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.