Welcome to the conference Souvenirs in Motion: Cultural and Historical Perspectives on the Souvenir as a Research Object organized in Rovaniemi, Finland on 15 – 17 April 2020.
The conference focuses on souvenir objects examined as material or virtual memories of travels, events, phenomena and people. Materialization of travel and tourism – of which souvenirs are one manifestation – is intertwined with social meanings and interactions in multiple and complex ways. Souvenirs are of personal significance to people and they are associated with experiences had during travels, or the purchased object may be perceived as embodying status values, for example.
The significance of a souvenir object changes with a shift from the perspective of the traveller to that of the producer, designer or seller of souvenirs, or further still, if souvenirs are examined from the perspective of the local people whose culture or natural surroundings are being productized for the tourism industry. Questions of critical consumption and cultural (mis)appropriation bring about additional challenges and further embed the problematic of the souvenir object in the context of ethics. Production, selling and purchasing of souvenirs are interactive events during which not only meanings but also identities are being negotiated. At present, souvenirs are expected to be sensitive to the rights, identity, and culture of ethnic minorities. The concept of authenticity is central to the discussion surrounding souvenirs. Souvenir objects in museum collections are treated as representations of preserved cultural heritage.
The conference examines souvenir objects in their historical and cultural contexts, as well as the transformations undergone by them e.g. with the introduction of virtual worlds and social media. What has been historically, and what is presently, considered as a souvenir and by whom? What does the problematic of souvenirs look like from the perspective of museums? Or, from the perspective of designers, or local people?
The conference consists of keynote lectures, papers and workshops (including a workshop on the souvenir collections of the Regional Museum of Lapland) as well as excursions into the local souvenir culture (shops, producers). The language of the conference is English.
We invite international, Finnish and Sámi experts working in academic fields relevant to the conference theme and representatives of the souvenir production as keynote speakers of the conference.
Call for papers
We invite submissions of abstracts (150 to 300 words, along with a short bionote) for presentations (20 minutes) or session proposals from researchers with a particular interest in souvenir objects from fields of science such as cultural history, art history, material culture studies, design history, design studies, museology, ethnology, cultural anthropology, Sámi studies, tourism research, design, and other relevant fields.
Contributions may deal with, but are not limited to, the following subject areas:
– definitions and meanings of a souvenir
– theory and method: how to research and interpret souvenirs
– methodological perspectives on the study of souvenirs
– designing and developing new souvenirs: material and immaterial
– souvenir production: mass-production, handicraft
– material artefacts: design, kitsch
– seasonal souvenirs (e.g. Christmas)
– mythical figures
Please submit the abstract of your presentation or your session proposal in English by 28 October 2019 using the link to online submission form available on the event website.
All accepted abstracts will be published on the conference website.
Important dates and deadlines
Deadline for abstracts: 28 October 2019
Notification sent to corresponding authors: by 15 November 2019
Registration: 1 December 2019 to 31 March 2020
For additional information about the conference programme and abstracts, please contact
For additional information about practical arrangements, registration, hotel booking and payments, please contact:
University of Lapland
Tel. +358 (0)40 484 4462, +358 (0)40 484 4464 and +358 40 484 4195