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04/28/2022 - 04/30/2022 | Bremerhaven

A Civil Ocean – A Naval Space: Negotiating Boundaries between War and Peace at Sea

International conference of the Northern Sea Maritime Museums’ Network 28th-30th of April
2022, Bremerhaven/ Bremen – call for papers

Artefacts and paintings in maritime collections and open air cultural heritage at the Northern Sea Coasts reflect relics of the First and Second World War. They determine a strong impending naval flavor which is connected to a specific memorial regional identity. Rethinking maritime history though needs to reformulate the role of naval history in a new frame to distill its present day political importance.

The conference aims at a general re-interpretation and re-formulation of naval history in a
wider international context. It wants to promote a dialogue between maritime and more
general fields of historical, political and sociological sciences. It asks about the role of the sea as a space where boundaries between justice and non-justice, between liberty and
sovereignty, between war and peace were negotiated. It evaluates the specific role of the sea as a space of political and economic interaction and looks at the role of the sea as a framework for technological innovations at the threshold between military and scientific institutions.

The conference aims at maritime (art) historians, archaeologists, political and social scientists, but also specialists in the field of maritime law, ship building as well as active members in ship industry and safety management at sea from both civil organizations as well as naval institutions. It focusses on the modern period in order to connect research and exhibition themes with present and future global challenges connected to war and peace at sea.

Confirmed Key note speakers are Prof. Dr. Anita van Dissel (Universiteit Leiden), Prof. Dr.
Juergen Elvert (University of Cologne) and Prof. Dr. Andrew Lambert (King’s College, UK).

Preliminary Draft of program

Panel 1: Entangled Maritime Culture

The panel aims at addressing the manifold cultural interdependencies between sea and land with respect to the question if and how war and peace influenced or even formed these interdependencies, be that the navy fashion in Imperial Germany or individual biographies of sea men fluctuating between naval and civil sea fare. It also aims at including vessels as carriers of either peaceful dreams or imperial projects, often both united in one ship’s history.

Panel 2: Maritime Technologies between War and Peace

Many technological innovations are made because of financial efforts put into problem solving which promised consistent military advantages. Thus, a sometimes-hidden military agenda accompanies the history of technology. To reveal this hidden agenda helps to show under which circumstances technological innovations were made and to ask, how and when they also were applied to non-military usages. At the same time, it also wants to look at the transfer and influence of scientific concepts on military technology. In a very broad context it helps to get a differentiated view on the ‘dis-interestedness’ of technological innovations and the place of these innovations in specific social and political constellations. The panel encourages explicitly to look at the theme of ship building and risk management in times of peace and war.

Panel 3: Resources at Sea

The sea as a space for trade and as a space, whose resources are evaluated on a global scale, influences the boundaries between war and peace immensely. The Panel focusses on the interaction between naval sea fare and trade as well as between military interests and civil trade shipping as well as fishing. It aims at discerning intertwined political agendas regarding economic and political interests, asking if and how the sea gives these interdependencies a specific setting either prolonging or accelerating political conflicts in general.

Panel 4: Looking Back to the Future: Ship Wrecks and Museum Artifacts

With remaining a major part of ship wrecks including munition on the ground of the sea a wide range of questions remains about how important we judge the heritage of maritime war and peace: The ecological consequences of these items have been just begun to be explored and put into the public and political conscience. On the other hand, ship wrecks also present very often graves and memorial sites, which reveal a certain cultural attitude (or total neglect). Last but not least exhibiting remnants of war and peace of sea in museums connects our collection to present and future political developments.

Open forum for presenting museum and exhibition projects via posters or homepagesNorthern Sea Maritime Museums‘ Network

Either burden or potentials: Naval artifacts represent often a major part of maritime museum collections and thus they need to be taken into account while refurbishing permanent exhibitions or planning new exhibition events. In our open forum we want to give you a space for either represent conceptual ideas around the relationship between naval and civil warfare in your museum concept or invite you also to test future museum themes.
Contributions for this panel can be displayed either via posters or by presenting virtual solutions. Please name the title of the project, submit a short project description (400-600 characters including spaces) and add eventually links to material relevant for the project.

Information on participating / attending:
The conference is organized by the Northern Sea Maritime Museums’ Network
( We strongly encourage museums and exhibition makers to
participate in an open forum including poster presentations both analogue as well as digital in order to discuss recent exhibition or renewal projects with respect to the conference theme. A publication of the conference proceedings in a peer-reviewed format is planned.You may consider either a contribution to the four thematic panels or to the open forum format described below.

Please send in a title and an abstract of about 300-500 characters in English to Ruth Schilling: till the 1st of October 2021. You will be informed about participation no later than the 1st of November 2021. The travel costs of all active participants will be reimbursed.


04/28/2022 08:00 - 04/30/2022 17:00

Registration deadline:


Event venue:

27568 Bremerhaven

Target group:

Scientists and scholars



Subject areas:

Cultural sciences, History / archaeology, Oceanology / climate, Politics, Social studies

Types of events:

Conference / symposium / (annual) conference




Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum Bremerhaven



Event is free:


Language of the text:


URL of this event:


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