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.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Publication/CFP: International Journal of Intangible Heritage

From H-Museum:

Journal Announcement

Theme: All possible discourses on Intangible Heritage

The International Journal of Intangible Heritage is a refereed academic and professional journal for the cultural and heritage sectors. First published in May 2006, the Journal embraces theory and practice in relation to the study, preservation, interpretation and promotion of intangible heritage. In recent years, academics, researchers and professionals in many different parts of the cultural and heritage sectors have increasingly been collecting, systematising, documenting and communicating intangible heritage and in particular supporting both its traditional and contemporary expressions.

The need for such an international publication was one of the significant outcomes of the 2004 Triennial General Conference of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on the theme `Museums and Intangible Heritage`. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Republic of Korea agreed to provided support for this Journal through the National Folk Museum of Korea. Following the establishment of the Journal Secretariat in the Museum and the convening of an International Editorial Board and Editorial Advisory Committee in late 2005, the Volume One was published in May 2006; Volume Two in May 2007 and Volume Three is due to come out in May 2008. The printed editions are supplemented by an electronic edition in PDF format at .

Papers submitted by the end of October each year are refereed and considered by the Editorial Board at its Annual Meeting in January-February. The final selection of papers is published in May-June. However, papers submitted after October are saved and considered for the subsequent volume.

The Journal welcomes submissions of contributions covering all areas of intangible heritage studies and practice.

The inaugural volume included papers mainly from the ICOM 2004 Triennial General Conference. From Volume Two the Journal has established three categories of contributions as follows:

(1) Main articles (refereed), normally between 4,000 and 6,000 words, excluding notes, bibliography and illustrations. An A4 size page of plain text averages around 800 words, and the printed paper will normally be allocated six, eight or ten journal pages according to length and illustrations. Prospective authors should consult the Editorial Board through the Editor-in-Chief if a longer contribution is proposed.

(2) Short communications (refereed), of up to 2,000 words (two to four journal pages).

(3) News and reviews items of up to 1,000 words on relevant new conferences, publications or projects (which will be subject to normal editing by not formal refereeing.)

We are now seeking suitable contributions of all three categories: main papers, short communications, and news and reviews, on any aspect of intangible heritage.

Manuscripts submitted should not be under consideration by any other journal or publisher, nor should they have been previously published elsewhere. If a manuscript is based on a lecture, conference paper or talk, specific details should accompany the submission. There are detailed Instructions to Contributors on the preparation of manuscripts and illustrations in previous volumes of the Journal (in both the printed and electronic editions). These are available on the Journal website at .

Paper proposals for the Journal can be submitted to the Journal Secretariat: (postal address below) at any time. Papers should be in electronic format, wherever possible should be submitted via e-mail. The submitted text (including an Abstract except for News and Reviews items), should be sent as an attachment to your e-mail message. Texts should be saved and submitted in unjustified text alignment in Rich Text Format (RTF). Illustrations should not be `embedded` in the text. Electronic images of the required quality (see the Instructions to Contributors), should be submitted as separate files. Original photographs should not be submitted at this stage, but a list summarising these should be included.

Please provide the full postal address of each author and of any institutional affiliation where applicable, including the country name, and an e-mail address contact address for each Author. Include at the end of the manuscript a short biography (80 words) for each Author.

For manuscript submission contact:

Publication Secretariat
International Journal of Intangible Heritage
The National Folk Museum of Korea
Samcheongdong-gil 35
Jongno-gu, Seoul
Republic of Korea

Emails: , ,
Tel: +82-(0)2-3704-3106, 3704-3109
Fax: +82-(0)2-3704-3149

For editorial policy etc. enquiries contact: Editor-in-Chief, Professor Amareswar Galla

Conference Alert: Europeana

From H-Museum:

Europeana: Europe's digital archive, library and museum Conference:
Users Expect the Interoperable
The Hague, 23/24 June 2008

A conference focusing on interoperability in museums, archives and libraries.

User expectations make interoperability a necessity. The technical solutions are now available to make that interoperability a reality, and the conference will focus on opportunities, solutions, and practical examples in museums and archives.

The conference also features the first preview of Europeana Prototype1

This will be the first opportunity to see a working version of the site. This preview is only being shown to conference delegates.

There will be a session to comment on the prototype, giving delegates the chance to influence development of The feedback from the conference will drive the design and functionality of the public prototype which will launch in November 2008.

The conference is now open for booking.

Attendance at the conference is free.

Members of the Europeana/EDLnet partnership will have their travel and expenses covered for one delegate.

Full details of the conference at

Monday, May 26, 2008

Nietzsche's Wee Trip to Glasgow (written by Nietzsche, translated by Ceri Jones)

Greetings to you, dear virtual reader, my name is Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher. I was very kindly invited to accompany a group of PhD students from the Department of Museum Studies on their visit to the important city of Glasgow in Scotland, with the condition that I wrote the review for their esteemed publication 'The Attic.' Being fond of writing (and, oh, how fond!) it was not such an onerous task, particularly since I was promised food, wine and lasting infamy as a consequence. And we certainly feasted like kings!

A long and tiresome journey

The journey from Leicester to the fair city of Glasgow was suitably arduous, six hours in length, on a remarkable contraption known as a ‘train’ (although it did not resemble any train that I recognised). I was therefore extremely pleased when my companion, Ceri, pointed out that we had arrived in Glasgow’s Queen Street station. After meeting the rest of our party, the marvellous Viv, Pippa, Heather and Jennifer (who incidentally hails from the New World) we went immediately into town for an exploration of the public drinking establishments. I was very humbled by the reception given to me by this group of excellent ladies, although I should expect it to some degree considering the wealth of thought I have contributed to the academic world. However I digress, where was I? Oh yes, I was about to tell you that the first evening we went for a refreshing beer in the Merchant’s City area of the city (the first of many).

Tasting the best of the city's beers

Then on to eat what I was reliably informed to be one of the finest ‘curries’ in Glasgow, as recommended by Kiran who joined us from Glasgow Museums, and ending the night with a dabble in salsa, although I left this latter activity to my more energetic female companions, being very tired from the train journey.

The remains of a sumptuous meal

Friday morning dawned and our intrepid group convened in the West End, where our hotels were situated, to travel to St Mungos, the only religious museum to exist in the United Kingdom. It was a substantial walk, the streets taking us into the city lined with the most attractive buildings in mellow hues of stone.

Typical buildings found in the West End

Despite the attractions of the architecture, I can say with honesty that we were very much ready for a civilised cup of tea once we arrived at the Museum. We were very pleased to meet Margaret and Tony who took us on a tour of the galleries; my views on religion are well known however I was interested to see how the museum had tackled such a thorny issue without shying away from the less salubrious consequences of belief. My favourite object was the statue of Shiva engaged in an energetic dance; I am very fond of a dance it must be said.

Admiring the exhibits in St Mungos Museum

Another healthy constitution after luncheon (good for the mind as well as the physical being!) took us to the People’s Palace Museum in the East End, an area which has yet to undergo quite the same amount of gentrification as the West End it must be said. However I was very intrigued to see a gaudy replica of the Doge's Palace in Venice masquerading as a carpet factory; what a sight it is!

Above - the carpet factory.  Below - The People's Palace Museum

It was not a surprise for someone as intelligent as myself to learn that the People’s Palace Museum is concerned with the social history of Glasgow. Guided around by Rachel who works at the Museum, we were introduced to many of the exhibits which shed light on this most fascinating of cities. I was particularly pleased to see the the strong sense of identity exhibited by the Glaswegians, they are no slaves to their masters!

Paintings in the People's Palace Museum - two sides to life in the city

By now I was feeling somewhat fatigued however I was forced to endure another walk to the third (and fortunately) final museum of the day, the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art or GOMA if you insist in calling it something vulgar. The highlight of this museum was the exhibition in the palatial splendour of the ground floor where the floor was arranged so that it was apt to induce queasiness upon those walking upon it! I was not immune to this effect and was very pleased to ascend to the upper galleries, whereupon we gazed upon the art known as ‘contemporary’ which meant very little to my companion Ceri despite her best attempts to engage with it. I tried to explain its depth but I’m afraid my comments were rather wasted as Ceri seemed only too happy to abandon the Museum to venture into the bookshop opposite; certainly she is a slave to consumerism!

A head in a basket and other compelling artworks in GOMA

A happy night was spent at the Greek Taverna just down the road from our lodgings, although I must admit I indulged a little too much on the fine wines offered there. Sorrowfully it was to be the last night in Jennifer’s company since she would be returning to the New World via the city of London and we bade her a fond farewell that evening.

Someone has had too much to drink!

Saturday brought with it murky weather and pleasant visits to the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery and Transport Museum, only ten minutes stroll from our hotels. I was enormously pleased to see that the Kelvingrove was a proper Museum with grand steps to the entrance and inside such a profusion of decoration and riot of colour as to be overwhelming for those less used to the 19th century exuberance as I am. We were introduced to the work of Glasgow Museums by the very knowledgable William before he left us to explore the Museum at our own discretion. I greatly admired the artworks by Charles Rennie Macintosh and other great artists of the 19th century, although most striking of all were the strange heads seen suspended from the ceiling into the gallery. I only wish the Museums of my own time had been quite so daring in their approach.

Top - Nietzsche pretends to read the guidebook.  The rest are images from Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery

More strange contraptions were revealed to me at the Museum of Transport. How it has progressed from the carriages of my own time! I saw what are called ‘cars’, carriages that move under their own propulsion, trams which are fashioned to carry many people to their various destinations and, happily, some familiar steam trains. Ceri was keen to show me the exhibition known as ‘Lives in Motion’ which her department helped to secure, and I indulged her enthusiasm. Fortunately the exhibition turned out to be interesting, telling the stories of disabled people and their experiences of transport. However the museum overall is showing its age, and it is to be rejuvenated with a newly designed complex called ‘Riverside.' I made a mental note to return one day and see how fruitful these changes will be for the museum service.

Fun at the Museum of Transport

No visit to Glasgow I feel could be made without some interaction with the design of Charles Rennie Macintosh, in our case the Glasgow School of Art and the Willow Tea Rooms, where we partook of proper leaf tea and incredibly delicious cakes.

Top - the Glasgow School of Art and Below - the Willow Tea Rooms, both designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh

Our final meal took place at a small Korean restaurant where, to my chagrin, I made the mistake of eating an extremely hot red chilli! I do not think my palate will ever function the same way again; despite this error of judgement the food was remarkably tasty, particularly some lightly battered prawn and vegetables which I shall certainly insist my landlady cooks for me once I return home.

Museum fatigue!

On Sunday we said farewell to the rest of the group, and Ceri and I made our way to the Glasgow Necropolis, a hilltop cemetery overlooking the city and thus affording some magnificent views. Until then the weather had been overcast and dull but upon reaching the top of the hill, the sun flooded us with its welcome heat.

Overlooking the city from the Necropolis

Whilst Ceri took a myriad photographs with her ‘camera’ (again I was impressed with the way in which technology has advanced in this age) I took the time to ponder at the way in which some men are obsessed with leaving a legacy of some sort, evident in the proliferation of elaborate tombs cluttering this hillside. I made a note that I would like for myself a grand statue as that allocated to John Knox, who dominates the rest.

A view of the family crypts inspired by Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris

There, you have it. I could have gone on to explain in far greater detail, however Ceri assures me that you, dear virtual reader, have only the stomach for a brief sketch of our adventures and, although I argued that this would not be the case as I expect you have the intellect and capacity to endure far more, she insisted that if people wished to know more they could enquire quite happily in that instance. So I am forced to conclude with the observation that Glasgow Museums are a very interesting breed of museum, evidently alluring to the ordinary person of this unique city. And so this was, for me, a most absorbing visit and one which I would heartily recommend if you happen upon the opportunity.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

International Museum Day: A Museum Crawl to London

On Saturday the 17th May Ceri, Anna and myself went to London, ostensibly to celebrate International Museum Day (18th May), but - in reality - it was an opportunity to have a jolly good gossip with opportunities for retail therapy and plenty of food!

Ceri was already in London when Anna and I arrived, having seen Girls Aloud at the O2 the previous night (apologies for revealing your sordid secret, Ceri!), so we all met at the Victoria & Albert Museum, having trudged through the rain and braved the hideously overcrowded underground system (FA Cup Final Day) from different directions.

First things first: lunch! Which we ate in the Morris room. Very civilised; beautiful surroundings, accompanied by the sound of a piano...and a considerable amount of grumbling (from us) on the topics of rain, unreliable people, the medical profession - and specifically the medicalisation of women's bodies (yes, we can get quite profoundly philosophical at times!), being overcharged in the V&A caff, and the catering staff's complete lack of knowledge with regards to their own menu, i.e. was the enigmatic filo parcel vegetarian or not. Perhaps this wasn't the best start to a day's museum crawling. On reflection, we were not in the most zen-like state when we approached the exhibition China Design Now, which possibly impacted on our reception of it. Nevertheless, the complimentary tickets Anna had managed to procure helped to raise our spirits somewhat (it pays to know people on the inside!).

Ceri ponders the mystery filo parcel

So, what can I say about the exhibition? Ultimately it was an empty experience; we all felt that the final section, 'Beijing', operated a bit like an add-on to the rest of the exhibition: a not very well thought through, propaganda exercise, if I'm going to be honest (i.e. China is concerned about the environment too, and they do great stuff in Tibet and the Olympics is going to be absolutely fabulous!). I don't want to slip into political diatribe, but the overall interpretive approach employed by the curators wasn't very challenging to the official narrative of China's emergence onto the world stage. That's fine, of course, providing that museums are upfront about sponsors, exhibition partners, etc, and stop this pretence of objective neutrality. Okay, rant over...though Ceri and Anna might like to add something!

We approached the exhibition shop altogether more happily. I was particularly taken with the items produced by Madame Mao's Dowry; a Shanghai-based shop which specialises in revolutionary kitsch. All three of us bought their commemorative Olympic tin mugs.

Next on the schedule was the new Oxfam Boutique in Westbourne Grove, but we were running late and scrapped that idea (although we did manage, en route, to pop in to a couple of shops on Kensington High Street!) and headed straight to Leighton House Museum, to meet Alan who had kindly agreed to give us a guided tour of his architectural 'charges'.

Leighton House

Well, what can I say about Leighton House? The unprepossessing facade doesn't promise much, but let me assure you, the house is absolutely fabulous. The home of the Pre-Raphaelite painter Frederic, Lord Leighton, the house is a confection of orientalisme and late Victorian exuberant decadence. The William de Morgan peacock blue tiles are worth a visit in themselves, suffusing the stairwell they adorn in the most incredible luminous light.

Equally exciting is Linley Sambourne house, not least because Alan let us 'behind the velvet rope'! The phrase 'stepping back in time' is overused, but entirely appropriate in this case. It feels as if the Sambournes have just stepped out, leaving behind all the clutter and atmosphere of domestic family life. Linley Sambourne was a photographer and illustrator for Punch - and an enthusiastic producer of Victorian porn, it seems. His studio still smells of ink and paper: very evocative.

Linley Sambourne House

All museum-crawled out we retired to a local pub to drink, eat and have a good old gossip to the dying minutes of the Cup Final.

Photos by Ceri and Amy. :)

Department of Museum Studies Research Seminar Programme: Wednesday 11th June 2008

From Richard Sandell:

I am writing now to remind you of the research seminar that will be held in the Department on Weds 11 June at 1pm.

We are really delighted to have Bernadette Lynch present to us that day on her current research - please see below. Bernadette has pioneered museum practice in this area and the seminar, I am sure, will be stimulating and challenging.

* * *

Radical Participation

Current rhetoric within the museum profession actively promotes and energetically supports audience consultation and participation, but does it really work? As part of a book in preparation entitled Practising Radical Trust: Museums and the Sharing of Authority, Dr. Bernadette Lynch looks at notions of participation and, focusing on recent case studies, engages with psychology and postcolonial studies to examine what’s actually happening within these encounters between museums and their external collaborators. She then looks at models from other sectors to discuss ways museums might face up to the difficult, conflicted and messy implications of ethical partnership work, and its viability in museum practice.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Research Week - Day 2 Amy's Birthday!

Birthday Cake!

Yummy chinese food at the Red Lantern!

Lots and Lots of food!

The Birthday Girl

Ahh! Viv and Pippa.

Sally, Brenda & Jennifer enjoying the feast!

NaMu blog

Alan Kirwan - one of our merry band of distance-learners - has started a discussion blog for the next NaMu workshop to be held in Leicester in June. Things over there are pretty quiet at the moment, but will pick up soon I'm sure. Well worth checking out whether you're taking part in NaMu or not, especially if you are interested in the application of new technologies in the museum environment.

CFP: Places of Meaning, Meaning in Place

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers

Places of Meaning, Meaning in Place: Tangibility, Controversy, and Conscience at Historic Sites Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 6-11, 2009

Organizers: Kevin M. Bartoy (The Hermitage) and Jay Stottman (Kentucky Archaeological Survey)

Session Sponsored by the Public Education and Interpretation Committee

Every piece of ground is a historic site. The events of the human past have traversed every inch of soil on this planet. Yet, it is in the present that we invest these sites with sufficient significance to make them places of meaning. These places provide tangibility for the intangible. It is through this process of making meaning in place that historic sites become contested landscapes. That is, places in which a past is interpreted and reinterpreted from a variety of perspectives in the present. In this process, they become places of controversy and conscience. This session seeks to explore our role as "interlocutors" in dialogues between events of the past and meaning making in the present.
As such, we critically engage with a variety of publics in "locating" the past in place physically and in place with social issues of the present.

We are looking for papers from a broad spectrum of practitioners of public archaeology, public history, museum studies, and heritage studies. We hope that the session will be international in scope and diverse in contributions. While we do not want to limit creativity, some potential papers may address the following:

* Engaging sites and subjects of controversy

* Interpretation and presentation of histories and archaeologies of controversial topics

* The productions of contested landscapes and heritage

* The relationship between landscapes, heritage, and identity

* Making histories and archaeologies relevant to present issues of heritage and identity

* The role of archaeologists or archaeology in the production of meanings, identity, or controversies

We also hope that there may be a potential to have remote participation for those who cannot physically attend the conference. So, feel free to submit even if you are constrained in your ability to travel to Toronto for the session.

Proposals are due by June 10, 2008.

If you are interested in participating in this session, please contact

Kevin M. Bartoy
Director of Archaeology
The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson 4580 Rachel's Lane Nashville, Tennessee 37076
Phone: 615.889.2941 ext.200
Fax: 615.889.9289

CFP: Disturbing Spaces, Impossible Strategies

Frpm H-ArtHist:

parallax. a journal of metadiscursive theory and cultural practices

Disturbing Spaces, Impossible Strategies:

Disturbing spaces: a metaphor for the challenge of structures and a symptom of spatial difference when operating within set frames. The manipulation of the space of activity, of the 2-D page, of the 3-D room, the juxtaposition of words, pictures, objects, bodies; the spatial and temporal configuration of things, their distance. But also, the metaphorical space of reflection, of ordering and classification, of orthodoxy and the canon; the domain of methodologies and typographies, of linguistic orders, of visual structures, of cognitive processes.

How does one, as a philosopher, a writer, an artist move in-between spaces, from the mental space of the formulation of ideas and rhetorical operations to the embodied space of physical impact and back again? And how does one act on the metaphysical space of theory from within the space of experience? This issue of parallax wishes to invite a discussion on strategies that by disturbing the spatio-temporal configuration of experienced space open up the space for critical reflection, or confront the canon with a premise that nourishes the possibility of doubt. What demands does the frame (of reference, of regulations, of limitations) make on the structure of the physical object? What are the frame/object?s internal and external limits and how can one invent and sustain alternative conditions of meaning and intelligibility?

Disturbing spaces entails knowledge of the object's physical location and therefore depends on the context of its experience and the conditions of its exposure. Thus, one may arrive at a disjointed critical stand by way of upsetting the order of things, yet this disruption of the frame of reference will also cause one to fall back to a provisional starting point. Is it, then, possible to retain this experience and to use it in order to reflect on and repeat such a performance? Where would one locate strategies that disturb the embodied/mental space and that tease out their distance? Would a self-reflective operation create a new space, reconfigure the same space anew or remain in a conceptual space?
Questioning the notion of impossibility and of impossible strategies, not as a prohibition but as a tangent, this issue of parallax allows its own space to become a meta-space of dialogue across philosophy, literary and art criticism, semantics and discourse analysis.

Submission Deadline: 1 April 2009

Potential contributors are encouraged to contact:
Eve Kalyva
Centre for Cultural Studies
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies Old Mining Building University of Leeds Leeds LS2 9JT UK


parallax is edited by a team at the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. parallax publishes themed issues that aim to provoke exploratory, interdisciplinary thinking and response, providing a forum for a wide spectrum of perspectives on a topical question or concern. The journal is of interest to those working in cultural studies, critical theory, cultural history, philosophy, gender studies, queer theory, post-colonial theory, English and comparative literature, aesthetics, art history and visual cultures.

ISSN: 1460-700X (electronic) 1353-4645 (paper) Publication Frequency: 4 issues per year
Subject: Cultural Theory;
Publisher: Routledge

Editors: Ignaz Cassar, Mark Dawson and Eve Kalyva Arts Editor: Lynn Turner Reviews Editor: Marcel Swiboda Executive Editors: Barbara Engh, Martin McQuillan

Editorial Board:
Mieke Bal, Andrew Benjamin, Rachel Bowlby, Elisabeth Bronfen, Ian Buchanan, Susan Buck-Morss, Elizabeth Cowie, Omayra Cruz, Barry Curtis, Jonathan Dollimore, Simon Frith, Sue Golding, Ray Guins, Mark Little, Joanne Morra, Frank Mort, Christopher Norris, Peter Osborne, Kristin Ross, Marquard Smith, Allan Stoekl, Valerie Walkerdine, Jeffrey Weeks, Lola Young.

Founders: Joanne Morra, Adrian Rifkin, Marquard Smith

PhD Research Week: Day 3

Photographic reflections on Day 3 (Discourse Analysis training course):

Lunch break in the Library caff (Pippa [l], Afshan [r])

Anna [l], Sally [r]

Pre-dinner drinks at Viv's house.

Delicious Thai take-away from Siam Corner - highly recommended. :)

Introducing Friedrich Nietzsche, The Attic's roving reporter. Expect reports from the North shortly. ;)