• Summer School As School 2017
Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers: Role, function and power of culturally familiar everyday objects
Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers at Summer School as School 2017
Friday, 21 July, 2017, 20:00
Venue: Boxing Club, Mark Isaku Str. 10000 Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina is pleased to introduce the presentation of Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers, part of the Public Program of Summer School as School 2017.

Based on ethnographic studies in Kosovo after the 1999 war, this presentation explores the role, function and power of culturally familiar everyday objects and metaphors in Albanian post-war memories. It differentiates between, and debates, theoretical concepts such as ‘material’ and ‘narrative’, ‘relational’, ‘embodied’, ‘emplaced’, ‘cultural’ and ‘social’ memory. It applies these concepts critically to case studies of remembering both militancy and victimisation before and during the war. It compares these regarding their wider socio-political appeal and its change in contemporary context. Selected case studies include commemorations of the ‘Ilegalja’ movement and the monuments and stories of the Jashari (Prekaz) and the Qerkezi (Gjakova) families. In juxtaposition to universalizing ideals of dealing-with-the-past, transitional justice, cultural heritage and reconciliation, it highlights how an emphasis on such culturally specific and familiar objects and metaphors, underpins shared meaning and symbolic communication in ways that shape and reproduce collective emotions with political effects.

Social anthropologist Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers (PhD, London; MA Berlin), University of Bournemouth (BU), has conducted ethnographic research in post-socialist Albania since 1992 and post-war Kosovo since 2000. Her work focusses on the cultural semantics and emotive potentials of social memory, on identity politics through making recourse to local pasts and on local knowledge underpinning conflict transformation and resistance to international interventions. Before joining BU in 2013, she taught at FU Berlin; SSEES, University College London; and University of Bologna. At BU, she founded the interdisciplinary, cross-faculty ‘conflict transformation studies group’, which collaborates with University of Prishtina and Stacion - Centre for Contemporary Arts. Selected publications include: (2013) The Bequest of Ilegalja: Contested Memories and Moralities in Contemporary Kosovo’, Nationalities Papers; ‘Democratisation through Defiance? The Albanian Civil Organisation “Self-Determination” and International Supervision in Kosovo’, Civil society and Transition in the Western Balkans, London; with Isabel Ströhle, ‘An Ethnography of “Political Will”: Towards a Thick Description of Internal Scripts in Post-War Kosovo’, Südosteuropa; (2006) with Anna Di Lellio, ‘The Legendary Commander: The construction of an Albanian master-narrative in post-war Kosovo’ in: Nations and Nationalism; (2006) with Anna Di Lellio, ‘Sacred Journey to a Nation: the Construction of a Shrine in Postwar Kosovo’, Journeys.

Full schedule of The Public Program of Summer School as School 2017 can be found at: http://www.stacion.org/en/Public-Lectures-and-Presentations-2017

Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina and partner institutions with Summer School as School have created a unique international educational platform, based in Prishtina, as a progressing model; developing an interdisciplinary curriculum and engaging practitioners from the region and beyond in sharing knowledge and expertise with international students and the public.

The project’s larger context responds to the art education systems of Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

Summer School as School 2017 is organized in cooperation with Allianz Cultural Foundation, supported by ERSTE Foundation, Trust for Mutual Understanding(TMU), Federal Chancellory of Austria, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung office in Prishtina, Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Kosovo, Municipality of Prishtina, Independent Curators International (ICI), The Office for Contemporary Art (OCA), Norway and RIT Kosovo. Complete list of donors and cooperation partners will be announced in due time.