On 2-4 November 2018, the National Museum in Copenhagen hosted “ReConference“, a conference on historical reenactment and a living history organised by Hands on History, Ratobor and Ulfhendir. The event brought together over 150 reenactors of various eras, representatives of museums, open-air museums and archaeological parks, researchers and representatives of organizations and companies that offer services inspired by or involving living history and larp. Although numerically the Scandinavians dominated, there were also participants from the UK, USA, Russia, Slovenia and Poland.
The event was rich in high quality thought-provoking presentations about truly important topics. Amongst other, we discussed whether reenactment is actually a real reconstruction of the past (objects, events, personas) or rather a theatrical performance of our contemporary ideas about how people used to live in the past. Other questions included: How to organize historical events that are interesting and educational for the viewers? What do the audience of such events actually need? How to reconcile the interests and needs of reenactors and institutions (such as museums or open-air museums) that involve reenactors in their activities? Where is the boundary between hobby and professionalization? What risks and challenges do the reenactors face when they decide to transform their passion into a company or service?
Answers to these questions are rather complex and require thoughtful discussion involving many parties and points of view. The meeting in Copenhagen proved to be a successful platform for an exchange of thoughts and feelings. Although there were many points of view, the discussions were constructive and aimed at finding optimal solutions. All the talks were live streamed and are available on Hands on History YouTube channel.