Gonul participated in an international workshop on ‘Bridging the Gap between Museums and Archaeological Sites: Insights for Turkey’ at the Oxford University on 23 May 2014. The workshop aimed to bridge the gap between museums and the archaeological sites themselves in Turkey by questioning the role of museums in achieving effective heritage management, conservation and presentation of archeological sites. It also aimed to question the role of on-site museums in increasing public engagement with a site.
A number of the papers related to management, preservation and presentation of museums and sites were presented by addressing current practices, such as the privatization of advertising, ticket offices, cafés, and souvenir shops and new cultural investment and sponsorship in heritage conservation and museum construction. This was done through different case studies, such as Sagalassos and Gre Amer Hoyuk. On the other hand, Sharon Macdonald’s introductory talk on ‘Anthropological Perspective on Museums and Heritage’ provided very interesting and broader ways of thinking about heritage and museums. Her talk set a theoretical framework for the workshop and brought other aspects of heritage and museums (new musicological (from the 1990s) critical perspectives (Marxist, Foucauldian, postcolonial theory etc), understandings of the meanings of objects, complexity, variations (where not everything works everywhere) affect and information, community involvement and neglected heritage. Her comments and questions also provided insights into other ‘gaps’, for example the gap between the state and museums and heritage sites in terms of national narrative.
Gonul's talk on ‘Republican and Ottoman Histories in Contemporary Identity Politics in Turkey’ examined how Republican and Ottoman histories are used for the maintenance or construction of different ideal Turkish identities at the state level. However, the other two papers in my session presented work on the cultural heritage, memory and representation of some Turkish minorities. This session opened up a discussion about the gap between state representations of the nation and the minority groups’ identities which are excluded from the national story.