Previous projects

Arts and Heritage in the Making

Heritage in Transition. Global and Local Challenges (PhD Research)
Heritage preservation is traditionally the responsibility of national governments. The national heritage regime that was established in the second half of the nineteenth century continued to dominate the field until well into the twentieth century. National socio-political considerations affected heritage selection criteria, as well as restoration and preservation practices. Buildings associated with the national past where considered worthwhile preserving, while many other buildings were neglected and demolished. However, the heritage field diversified enormously over the past forty years as a result of globalization, regionalization and European integration. Besides the old-established national curators, numerous local, continental and global actors such as UNESCO are now involved in heritage preservation. The ideas and perspectives of these new actors do not always coincide with those of the traditional caretakers of heritage and the national discourses must now compete with alternative discourses. The way built heritage is selected, interpreted, preserved, restored and (re)used is the result of dynamic cultural negotiation processes in which different international, national and local actors interact and compete. This research aimed to analyse this new and complex interplay by investigating how international and local actors challenged and continue to challenge national interpretations of heritage.
This project put forward Multi-Level transition theory as an important avenue for future research on the changing contours of the heritage field. As an overarching framework this theory allows us to analyze the complex interplay between the various actors involved in today’s heritage field. It also enables us to reconstruct the transition that took place over the past forty years, from a field dominated by a national regime to a more complex field where local, regional, national and international actors interact and compete. The broad societal changes that took place over the past four decades had a considerable impact on heritage practices. Due to its dual focus on system changes in relation to the broader societal landscape, the Multi-Level perspective can form a valuable contribution to the rich body of literature on heritage. Although this model is usually applied to technological system changes, it can also contribute to heritage studies. The overall aim of this project can be seen as twofold. On the one hand, the aim is to reconstruct and analyze the most important changes in heritage practices over the past forty years. The main actors were identified and their relationships examined in the context of broader societal and political developments. On the other hand, the aim was to explore the potential of the Multi-Level approach for future heritage research.  
PhD researcher: Bart Zwegers MA (FASoS)
>> More information about PhD defence on 7 February 2018
SupervisorsProf. dr. Ernst Homburg (FASoS), Dr. Jo Wachelder (FASoS)

Historische Relicten, Hernieuwde verbanden. Van een objectmatige naar een gebiedsgerichte waardering van industrieel erfgoed
Met de keuze om de mijnen te ontmantelen heeft de regio rond Heerlen vanaf de jaren 70 rigoureus voor de ruimtelijke ontwikkeling naar een groene 'Parkstad' gekozen. De mijngebieden ondergingen een transformatie, waarbij de industriële bebouwing verdween, werd verborgen, of werd vervangen door nieuwbouw voor andere doeleinden, zoals wonen. Hiermee onderscheidde de regio zich op het vlak van erfgoedmanagement van de omliggende mijngebieden in Duitsland, Belgisch Limburg en Wallonië. Nu bevolkingskrimp aan de orde van de dag is, staat de regio op een punt waar zowel kan teruggeblikt worden op dit beleid voor stedelijkheid, landschap en erfgoed, en bepaald kan worden hoe fragmentarisch bewaarde objecten weer gekaderd kunnen worden in een relevant stedelijk netwerk, dat betekenis heeft voor verdere stedelijke (her)ontwikkeling in Parkstad.
Dit projectvoorstel heeft als doel een productieve rol voor het gebouwde erfgoed te exploreren, zowel voor de objecten die als rijksmonument zijn aangeduid, als voor de gebouwde omgeving die nu onder invloed van krimp herzien wordt. Deze omgeving zal ook het gebouwd erfgoed van de toekomst leveren. Het is onze hypothese dat door de inventaris van aan de industrie gerelateerde erfgoedrelicten te vertalen naar regionaal-stedelijke netwerken, een robuuste structuur voor ruimtelijke ontwikkeling in Parkstad aan het licht komt. Dit projectvoorstel zet in op een vertaling van een objectmatige lezing van erfgoedrelicten naar een gebiedsgerichte lezing. De kansen en problemen van hergebruik en herbestemming komen bijeen in het spanningsveld tussen cultuurhistorische waarde en ruimtelijke mogelijkheden, hetgeen historische bestaande gebouwen en nederzettingspatronen kenmerkt.
Project leaders:
Prof. dr. Ernst Homburg (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University)
- Dr. Marijn van de Weijer (Onderzoeksgroep ArcK, Faculteit Architectuur en kunst, Universiteit Hasselt)
Prof. dr. Koenraad van Cleempoel (Onderzoeksgroep ArcK, Faculteit Architectuur en kunst, Universiteit Hasselt)  
Prof. dr. Peter Bongaerts (Onderzoeksgroep ArcK, Faculteit Architectuur en kunst, Universiteit Hasselt)
IBA Parkstad

Valorising Arts and Heritage

A significant part of European cultural heritage, modern and contemporary art, runs a great risk of getting lost for future generations, because it is particularly difficult to preserve. Proper care requires resolving fundamental questions concerning the identity, values and authenticity of modern and contemporary artworks and the consequences for their conservation, rethinking historically grown professional distinctions as those between the curator and the conservator, re-organizing the institutional ecosystem, and establishing frameworks for international, interdisciplinary and intersectoral research and training collaboration.

The research and training programme New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art (NACCA) aims at meeting these demands by educating a new generation of professional curators, conservators and academic researchers who are properly equipped to face these challenges. The programme is designed by experts working in museums, heritage organisations and universities that have a profound experience in the field of contemporary art conservation and conservation research. It consists of a research and a training part, which are closely connected and mutually inform each other. It will focus on the development of a reflective professional attitude, which is a pre-requisite in the increasingly complex and collaborative field of contemporary art conservation.

The NACCA programme is coordinated by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University. In total, 15 PhD projects are part of the programme, each investigating different, as yet under-explored aspects of contemporary art conservation.

Project leader: Prof. Renée van de Vall (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University)


Network for Conservation of Contemporary Art Research (NeCCAR) (2012-2014)
In the last two decades, the conservation of modern and contemporary works of art has become a major challenge for museums and other public and private collections. Since the early 1960s, experimental genres have emerged like conceptual art, happenings, performances, multimedia installations, new media art and activist interventions. These genres have in common that they are notoriously difficult to preserve for the future. Very often such works consist of degradable materials, or involve technologies that become outdated very rapidly. Many works are created for specific locations and change meaning when they travel to other contexts, or they require a specific performance of the artist or the audience in order to function and therefore differ from event to event. New media works may change considerably when they migrate to new systems. As the works age and the artists, technicians and conservators of the earliest generations grow old and die, knowledge and expertise disappears and many artworks risk to get lost forever.
The Network for Conservation of Contemporary Art Research brings together established and emerging academic and professional research centers and museums in order to:
- Critically assess new approaches to the conservation of contemporary art
- Set an international research agenda
- Enable young researchers to investigate the theoretical, methodological and ethical dimensions in the conservation of contemporary art in close connection to conservation practice.
This three-year international research network funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) aimed to develop joint research projects and a training curriculum on the theory, methodology and ethics of the conservation of contemporary art in partnership with universities, museums and research institutions and private partners such as auction houses.
Visit the NECCAR project website for more information. 
Project leadersProf. Renée van de Vall (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University) and Dr. Vivian van Saaze (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University)
Faculty of Humanities, University of Amsterdam
Pisa University
The Università degli Studi della Tuscia di Viterbo
The Department of Conservation and Restoration, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
The Graduate Program in Museum Studies and Curatorship at the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto
The Royal Academy of Arts London
The School of Culture & Creative Arts (SCCA) of the University of Glasgow
Tate London
The Museo del Novecento, Milan
The Cologne Institute of Conservation Sciences

Conservation of Historical Estates in Limburg. A comparative study between The Netherlands, Flanders and Germany.
The study begins with an inquiry into the most important problems for the owners of historical estates with respect to sustainable conservation of the cultural, natural and other values, based on surveys and interviews with the owners. The important economic aspects are extensively covered. Owners, experts and other stakeholders were also asked for their opinions about the present conservation and heritage policies, policy improvement measures and how to increase public awareness and public support for sustainable conservation. The study also contains a comparison and analysis of conservation problems, practices and policies (including organizational structures) in the Netherlands, Flanders and Germany. The main aim of the study is to give evidence based recommendations for sustainable conservation of historical estates in Limburg, in particular with regard to conservation and heritage policies.
This project is funded by Huis voor de Kunsten Limburg and Provincie Limburg.
Project LeaderDr. Joop de Jong (FASoS)
Researchers: Francis Carpentier, Rebecca Hollewijn and Marion Plieger
Societal partners:
Huis voor de Kunsten Limburg
Provincie Limburg
Stichting Limburgse Kastelen
Monumentenwacht Limburg


Participation and Presentation

Hacking Heritage: Participatory Innovation in GLAM Institutions
The research project “Hacking Heritage” investigates how hacking and making practices may be integrated in GLAM institutions (galleries, libraries, archives, museums). Since June 2014, it is funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the KIEM scheme.
The project is based on cooperation between:
- Dr. Karin Wenz (project leader) and Dr. Annika Richterich (co-applicant): digital media researchers at Maastricht University,
- the Betawerk ICT company,
- the Social Beta Foundation in Heerlen, and
- the Continium Discovery Center Kerkrade.
The involved partners explore and investigate how cultural assets, such as the mining heritage in Limburg, may be re-designed and re-combined by using digital technologies. The project particularly focuses on the relevance of hacking and making communities and their involvement in cultural institutions. It addresses the ways in which new user practices can relate to heritage: by hacking those objects, turning them into digital data and visualizations, by interacting creatively with material and digital tools. The project’s aim is to show how collaborative efforts bringing together hacking/making communities and GLAM institutions can be mutually beneficial.
In order to explore how Limburg’s mining heritage may be approached through digital media, the partners will organize two hackathons. Hackathons − also called ‘hackdays’, ‘hackfests’ or ‘codefests’ − are events during which participants get together to realize digital projects. They may, for example, develop new soft- and hardware, create apps or augmented reality games. The first ‘cultural hackathon’ took place at the Continium Discovery Experience in Maastricht on Saturday/Sunday, February 7./8. During this event, participants from various backgrounds created innovative, digital projects related to Limburg’s mining heritage. The hackathon did not only attract programmers. Instead, people from various backgrounds and with different interests joined in: hackers, students and professionals from arts and heritage, media culture, design, computer science as well as engineering. Their projects demonstrated how one can visualize material and data related to the mining history of the region.
“Hacking Heritage” combines interventional research methods with an ethnographic framework: by organizing two hackathons, the researchers will gain insights into new strategies for audience development in heritage institutions such as the Continium Discovery Center. At the same time, they are able to use these events in order to generate research material. Hackathons have shown to be insightful events which allow for investigations of technology appropriation, practices of digital innovation and collaboration.
“Hacking Heritage” is a contribution to the “Year of the Mines” and is connected to the initiative “Hack the Mines”: a three-year project set-up by the Betawerk m2015 “Hack the Mines” likewise aims to explore how technological innovations can be used to provide new forms of access to the mining history of the Euregion.
Project Leaders: Dr. Karin Wenz, Dr. Annika Richterich
Societal partners:
Continium Discovery Center (Kerkrade)
Social Beta Foundation (Heerlen)
Business partner:
Betawerk (Heerlen)
Project funded by: NWO

Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices: The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies
This NWO-funded research project addresses a number of questions dealing with the complex interrelationship between technology, specific user generations and spaces or places of cultural memory production in home movie making and screening. More concretely we are interested in the question how changing technologies of cultural production (film, video or digital camera) have shaped new practices and rituals of memory staging (screening of the films in domestic of public venues) and thereby initiated processes of (re)negotiating user generations and group identities.
Home movies, often referred to as family films or home videos, are situated at the heart of family memory practices, mostly displayed in the private realm of the domestic space. From the invention of the film camera at the end of the nineteenth century until well into the sixties, amateur film making on 9,5mm, 16mm or 8mm film was predominantly a domestic hobby practiced by middle class men. With the diffusion of the video camera in the 1970s and 1980s, home movies did not only spread more widely, but the context and possibilities of display also changed enormously. Subsequently, the mass dissemination of digital recording technologies in the 1990s and 2000s brought about a true revolution. Home movies have definitely abandoned their niche as domestic family ritual and conquered the public spaces of diverse internet platforms. As a new cultural practice it became part of twentieth century family life. Video portals like You Tube, blogging sites as Twitter or online social networks such as Hyves or Facebook force us to rethink the technological, social and cultural dimensions of traditional and ritualized forms of memory practices. To grasp the technical, social and cultural dimension and historical meaning of this radical change in the making and screening of home movies, this project proposes to systematically investigate the crucial relationship between memory technologies and mediated memory practices in a longue durée perspective.
The changing practices of home movie making and screening have not been studied systematically, from a long-term perspective, yet. As long as home movie practices are associated with nostalgic domestic imagery produced on film, there is the danger of a growing gap in our cultural heritage. The nearly total absence of VHS and, to a lesser extent, digitally recorded material in audiovisual archives and its critical material status (VHS tapes deteriorate much faster than analogue films; the digital standards change continuously) make the historical study of VHS and digital home movie practices a matter of absolute urgency, both from an archival and museological perspective. An increased attention for the pure materiality of the recorded memories both in terms of storage and accessibility is therefore of crucial importance for the project in all its dimensions.
Visit the project website for more information: Homemoviesproject.
Project team:
- Dr. Jo Wachelder (FASoS),
- Tim van der Heijden, MA (FASoS)
Prof. Andreas Fickers (Université du Luxembourg, formerly FASoS)
Dr. Susan Aasman (Groningen University)
Tom Slootweg (Groningen University)
- Prof.dr. Maaike Meijer (FASoS)
Prof. Doeko Bosscher (Groningen University)
Limburgs Museum Venlo
Huis van Alijn Ghent (Belgium)
Institute for Sound & Vision Hilversum
Groningen Audiovisual Archive (GAVA)
- Limburg Film and Video Archive (LiFVA)
EYE Film Institute Amsterdam
Dutch Regional Audiovisual Archives (NORAA)
Institut für Landeskunde und Regionalgeschichte Bonn (Germany)
Association Européenne Inédits (Luxembourg)
Stichting Amateurfilm
- Publication of two doctoral theses (Tim van der Heijden / Tom Slootweg)
- Two exhibitions in collaboration with Limburgs Museum Venlo and Huis van Alijn Ghent (Belgium)
- A ‘best practice’ guideline on how to archive home movie material, especially how to deal with VHS and digital formats
- International conference, held 10-12 September 2015 at Groningen University
- Publication of a synthesis volume edited by the main applicants


Art Market, Law and Policy

Workshop Art & Law
During the annual Conference of the Ius Commune Research School, which took place in Maastricht on 24 and 25 November 2016, a workshop on Art Law was held on Friday November 25th. It was organised by Hildegard Schneider and Lars van Vliet. It was a very interesting day with presentations about legal and historical aspects and also economic aspects of art trade.

TEFAF Global Art Report
The TEFAF Global Art Market Report for 2017 was released during TEFAF Maastricht. The report is made in collaboration between Maastricht University and the World’s most prestigious art fair. MACCH Steering Committee member Professor Rachel Pownall enlisted to write the report gained global coverage in the press, covered in The New York TimesForbes, The Financial Times, The TimesThe TelegraphThe Handelsblatt, and The NRC, as well as The Art Newspaper, and the Antiques Trade Gazette.
The TEFAF Art Market Report is a barometer of the sales and conditions in the public auction sales market and the private sales, the domain of dealers and gallerists. This year’s findings showed a stable resilient art market, despite a fall in auction sales. Auction sales declined in the U.S. and the U.K amid an increasingly fragmented political landscape; buyers and sellers alike are seeking privacy and opacity in their transactions, to the benefit of art dealers. The art market has shifted significantly away from auction sales in these two major markets towards private sales, reflecting the fragmented policies and austerity programmes, benefitting high-end dealers.
The industry’s success remains rooted in its ability to function according to the principles on which successful societies are built—quality, credibility, stability, and resilience. Discretion is an ironic trend this year, as TEFAF strives for exceptional transparency in estimating the size of the global art market. Looking ahead dealers are optimistic; how the changing landscape influences the picture in 2017 is just about to unfold.
Project leader: Prof. Rachel Pownall (School of Business and Economics, Maastricht University)