For the month of April 2016, I was visiting professor at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, France. The museum is one part of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, a unique institution that really has no comparable body in the US. The museum is essentially the equivalent of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC – the repository of objects that play important roles in science, engineering, or various arts and crafts. These range from Foucault’s pendulum to scientific instruments, to vehicles, to many early communication devices (from a visual telegraph to early motion picture cameras).
My thanks to Yves Winkin, the museum’s director, for the invitation, and the introductions to many of his staff. Specific thanks to Roubina Modely and Emmanuel Lacrois for all their help with the logistics of acquiring an apartment. Those I spent the most time with included Isabelle Taillebourg and Nirina Ramandraivonona of the Documentation Center, Nathalie Giuliani of Exhibits, and Jamila Al Khatib of the pedagogical unit.
Anne Jorro of CNAM graciously invited me to join a full-day international seminar, Arts et faire: Des gestes professionnels de transmission, diffusion, mediation on April 15. Participants came from around France, as well as Belgium and Switzerland. And I was able to meet later with one of Anne’s former doctoral students, Padma Ramsamy-Prat, currently working on a research grant at CNAM.
While in Paris, I had the chance to reconnect with Katérina Stenou, my contact since 2009 with UNESCO, and a member of the Advisory Board of the CID.
In addition, Casey Man Kong Lum stopped in Paris between a sabbatical stay in Tours and visits to Lisbon and Barcelona. He is one of the editors of a new book entitled Urban foodways and communication: Ethnographic studies in intangible culture food heritages around the world, for which I wrote the final chapter. [Update in May 2016: the book is now in print – follow the link added here to a description and table of contents.]
I also had the opportunity to meet Johanna Maccioni, a Belgian psychologist and researcher who is one of the editors of a special issue of Les Politiques Sociales on intercultural competence. I was asked to write one of the articles last fall, which is currently under review, as a result of my role in preparing the UNESCO publication Intercultural competences: A conceptual and operational framework.
As long as I was back in France, Christine Develotte invited me to give a presentation on “Family Socialization to Cultural Identity: How Theory and Method Influence Research” to her doctoral seminar at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, on April 8. Afterwards, I gave feedback to her students on questions related to their own research projects.
All in all, a busy month!
Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Director