and, consequently, there is a lack of competences about religion in general and the history of religion in Denmark in particular. In addition to this, there is also a lack of knowledge of the museums own collections in relation to the possible religious context of the objects. This is enhanced by a historically-conditioned registrant which does not allow for the registration of religions other than Christianity, thereby making the objects religious context invisible in the everyday work of the museums.

The museums therefore have a need - and a potential – to get use the religious perspective in their work and contribute to society's dialogue about religion as part of Danish cultural history. In this project, this is expressed through an understanding of the cultural history museum as a contact area: a social space where cultures meet, collide and co-exist (Pratt 1991; Clifford 1997). Recent research in organized cultural meetings will form the basis for the further development of the museums as contact zones for cultural meetings focusing on religion (Christiansen, Galal and Hvenegård Lassen forth. Galal 2015).

Cultural museums, religion and cultural gatherings in the field of research

In order to ensure the professional basis for integrating a religion perspective in the cultural history museums, it is necessary to create a framework for cooperation between the museums and the relevant university environments. In general, the study of religion in the university context has not been interested in museum practices, although objects that can be categorized as religious are well represented in museums' collections. These objects are often categorized by historical periods, or as ethnographic objects or as art. This becomes a challenge for the museum when the religious context is activated, but at the same time, recent museum research points to potential in the religious perspective (Reeve 2012; O'Neill, 2005; Paine 2000, 2013). Museum of Europe has developed the concept of “God (s): A User's Guide” (2006) focusing on the diversity of religious expressions in European cities and in the Religion in Museums (Buggeln, Paine and Plate 2017) explores the issue of international researchers, without the contribution of a Danish or Nordic context. In a Danish context, this discussion has just begun, for example in Laura Maria Schütze PhD thesis A sense of migration. Place, materiality and religion in exhibitions at the Immigrant Museum and the Copenhagen Museum (Schütze 2014). The involvement of contemporary minority religion in cultural heritage management has been addressed in connection with public museums of the Danish Jewish Museum (Laursen 2013). There have also been exhibitions where religion is involved, for example the new Moesgaard.

So far, this has not led to a systematic reconciliation of university environments and museums from the perspectives of religion and culture in a Danish context. Therefore there is a basis and a need for further development in this field in connection with the Danish and international environments in the university and museum context.

Project concepts and cooperation

The museums, which are part of the project, have experience of integrating the religion perspective into their work. These experiences have not yet been brought into play in relation to each other and have not been the subject of cooperation with the university environments included in this project. The project thus utilizes the special competences and international networks of the collaborative institutions where cross-disciplinary knowledge sharing and exchange of experience create new experiences that can contribute to the work of all cultural-historical museums in relation to religious diversity for the benefit of society. International museum researchers will be involved and contact is established through the partners.
Through workshops, four concepts will be developed and tested. These are designed as formats for use in cultural history museums, based on collaborators' competences in the field of religion and culture in a museum context.


·         "The city as cultural memory of religion".
The concept establishes a common meeting space between people with different religious backgrounds. It takes place through the involvement of diverse user groups meeting the museum and the city through co-curated city walks. The focus will be on the city as a multi-faceted religious memory

·         "Know the others and know yourself"
The concept will develop a format for conversations with a specific focus on young people who through the museum context create new dialogues about religion and culture. Young people with parents not born in Denmark often describe that they are “caught between two chairs”: on the one hand they are “too Danish” in relation to their parents' culture and, on the other hand, “too foreign” in relation to Danish culture and society. The project explores the museum as "safe space" and as a dialogue space for religion and diversity as part of the youth's cultural background.

·         "View your exhibits from a religion perspective".
A workshop format for further education/training of museum staff. The concept will develop formats for the implementation of core elements in the already established exhibitions and collections focusing on religion. This involves development, test and evaluation of continuing education services for museum staff. A key element is to promote a critical horizon for the dissemination of religious traditions in their diversity.

·         "The (local) religious diversity"
Development of mapping tool for use in museum activities on collecting and documenting religion in the local area. The tool will appear in an open-access format and contain specific instructions, templates, interview guide, in order to enable local museums to work with their local religious stories.

Research and dissemination output

  • Development of theoretical and methodological perspectives from research in contemporary religions and cultural meetings in museum context, including methods for mapping religious diversity and approaches to involvement of users in relation to religion.
  • Publications: a joint book publishing; research articles in relevant journals and final conclusions from the project.
  • Exemplary models for user involvement through urbanization and dialogue spaces.
  • Development of education / training formats for the museum area regarding religion in collections.
  • An open access platform with process material regarding local religious diversity.
  • Inclusion of students from education at AU and RUC. The project will shape potential employees of the future, with insight into religion at museums.
  • PhD project: Religion and cultural meeting at the museum - An analysis of the expressions of religion that arise during user involvement in religion in cultural history museums. The access is participant observation and interviews with the users who actively participate in the concepts developed in the project.
  • International Conference 2020.
  • Exhibition (after 2020 - outside of application)
  • The museums contribute with its own materials: dialogue-based stories that can be used on different platforms.
  • Project progress

2018: Project group and local workshops, development of concepts, PhD
2019: Project group and local workshops, test of concepts, PhD
2020: Project Group Workshops, Evaluation of Concepts, Reporting, Conference, PhD.



Immigrant Museum, Danish Jewish Museum, ROMU (Roskilde Museum), Old Town (Den Gamle BY), Center for Contemporary Religion AU and researchers at Roskilde University Center.

CV for collaborators

Project leader: Marie Vejrup Nielsen

Associate Professor, Religious Studies, Department of Culture and Society, Arts, Aarhus University, Head of the Center for Contemporary Religion Marie Vejrup Nielsen, PhD, Aarhus University (2007) Head of the Center for Contemporary Religion has the primary responsibility for the Religion project in Denmark, which collects data on approved religious communities each year. Analyzes and numbers are published in open access format (journal and search base) at samtidsreligion.au.dk. The center also stands for the project Religion in Aarhus. These projects have also focused on dissemination, for example the city ​​walk “Cathedrals and courtyards” and exhibition at the then Aarhus City Museum. Publications: Religion in Denmark 2009-2017; Religion in Aarhus 2013 (ed. L. Ahlin, J. Borup, M. Fibiger, and B. A. Jacobsen). Publication list: pure.au.dk/portal/en/mvn@cas.au.dk

Other partners (alphabetically)

Anneken Appel Laursen, Curator, Old Town

Anneken Appel Laursen, cand. mag. in History and Mass Communication with supplementary subjects in Museology, works with the responsibilities "Aarhus nyeste tid" and the chapter 8 of the Museum Act. She has particular interest in user involvement and co-operation. Relevant exhibitions: 2017: Aarhus Fortæller, city-historical exhibition about Aarhus from the Viking Age to today. 2016: A Somali Home in Denmark 2016. Releases: 2014. "Visitor Involvement as a Strategy: A Museum Transmitting a Message for Social Outcasts". The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum Volume 6, 3, pp. 57-66. "Now we are part of Denmark's history: An example of citizenship and museum co-operation" in the Nordic Museum (December 2017 with D. G. Sekwati & S. S. Bertelsen).



Catherine Kyø Hermansen, Museum Manager for Immigrant Museum and Furesø Museums

Catherine Kyø Hermansen, cand.mag. in history from Aarhus University, has since 2002 been the supreme leader in building the Immigrant Museum as an independent unit. The Immigrant Museum, as the only Danish museum, employs 500 years of migration history in Danish context, focusing on religion in a migration context, both in a historical and contemporary perspective.

Janne Laursen, Director, The Danish Jewish Museum


Janne Laursen, mag.art. in European Ethnology, University of Copenhagen, 1984. Laursen has been active in a wide range of exhibitions and projects and has provided analyzes to Danish ministries and the Copenhagen Tourist Board. She has been the director of the Danish Jewish Museum since 2001 (state-recognized 2011). Relevant exhibitions in addition to the museum's regular exhibition: "HOME - a special exhibition about the effects of war and persecution" in 2013. Laursen is the author of many articles on cultural history museums.

Laura Maria Schütze, Curator and Research Coordinator, ROMU

Laura Maria Schütze, cand.mag. in religious sociology, University of Copenhagen (2008) and Ph.D. from the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen (2015): "A sense of migration. Place, materiality and religion in exhibitions on immigration at the Copenhagen Museum and the Immigrant Museum (2014) ". Publications: (with Marselis, R.) (2013). "One Way to Holland": Migrant Heritage and Social Media "in K. Drotner & K. C. Schrøder (ed.), Museum Communication and Social Media: The Connected Museum. Routledge.

Lise Paulsen Galal, Lecturer, Department of Communication and Humanities, Roskilde University


Lise Paulsen Galal, mag.art. in Ethnography and Social Anthropology, Aarhus University and Ph.D. In Intercultural Studies, Roskilde University is project manager of the research-funded project 'The organized cultural meeting' and was a senior researcher on HERA research project 'Middle Eastern Christians in Europe: Definitions and Identifications'. Research interests include interreligious dialogue, migration and religious minorities, and she has extensive fieldwork experience and an interdisciplinary approach that draws on perspectives from anthropology, religious studies, cultural studies and sociology. She has published about this in, among other things, Journal of Religion in Europe.

Randi Marselis, Lecturer, Cultural Studies at the Department of Communication and Humanities, Roskilde University


Randi Marselis, cand.mag. in Nordic Languages ​​and Literature and Mass Communication (Aarhus University 1997) and Ph.D. in Minority Studies (University of Copenhagen 2004), researches in memory cultures in multiethnic societies, the museums dissemination of migrant groups cultural heritage and the museum as a framework for organized cultural meetings, including collaboration between museums and 'source communities'. Publications in Museum Anthropology (2016), Global Mobilities: Refugees, Exiles, and Immigrants in Museums and Archives, and (with LM Schütze) Museum Communication and Social Media: The Connected Museum ( ed. K. Drotner and KC Schrøder, Routledge, 2013).