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Łucja Piekarska Duraj

Łucja Piekarska Duraj holds a Master’s degree in European Studies (2002) and a PhD in Sociology (2013) both received from the Jagiellonian University. She is currently affiliated with the Institute of European Studies at the Jagiellonian University. She is a social anthropologist, interpretive heritage trainer and cultural manager. As a researcher, she is mainly interested in relations between social memory, heritage and identity, especially in the domain of museums. As a heritage consultant, she promotes interpretive and democratic museology. She specialises in storytelling for museums and the support for brand management strategies. She has co-authored a manual for interpretive museology Lokalne muzeum w globalnym świecie/Local museum in global world (Krakow, 2013, written with Hajduk. J, Waciega S., Idziak P.) as well as a number of museum exhibitions and projects (for instance ‘dzieło-działka’, Krakow Ethnographical Museum, 2010; Wirtualne muzea Małopolski, 2009 – 2014; Muzeobranie 2004 – 2006). After a decade of museum activism, she joined the UNESCO Chair for Holocaust Education at the Jagiellonian University (2016).

Is Gdansk Worth Dying For?

The battle fought over newly opened, Gdansk located World War II Museum gives a unique insight onto the relations between political power and mythology, allowing to analyse how heritage discourse mirrors the public debate.

World War II can be seen as a major founding trauma for contemporary Poland, while the attitudes towards it reveal the dynamics of – often conflicted – collective identities and memories. The concept of the sacredness of the Past, together with ideas of heroism, patriotism or honour, are definitely the important elements of the spectacle. Not only the core questions about the right to represent and to interpret the past are posed, but the content of the story is clearly used for ongoing political debates. One of the most intriguing parts of the debate over the museum concern understanding of motherland/homeland and specifically ‘Polish State viewpoint’, with literary negotiations of duties towards one’s own country.

I would like to discuss the main axis of conflict as it is present in the media, drawing attention to the ideas of representation, contextualisation and particularity of the past as presented at the Gdansk Museum. Since the battle is ongoing, the conclusions for the seminar are still unknown, however already the current debate is worth presenting and analysing. I would like to use a methodological framework of PUDDING (Progress, Utility, Dignity, Diversity, Inclusion, Narrativity, Governance), recently developed to interpret Europeanization processes and the construction of common European heritage in order to present the complexity and the uniqueness of the case.