Meaningful pasts and heritage

Bodil Axelsson’s interdisciplinary research and teaching examine heritagization, that is processes in which cultural institutions, associations and individuals produce meaningful pasts.

She uses dynamic combinations of interviews, participant observation, and text interpretations so as to understand contemporary and historical processes where relevant pasts is actualised, restored and reinserted into present and future actions.  


In recent years Axelsson's research has concerned digitalisation at museums – a process that changes museum’s operation on many levels: administration, collection management, research, education and how visitors are addressed. Her latest research project investigated the circulation of digital versions of museum objects on global platforms like Pinterest, YouTube and Google. It addressed curation – selection, contextualisation and presentation – when human meaning-creation interacts with algorithms’ automated selection, platform economy and global technical and material processes.

Previous research projects have focused on historical theater plays, popular history magazines, cultural history museum’s contemporary collecting, and artistic work. 

Industrial heritage in NorrköpingFoto: Thor Balkhed