Benefits and Disadvantages of a Unitary Mindscape? A case study of Industrial heritage in the Ruhr Area

Friday, July 10, 2020, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

*Benefits and Disadvantages of a Unitary Mindscape? A case study of
Industrial heritage in the Ruhr Area.**
**In memoriam Dr. Dagmar Kift*
/Online Event/

*Speaker: Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger*

The paper discusses the development of a landscape of industrial
heritage in the Ruhr and considers the position of key players towards
industrial heritage initiatives from the 1960s to the present day. Key
players were civil society, social movements, politicians,
administrators, employers/ industrialists, trade unions,
preservationists, artists, intellectuals, and academics. The lecture
traces the development of a remarkably unitary “mindscape” (Dai Smith)
around a concept of industrial heritage as a key building block of
regional identity and a marker for the successful transformation of
Germany’s foremost heavy industrial region into a future where heavy
industry plays no, or a much diminished role. The lecture concludes by
asking whether this unitary mindscape offers not only opportunities but
also silences dissonant memories of the past.

*Zoom link: *
Meeting ID: 550 800 5334.

*Prof. Dr. Stefan Berger* is a Full Professor of Social History and
Director of the Institute for Social Movements at Ruhr-Universität
Bochum. He has been centrally involved in many research projects that
have sought to compare the transnational experience of
deindustrialization processes and the role of industrial heritage. The
position as executive chair of the Foundation History of the Ruhr has
allowed him to reach deep into the regional history of the Ruhr as
Germany’s foremost area of heavy industry. From there, he developed
transregional perspectives on the way in which narratives of
industrialization and deindustrialization have impacted on regional
identities, both spatial and social. Building on research into the
comparative history of industrialization and deindustrialization, with
Christian Wicke, he has published a special issue of The Public
Historian on the impact of deindustrialization on industrial regions. He
co-edited the collection Industrial Heritage and Regional Identities in
the Routledge Cultural Heritage and Tourism series (2018), a special
edition of the North American journal Labor: Studies in Working-Class
History (2019) on ‘(De)Industrial Heritage,’and edited another
collection on Constructing Industrial Pasts (2019), in which he compares
the development of narratives surrounding industrial pasts in western
countries with that of post-communist countries.

The lecture commemorates *Dr. Dagmar Kift* who passed away on April 23,
2020. Dagmar Kift was a social historian and curator working on
cultural, gender and migration history. Her special areas of interest
were work and leisure in industrial societies and industrial heritage,
particular in coalmining areas. As a curator in the LWL-Industriemuseum
she was, amongst other things, responsible for the permanent exhibition
on the social and cultural history of 20th century coalmining in the
Zollern II/IV colliery in Dortmund (opened in 1999) and the exhibition
“Rebuilding the West” (2005) on the contribution of German refugees and
expellees to post-war economic recovery. The project
frauen/ruhr/geschichte in 2010 explored how women left their mark in the
Ruhr Area. Her other projects were “Work with Sounds“ (2013-2015) and
“Sounds of Changes“ (2917-2019) on Sounds as part of Industrial
Heritage. From 2013 until her retirement in 2019 she was Head of the
Researech Department and Deputy Director of the LWL-Industriemuseum.

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