© Stadt-Land-Kind, Foto Iris Ranzinger

Academy of fine arts Vienna / IKL and Laboratory for Cognitive Research in Art History - University of Vienna, Department of Art History

Project lead: Martina Fineder und Luise Reitstätter
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An intergenerational ethnography of images of nostalgia for the countryside

Based on a unique Europe-wide photo collection at the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, the “City-Country-Child” research project investigated the myth of a better life in the countryside from an intergenerational perspective. Together with scientists, pupils explored current city-country structures and corresponding productions of images and meaning through exchanges with parents and grandparents. Which images do we use to “write” our history of the countryside? The questions directing the research also asked which societal concepts and promises (for the future) are dealt with in these images.

On the one hand, the goal here was to deconstruct the current ideas of authenticity that are used today in images of the countryside by tourism, product and policy-related compositions. On the other hand, the project was aiming to update memories of rural Austria through a) a critical scrutiny of historical and culturally constructed themes of nostalgia, through b) creating new, multi-perspective images and through c) collective exhibition and communication. The cross-disciplinary approach from cultural science brought together aspects of visual and sensory ethnography, research into design and everyday life and museology in a productive manner. The ethnographical research process with pupils used focus groups with inter-generational picture talks, research postcards and photo exhibitions for active-reflective production of images.

While science benefitted from the analysis and update of visual/material cultures together with the public, the educational-political drive could be found in examining an undefined definition of home and expanding visual literacies to school pupils and their families. In addition to expert workshops, the project ended with a final exhibition at the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art (5 April to 2 June 2019).

“City-Country-Child” was a research project led by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in cooperation with the Laboratory for Cognitive Research in Art History at the University of Vienna, the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, the Werkraum Bregenzerwald, VS Rastenfeld school, NMS Kals am Großglockner school and the Werkraumschule Bregenzerwald school. The project was carried out as part of the Sparkling Science support programme and sponsored by the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Research.


Martina Fineder, Paul Reiter (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
Luise Reitstätter, Mark Elias Napadenski (University of Vienna)
Herbert Justnik, Astrid Hammer, Katharina Zwerger-Peleska (Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art)
Iris Ranzinger (photography, digital images, archive)

Project duration:

1 September 2017 – 31 May 2019

Project partner:

 CReA Logo logo akademie der bildenden kAnste wien  logo vkm  logo sparkling science 
Tagged under
  • history
  • media
  • culture
Read 111 times| Last modified on Friday, 11 September 2020 08:44

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