Civilisation and Enlightenment: the Arts of the Meiji period
Victoria and Albert Museum, Gallery 45, Japan (Toshiba Gallery)
20 October 2006 - 30 April 2007
The symbiosis between Western modernity and Japanese tradition during the Meiji period (1868-1912) was summed up in the Japanese phrase Bunmei Kaika -Civilisation and Enlightenment. In recent years world-wide interest in the arts of the Meiji period has significantly increased, not least in Japan itself where art works of this period are beginning to receive the academic and public acclaim which many curators and specialists have long felt they deserved.This autumn the V&A is presenting a new display from its rich collections of works from the Meiji period, many of which were collected at that time and some of which have not been on public display for years. Visitors to the V&A will have the opportunity to see objects produced and collected during a period when Japan and the West contributed cross-culturally to the applied and decorative arts, often to astonishing effect.To coincide with this new display the Museum has invited speakers who are at the forefront of studies in the arts of this period to talk at a Study Day on 11 November 2006.
The speakers are Victor Harris, Emeritus Keeper, British Museum; GregoryIrvine, Victoria and Albert Museum; Dr Clare Pollard, Ashmolean Museum,Oxford: Tim Clark, British Museum; Dr Nicole Rousmaniere, SainsburyInstitute for the Study of Japanese Arts Cultures and Shaun Garner,Russell-Cotes Museum.
Tickets for this event will be available from the V&A Bookings Office:+44 (0)20 7942 2211 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Respect for Ancient British Human Remains: Philosophy and Practice
Friday 17th November 2006
A conference organised by The Manchester Museum (University of Manchester) and Honouring the Ancient Dead, supported by the Museums Association
It is becoming standard practice for UK museums to repatriate human remains to their originating communities in Australasia and North America for reburial. An emerging issue, hotly debated, concerns the British counterparts of those remains: the communities for whom they are important are advocating with museums and archaeologists for respectful treatment, storage and sometimes reburial of ancient British human remains, both those recently excavated and those accessioned long ago and held in museum stores.The rationale for archaeologists excavating human remains, and museums collecting, studying and displaying them, is that they contribute to understanding of human history and that their analysis advances scientific knowledge in various fields. But the rights of science, archaeology and museums to use dead bodies as a research and teaching resource are not universally accepted. For many communities, human remains are sacred, they contain the stories of individuals, peoples, and landscapes. From that perspective, they must be treated with respect, and some question their use as objects of scientific investigation at all, or at the very least their continued storage in museums once research has been undertaken.Museums and archaeologists are beginning to engage with various communities in the UK who experience the world in different ways, particularly pagan faith traditions, who feel an unbroken ancestral connection with ancient human remains and their landscapes, and are demanding respectful treatment for those remains. As a result, the assumptions, approaches, and practices of museums and archaeologists are being challenged and changed. In response, and in consultation with those communities, some museums are amending their policies and treatment of ancient British human remains, and in some instances reburying or seriously considering reburial.This conference explores ideas of the sanctity of the human body and arguments for what constitutes respectful treatment within a robust philosophical, cultural and ethical framework. It offers practical guidance for museums and archaeologists on consultation, appropriate storage and treatment, and the process of reburial.
Issues examined are:
• Different ways of experiencing and understanding the world and humanity’s position within nature, and their implications for the meaning and treatmentof human remains
• Cultural attitudes towards sanctity of the human body
• A critique of the attitude and practice of western archaeology towards human remains, using bog bodies as a case study
• Analysis of pagan views of the sanctity of burial
• Do modern pagan communities have a claim to be consulted and heard?
• Are the age and cultural background and connections of human remains relevant?
• Museum practices and processes regarding human remains
• The benefits of scientific study and analysis of ancient human remains
• A practical guide to respectful treatment, storage and reburial, including consultation, decision-making, funding, location, deaccessioning from museum collections, and associated rituals.
The conference speakers are museum directors and curators, archaeologists, academics, and the founder of Honouring the Ancient Dead, a British network organisation set up to advocate for respect towards ancient pagan human remains and related artefacts and create dialogue with museums and archaeologists.
Professor Piotr Bienkowski: Deputy Director, The Manchester Museum, and Professor of Archaeology and Museology, University of Manchester
Dr Jenny Blain: Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Division of Applied Social Science, Faculty of Development and Society, Sheffield Hallam University
Laura Coats: Senior Curator, History, Leicester City Museums
Dr Melanie Giles: Lecturer in Archaeology, University of Manchester
Sarah Levitt: Head of Museums Services, Leicester City Museums
Emma Restall Orr: Head of The Druid Network, founder and council member of Honouring the Ancient Dead
Professor Elizabeth Slater: Garstang Professor of Archaeology, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts, University of Liverpool
Dr Robert J. Wallis: Associate Professor of Visual Culture, and Associate Director, MA in Art History, Richmond the American University in London
09.00 Registration and coffee
09.30 IntroductionEmma Restall Orr and Piotr Bienkowski
09.45 Persons, Things and Archaeology: Contrasting World-views of Minds,Bodies and DeathPiotr Bienkowski
10.35 Coffee break
10.50 Cultural Attitudes Towards Sanctity of the Human Body Emma Restall Orr
11.40 Archaeology of Human Remains: Paradigm and ProcessMelanie Giles
13.15 The Sanctity of Burial: Pagan Views, Ancient and ModernJenny Blain and Robert J. Wallis
14.05 Museums and Human Remains: Duty of Care, Consultation, ConsentSarah Levitt and Laura Coats
14.55 Tea break
15.10 The Benefits of Scientific Study and Analysis of Ancient Human RemainsElizabeth Slater
16.00 Respectful Treatment and Reburial: A Practical GuideEmma Restall Orr and Piotr Bienkowski
16.50 Discussionmediated by Emma Restall Orr and Piotr Bienkowski
17.30-18.00 Conference ends. Drinks reception
There is no conference fee, and coffee/tea will be provided free. If you wish to have a buffet lunch, there will be a £5.00 charge on the day. If you would like further information about the conference, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Piotr Bienkowski on email@example.com
To book your place at the conference, please email or telephone: Anna Davey (Events and Marketing Co-ordinator) mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
0161 275 8788
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.