The Council for Museum Anthropology is delighted to announce the winners of the 2022 Michael M. Ames Prize and the Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award. We thank the joint CMA Awards Committee and CMA Book Award Committee (Cara Krmpotich, Laura Peers, John Carty, Lijun Zhang, and Adrian Van Allen), for their dedicated work on this.

Awarded to individuals for an innovative project in museum anthropology, the Michael M. Ames Prize for Innovative Museum Anthropology is given in 2022 to Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura at the University of British Columbia for her project A Future for Memory: Art and Life after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Nakamura’s project explores issues of memory, materiality, public commemoration and the role of museums related to the 2011 earthquake/tsunami/nuclear event in Japan. The project is articulated through a complex suite of activity, publication, and exhibition linking to broader work such as a program to create 3D models of urban environments lost to the tsunami and the Lost and Found Project, involving family photographs which emerged in tsunami debris. The exhibition is supported by public, academic, and school programs as well as videos and online tours in multiple languages. One of the project’s strengths is the ways in which it engages robustly with multiple cross-cultural and cross-generational audiences.

The CMA Awards Committee members felt, unanimously, that the project has an extraordinary depth, timeliness, and courage in its far-reaching vision and impact. We felt that it encourages our colleagues to be equally courageous and creative in addressing difficult topics with diverse audiences, and that it expresses core futures and values of museum anthropology. We award the prize also to acknowledge Dr. Nakamura’s leadership and vision for the many people who have contributed to A Future for Memory.

Learn more about the exhibit here.

The 2022 Council for Museum Anthropology Book Award is given to Aanchal Malhotra, for Remnants of Partition: 21 Objects from a Continent Divided (London: C. Hurst & Co., 2019). This extraordinary work has immense potential to influence museum anthropology in its methodology, grace of narration, and participant-centred analysis, and has already been acknowledged by several awards. Arising from fieldwork conducted as part of an MFA, Remnants of Partition is based on interviews with survivors of the violence and trauma related to the partition of India in 1947. Forced to flee, torn from family and social networks, their lives unutterably changed, Malhotra’s interviewees reflect decades later on their experiences and survival through the possessions they brought with them—or sometimes didn’t. Malhotra uses a rich, detailed, reflexive technique based on oral history but with deeply ethnographic narrative leanings to bring herself and the reader into the interviews and to involve us in her concerns for her participants as they remember and re-live deep traumas. Importantly, her interviewees come from both sides of the partition, including men and women. Malhotra’s concern for detail — such as languages spoken, family members present and their interactions during interviews, setting and mood (as well as her own responses to the stories) — creates a strong moral and ethical underpinning for this work and its focus on the materiality and sociality of violence. The narration is frankly beautiful, a rare and compelling form of ethnographic storytelling. The committee felt that the work is a model for significant contributions to museum anthropology.

Learn more about the book here.

This year’s CMA Awards will be presented during the CMA Reception.

Join us there:

 Thursday, 10 November 2022 from 5-7 pm (PST)

at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

4303 Memorial Way Northeast Seattle, WA 98105

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