Experiments in sharing authority

2020-2025

This project explores participatory practices in the production of knowledge and culture. Specifically, it delves into the meanings, practices, and outcomes of sharing authority as an approach to co-creation in various settings. In the early 1990s, based on his experience in oral and public history, historian Michael Frisch coined the concept of “a shared authority” to articulate the intersubjective and socially embedded nature of historical texts, particularly evident in oral history. From Frisch’s critical concept emerged the approach of actively “sharing authority.” In our days, the concept has been given renewed and widening interest, being taken up by other fields than oral history, and also in work outside of research, such as museums and archives.

In the first contribution, this project reflects on the meanings of sharing authority by examining how the concept was translated into Swedish in a collaborative life story project in Malmö and how that translation sheds light on the concept’s genealogy through project-based research.

In the second contribution, the project analyzes sharing authority as a practice by examining the Museum of Movements, a museum created in collaboration between professionals, migratory and minority communities, and social movement actors in Sweden.

The third contribution of the project involves an analysis of the narrative strategies used in representations arising from collaborations between professionals and non-professionals. It particularly reflects on how to handle narrative closure in a text intended to represent an ongoing and deepening relationship.