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, June 23, 2007

NaMu: National Museum Narratives (report from workshop 2)

Overview of NaMu workshop
June 18 to June 20

By Sally Hughes

NaMu is a series of workshops designed to provide a forum for investigating relationship between nations and museums. In a series of wide ranging workshops which bring together researchers at the start of their research career with keynote speakers and established researchers, participants discuss the topic within a framework. The Leicester meeting (second of 6) was tasked with discussing the nation as narrative. Keynote speakers Preziosi, Whitehead, van Mensch and Hooper-Greenhill provided a framework on the first afternoon which was followed by a poster session at which participants presented their posters and discussed them.
This poster session was a very successful way of providing an introduction to a wide number of research projects. It worked well to focus participants prior to arrival and to introduce everyone to the wide ranging topics that the research covers. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, the time for the posters was limited. However, they will be placed on the NaMu web site, but are only available if you register.

The second day involved visits to 8 national London museums by small groups with each group member having a specific focus as well as participating in wider discussion topics. Topics included locating the narrative in national museums, the role of objects within this narrative, the implications for future developments among others. I found the group discussions around a specific focus thought-provoking and useful in helping me understand Donald Preziosi’s points on representation in museums.

The long day in London concluded with a dinner in Leicestershire which continued the other aspect of these workshops, that of networking. From my perspective, in addition to the keynote speakers and the exposure to different theoretical frameworks being used by PhD students, it is the networking opportunities which made this workshop so useful. One other benefit is the deadline to produce a synopsis of my studies, either a paper or in this case a poster and to receive feedback on the content.

On the last morning, the groups reconvened in a different configuration and discussed specific points and then reported to the workshop as a whole.

I would urge all Leicester people and others to look at the NaMu website and consider applying for the next workshop in Oslo. If you can commit the time it is a fantastic opportunity.

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