Project partner: 
WWU Münster Seminar for Folklore Studies/European Ethnology 

The WWU Münster Seminar for Folklore Studies/European Ethnology researches and lectures on everyday culture forms of experience and life worlds. In the process it integrates historical anthropology and contemporary ethnographical studies from a cultural studies perspective. Family and kinship in historical and contemporary perspective and museum and material culture are the focus of our work. Here a critical perspective on the history of German Volkskunde as one of the anthropological disciplines is just as much a concern as the interdisciplinary horizon – for example in the journal Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften that is co-edited at the seminar.

In the lectures the students on the cultural anthropology/folklore studies MA curriculum and the cultural and social anthropology BA curriculum in both their bachelors and masters work have the opportunity to participate in the BMBF association. Further information and contact addresses can be obtained here.

Dr. Michael Schimek, 2015
Dr. Michael Schimek, 2015

Project A

Building a house for us: an ethnography of family ideals in transition. 

In project A the focus is on families who have been living in a family house for a maximum of ten years, are building it now or are planning to build a house. We research the family ideals, concepts and practices of living as well as life styles that become evident in house building. Here traditional cultural patterns play a role, such as the family house as a symbol of wealth, stability and respectability as it was also politically promoted in the first post-war years of the Federal Republic. Relevant to this however are also the current conceptions of life together as a family. We investigate these structures using qualitative methods (interviews, participating observation, object analyses) with the focus on the concrete everyday life of families: what do families orient themselves on in the decision to build a house? What ideas and ideals of the future are associated with it? What supports can they draw on (e.g. relatives, neighbours, friends)? 

Westfalen Spiegel 1/2017 from 4th February: Haus-Aufgaben. Alte Einfamilienhäuser in den Dörfern Westfalens stehen leer, trotzdem wird am Rand neu gebaut.

The team


Prof. Dr.
Elisabeth Timm

Managing Director

After a MA-degree in European Ethnology and Social Anthropology at the University of Tübingen (1988–1995) I completed exhibition and documentary projects, including on the local history of Nazi forced labour and the culture of remembrance. The subject of my ethnographic PhD research (2001) was codes of conduct taught. Since my employment at the University of Vienna (2004–2011), the knowledge and everyday history of family and kinship have been the focus of my work, which I worked on and developed at the WWU Münster (2011) since my appointment to the Chair for Cultural Anthropology/Folklore Studies, most recently in the interdisciplinary project “Doing kinship with pictures and objects” (2009–2012). My particular interest in the BMBF association is in the genealogical practices that evolve between science, law, archive and family custom as an infrastructure with its own dynamic in everyday family life in the process of the combination of historical sources with narrative, visual and material tradition.

Dr. Anne Caplan

Management of the BMBF research association

From 2003 to 2008 I studied communication design at Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences (degree). I deepened my interest in Musée Sentimental by Daniel Spoerri and the associated artistic strategies in a subsequent PhD on the subject of “Sentimental urbanity – the creative production of Heimat” at the Institute for Art and Design Science of the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen (this work is expected to be published in winter 2015 by transcript Verlag, Bielefeld). My design project, “Sentimental Urbanity”, carried out as part of the PhD, was awarded the support prize of the “Ruhr and Emscher Cultural History Forum” in summer 2014. As researcher in the Department of Design of the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen (2008–2014) I realised interdisciplinary design projects, workshops, symposia and exhibitions in the international context, among others as assistant to Prof. Dr h.c. Ruedi Baur. My research interests are in the culture of everyday life and remembrance in the context of the urban surfaces; creatively I work at the intersection between art and design. I am responsible for the management of the BMBF association; professionally here I am interested above all in material culture in family houses and its architecture with a view to the construction of idylls.

Wagenknecht M.A.


After my degree in cultural studies at the University of Leipzig and the ELTE Budapest, which I completed with a work on consumer culture in the GDR, I worked as a freelance assistant at the House of Cultures of the World in Berlin on an exhibition on art in public space. From 2012 to 2015, I studied urban studies at the Technical University of Darmstadt. In my masters thesis I researched concepts of spatial order in the planning and implementation processes of a big housing estate in the 1960s. Even during the course I was working in research projects on the issues of urban planning and living, among other things in the SFB 1053 Maki (multi-mechanism adaptation for the future Internet) at the TU Darmstadt, which researched the phenomenon of spontaneous meetings of individuals in public space, as well as at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt am Main on the project “Citizens out of Consternation” led by Chantal Magnin, which researched participation opportunities in urban planning processes (where I did empirical research and analysis of data). Since April 2015, as scientific assistant at the University of Münster Seminar for Folklore Studies/European Ethnology, I have been responsible for Project A “Building a House for Us”, where I am responsible for the research on new buildings. 


Lea Helene Kaumanns

Student assistant

During my undergraduate studies in German philology and theology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Technische Universität Dortmund, which I completed with a Bachelor thesis about “Religious Internet Memes”, I worked at the chair of practical theology and religious education as a student assistant. 
After my project work at the public relations agency “AIM – Creative Strategies and Visions” in Berlin last year, I am now doing my MA studies in cultural anthropology at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster.
At the BMBF association my tasks are bibliographic and thematic searches, transcription of interviews as well as supporting the coordination of the association.

Larissa Borck

Student assistant ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ 04/2015 to 09/2016

Since winter term 2013/14 I have been studying cultural and social anthropology and political science in the two-part bachelor programme at the Westphalian Wilhelms-University of Münster. As student assistant at the BMBF association I work with Dr. Anne Caplan in the coordination of the association and carry out research and transcription tasks.