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.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Museum Studies Research Seminar Series 07/08: Programme for semester 2

The Museum Studies Research Seminar Series 2007/8

The Museum Studies Research Seminar is an informal ‘brown bag’ (bring a sandwich!) group that meets at least once every two to four weeks, on Wednesdays at 1.00pm, in the Lecture Room at 105 Princess Road East (PRE). Museum Studies is an inter-disciplinary field and all are welcome. Refreshments served.

For further details, or to join the email list, please contact Viv Golding.

16 January
2008 Organising team: Sandra Dudley & Ann Brysbaert
External Speaker: Louise Tythacott
(University of Manchester, Lecturer)
Title tba

30 January
2008 Organising team: Richard Sandell & Jocelyn Dodd
Internal Speakers: Richard Sandell & Jocelyn Dodd
(University of Leicester)
Title: Rethinking Disability Representation

13 February 2008 Organising team: Giasemi Vavoula & Ross Parry
Internal Speaker: Giasemi Vavoula
(University of Leicester, Lecturer)
Title: Mobile Learning

23 April
2008 Organising team: Ann Brysbaert & Sandra Dudley
Internal PhD Speaker: Anna Woodham
(University of Leicester)
Title: Museums and social inclusion: exploring the geography of school visits to museums

14 May
2008 Organising team: Ross Parry & Giasemi Vavoula
External Speaker Professor Stephen Brown
(Professor of Learning Technologies and Director of Knowledge Media Design, De Montfort University)
Title: Rethinking GLOs

11 June
2008 Organising team: Jocelyn Dodd & Richard Sandell
External Speaker, Bernadette Lynch
(Manchester Museum)
Title: Practicing Radical Trust: Museums and the Sharing of Authority

18 June
2008 Organising team: Suzanne MacLeod & Viv Golding
Internal Speaker: Suzanne MacLeod
Title: Spatial, social and professional change at the Walker Art Gallery 1877-1933

Were Hamburg's Terracotta Warriors 'Fake'?

Interesting little report here (via Danwei) about an ongoing scandal involving the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg and their recent Power in Death exhibition. Definitely worth a read, especially in the light of other recent fake art scandals.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Russia halts London art show

Who says art isn't political?

CFP: The Contentious Museum

Call for Papers

'The Contentious Museum' conference will be held in Aberdeen on 20-21 November 2008. The sixth biennial University Museums in Scotland conference, it will draw together a variety of people with professional,academic and community interests in museums in Scotland and elsewhere.

Museums have become increasingly contentious places, engaging with debates on issues such as repatriation, genocide, slavery, censorship,power and the treatment of human remains. This conference will discuss how responding to such challenges enables museums to depart from tradition and embrace different ways of thinking, working and developing new audiences.

Proposals are invited for individual papers of 30 minutes. Proposals should take the form of an outline of the topic to be covered and the name and contact details of the proposer. It is intended that selected papers will be published in a special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship. Please indicate if you would like your paper considered for publication.

All proposals for sessions or individual papers must be received by 29 February 2008. An outline programme and booking form will be available from May 2008.

Further information is available from, and proposals should be sent to,Neil Curtis (contact details below).

Neil Curtis
Senior Curator
Marischal Museum
University of Aberdeen
Marischal College
Aberdeen AB10 1YS

T: (+44) 01224 274304
F: (+44) 01224 274302

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Free Event: Celebrating Diversity

Celebrating Diversity and Looking at the Impact of the Slave-Trade and Multiculturalism today

Part of the Hunterian Diversity Initiative Funded by Awards for All.
Wednesday 5th March 2008
10am - 4pm
Free of Charge

As part of the bicentenary of the Hunterian Museum and to mark the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, we are pleased to offer this 1-day event, free of charge, to celebrate diversity and explore the impact of the slave-trade and multiculturalism today. Full programme will be available early 2008.

To register interest please call 0141 330 2375 or email

Hunterian Museum, Gilbert Scott Building, University Ave, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

CFP: History as Creative Writing

Call for Papers:

"History as Creative Writing"

(For publication in Volume 14, 2010)

The editors of Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice invite contributions to an issue entitled ‘History as Creative Writing," the first of several issues, to be published over several years, intended to highlight the journal’s longstanding interest in experiments in the literary dimensions of historical writing. (See, for example, Alun Munslow and Robert A. Rosenstone, eds. 2004. Experiments in Rethinking History.)

What we continue to look for—in narrative, interpretation, theory, or some combination of two or three--is evidence of a struggle not just with evidence or argument but also with language and with form.

That struggle might lead to some unusual structure, or plot, or voice (or voices), or point of view (or points of view). It might lead to some uncommon (for academic history) use of metaphor, imagery, or rhythm. It might push a writer to the outer limits of the universe of non-fiction writing—or out of that universe altogether. It might produce, in the name of historical understanding, a memoir, poem, or piece of a play. We welcome contributions from writers at any stage in their careers, at work in any field, and engaged with the past in any imaginable way. We expect pieces of various lengths, but hope that none will be a word more or less than it needs to be.

The deadline for contributions to the first issue of Volume 14 is December 1, 2009.

Further details can be obtained from the US editor James Goodman

Journal Website: is the online home of publications from Taylor & Francis, Routledge, Psychology Press and Informa Healthcare

Informa plc ("Informa") Registered Office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London, W1T 3JH. Registered in England and Wales - Number 3099067.

Conference Alert: 2008 WebWise Conference

From H-Museum:

2008 WebWise Conference on Libraries and Museums in the Digital World
Miami Beach, Florida
March 5-7, 2008

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and The Wolfsonian-Florida International University (The Wolfsonian-FIU) announce open registration for the 2008 WebWise Conference in Miami Beach, FL. The WebWise Conference is a premier forum for nationally-recognized experts to address the emerging issues and implications of digital technologies for libraries, museums, and other institutions.

The theme for WebWise 2008 is "Web 2.0: The Power of Community." The conference will explore the applications of Web 2.0 technologies to engage audiences and provide access to institutional collections. Current research on online users as well as innovative digital tools and programs to enhance library and museum services will be featured in presentations and demonstrations. The 2008 WebWise Conference will feature keynote addresses by Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation, and Jeffrey Schnapp, founder-director of the Stanford Humanities Lab, on March 6 and 7 respectively. Two half-day pre-conference workshops, requiring separate registration, will be offered March 5, including 1) an Introduction to Web 2.0 for Libraries and Museums and 2) Digital Applications for the Humanities, organized by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

There are no registration fees for the WebWise Conference, but space is limited. For more information about this year's conference, including the agenda, online registration, and information about travel and lodging, visit Visit for information on past WebWise conferences.

The annual WebWise Conference is sponsored by IMLS and this year will be co-hosted by The Wolfsonian-FIU, with support from the Florida Center for Library Automation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority.

The WebWise welcome reception is sponsored by The Steven and Dorothea Green Library , Florida International University; The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University; Miami Art Museum; The Otto G. Richter Library, University of Miami; Vizcaya Museum & Gardens; The Wolfsonian-Florida International University.

Contact: Susanna Temkin
Phone: 305.535.2632

CFP: City Museums and the future of the city

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers

City Museums and the future of the city
Seoul, Museum of History
6-8 October 2008

CAMOC's next conference will be in Seoul, South Korea on 6-8 October 2008. It will be hosted by the Seoul Museum of History It will be our fourth conference after Moscow, Boston and Vienna. It will be open not only to museum professionals, but to all those who are interested and involved in cities and urban living.

The conference will be about the contribution that museums about the city can make to the city's future and it will explore a variety of topics within this general theme though formal presentations, panel discussions and workshops. The conference organisers are looking forward to different perspectives and wish to explore ways that museums can work with all those groups and individuals who are shaping the future of cities. They are keen therefore that the conference will be open to a wide range of organisations and individuals who can provide these different perspectives.

Call for papers

We are now calling for papers which will address the general theme of the conference. Papers, which can take the form of case studies, should be of publishable standard and authors are asked to give CAMOC the right to publish their paper following the conference.

Presentations should not exceed 30 minutes and as delegates will be coming from a variety of countries and using different languages we are encouraging the use of visual images wherever possible.

The main language of the conference will be English.

Abstracts, which should not exceed 300 words, should be sent to Ian Jones at by 31 March 2008 at the latest. Abstracts will be submitted to our editorial committee and a decision on their suitability will be made by the end of April.

More information will be provided soon about the programme as well as details of the registration fee.


The latest International Committee to be set up is CAMOC: the International Committee for the Collections and Activities of Museums of Cities. It owes its origins to the initiative of Moscow City Museum and museum professionals in other countries who felt the need for a Committee which would focus on museums of the city. The Committee also reflects the growing focus world wide on cites: their economic importance, their spectacular growth and the problems and possibilities they present. The matters for debate on the city are almost endless: pollution, regeneration, the private car, public transport, the flight to the suburbs, the destruction of heritage, insensitive development. The Committee aims to be at the centre of this debate, not least through supporting and encouraging museums of cities in their work of collecting, preserving and presenting original material on the city's past, present and future, work which can reinforce the city's identity and contribute to its development. The Committee was approved by ICOM's Executive Council during the ICOM General Conference held in Seoul in October 2004. Then, at a meeting in Moscow in April 2005 organised by Irina Smagina and her colleagues at Moscow City Museum delegates from 13 countries drafted the Committee's aims and objectives and elected an Executive Board.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Festive Fun!

On Tuesday, 11th December 2007, those of us in Leicester had a pre-Christmas get together, along similar lines to our other recent social events: we've had museum crawls and ghost crawls, and now a Christmas Dinner crawl! Starting off at Anna and Ceri's house we warmed up with mugs of mulled wine and spiced apple juice, and partake of our delicious pea soup starter, as created by Anna. Next stop was the favourite Museum Studies haunt, the Lansdowne, for a quick drink, and the onto Pippa's, for our main course of seasonal Chicken Casserole provided by Sid and gratefully received by all. Our final course of the evening was back at Anna's and Ceri's for more spiced apple and Ceri's lovely Apple and Raspberry Crumble. A fantastic evening was had by all, as this selection of photos testifies!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Free Christmas Carol Downloads!

A quick, completely non-museum related post...

If you're feeling festive, you might like to know that The Times is offering free Christmas Carol downloads TODAY. For more details click here. Altogether now, Away in a manger...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Recommended reading for anyone (thinking about) writing-up

Cross-posted from Cogs and Wheels

One of the reasons why I’ve been so quiet recently, is that I’ve been trying, desperately, to get some of this thesis written up. And, in brilliant timing, I came across the following book, thanks to Mary’s recommendation:

Patrick Dunleavy. 2003. Authoring a PhD: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Finish a Doctoral Thesis or Dissertation. Palgrave MacMillan.

What a godsend! It’s absolutely brilliant (clearly all the reviewers on Amazon think so too!). Thanks to Prof. Dunleavy I now have the words to describe the methodological thrust of my written-up research; my thesis going to take an analytic, plus descriptive approach. To fully appreciate what that means, you’ll have to read the book. But, suffice to say, it’s going to take a little bit of work to turn my current purely descriptive chapters into something a little more ‘analytic’.

Actually,the plan for my thesis has always been to start with case studies and open out in a broader narrative, weaving in some theory and historical stuff - I just didn’t know how I was going to achieve it. But this book really does give clear advice about how to ‘author’ a thesis to best show off your original research. I think it could, over the next six months or so, become my bible!

Symposium: The Politics of Display

From H-ArtHist:

The Politics of Display

A Symposium in Honor of Neil Harris, Preston and Sterling Morton Professor of History and Art History, The University of Chicago

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The symposium will explore aspects of American culture central to Professor Harris' own scholarly interests.

The symposium will be free but attendees must preregister.

Speakers will include Daniel Bluestone, University of Virginia; Michele H. Bogart, Stony Brook University; Annie Cohen-Solal, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales; Hanna Holborn Gray, University of Chicago; Thomas Hines, University of California, Los Angeles; Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, New York University; T. Jackson Lears, Rutgers University; Sally M. Promey, Yale University; and Nicholas Yablon, University of Iowa.

Details available at:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Study Day for Students at the British Museum

Museum Studies – Student day
Wednesday 23 January 2008, 11.00-15.30
BP Lecture Theatre, Clore Education Centre
Admission free, booking essential

A day of talks by British Museum staff giving students a behind-the-scenes insight into the running and organisation of an internationally celebrated museum. Students wishing to broaden their knowledge of museums and the culture and heritage sector are welcome.

10.30-11.00 Registration

11.00-11.30 Chris Spring, Curator of Contemporary and Southern African Art, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas

Chris will discuss fieldwork, collecting the contemporary, consulting and collaborating with African artists in Africa and the UK with a view to acquiring their work for the BM - and how all this fits into the way the African collections are displayed.

11.30-12.00 Jim Broughton, Head of Interpretation, Department of Learning & Audiences

Jim uses evaluation case studies to highlight how visitor research and our understanding of audiences affects the way we use interpretative techniques to build meaning within our exhibitions and galleries.

Jill Maggs, Loans Manager, Directorate

Jill gives an introduction to the loans process and discusses the part lending plays in the Museum’s national and international activity using recent examples.

12.30-12.45 Panel Q&A

12.45-13.45 Lunch, please make your own arrangements

Jillian Marsh, Head of Marketing

Jillian gives an overview of how a marketing team works within a museum environment and discusses the ingredients of a successful marketing campaign.

John Orna-Ornstein, Head of London Programmes, Department of Learning & Audiences

What does it mean to hold the world's most diverse museum collection at the centre of the world's most diverse city? Or to be a 'museum of the world, for the world' when the world lives on your doorstep? John will talk about working with communities, partnerships across London, connecting international and local working, and some of the challenges of trying to be a local London museum.

Silke Ackermann, Curator of European and Islamic scientific instruments and other medieval and post-medieval collections and Project leader of Room 3, Department of Prehistory & Europe
Silke will introduce Room 3, the Museum's experimental gallery in the wider context of the Museum's activities and the lessons that she has learnt for her own curatorial work.

15.15-15.30 Panel Q&A

Book through the British Museum Box Office Enquiries: 020 7323 8851
Tel: 020 7323 8181 Fax: 020 7323 8616
Programme is subject to change.
Certain galleries will be open until 20.30

CFP: The Art Collector

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers

The Art Collector: Between Philanthropy and Self-Glorification
Groningen, Netherlands
5 - 6 June 2008

Whether we consider Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, the Young British Artists or any other 'discovered' artist, in most cases private collectors have played a pivotal role in their breakthrough.

Philanthropy and the love of art appear to be the driving forces behind collecting. However, perhaps less elevated motives are just as influential in the establishment of collections. Are collectors not driven by a need to display status and taste and in the process to immortalize their name? In short, are they not mainly driven by self-glorification?

In addition to studying the often peculiar methods, motives and merits of collecting over time, the conference has a broader aim. By exploring the possibilities of interdisciplinary and comparative research we hope to re-energize debate and encourage academic research into the field of collecting.

The deadline for abstracts/proposals is 1 February 2008.


Web address:

Sponsored by: University of Groningen, Institute of Biography

Saturday, December 08, 2007

You Are What YOU Do

Several of us, including myself, are spending a lot of time at the moment pondering the BIG question, i.e. exactly how will my research benefit anyone (apart from our self-indulgent selves)? Now, while we all know, as Pippa said to me the other day, that we are contributing to the body of world knowledge, sometimes we need a motivation a little less abstract, and a little more tangible. So, to compensate, I propose that we all stop worrying about the validity and future importance of our individual research projects, and concentrate of making the world a better place, little by little, through our everyday actions (I can feel the hippy in me rising to the fore, as I type!). To help I've found a great movement + website called We Are What We Do which is, according to the blurb on the website
a new movement inspiring people to use their everyday actions to change the world. We're not talking moving big mountains. More of a gentle nudge from the corner desk. A little prod from the sofa. A gentle push from the PE room.So go on then! Track an action, share, connect.

Sounds good to me. Together we can make the world a better place. *pass the sick bucket*

Thursday, December 06, 2007

CFP: Invisible Culture

From H-Material Culture:


Call for Papers: Invisible Culture
Invisible Culture, Issue 12, The Archive of the Future/The Future of the
Archive: Spring 2008

Guest Editors: Aubrey Anable, Aviva Dove-Viebahn and April Miller

Deadline for completed papers and manuscripts: December 20, 2007

Submissions and inquiries should be sent, via email, to

The archive as a place, a collection, a history, a concept, and a practice has always been unstable and replete with cultural meaning. In his essay "Valery Proust Museum," Theodor Adorno associates museums with death rationalized, pointing to how the modern form-the physical space, technology, and ideology-forces a chronological order onto its objects.

In the digital age, however, archives no longer need necessarily be housed physically, nor must they abide by chronological schema. In The Language of New Media, Lev Manovich describes the database-a sort of digital archive-as too much information with "too few narratives that
can tie it all together." Do future manifestations of the archive inevitably negate those traits we have come to associate with archives in the past or present? Does the digitization of the archive give us an opportunity to rethink the archival project in terms of how the archive, its access and selection, affects knowledge, authority, and subjectivities? What might the archive of the future look like or accomplish? What does it mean to question the future of the archive?

Coming out of an interdisciplinary graduate conference on the same topic held at the University of Rochester in the Spring of 2007, the peer-reviewed, electronic journal Invisible Culture invites papers and projects that explore the shifting space, practice, and cultural meaning of the archive. Submissions in the form of 2,500-6,000 word papers from all disciplines, as well as digital projects (i.e. virtual archives or explorations of the same) are welcome.

Areas of inquiry for submissions may include, but are not limited to, the following topics and questions:
. What are the effects of the digital/technological broadening of access on the research of primary materials in literature, film, and art history?
. How might access to a wide range of historically related-but physically separated-texts change the parameters of analysis and methodologies?
. Legality, authority, or dissemination of archives
. Digitization and the dynamics of globalization, imperialism, colonial and post-colonial discourse(s)
. Distinctions between public and private spaces
. Anonymity, erotics of encounter, role playing, and new or temporary subjectivities formed in contributing to or observing digital archives
. Archived memory in life-writing (autobiography, letters, journals, blogs, etc.)
. Archival access, relevance and organization
. Digitization and the "aura" of a work
. Audience, authorship, the researcher, and community involvement
. The role of manuscripts, illuminated or otherwise
. Preservation and transmission of oral or written histories and memory
. Literary variorum
. Questions of old canons, new canons, and the end of the canon

Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to explorations of the material and political dimensions of cultural practices: the means by which cultural objects and communities are produced, the historical contexts in which they emerge, and the regimes of knowledge or modes of social interaction to which they contribute.

Symposium: Managing Material Change

Managing Material Change Symposium
via Material World

To introduce the AHRC/EPSRC Science and Heritage Programme, a two-day symposium entitled Managing Material Change will be held on the 10th and 11th December 2007, at Jeffrey Hall, Institute of Education, Bedford Way, London.

The symposium will deal with material culture as a physical phenomenon, rooted in the physical environment while acknowledging that change is driven by society as well as the environment. These ideas sit well with the current definition of conservation as the process of 'managing change'.

Please contact Debbie Williams for further information about the symposium, registration and participant forms.

Science and Heritage Programme Coordinator
020 7679 1674

Monday, December 03, 2007

Conference Alert: Museums and the Web 2008

From H-ArtHist:

Museums and the Web 2008
the international conference for culture and heritage on-line

April 9 - 12, 2008

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Join hundreds of your colleagues at the only annual conference exploring the on-line presentation of cultural, scientific and heritage content across institutions and around the world: Museums and the Web.

==> Early Registration Now Open <==
Registration for Museums and the Web 2008 is now open. Register on-line before December 15, 2007 for the best rates. See
Remember, pre-conference tours and workshops have limited enrollment, and are first-come first-served. Register early to ensure your choice.

Demonstration Proposals <==
It's not too late to participate in MW2008. The deadline for Demonstration proposals is December 31, 2007. For full details, and a link to the on-line proposal form, see

==> Best of the Web <==
Help us re-shape the Best of the Web competition. Join the on-line discussion. See Nominations will open after the discussion.

Need To Know More <==
Full details about the meeting are on the conference Web site at
Email with any questions.

Jennifer Trant and David Bearman Co-Chairs: Museums and the Web 2007 produced by April 11 - 14, 2007, San Francisco, CA Archives & Museum Informatics 158 Lee Avenue email: Toronto, Ontario, Canada phone +1 416 691 2516 / fax +1 416 352-6025 ------------- Museums and the Web 2008 is presented in conjunction with the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) and Canadian Culture Online (CCO).

CFP: Electronic Visualisation and the Arts

From H-Museum:



EVA London 2008: Electronic Visualisation & the Arts
London, 22nd-25th July

ideas and concepts, in museums and galleries, digital arts, sound, music, film and animation, 2D and 3D imaging, European projects, the European Digital Library, social media for museums, heritage and fine art photography, computer arts, JISC ICT

EVA London 2008 will be co-sponsored by the *Computer Arts Society*, a Special Interest Group of the British Computer Society.

CAS will celebrate its 40th Anniversary in 2008 and will join with EVA in showcasing how digital technology has revolutionised the arts and interactive media.


We invite offers of papers, which should be submitted electronically to We require a summary of the paper on not more than one page. The title, authors' name, affiliation and contact details must be shown at the top of the page.

Offers of Papers and Workshops by 31st January 2008

Papers may be on any aspect of EVA London's focus on visualisation for the arts and culture, broadly interpreted, including technology, use and users, creative, visual and performing arts and music, strategy, organisational implications and policy. Papers are peer reviewed and may be edited. They will be published as hard copy and online.



EVA LONDON 2008 will include:

Keynote speeches
Full conference days
Visualisation Session
Visual arts screenings
Conference dinner
Conference proceedings

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Visit my project website:

Dr Suzanne Keene
Reader in Museum Studies
Institute of Archaeology
University College London
31-34 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PY
+44 (0)20 7679 4935

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Review of the Creationist Museum

And very serendipitously leading on from Ceri's review of Dave Unwin's research seminar, here's a link to a wickedly satirical, but spot-on review of the much-derided Creationist Museum. Make sure you take the time to look at all the photos. Absolutely hilarious. The one entitled 'A Penguin, a Toucan, a Lamb and Adam Walk Into a Bar...' is priceless. ;)

(Via The Peking Duck.)

N.B. If you think you might be offended by the tone of the review, I suggest you don't click on the link.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Pterosaur Palaeobiology: a paradigm for palaeontological research in a postmodern world

A review of Dave Unwin's 'Brown Bag' research seminar, Wednesday 28 November 2007

As a child I loved science, obsessed with dinosaurs, planets and stars and the natural world. However something happened at secondary school and I gravitated towards the arts, although I spent a brief time working in a science centre. Thus the title of Dave Unwin’s research seminar on Wednesday 28 November 2007 was quite daunting at first, all those long, hard to pronounce words. However the seminar had been billed as requiring no ‘prior knowledge or technical expertise’ which was comforting, for since my flirtation with dinosaurs as a child the last time I had seriously thought about the subject was at a museum in New York over a year ago.

The seminar was an opportunity for Dave to introduce his research area to the rest of the department. Broadly speaking this is to reconstruct the history of life from millions of years ago to the present day and to find out why certain life-forms appear to dominate over others. For example why is it that we as humans are sitting in a lecture room discussing the development of life, as opposed to bacteria, dolphins or cockroaches? Immediately this impressed upon me that even though as researchers we look at completely unconnected areas in fact we are all trying to answer the same questions effectively – why is the world or phenomena under study like this and not something else? However as Dave pointed out, palaeonbiologists are perhaps even more ambitious in that they are trying to reconstruct events beginning over 3.5 million years ago! The mind boggles as to how this is possible but Dave’s talk was very good at introducing us to the basic methods which he uses, specifically in his study of pterosaurs, also known as pterodactyls, in other words flying dinosaurs.

Dave takes a holistic approach to the study of pterosaurs, seeing the organism as an integrated whole and looking broadly at the following themes:

  • Taxonomy (how many species there are)
  • Phylogeny (relationships between species)
  • Anatomy
  • Locomotion (flying and walking)
  • Physiology
  • Reproduction and growth
  • Evolutionary history

As he talked through each of these themes a wealth of detail was uncovered, some of which was quite surprising. Most of our knowledge about pterosaurs comes from the fossil record and the first pterosaur fossil was found as far back as the 1780s. However they are incredibly rare and, in Dave’s words, the entire number of pterosaur fossils in the world would fit in one corner of the lecture room. It seems to me to be like trying to recreate the entire of the Roman Empire using only a couple of pots! Pterosaurs also vary greatly in size and shape judging by the surviving fossils, with Dave bringing a real example of a fossilised pterosaur embryo to show us, amazing how it has survived being over a million years old. However he also described how pterosaurs with 10 foot wingspans would be possible; since pterosaurs came out of the egg with their wing membranes attached scientists have deduced that they could fly as soon as they were born, so unlike birds and bats there was potentially no limit to their growth. There is clearly more to these pterosaurs then the myths perpetuated by the toy dinosaur industry; I never could have thought that they would have been able to walk on their ‘arms’ and back legs in an fluid, rollicking gait had Dave not showed us the computer models. These in turn are based on the fossil record where tracks of pterosaurs walking have been found preserved, highlighting the amount of careful and patient work that must go into the smallest illustration.

Of recent political, possibly even ethical, interest are the amounts of fossils being turned up currently in China and former Soviet satellites; apparently Chinese farmers are digging up the landscape because they can make thousands selling the fossils to museums. One concern is that because in China entire eco-systems have been preserved, by happy accident frozen in time – rather like Pompeii in Italy – it is important to get in there and catalogue the findings before they are split up and sold. Dave is working on a research project with Chinese colleagues to investigate these fossilised eco-systems which will be able to tell us a lot more about life and how it interacted, which is not always possible from isolated fossils. As with all areas of human activity however it was interesting to find out that some fossils are ‘enhanced’ for cosmetic reasons before going on display in the museum – Dave showed us an example where a leg bone had been moved to make it more ‘attractive’!

This is only a very brief run through of Dave’s talk with only time to skirt over the issues very rapidly, however it reminds me that in creating a picture of our world, both now and in the past, we rely on the efforts of so many researchers and enthusiasts focusing on very specific and detailed areas and it is often inspiring to go outside your own specific area of interest and delve into another, albeit briefly.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Conference Alert: Napoleon's Legacy

Napoleon’s Legacy.
The Development of National Museums in Europe, c. 1794-1830

International conference
Organized by the Huizinga Research Institute of Cultural History (Amsterdam) and the Institute for Museum Research (Berlin).

Thursday, 31 January - Saturday, 2 February 2008

Agnietenkapel, Oudezijds Voorburgwal 231 and
University Library (Doelenzaal), Singel 425, Universiteit van Amsterdam

The French Revolution and the subsequent Napoleonic Wars had a major impact on European museums. Between 1794 and 1813 enormous quantities of artworks, natural specimens, scientific objects, books and manuscripts from collections in the conquered areas in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Austria and Spain were transported to Paris by the French armies. During a relatively short period of 15 years the general public had the opportunity to admire an overview of what, for the first time in history, might be labelled ‘European heritage’, exhibited in the Louvre and the Musée d’histoire naturelle. These outstanding French museums made a great impression on the visitors and (museum) officials from abroad but at the same time evoked criticism and strengthened the need for the countries which had been robbed of their artistic and scientific treasures to create their own national museums. In this atmosphere it was only logical that after Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo (1815) the Allied Powers reclaimed their artistic and scientific collections. When some of the confiscated objects returned to their places of origin, their arrival back home formed an extra stimulus for the (re)institution of public museums, in Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Vienna, Rome, Milan and Parma, for example.

The conference Napoleon’s Legacy. The Development of National Museums in Europe, c. 1794-1830 focuses on this enormous shift in the European ‘museum landscape’. The central question is: how did various European countries in this period, stimulated by these confiscations and subsequent restitutions, design and disseminate the image of a ‘national culture’ through their museums. By employing an international comparative approach in studying this process it will be possible to examine national variations against the background of international patterns. This museological turning point will be addressed on three levels: the ‘looting’ process, the Paris museums, and restitution and after (see program below).

For more information contact Sanja Zivojnovic: 0031 (0)20 525 3503;


Thursday, 31 January (17.00-19.30)

Opening by Floris Cohen, chairman of the Huizinga Institute

ROBERT SCHELLER (professor emeritus Universiteit van Amsterdam):
Keynote lecture, title to be announced.

Introduction by Ellinoor Bergvelt, Debora Meijers and Lieske Tibbe

Welcome drinks.

Friday, 1 February (9.30-17.30)

1. The ‘Looting’ Process

a. Criteria for Selection

DANIELA GALLO (Université de Grenoble)
The Musée Napoléon’s Galerie des antiques: a new proposal for the history of ancient sculpture?

MARIA DE LOS SANTOS GARCÍA FELGUERA (Universidad Complutense Madrid):
The looting of Spanish art and the first ideas about the creation of a public museum in Madrid before the arrival of Napoleon’s army.

b. Protest or Acceptance?

FLORENCE PIETERS (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
The looting of natural history collections in the Netherlands.

2. French Museums (Paris and its Satellites)

a. Conservation, restoration and modes of display

DOMINIQUE POULOT (Université Paris 1)
Restoration in the Paris museums: from revolutionary metaphor to art business.

FRANS GRIJZENHOUT (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
title to be announced

b. National/international reception

ANDREW McCLELLAN (Tufts University, Medford)
Public museums and the death of art, c. 1800. Early published reactions to the Napoleonic Louvre.

The creation of French satellite-museums in Mainz, Geneva and Brussels.

MIRJAM HOIJTINK (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
Collecting Egypt in 19th-century Europe: a matter of national distinction.

Saturday, 2 February (9.30-17.00)

3. Restitution and after

GIUSEPPE BERTINI (Università degli Studi di Parma)
Works of art from Parma in Paris during Napoleon’s time and their restitution.

MONICA PRETI-HAMARD (Musée du Louvre, Paris)
“La destruction du musée est devenue un monument historique [Destroying the museum has become a historic monument]”: The restitution of the works of art seen by the Louvre’s employees (1815-1816).

ANNIE JOURDAN (Universiteit van Amsterdam)
A national tragedy in Restoration France: the return of the foreign works of art to their countries of origin.

DONNA MEHOS (Amsterdam)
Transforming natural treasures into national heritage: retrieving naturalia from the Paris museums.

ELSA VAN WEZEL (Institute for Museum Research, Berlin)
Denon’s Louvre and Schinkel’s Altes Museum: war trophy museum versus peace memorial.

ADRIAN VON BUTTLAR (Technische Universität, Berlin)
The museum and the city – Schinkel’s and Klenze’s contributions to the autonomy of civil culture.


BÉNÉDICTE SAVOY (Technische Universität Berlin)
title to be announced

Concluding remarks by BERNARD GRAF, director of the Institute for Museum Research, Berlin

CFP: Transforming Museums

Fro, H-Museum:

Call for Papers

The Museology Student Committee for Professional Development at the University of Washington is pleased to open the Call for Submissions for "Transforming Museums: Bridging Theory and Practice."

Transforming Museums: Bridging Theory and Practice
An Interdisciplinary Academic Conference at the University of Washington
May 15-16, 2008

Call for Submissions!
Museums are institutions steeped in tradition but surrounded by constant change. "Transforming Museums" seeks to find ways that professionals can meet these changes deliberately and thoughtfully instead of being swept along their currents. Building on the overwhelming success of last year's "Rethinking Museums" conference, we now turn to the task of "Transforming Museums." Come join us in the green and beautiful city of Seattle as we reach, share, and dreamstorm toward the future of these most beloved institutions. With its unique host of changing museums, both new and old, we can't think of a better place!

Transforming Museums
We invite museum professionals, students, and university faculty to submit paper abstracts or workshop proposals that explore these questions:

How do we transform museums?
Who is leading these transformations?
What recent and current work shares this aim?
How do we define transformation?
Why are these transformations taking place?
Are there discernible patterns in this change?

Bridging Theory and Practice
Throughout the field, museums are transformed as professionals cross bridges between their institutions and education, technology, media, communities, academic disciplines--the possibilities are endless. What are the connections that inform your work and how will they shape the future of museums?

All submissions that invite us to think critically about the work of museums are welcome.

Submit a paper abstract or workshop proposal. Submissions deadline is January 4, 2008. Abstracts should be 150-250 words.

Because museology is inherently crossdisciplinary, research from related disciplines within the social sciences or humanities is welcome.

Please visit our website for submission details and deadlines:

If you have questions, please contact the Submissions Committee at

Transforming Museums is Sponsored by the UW Museology Graduate Program.


Shana West
Conference Coordinator,
Transforming Museums

Museology Graduate Student
University of Washington

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Department of Museum Studies: Research Seminar Programme, 28th November 2007


Wednesday 28th November.
1pm LR1 Princess Road East
All Welcome

In this seminar David Unwin will summarise his research goals, highlight some past achievements and outline some current and future projects. In addition to providing a brief overview of what we know about pterosaurs (pterodactyls) the seminar will also introduce the audience to the materials, techniques and methodologies of palaeobiology and the philosophical framework within which this discipline is set. No prior knowledge or technical expertise is needed.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Resources: Guardian Digital Archive

Great news for everyone doing historical research. The Guardian/Observer archive (1821-1975) has gone online, and in November you can sign up for 24hrs access absolutely free! I've found some absolute gems this evening.

Workshop: Museum Design Study Day

From H-Museum:

Museum Design Study Day
London, 29 November 2007

The Museum Design Study Day provides a privileged first-hand insight into some of the most exciting and innovative museum projects currently underway throughout the world. And the opportunity to discuss them in depth with their designers.

Numbers are limited to just 24. Join professionals from institutions like the National Gallery, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, National Museum Wales, MCC Museum, Dulwich Picture Gallery and Brighton's Royal Pavilion in an intensive and highly participative Study Day, led by the principals of three leading international design consultancies, who between them are currently working on some of the most exciting museum design projects in the world!

The three design studios who will be your hosts for the day are:

Lead exhibition designers for one of the world's biggest museum projects, the Grand Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Metaphor are designers and masterplanners for museum projects worldwide. They are currently creating 40 new gallery displays for Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, and have just completed the acclaimed First Emperor special exhibition at the British Museum. The session will be led by Metaphor's Design Director, Stephen Greenberg.

Designers of innovative galleries - from the British Galleries at the V&A, the new Time Galleries at the Royal Observatory, to New York's Museum of Sex - CassonMann also created the multi-award-winning Churchill Museum, packed with cutting-edge technology. Their recent special exhibition work includes Camouflage at the Imperial War Museum and Between Past and Future at the V&A. The session will be led by Dinah Casson.

Event Communications
One of the longest-established of the UK's design practices, Event have worked on over 120 major projects, throughout the world. Current work includes Glasgow's Museum of the River (with architect Zaha Hadid), following on from the successful completion of the New Century Project at Kelvingrove. The session will be led by co-founder and Research Director Cel Phelan.

The Format
Each session will last approx 2 hours and be informal in style, to maximise discussion and interaction. You'll hear in-depth about the work and the approach of each practice, discuss work-in-progress, view visuals of current and forthcoming projects, explore models of the latest projects, and meet and talk with a range of members of the design teams from each studio. With a maximum of 24 participants, you'll be able to pinpoint in advance any issues and topics you'd particularly like to have covered or discussed, so that the day's experience can be planned to meet your individual needs.

Who should attend? Professionals with any responsibility for the planning, mangement and implementation of exhibitions, interpretation and design; professionals involved in planning new or revised museums or galleries; professional designers and interpreters working within museums.

Fee: only £247 each, including mini-bus transport between studios, lunch, refreshments, and resource materials.

Early reservation is recommended as numbers are limited to 24.

Graeme Farnell
Heritage Development Ltd, 499 Silbury Boulevard
MK9 2AH Milton Keynes, Great Britain
+44 (0)1908 764287E

CFP: Rethinking Labour: Labour, Affect and Material Culture

From H-Material Culture:


Rethinking Labour: Labour, Affect and Material Culture
April 19th and 20th, 2008
Clinton Institute of American Studies, University College Dublin

Plenary speaker: Professor Andrew Ross, Chair, Department of Social and Cultural Analysis and Professor of American Studies, New York University

What happens if affect and material culture become central constructs in thinking about labour and the workplace?

Recent studies have placed increased emphasis on the affective dimensions of labour. Social scientists, social theorists and historians have explored the ways in which affect shapes social relations, representation and identity in the labour process. At the same time material culture has received renewed attention as an important factor in shaping experience and behavior at work. The purpose of this conference is to explore the historical and contemporary implications of the labour/affect/material culture nexus and to generate discussion of what the “affective turn” holds for our understanding of labour. How are particular forms of affect produced and managed in the factory, the office and service work locations? How does material culture shape habits, dispositions and affective processes in the workplace? How does affect shape identity, performance and authority in particular kinds of work? And how might an analysis of the relationships between affect and material culture inform labour history, the sociology of work, literary studies, aesthetics, social theory, public history and other fields that examine labour?

We invite papers that address any aspect of the historical and contemporary relationship between labour, affect and material culture but especially welcome work that crosses disciplinary borders. Papers are invited on, but are certainly not limited to, the following subjects and areas:

Structures of feeling
Workplace community
Ethics, conduct and performance
Visual culture and visuality
Authority and legitimacy
Race and ethnicity
Literature and literacy
Gender and Sexuality
Nation/alism & Transnationalism
Identity production
Policy and economics

Please e-mail abstracts (200-300 words) for 20-minute papers to by January 31st. We also invite abstracts for panels of 3-4 presenters. Applicants will be notified by February 15th. In the e-mail, please include the following information:

Presenter(s) name(s)
Title of paper(s)
Institutional affiliation(s)
Contact information

Questions or further information: David Gray, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Clinton Institute for American Studies, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4:

Visit the Clinton Institute website:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Keep the Cutty Sark in the news!

The Cutty Sark Trust has warned that funding to restore the tea clipper after the catastrophic fire six months ago is quickly running out. After the initial blaze ('scuse the inappropriate pun!) of publicity, the plight of the Cutty Sark has slipped from the public consciousness. If that can happen to such an iconic national treasure, goodness only knows how less well known heritage and cultural organisations survive.

(Read the BBC News Online report here.)

Btw, you can donate to the fundraising campaign via the Cutty Sark website.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Museum Review: Melton Carnegie Museum

Yesterday I found myself in Melton Mowbray, on a mission to find the perfect pork pie (and this is where they can be had!). While there, I thought I should have a quick look at the town's museum. I was impressed; for a tiny local museum, just four (small) galleries and a shop and a reception desk, the displays were engaging and well-designed, employing various different techniques (interpretive, interactive and design) to reach diverse audiences.

The museum has clearly been redeveloped as a whole entity, which means that design and interpretive styles are consistent across all the galleries, in contrast with the rather piecemeal approach of many small, local authority museums.

The first gallery looks at the production of the town's most famous exports: pork pies and stilton cheese, as well as the saddlery industry. The displays take the form of shop and workshop reconstructions, but really benefit from an imaginative use of screen-printed hangings (featuring blown-up black and white archive photographs), which lend a sense of intimacy (as if one is peeking 'round the door), while maintaining accessibility. As well as, perhaps unintentionally, being reminiscent of that wobbly-screen device to denote 'going back in time' that's become such a television cliche. Sadly, the photograph doesn't do this feature justice.

The second gallery looks at the development of the town, from the earliest times to the present day. It's housed in a very small space, and so the narrative is necessarily brief, but it picks out the 'highlights' of Melton's history and cultural identity. One aspect which features particularly heavily (unsurprisingly with the knowledge that an interest group is one of the museum's key funding sources) throughout the museum, is the local hunt. That kind of thing isn't really my cup of tea, but it was interesting to note that the phrase 'paint the town red' originates in the town.

Also featured was, apparently, a long popular object in the museum's collection, which has, over the years, achieved some notoriety in the town, even being displayed in a peep show to raise money for the war effort: a stuffed two-headed calf, born in Melton at the turn of the last century. Poor thing.

A temporary display on the subject of the women's suffrage movement is currently on display. All very professionally done, but virtually entirely text-driven, which would tax even the most interested of visitors (and I'm including myself in that category!). Given that it was curated by the local records office, the reliance on the written word is hardly surprising.
The final gallery is devoted to the local hunt. As I've already hinted, I - personally - find the whole concept of fox hunting utterly repellent and, quite frankly, reprehensible (and before anyone accuses me of being a namby-pamby townie, I'd like to point out that I'm a country girl, if not born, most definitely bred!). I did, therefore, refuse to look around the display. But my visiting companion assures me that visitors were invited to leave comments about how they feel about hunting. What is then done with the comments, if anything, I'm not sure.
Overall, Melton Carnegie Museum is, in my opinion, well worth a visit. It's a very small museum, but the displays are very well done and exceed all expectations. The focus on hunting aside, I would give it four out of five stars, not least because it is a brilliant example of what a local museum can be, given a bit of time, money and imagination.

CFP: Psychology and Aesthetics into the Future

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers

"Psychology and Aesthetics into the Future"
International Association of Empirical Aesthetics
20th Biannual Congress on Empirical Aesthetics
Chicago, Illinois, USA
August 19-22, 2008

The International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA) is an organization whose members investigate the underlying factors that contribute to an aesthetic experience, as well as aesthetic behaviors, using scientific methods. Currently we have members in 20 countries. Although the majority of members are psychologists, our membership includes sociologists, musicologists, philosophers, and researchers who specialize in the study of painting, sculpture, literature, film, museum visitor behavior, and so forth. For more information about the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics and the 20th Annual Congress visit our Web site at

The purpose of the Congress is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information relating to various topics involving empirical aesthetics. Congress topics may include:
Aesthetic Appreciation, Aesthetic Experience, Visual Perception and Art, Auditory Perception and Art, Psychology of Music, Appreciation of Art, Music and Literature, Culture and Media, Cinema, Festivals, Museology, and Art Education. The official language of the Congress will be English. All written material (abstracts, posters, and contributions to the proceedings) and accompanying presentations must be in English.

Submissions are invited for four types of events: 1) spoken papers, 2) posters, 3) symposia, and 4) an exhibition of art created by participants. There will be parallel scientific sessions for oral presentations held during each of the four days of the Congress. Invited addresses and symposia will be scheduled throughout the program. An art exhibition will be open for the duration of the Congress for all those registered. The purpose of the exhibition is to show the art works of participants and stimulate discussion about the works and the creative process. Spoken Papers. The time allotted for spoken papers will be 20 minutes; 15 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for discussion. Each presentation will have a designated time-slot assigned to it.

Posters will be organized in one or more poster sessions. Instructions concerning poster format and size will be provided along with acceptance notification. Since this is a new addition to the Congress, if not enough posters are submitted authors will be asked to do a spoken paper instead.

Symposia will consist of a set of integrated spoken papers related to a theme. The maximum time allowed for symposia will be 3 hours (including a 20- min. coffee break). Symposia should consist of no more than five 25-min. papers followed by a 30-min. discussion period (variations of this format will be considered). Symposia conveners should collect together abstracts for each paper which must be in the required format described below. These should be submitted along with an abstract for the entire symposium, stating the rationale for the topic, the aims of the symposium, and the set of speakers proposed. A discussant may be included.

Art Exhibition
Art works will be limited to two-dimensional work with a maximum width of about 40 inches (100 cm) and small three-dimensional works (e.g., sculpture). Each participant can submit up to four pieces for consideration. You should plan to bring the works with you and hand-deliver them to the exhibition coordinator when you arrive. The works should be framed and ready to hang or display when you bring them. We have no facilities for receiving shipped work. In order to be considered, please submit a 500 word abstract in the same way that you would submit an
abstract for a paper session (see instructions below). You might describe your methods, why you did the work and/or how the work might relate to psychological processes. In addition, on the same paper as the abstract, please list each work with the title, size (framed or displayed) and medium. Also include a print, slide, or electronic file (.jpg or .bmp) for each work.

Abstracts for all four types of events must be sent by December 31, 2007 via e-mail to:
Kenneth S. Bordens, Program Moderator,

Hard copy submissions will also be accepted. Send three copies of your abstract to:
Kenneth S. Bordens, Program Moderator, International Association of
Empirical Aesthetics Department of Psychology Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne, IN, USA 46805.

Abstracts for papers, symposia and art exhibitions must be received no later than December 31, 2007.

Abstracts should not exceed 500 words in length (word processor format, Times New Roman, 12 points, 1 inch margins). The abstract must include: (1) Style of presentation (paper, symposia or art exhibition); (2) title; (3) author(s); (4) author affiliation(s); (5) abstract (approximately 500 words) describing the rationale, methods, results, and a select list of references; (6) keywords; (7) postal address with telephone, fax numbers and e-mail address.

Electronic submissions must be in either .doc, .rtf. .wpd (Wordperfect) or .pdf format. Preferably, abstracts should be sent via email to:

Information concerning acceptance of a paper, symposium or art exhibit shall be provided in January 2008. Final manuscripts to be published in the Congress Proceedings will be due by April 30, 2008. Details on the requirements for the final manuscript shall be provided at the time of notification of acceptance.

The 20 Congress will be held at the th Carleton Hotel and Motor Inn in Oak Park, Illinois, USA:

Carleton Hotel and Motor Inn
1110 Pleasant Street
Oak Park, Illinois 60302
Phone (708) 848-5000
Fax (708) 848-0537
Reservations 1-888-CARLETON
Hotel Web site:

Congress Fees (All fees shown in US Dollars)

Member Non-member Student Regular fees:
By 3/31/08 $240 $310 $60
After 4/1/08 $310 $390 $90

Reduced fees*:
By 3/31/08 $110 $160 $20
After 4/1/08 $160 $220 $50

* To obtain a reduced fee, please contact the conference organizer, Lenore DeFonso ( ).

Prof. Dr. Holger Höge, Sec.-gen. IAEA, International Association of Empirical Aesthetics, University of Oldenburg, Faculty IV, Department of Psychology, Division Environment & Culture, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)441 798 5510; Fax: +49 (0)441 798 195 510
Homepage IAEA:

Conference Alert: Location, Location, Location

From H-Museum:

Location, Location, Location:
The Role of Lex Situs in Modern Claims for the Return of Cultural Objects

London, 30th November 2007, 1.30-5.30pm

The world of art and antiquities continues to give rise to seminal legal decisions based on the private law of title. Despite the entry by many countries into international instruments governing claims for the return of cultural objects, claims continue to be brought and determined according to normal principles of private law applicable to commercial and cultural commodities alike. Such claims conform to a long tradition running in recent years from the Winkworth case in 1980 to two decisions involving the Islamic Republic of Iran earlier this year.

The aim of this conference is to examine the workings of the ordinary law of title in a cross-border setting and to ask whether private title claims are more effective than claims based on international treaties or other legal devices. Among the questions to be considered are the scope of the lex situs rule, its operation in twoparty and three-party cases, its relation to national ownership and confiscatory laws, the justiciability of such laws in common law courts, and the case for distinct common law rules governing cultural property independently from ordinary articles of commerce. The lex situs rule will be examined in detail, both as it applies in the United Kingdom and other jurisdictions. The interrelation between the lex situs
rule and international conventions (UNESCO 1970, Unidroit and the European Directive and Regulation) will also be explored. The recurrent focus will be on tangible cultural objects and the special nature of such material in modern law and policy. The conference will end with an instructive case study based on modern authority and practice.

Speakers at this seminar include:
Professor Norman Palmer, (Barrister), Jeremy Scott (Withers), Dr Janeen Carruthers (University of Glasgow), Professor Johan A. Erauw (University of Ghent), Judge Shoshana Berman (Israel), Derek Fincham (University of Aberdeen), Marc-André Renold (Art Law Centre, Geneva), Kevin Chamberlain (Barrister).

This seminar qualifies for 3.5 hours Law Society CPD and 3.5 hours Bar Council CPD.

To reserve a place please return the form overleaf, or visit our web site at

Pentre Moel, Crickadarn, Nr Builth Wells
Powys, LD2 3BX, United Kingdom
Tel +44 (0)1982 560 666
Fax +44 (0)1982 560 604

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The First Emperor

I've just got (much coveted) tickets to see The First Emperor in January. I'm dead excited! Anyone already been? Is is any good? Would also be interested to hear from anyone who is going to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the 02. Have seen lots of coverage of it on the news this week. Looks and sounds like a very 'commercial' type of display, but one which employs some of those techniques that I find really appealing, like atmospheric music in the gallery space. But, is it worth the money?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Conference Alert: In Touch With Art

Apologies for the late notice on this one...

‘In Touch With Art - An International Conference on Art, Museums and Visual Impairment’
By St Dunstan’s, V&A, and Goldsmiths, University of London

Wednesday 28th November and Thursday 29th November 2007, at the V&A, London, UK

In Touch With Art aims to empower arts organisations to engage creatively with visually impaired people through the visual arts.

Art can open up rich and rewarding new learning experiences for visually impaired people. We need to find ways to communicate this, and ensure our galleries and museums are welcoming and stimulating places for people who may not view themselves as visitors or participants.

Sighted and visually impaired people alike can benefit from the enhanced quality of life, and thinking and learning skills, that art can bring. Taking part in creative activities can improve sensory skills and self-confidence for everyone.

In Touch With Art is the first collaboration between St Dunstan’s, the V&A and Goldsmiths, and brings together an international line up of artists, academics and staff from museum and galleries who are leading the field in this area.

Through talks, touch tours and case studies, In Touch With Art will:

• examine models of best practice for the interpretation of visual arts for visually impaired audiences
• investigate ways of teaching art to people with visual impairment
• explore experiences of practising artists with visual impairment
• identify how people with visual impairment can interact with art in gallery and museum environments
• explore the personal, professional, physical and psychological experiences of artists, educators, and visitors with visual impairment

In Touch With Art aims to demystify what visual impairment means and motivate and inspire you to think about different learning styles and ways of seeing.

Download the programme and booking form in a range of formats from:

Please note there are a number of reduced fee places available for students on a first come first served basis.

Or contact sam:

Helen Charlton, Projects Director, sam, 11B Dyke Rd Mews, 74 Dyke Rd Brighton BN1 3JD.

Tel: 01273 882112


Expert Meeting: Layers of Meaning

From H-Museum:

'Layers of Meaning'
Fakes, Forgeries and the Authenticity of Art

An international expert meeting organised by the Institute of Art and Law in
association with Devonshires
London, 23rd November 2007, 10 am - 5 pm

A select committee of experts comprising lawyers, public officials, academics and art trade specialists will exchange views and information on legal and other concerns relating to issues of authenticity of antiquities and works of art. Subjects to be addressed include:

- English civil law and civil actions in respect of fakes and nonauthentic works
- The criminal investigation and prosecution of those responsible for fakes and forged works
- The liability of auction houses in the sale of fake or forged artworks (England and France) with detailed consideration of the case of Thomson v. Christie, Manson & Woods
- The continued expansion of the criminal market for fakes and forgeries; Russian and Aboriginal cases, and examination of the causes and cures
- What law applies in cases of an international nature?
- Conditional Fee Arrangements and ATE Insurance in 'fake' claims

The proceedings will be chaired by Philip Barden (Devonshires) and speakers will include Professor Norman Palmer (Barrister), Professor Brian Harvey, Luke Harris (Barrister), Rebecca Hossack (Rebecca Hossack Gallery), Tamara Oppenheimer (Barrister), Nicholas Queree, Sgt Vernon Rapley (Scotland Yard), Pia Sarma (Finers Stephens Innocent), Dr Sophie Vigneron (University of Kent), Olga Yudina Mazure (formerly Hermitage Museum).

This seminar qualifies for 5 hours Law Society CPD and 5 hours Bar Council CPD

To reserve a place at this seminar, please use the form overleaf or visit our website:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Department of Museum Studies: Research Seminar Programme, 21st Nov 2007

The Museum Studies Research Seminar Series 2007/8

The next Museum Studies Research Seminar will be held on Wednesday 21 November at 1.00pm in the Museum Studies Seminar Room, 105 Princess Road East. The seminar is 'brown bag' (bring a sandwich!).

Museum Studies is an interdisciplinary field and all are welcome.

For further details, or to join the email list, contact Viv Golding.

'Analysing the politics of cultural institutions: a study of La Scala, Milan, 1945-2005'
By Dr Paola Merli, De Montfort University, Leicester

In the post-war period, La Scala, the opera house in Milan, has been the site of significant political struggles that have led, under changing historical circumstances, to significant attempts to carry out institutional reforms. This pattern did not start in 1945, but dates back to the intellectual-moral reform of the theatre according to Jacobin ideals at the end of the eighteenth century, and the cultural reforms of the institution that were carried out by the city governments in 1898 and 1920. However, reforms since 1945 have been only partially successful, and political control at the institution has remained unstable and provisional. The objective of this paper is to examine the reasons for this historical pattern. By drawing on archival sources never utilised before, and by applying an original interpretation of Gramsci's writings in relation to the analysis of cultural policy and politics, the paper will examine key turning points in the relationship of the opera house with political dynamics. It will finally explore the possibility of applying the same methodology to a study of the Italian Museums of the Risorgimento, the nineteenth-century movement for national unification, in relation to questions of national identity and historical memory.

Dr Paola Merli is Lecturer in Cultural Policy on the Arts Management degree in the School of Media and Cultural Production, Faculty of Humanities, De Montfort University, and was formerly a professional musician and cultural administrator. Her academic interests are in the areas of Cultural Policy Studies (the history and current developments of cultural policy, politics and institutions; the analysis of the role of intellectuals and cultural organisers in cultural policy and politics) and Cultural Studies (cultural theory, with a particular focus on the work of Antonio Gramsci, and representations of cultural institutions and artists in documentaries, film and other media). Her PhD thesis was on 'The opera house and cultural policy: the post-war politics of La Scala, Milan'. She has published in the International Journal of Cultural Policy, the International Journal of the Humanities, and the International Journal of the Arts in Society. She has also provided a commissioned scholarly introduction to a book by Senator Carlo Fontana on his experience as general manager of La Scala, from the leading Italian publisher Mondadori Electa. This is the first reconstruction of the life of the famed cultural institution in the period from 1990 to 2005. She has recently been appointed reviews editor for the journal Cultural Trends.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Conference Alert/CFP: Love Objects

From the Material World blog:

Love Objects: Engaging Material Culture

The Design Research Group are organising a one day conference on the relationships between people and their objects, to be hosted by the Faculty of Visual Culture, National College of Art and Design, Dublin on 14th February 2008.

The relationship between people and their objects is a complex and multifaceted one, which is continually negotiated between the material and the immaterial. Objects are used as tokens of affection, symbolic gestures and statements of devotion and can be represented, employed and
appropriated in a multitude of ways. They carry out important roles in our relationships with each other, either as bearers of significance, or through embodiment, engagement or control. The seductive quality of objects can also mediate our relationships with them, as they engage our emotions in both subliminal and visceral ways. In doing so they facilitate the projection and subversion of identities, and the creation of the contexts in which they operate.

It is expected that selected papers will be collected in an edited anthology. Papers are invited to contribute towards thematic areas, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Mind – memory, nostalgia and symbolic value; collecting, hoarding and losing objects; objects and rites of passage; the representation of love of / in objects; objects and devotion

• Body – sex, desire and romance; wrapping, covering and wearing; kitsch and ironic objects; the queer and the camp; objects as tools in sustaining / subverting gender roles; objectification and commodification

• Environment – the role of objects in the construction and performance of identities and relationships in public / private spaces; green objects and sustainable design

• Networks – mediating, signifying and negotiating relationships, including the interpersonal, the group and the political

Papers should be of 20 minutes duration and abstracts of max. 300 words should be submitted by 16 November 2007 to:

Convened by the Design Research Group
Anna Moran
Sorcha O’Brien
Dr Ciáran Swan

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Debate: Cultural Heritage, Museum Ethics and the Law

From H-Museum:

CULTURAL HERITAGE, MUSEUM ETHICS AND THE LAW : Philadelphia Reflects the Global Debate
Thursday December 13, 2007, 9:00 am

Program presented by the Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in collaboration withthe Penn Cultural Heritage Center and Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology and Anthropology

Cultural heritage law is a legal specialty growing at an explosive rate, with unique ethical issues. Find out why and how it relates to Philadelphia's debate over its cultural treasures.

9:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., lunch included

The program:

* reviews the international and national legal framework of cultural heritage law;

* explores conflicting views of the policies that shape preservation of the past;

* highlights current controversies in cultural heritage law; and

* analyzes the legal and ethical issues for professionals practicing in the field.

Over lunch, faculty and participants will consider how the international debate over cultural heritage is reflected in Philadelphia's efforts to preserve its City treasures.

Distinguished presenters include:

Patty Gerstenblith, Professor of Law, DePaul University College of Law, Director of DePaul's program in art and cultural heritage law, Co-Chair of the ABA's International Cultural Property Committee and author of Cultural Heritage, Art and the Law;

Richard Leventhal, Ph.D, internationally recognized scholar in Mesoamerican studies, faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, curator at the Museum and responsible for the Museum's recently launched Center for Cultural Heritage;

Ildiko P. DeAngelis, Director of the graduate program in Museum Studies at George Washington University, and former assistant general counsel at the Smithsonian Institute.

Course Planner, Sharon M. Erwin, Esquire

Interactive format, 3 substantive credits and 1 ethics credit for attorneys.
Enrollment is open to both attorneys and arts and culture professionals.
Registration fee: $189.00 for attorneys; $125 for arts and culture professionals and interested others.
Register by telephone, (215)545-3385.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Department of Museum Studies: Research Seminar Programme, 7th Nov 2007

Wednesday 7 November 1 p.m.
Lecture Room, 105 Princess Road East

Engage, Learn, Achieve: The impact of museum visits on the attainment of secondary school pupils in the East of England 2006 - 2007 (research by RCMG, the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries)

Dr Sheila Watson and Ms Ceri Jones, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
Research into museum learning has established that museums are sites that emotionally engage, inspire and encourage learning amongst secondary school pupils.

This paper by Sheila Watson, Jocelyn Dodd and Ceri Jones considers whether museums can make a difference to attainment in secondary schools when a piece of assessed work is linked to a museum visit?

Using case studies from the East of England, and drawing on previous research within RCMG this presentation will examine the challenges of working with museums offering a range of educational programmes and with pupils from a range of backgrounds and abilities. Both qualitative and quantitative methodology has been used to measure the pupil response to the museum visit. Comparisons with previously assessed pieces of work as well as the pupils’ own self assessment of their progress along with observations of visits all consider the impact on attainment of the museum visit.

Sheila Watson concise biography
Sheila taught history in various secondary schools before moving into museum education. She has considerable experience working in museums as an education officer and as a manager. As Area Museums Officer in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk she managed three museums and an art gallery, established a heritage partnership and led the redisplay of three museums including Time and Tide: the Museum of Great Yarmouth Life, short listed for the Gulbenkian Award. She has experience of working in regeneration programmes and successfully bid for, and managed, large externally funded projects. She joined the Department of Museum Studies in 2003. Her research interests include the way in which history in museums contributes to identity and how museums are spaces in which identities are made, controlled, reinforced and manipulated. She is also interested in the intangible and how the museum deals with concepts such as myth and memory.

Ceri Jones, Research Associate
Ceri Jones joined the Department of Museum Studies in September 2002 as a Research Assistant for the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries to support the piloting of the Generic Learning Outcomes developed by RCMG as part of MLA’s Inspiring Learning for All initiative.

Since then, Ceri has been part of the research team investigating diverse subjects such as cross-domain learning, the attitudes and perceptions of disabled people towards history, heritage and museums, and the social value of museums, archives and libraries, as well as being involved in large-scale evaluations for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New(ish) Blog: Adventures in Collections Management

I've been meaning to blog about this for ages, and only just got around to it (having a 'catch-up' Sunday!). As part of her new job, Lynn of Im in Ur Museum Blogz, has recently started a new blog, Adventures in Collections Management. Essentially, it does what it says on the tin. She records the aspects of collection management she is working on and related issues as they arise, but what I particularly like is her weekly Whatzit feature. Check it out and see if you can work out what the mystery object is!

Conference Alert: The Legacies of Slavery & Emancipation

From H-Museum:

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition is pleased to announce the following event:

The Legacies of Slavery and Emancipation: Jamaica in the Atlantic World Ninth Annual International Conference / GLC Fall Conference
Yale Center for British Art, , CT
November 1-3, 2007

Co-sponsored by The Gilder Lehrman Center and the Yale Center for British Art in conjunction with the exhibition "Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds."

The focus of this conference is one of the central themes of the exhibition: the unfinished legacy of Jamaican slavery, both for present-day Jamaica and the wider Atlantic world. Scholars from the UK, the US, and the West Indies, as well as visual artists, musicians, and film-makers will investigate a range of topics including labor, religion, and the legacies of slavery in Jamaica and Britain. Complementing these panels will be a series of break out sessions in the exhibition and the collections of the YCBA and other institutions at Yale in which the broader conceptual and historical issues debated during the conference can be brought to bear on the analysis of specific objects and images.

For more information about the conference, a complete schedule, and registration, please visit

All conference activities will be held at the YCBA, 1080 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT.

This conference is free and open to the public. Registration is required.

Dana L. Schaffer
Assistant Director
The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition
Yale University
PO Box 208206
New Haven, CT 06520-8206
Phone: 203-432-9238 ~ Fax: 203-432-6943

CFP: Beyond camps and forced labour

From H-Museum:


Beyond camps and forced labour: current international research on survivors of Nazi persecution.
Third international multidisciplinary conference
Imperial War Museum, London
7-9 January 2009

This conference is planned as a follow-up to the two successful conferences, which took place at the Imperial War Museum in London in 2003 and 2006. It will continue to build on areas previously investigated, and also open up new fields of academic enquiry.

The aim is to bring together scholars from a variety of disciplines who are engaged in research on all groups of survivors of Nazi persecution. These will include - but are not limited to - Jews, Gypsies and Slavonic people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, Soviet prisoners of war, political dissidents, members of underground movements, the disabled, the so-called ‘racially impure’, and forced labourers. For the purpose of the conference, a ‘survivor’ is defined as anyone who suffered any form of persecution by the Nazis or their allies as a result of the Nazis’ racial, political, ideological or ethnic policies from 1933 to 1945, and who survived the Second World War.

The organisers welcome proposals, which focus on topics and themes of the ‘life after’, ranging from the experience of liberation to the trans-generational impact of persecution, individual and collective memory and consciousness, and questions of theory and methodology. We are also
interested in comparative papers that discuss the experience of victims of forced population transfers during the war and in the immediate post-war years, including the historiographical development from polemical and memoirist approaches to empirical, analytical, and critical studies.

Specific conference themes anticipated are:

• DPs in post-war Europe

• Reception and resettlement

• Survivors in Eastern Europe

• Exiles, émigrés and refugees in the reconstruction process

• Rescuers and liberators

• Child survivors

• Women survivors and gender issues

• Trials and justice

• Testimony and memory

• Film and photography

• Psychological approaches: trauma, amnesia, intergenerational transmission

• Educational issues

• Remembrance and memorials

• Museums and archives

The Advisory Board consists of: Dan Bar-On (Ben Gurion University of the Negev), Wolfgang Benz (Technical University Berlin), Gerhard Botz (University of Vienna), Helga Embacher (University of Salzburg), Evelyn Friedlander (Hidden Legacy Foundation, London), Atina Grossmann (Cooper Union, New York), Wolfgang Jacobmeyer (University of Münster), Yosefa Loshitzky (University of East London), Hanna Ulatowska (University of Texas at Dallas), Inge Weber-Newth (London Metropolitan University).

Please send an abstract of 200-250 words together with biographical background of about 50 words by 28 February 2008 to: Johannes-Dieter Steinert, email:

All proposals are subject to a review process.

Fees: No more than GBP135 for speakers. The fee includes admission to all panels and evening events, lunches, coffees and teas. Further information and registration details will be made available in 2008.

It is intended to publish the conference proceedings. The proceedings of the first conference have been published by Secolo Verlag, Osnabrück (ISBN 3-929979-73-x). The proceedings of the second conference are in press by Secolo Verlag as well. For further information please contact or

The conference is being organised by

Suzanne Bardgett, Imperial War Museum, London
David Cesarani, Royal Holloway, University of London
Jessica Reinisch, Birkbeck College London
Johannes-Dieter Steinert, University of Wolverhampton