International Symposium – Displaying the Social History of Migrants: Content, Scenography, Public Engagement (Paris, 15 February 2022)

Fabrice Langrognet's picture
February 15, 2022
Subject Fields: 
Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Public History, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Historic Preservation

The France-based Organization for a Museum of Working-Class Housing (Association pour un Musée du Logement populaire, or AMuLoP) and the "Centre d’histoire sociale des mondes contemporains" (University of Paris 1/CNRS) invite you to participate, either in person or online, in an international symposium around museum design as it pertains to the social history of migration. The symposium, initially scheduled in October 2020, will be held on Tuesday, 15 February 2022 at the Campus Condorcet of Paris-Aubervilliers (Centre des colloques), metro stop "Front populaire."

The four round tables will feature both academics and practitioners with a museum and heritage background, and will be capped by a keynote address by Prof. Pap Ndiaye, historian and director of the French National Museum of Immigration History in Paris. This event is part of the research project "Migrants in Ordinary Housing" funded by the French Institut Convergences Migrations. The symposium is directly connected with the temporary exhibit "La vie HLM" (Public Housing Life) held at the Cité Émile-Dubois, Aubervilliers, France, from 16 October 2021 to 30 June 2022 (information and reservation at

The symposium will address issues of display and reception, in a museum context, of social history in general and the social history of migration in particular. The objective is to identify and discuss practices that can best carry across historical contents and reach a broad audience. What are the most suitable approaches to make visitors understand, feel, and project themselves into, the social life of working-class and migrant families of the past? What are the risks associated with the conception and mediation of migration history contents? How should that history be told in order to convey the diversity and inclusivity of historiographical narratives? In what way can people from working-class and migrant backgrounds be included in the exhibition process itself? 

REGISTRATION is mandatory for either online or in-person attendance: /




8:45-9:15 Welcome tea & coffee

9:15 Introduction: Emmanuel Bellanger (director of the CHS), Muriel Cohen & Fabrice Langrognet (convenors).


9:30-11:00 Decenter the historic house model through working-class microhistories

Chair: Andréa Delaplace, université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France

  • Annie Polland, director of the Tenement Museum, New York, USA
  • Anna Cossu, curator of Susannah Place Museum in Sydney, Australia (online)
  • Charlotte Holmes, urban and social history curator at the National Trust, in charge of the Back to Backs Museum in Birmingham, UK


11:15-12:45 Integrate historiographical evolutions into the exhibition process

Chair: Claire Zalc, CNRS – ENS, France

  • Marianne Amar, French National Museum of Immigration History, France
  • Paul Van de Laar, ESHCC, former director of the Museum Rotterdam, Netherlands
  • Francesca Lanz, University of Lincoln, UK (online)
  • Yann Scioldo-Zürcher-Levi, CNRS-EHESS, France

12:45-14:15 Buffet

14:15-15:45 Devise an inclusive exhibition: museum design and mediation

Chair: Marina Chauliac, CNRS-EHESS/DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France

  • Julia Devlin, Staatliches Textil- und Industriemuseum Augsburg, Germany
  • Lisa Lee, University of Illinois at Chicago, director of the National Public Housing Museum, USA
  • Suzanne MacLeod, University of Leicester, UK (online)


16:00-17:30 Audience and impact: what mark does an exhibition leave?

Chair: Angéline Escafré-Dublet, université Lumière Lyon-2, France

  • Linda Boukhris, université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
  • Joanne Burgess, université du Québec, Montréal, Canada
  • Susie Symes, chair of the Museum of Immigration and Diversity, London, UK


17:45-18:15 Keynote address

  • Pap Ndiaye, historian and director general of the Palais de la Porte Dorée, which includes the French National Museum of Immigration History, Paris, France.


NB: the proceedings will be entirely conducted in English, and a simultaneous translation will be available.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Fabrice Langrognet (University of Oxford & University of Paris1/CNRS)
Dr. Muriel Cohen (University of Le Mans & University of Paris1/CNRS)