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.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Conference Alert: Museum Ethnographers' Group 2007 Conference

From the EthnoMuseums listserv:

Details of the Museum Ethnographers' Group 2007 Conference, to be held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, on 21 and 22 May, including conference booking form and provisional programme follow. Please contact Claire Warrior (cwarrior@nmm.ac.uk ) for further details.



Booking Form

Conference Fees:
£50 MEG member (full) £80 non-member
£40 MEG member (concession*) £65 non-member (concession*)

Please note that MEG membership is only £25, concessions £20. (Airmail is £7 if required.) Therefore by joining MEG you will save money on your conference fees.
Conference fees include sandwich lunch and refreshments on both days as well as the drinks reception on Monday evening.

Conference Dinner:
A dinner will be held on Monday and the meal will cost approximately £25, with a £10 deposit payable in advance.

Accommodation:
Greenwich is a popular tourist destination, and there are several hotels in the vicinity, including a Novotel (173-185 Greenwich High Road, tel. 020 8312 6800) and Ibis (30 Stockwell Street, tel. 020 8305 1177). Greenwich Council website has further information on places to stay (http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/LeisureCulture/WhereToStay/ ) and Greenwich Tourist Information Centre can also help (telephone 0870 608 2000 or e-mail tic@greenwich.gov.uk. VisitLondon (http://www.visitlondon.com/ ) also offer an accommodation booking service.
……………………………………………………………………………………

 I wish to book a place at the MEG 2007 Conference and enclose £40/£50/£65/£80.

 I would like to attend the dinner on Monday 21st May and enclose a £10 deposit.

 I would like to join MEG and enclose the appropriate fee: full -£25 (or £32 with airmail) or concession -£20 (or £27 with airmail).

 (if applicable) I have the following dietary requirements:

……………………………………..

I enclose a cheque payable to ‘Museum Ethnographers Group’ for £…………..
Credit card payments can now be taken via PayPal; contact Claire via e-mail for further details.

Name:
Address:

e-mail:
Tel. (daytime):
Please complete and send to:
Claire Warrior, Curator of Exhibitions, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NF (Tel.: 020 8312 8562. E-mail: cwarrior@nmm.ac.uk )

(*concession = those earning less than £11,000 per year)







Provisional timetable

DAY ONE – Monday 21st May

9.00 – 9.55 Registration

Welcome to the National Maritime Museum

10.00 – 11.00 Session 1: Networks of trade

Dr Janet Owen, National Maritime Museum, London
Collecting in the Arctic (title tbc)

Dr Cath Oberholtzer, Trent University, Canada
Trading amongst themselves: some examples from nineteenth century Canada

11.00 – 11.30 Refreshments

11.30 – 12.30 Session 2: Cultures of trade

Dr Sherry Farrell Racette, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
My grandmothers loved to trade: the indigenization of European trade goods in Northern Algonkian material culture

Chantal Knowles, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh
A 'National Collection': Scottish fur traders and their encounter with the Tlicho Nation

Dr Alison Brown, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen
Moving objects: fur trade artefacts and family histories

1.00 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3.00 Session 3: Objects of trade

Jeremy Coote, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Sir Joseph Banks and the brass patus (title tbc)

Andrew Mills, Sainsbury Research Centre, Norwich
Western Polynesian weaponry and the permeability of cultural boundaries (title tbc)

3.00 – 3.30 Refreshments

3.30 – 4.30 Session 4: Colonialism and trade

Espen Wæhle, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
Ethnographic collecting in Congo (title tbc)

Dr Daan van Dartel, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
Batik and Dutch colonial culture in Indonesia

5:00- 7.00 Drinks Reception

7.30 Conference Dinner


DAY TWO – Tuesday 22nd May

9.30 – 10.30 Work in Progress

Jill Hasell, British Museum, London
Preliminary research on collections from maritime voyages

Tabith Cadbury, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter
Central African collections at Exeter

Chantal Knowles, National Museums Scotland
New World Cultures galleries and the Royal Museum project

Rachel Smith, Plymouth Museum, Plymouth
Launch of World Cultures @ Plymouth website

10.30 – 11.00 Refreshments

11.00 – 12.30 MEG AGM

12.30 – 1.30 Lunch

1.30 – 2:30 Session 5: Impacts of trade

Len Pole, independent researcher, Exeter
Trade and iron-working in West Africa

Dr David Zeitlyn, University of Kent, Canterbury
Trading Mambila objects on Ebay

2:30 – 3:00 Refreshments

3:30 – 4:30 Session 6: Trade and collections

Alison Petch, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford

Commercial gain? The relationships between ethnographic collectors, dealers and auction houses: a case study

Sue Giles, Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol
Maritime collections at Bristol

4.30-4.45 Closing remarks


Abstracts

Session 1: Networks of trade

Dr Janet Owen, National Maritime Museum, London
Arctic collections and the relationship between Belcher and Lubbock (title tbc)
Abstract forthcoming

Dr Cath Oberholtzer, Trent University, Canada
Trading amongst themselves: some examples from nineteenth century Canada
I became intrigued with this topic during attempts to confirm the provenance of a pair of Cree leggings. The leggings were purported to have been collected by John Henry Lefroy at Eastmain on the East Coast of James Bay in 1843. However, Lefroy’s movements in the Subarctic indicate that he had never been in the James Bay area. It was only after researching Dr. John Rae’s ten year sojourn in the Moose Factory area that the connections between Rae and Lefroy were established and the provenance of the leggings tentatively confirmed. Based on this connection, the discovery of a number of other links implies the existence of a trading network. Within this network, the men were trading amongst themselves to build and augment their personal collections of Native items. This practice continued throughout the nineteenth century with the replacement and addition of various players, many of whom were involved in the activities of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Session 2: Cultures of trade

Dr Sherry Farrell Racette, Concordia University, Canada
My grandmothers loved to trade: the indigenization of European trade goods in Northern Algonkian material culture
In early 20th century Canadian historiography and ethnography, the introduction of European trade goods was represented as the trigger that set off a series of cultural implosions, causing Indigenous societies to collapse from within. However, Indigenous oral traditions, archaeology, and more recent scholarship concur that a continental trade network was fundamental to economic and social life. While trade was largely a male endeavour, the work of integrating new goods into everyday life was largely the cultural work of women. Excluding trade goods associated with hunting, much of the early trade conducted in Canada related to women as consumers and creators. Through the vehicle of trade and the human relationships that developed from that common purpose, indigenous materials, construction techniques and garment forms encountered new materials, a different repertoire of construction techniques and imported clothing. Over time, a widely disparate range of goods became deeply
assimilated into material culture and artistic production. Beads from Venice, British stroud, Indian calicos and Scottish tartans were, and continue to be, essential elements of Indigenous material culture. Language, symbolism and continuity of practice “grandmothered” ancient meanings onto new forms, and rather than marking a decline in material culture, illustrate the important work of women in the creation and synthesis of knowledge systems.

Chantal Knowles, National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh
A 'National Collection': Scottish fur traders and their encounter with the Tlicho Nation
During the period 1858-62 Hudson Bay Company traders working at company forts in Northern Canada diligently collected the 'important arts' from the aboriginal communities they met. They had been urged to do so by George Wilson, founding Director of the National Museums Scotland, and took up his advice in collecting contemporary and everyday artefacts. This collection has acquired an international reputation due to its early date and its significance in recording a period of great change for the Dene communities.
Today the Tlicho collection of material, relating to one of the Dene communtites, is on display in the Northern Territories and will remain so for a year. The partnership programme between the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, National Museums Scotland and the recently formed Tlicho Government has evolved over several years leading to a reinterpretation of the material, a new contemporary collection and an outreach programme taking objects back to remote communities for workshops and story telling. This new encounter between the Scots and Tlicho Nation has addressed the curation, interpretation and significance of the collections and its importance to the histories of both communities.

Dr Alison Brown, University of Aberdeen
Moving objects: fur trade artefacts and family histories
In Canada the production, exchange and consumption of raw materials and artefacts were central to the fur trade, and key to mediating economic and social partnerships between peoples of aboriginal and of European ancestry. Artefacts made by aboriginal people were often collected by fur traders during their service in Canada. Many of these are found today in museum collections and in family homes, most especially in Scotland, the primary recruitment source for fur trade companies.
Drawing upon current research in Scotland and northern Manitoba, this paper addresses how historic artefacts can figure not just as objects of exchange but as agents in the process of relationship-building. Before his untimely death in 1921, Henry Moir, the Hudson’s Bay Company Post Manager at Churchill, Manitoba, arranged for his two young sons to be sent Scotland to be raised by their paternal grandparents. Family stories recall that before they left Canada, their Cree mother, Christina Massan, gave them some beadwork to remind them of their Cree ancestry. Some of this beadwork is now in the collection of Glasgow Museums, while other pieces have been kept by family members. Though the beadwork was always a visible presence in the boys’ lives, they were not encouraged to speak of their Cree heritage or to remain in touch with their Cree relatives and they never returned to Canada. In 2004 descendents of Christina Massan living in the Canadian north were traced. They have shared their perspectives on the beadwork, on the impact within their family and community of the boys’ removal, and on the recent renewal of family relationships. By bringing together narratives from Christina Massan’s descendents on both sides of the Atlantic, I will explore how these intensely personal, diasporic artefacts have been used to recover knowledge and memories of a cross-cultural family history that has been blurred for some eighty years.

Session 3: Objects of trade

Jeremy Coote, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Sir Joseph Banks and the brass patus (title tbc)
Abstract forthcoming

Andrew Mills, Sainsbury Research Centre, Norwich
Western Polynesian weaponry and the permeability of cultural boundaries (title tbc)
My doctoral thesis focuses on the stylistic analysis of a large sample of Tongan weapons from museums across the UK, US and Oceania itself, and seeks to contextualise formal and iconographic shifts in weaponry within the wider cultural context of Western Polynesia during the 18th and 19th centuries. Consequently, entirely interwoven economic, abstract cultural, artistic and military relations with Fiji and Samoa come prominently into play in my interpretations - as do the highly politicised unified religious and economic interactions with European peoples. If there is an available slot, I would present a holistic paper unifying both of these strands, in order to reflect the permeability of cultural boundaries in a region so often essentialised through assumptions about discrete insular traditions.


Session 4: Colonialism and trade

Espen Wæhle, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
Ethnographic collecting in Congo (title tbc)
From the 1870s to the 1930s some 1500-2000 individuals from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden Nordic took part in the exploration, colonisation, exploitation and administration of the Congo Free State (1885-1908) and later the Belgian Congo (1908-1960). A large number of the military officers, sailors, missionaries, lawyers, medical doctors, personnel of concessions companies and other experts collected ethnographica and there are at least 500 collections in museums in the Nordic countries totalling at least 38.500 objects. Recently the collecting and a selection of collectors have been analysed and presented in the travelling exhibition “Traces of Congo” (http://congo.natmus.dk/ ) and a related series of international workshops.

A preliminary analysis of museum files, letters, diaries and published sources tells relatively little about why they collected. Yet, when the collecting activity is analysed with reference to the history of museums and colonialism, the data reveals a combined importance of collecting as a “survival strategy” (tropical hygiene and providing skills), and as a means to map the cultural landscape, establishing relationships and create conditions for communication and commercial activities. Collecting artefacts was part of extensive trade and exchange relationships between the colonial agents and Congolese communities.

The presentation will cover material from two current projects. I will partly focus on the only large Nordic commercial entrepreneurs in ethnographic collecting in the Congo, the Danish-Norwegian sea captains Chr. Schønberg & Chr. Martini and their activities from 1886 onwards. This material is part of the project “Scandinavians commercial agents, traders and economic initiatives in the Congo Free State”. The research is undertaken as part of my contribution to the project “In the wake of colonialism. Norwegian commercial interests in Africa and Oceania” at the Center for Development Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway: http://www.svf.uib.no/sfu/colonialism/

The other part contextualises the Nordic museums, collectors and strategies and relates this material to a monograph project (with Ann Vibeke Knudsen) on the Danish officer Johan Støckel and his well documented collecting (1891-94, 1903-04) in the Congo. I argue that this scramble for artefacts can fruitfully be studied as part of the wider colonial material and social relations and commercial interests.

Dr Daan van Dartel, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
Batik and Dutch colonial culture in Indonesia
Abstract forthcoming

Session 5: Impacts of trade

Len Pole, independent researcher, Exeter
West African iron-working (title tbc)
The general assumption is that as soon as externally produced sources of iron became available to communities in West Africa via the coastal trade from Europe from the 17th century on, indigenous iron-working technology withered and died. Yet iron-smelting could still be studied in detail in the late 20th century. How could this be? In this paper, I want to examine the economic and cultural forces at work on practitioners in iron during this period (both smelters and smiths) and on the consumers of their products, resulting from this international trade. This discussion is particularly relevant to the present focus on the effects of the external trade in human beings on this region during the period.

Dr David Zeitlyn, University of Kent, Canterbury
Trading Mambila Objects on ebay
This paper will discuss the trade in African objects on ebay using as an example records of all the objects offered for sale on ebay purporting to be Mambila over a three year period. Ebay provides an arena allowing issues about style, labelling and sellability, aesthetics and tourist art all to be addressed in a systematic fashion and one which suggest many possibilities for future research.

Session 6: Trade and collections

Alison Petch, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
Commercial gain? The relationships between ethnographic collectors, dealers and auction houses: a case study

The relationship between commercial sources of ethnographic material (such as dealers and auction houses) and ethnographic museums today is a fraught one. However, relationships were different in the past and many an ethnographic museum leaned heavily on these sources to build their collections, including the Pitt Rivers Museum. The relationship between such sources and serious ethnographic collectors has always been, and remains today, a closer one. By examining the relationship between the donor of the founding collection of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers, and commercial sources I hope to show that this relationship was complex and had both good and bad aspects. I will also contextualise this relationship with a look at the relationships that the Museum had in the first 60 years or so of its history with sale rooms and dealers at home and abroad.

Sue Giles, Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol
Maritime collections at Bristol
Abstract forthcoming


2 comments:

christina massan said...

Hi People,My name is Christina Massan from northern Manitoba.I am the very granddaughter of Christina Massan Moir mentioned in the ATTIC.Connecting with family has meant the world to me and my family.We only hope you can share our happiness with us as it has done wonders for us here in Canada. This has filled the void and/or emptiness we felt in our hearts for so long and we have our
friend Alison to thank for making it possible.She never gave up she just kept on digging for she truely believes in what does.
THANK YOU,EKOSI ALISON BROWN.

We only hope others could connect with lost families as well.

CHRISTINA MASSAN
chmassan@foxlakecreenation.com

Cynthia Massan said...

Hello Tansi everyone I am the very proud great grandaughter of Christina Massan Moir. As my mother said in the earlier comment this has meant so much to my family all the questions that were ever wondered have finally started to be answered all because of an amazing woman who has turned into one of the family. Words cannot express how much our family respects and thanks you for your hard work in reuniting a family that is divided by oceans and one day we actually all hope to meet in person.

Ekosi