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.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Recent Stuff: Conference Alerts and other bits and pieces...part 2

From H-Museum:

Masterclasses in Museology
The Museion Research Seminar Series - Autumn 2006

All research seminars will take place on Wednesday afternoons in the Museumof World Culture, Göteborg, Sweden starting at 2.00pm. All talks will be in English.

Wednesday 18 October 2006
Maurizio Maggi
Ecomuseums, heritage and communities - the Italian experience.
Maurizio Maggi is a researcher at the Istituto ricerche economiche e socialidel Piemonte (IRES), in Turin, Italy. Piemonte is a region of northern Italythat has been finding new ways of sustaining its rural communities through agricultural tourism, 'slow food' and ecomuseum development. There are some fifty ecomuseums including 20-25 on the making in the region, many relating to former industries and ways of life.These sites are now making a real contribution to the local economy, and also providing local people with a means of self-expression and ownership oftheir past. Maurizio has been at the heart of this Piemonte museological revolution, not just by helping to establish and support these initiatives, but also by developing a web-based database (www.ecomuseums.eu ) that is a source of information and discussion about ecomuseums and community-based heritage projects, and enabling a Europe-wide network of ecomuseum practitioners. In his talk he will outline some of these developments, but refer in particular to the debates which are currently taking place within the European network.

Wednesday 25 October 2006
Miriam Harte
Re-inventing the open-air museum - the Beamish experience
Miriam Harte is Director of Beamish, England's premier open air museum in County Durham in the north of England. On a large site in a natural bowl inthe landscape, an industrial town that represents the heyday of northern England's industrial might has been re-created, set in the period justbefore the First World War. A range of buildings - a school, church, miners'cottages, colliery buildings, shops and public houses - have been carefully collected and restored on-site.Costumed interpreters act as the main means of communication with visitors.The stories that are told are based on extensive research carried out by the museum, which has magnificent collections of material culture and important photographic collections. Such museums are seen elsewhere in the world, with Skansen in Sweden being cited as the first such development, but they pose all kinds of practical and theoretical problems. How do they remain attractive to visitors if they are relatively static? Can one site encompass more than one time frame? How can such sites appeal to teenagers, who may have little interest in the past? And how do such museums create ac ollecting policy that will serve the museum in the future?Interestingly, Miriam Harte took on the role of Director when many of these questions had not been asked, let alone answered. She has been at the forefront of these discussions, both at Beamish and in ICOM's committee for open air museums, and will describe the museological and professional challenges she has faced in re-creating Beamish.

Wednesday 22 November 2006
Dr Rhiannon Mason
Museums and Nationalism in the 21st century - the case of National Museum Wales
Dr Rhiannon Mason is a lecturer at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, University of Newcastle, England. Her research examines the ways in which museums in Wales - and the National Museum of Wales in particular - represent the country and its people. This has inevitably led her to explore the meanings of nationalism, and what role material culture as a representation of the past plays in establishing and sustaining the concept of nation. In her talk she will examine the extent to which national representations in Wales have been shaped by the museums' own specific disciplinary discourses. She will refer to the initial creation of the National Museum of Wales and the thematic selection of disciplines ( art, folk culture, and industrial and maritime history) and to the high-profile, public debates which arose as responses to the museums' collecting and display strategies. She will explore the extent to which national museums have been involved in the articulation and definition of nationhood and national identity within Wales, both in the past and in contemporary society. In particular, she will highlight the challenge facing all today's national museums, not just in Wales; namely that they were formed in the intellectual context of nineteenth-century nationalism but now find themselves situated within a global and sometimes a post-national context. This new context tends to privilege ideas of cultural diversity and hybridity above nationalism. Rhiannon Mason will consider some of the ways that national museums are attempting to address and reconcile this conflict.

Wednesday 29 November 2006
Dr Myra Giesen
Homeland security - repatriation and protection of Native American graves and sacred objects in the United States.
Dr Myra Giesen is a Lecturer in the School of Historical Studies, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Before moving to the UK she worked as a cultural resources professional for the American Department of the Interior. In this capacity, she wrote policy and guidance on the excavation of human remains from federal lands and the repatriation of Native American human remains and sacred objects in the possession of museums. In her talk, she will describe the impacts the American federal law, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), has had on Native Americans, museums, federal agencies and scientists in the United States.She will discuss the curatorial, scientific, and ethical debates that have ensued since the passage of NAGPRA. In additon, she will discuss how consultation has been a critical step in both the repatriation and protection progress.

Wednesday 13 December 2006
Dr Christopher Whitehead
Interpreting art in museums and galleries - curatorial and visitor perspectives
Dr Christopher Whitehead is a Lecturer at the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, University of Newcastle. Before joining Newcastle University he has practiced as a Curator in the UK and Italy, and was Assistant Professor in Art History and Museum Studies at Harlaxton College and at the University of Evansville, Indiana. His research activities focus on both historical and contemporary museology, his book,'The Public Art Museum in Nineteenth-Century Britain: the development of theNational Gallery', was published by Ashgate in 2005. In his lecture he will focus on the ways in which art, and contemporary art in particular, is interpreted in art museums and galleries, exploring the tensions between the artist, the curator and the needs of the visitor. The ways in which art is interpreted ultimately influences the visitor experience, and Chris will describe the initial findings of his recent research, an investigation of the impact on people's lives of gallery visits and education activities, and how this may relate to the acquisition of cultural and social capital.

For more info, contact Staffan Lundén
Staffan.lunden@museion.gu.se
http://www.museion.gu.se

***

Imperial Curiosity: Objects, Representations, Knowledges
Hobart, Australia
27-29 June, 2007
Alongside economic, political, and strategic motivations, curiosity spurred the spread of empire. This interdisciplinary conference invites scholars and curators to explore imperial curiosity with the University of Tasmania 's Centre for Colonialism and Its Aftermath. We want to bring together those working in various historical, literary, ethnographic, and cultural collections with scholars from diverse disciplines: literary studies, geography, Asian studies, history, indigenous studies, art history,architecture, legal studies, museum studies, gender studies, cultural studies, and anthropology, amongst others.We welcome papers which address the following topics, and others which might surprise us:- Imperial inquisitiveness &/or acquisitiveness- Imperial wonder & awe- Resisting imperial curiosity- The cultural industries of imperialism- Imperial florilegium- Textual economies of curiosity: reading, travels, and travails- Imperial networks and/or the imperial archive- The gendering of imperial curiosity- The psychological terrain of imperial estrangement- Imperial affect (curiosity, fear, awe, pleasure)- Cabinets of curiosities: collecting & classification- The objects of empire- The erotics of empire

250 word abstracts should be submitted using the online submission form no later than 1 December, 2006 and should be accompanied by a 100 word biographical note <http://www.utas.edu.au/arts/imperialcuriosity>.
For moreinformation, emailCAIA@utas.edu.au

Dr Anna Johnston
School of English, Journalism, and European Languages
University of Tasmania
Private Bag 82
HobartTasmania 7001
Australia

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