Dark Matters is the concept theme of a joint project initiated in 2015 by three partners: CHSN (Critical Heritage Studies Network, Stockholm University, Sweden), CHAMP (Collaborative for Cultural Heritage Management and Policy, University of Illinois, USA) and Ironbridge (Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham, UK). The project focuses on histories, heritages, culture, events and knowledges that raise conflicting emotions or evoke dark associations or feelings.

In today’s interconnected world, news travels instantaneously across the world. Perceptions at the personal as well as macro scale are informed as much by visual, print and digital media as by lived experience or direct association. Dark matters in one place shape meanings and values globally and are, more than ever before, all around us. How do we cope with the world’s darkness that is constantly in the realm of our existence?

But Dark Matters also have positive connotations. Darkness provides space and opportunity for hiding; the potential for acceptance, forgiveness, or reconciliation for the haunted; it gives shade and nuance in the heat and contours of brightness. In art and fiction, Dark Matters often are the primary mover.

Through this project we want to reflect on different aspects of the dark side of life in a simultaneously open-ended and provocative manner.  

The three collaborating partners meet regularly in national and international seminars and workshops. We propose to create a dedicated international conference under the “Dark Matters” banner in the coming years.

The project invites researchers from a broad multi- and interdisciplinary field  to join with others who share an interest in “dark matters.”

If you would like to participate or learn more about the “Dark Matters” project, please contact:

Dr. Mattias Frihammar

Department of Ethnlology

Stockholm University

email: mattias.frihammar@etnologi.su.se