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, February 29, 2008

NaMu: Re-imaging the National Museum (Workshop 5)

Call for participation for Workshop 5

Re-imagining the National Museum: Traditional Institutions in an era of technological change

University of Leicester, UK, 16-18 June 2008

The fifth in a series of 6 workshops interrogating national museums, organised by the Universities of Linköping, Oslo and Leicester, this workshop will consider how pervasive technologies are altering, or might alter, the place of the national museum in society. In previous workshops we have considered the ways in which territories and histories have produced national museums of differing complexions, and how each differs as a representation of nation to an indigenous population and in its relation to the wider world. At the last meeting in Leicester, in June 2007, we explored in detail the narratives performed within the London nationals through museum visits and thematic workshops. Leicester 2008 will again provide opportunities to discuss, debate and be inspired. Fuelled by keynote presentations from leading thinkers from around the world, this meeting will provide an opportunity to consider how technological change seems to alter and reconfigure the national museum and the values that have lead to its universal adoption. Some of these keynote speakers may talk about the technologies themselves, while others might consider the problem of understanding this change more philosophically. However, it will not be the aim of delegates at this meeting to attempt to catalogue global activity in terms of the adoption of new technologies or online resources. It is rather that we are already beginning to live our lives online, and in doing so we are reconfiguring communities and turning away from materialism. Indeed, the solidity of those aspects of society which were critical to the formation of these museums – nations, borders, material icons, language – are dissolving in these discrete digitised environments. The future, then, is not simply about the adoption of technologies or their effective application, but rather about seeing and believing differently. We have already seen television fundamentally altered by publics who wish to be actors, producers and directors. Television has adopted the mindset of the Web. Museums, in contrast, and despite all their democratising actions of the last thirty years, remain more controlling. They are undoubtedly very active in this world of new media but they have also remained true to established values of institutional authority and control. From what we know of this future, and what we have learned from the past, can we re-imagine the national museum?

For more information, click here.

NaMu delegates are also invited to attend the UK Museums and the Web conference.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Totally off-topic

...but I have to tell people. We've just had an earthquake here in Leicester (about 1am). The room shook for about 30 secs. No damage, but me and my flatmate were scared witless! Have never experienced anything like that before. How am I going to get back to sleep now? Should I camp out beneath a sturdy door frame? ;)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This makes me REALLY angry - I guess that's the fault of the anti-depressants (ha!)

We've exposed the Creationist Museum and now the Attic is taking on Scientology. ;)

Someone recently sent this to the Leicester Museum Studies reunion email list, and I thought it was worth posting here too.

The link that follows is to a darkly satirical review of the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death exhibition in LA, so - as ever - if you think you might be offended by its tone, I suggest you don't click below.


I guess this is how the Church of Scientology recruits new members, by scaring the proverbial out of some of the most vulnerable in society.

Poems inspired by the Terracotta Army

Don't worry! I'm not going to inflict any more of my shockingly bad poetry on you all. Instead, I want to point your attention towards a really interesting programme I've just listened to on Radio 4. It looks at the poems of the Canadian poet Garry Geddes inspired by his visit to Xi'an in the early 80s, and includes input from Jane Portal, the Curator of the current British Museum exhibition The First Emperor. You can listen again (and read some of Garry's poems) here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

CFP: The Museum and Contemporary Art

From H-ArtHist:

Call for Papers

The Museum and Contemporary Art

"Honor the art of the past, make contemporary art a blast."[1]

The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies focuses on the often conflictive relationship between the museum and contemporary art in two workshops and a conference.

In the continuously changing landscape of art forms and definitions museums have always been confronted with the problem of selecting and therefore intervening in the evolution of art history. Today their choice seems harder than ever. Museums now have to ask not only which artist is more pertinent than another, but also distinguish the suitability of a given medium in the context of particular collections or exhibitions. The fundamentals of the relation between contemporary art and the museum are now challenged by the idea of the experience culture, which seems to be superseding that of culture as something to acquire, which used to inform exhibition practices in the museum. It is to the identification of the symptoms of this change as well as to the analysis of its impact on the relationship between the museum and
contemporary art that The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies wishes to direct an inquiry.

Whether this situation originates in market interests, changes in artistic practices or pressure from municipal, regional, and national politicians under the influence of the trends of experience economy, it prompts reflection on the place and function of contemporary art in the museum. Which narratives on contemporary art are created inside and outside the museum walls, and how do they relate to the museum? How is contemporary art marketed and mediated? How is its story told by traditional and new stakeholders? How do artists navigate in the stream of experience culture?

Would one possible response to the development of contemporary art consist in upgrading mediation services? Do museums have to step up to the increasingly accessible nature of contemporary art by enhancing possibilities of engagement with the works through increased mediation? Would the idea of experience culture thus constituteanother step in the history of the liquidation of elitist art - a history stretching back as far as the museum itself - examples of which can be found in Impressionism, the historical avant-gardes, and Minimalism? In this perspective, how could the increased interest in artforms and immaterial practices such as performances and net art be analyzed and how do museums answer the challenges linked specifically to their exhibition?

The impact of current transformations might be more fundamental than the call for more mediation would imply. It could be argued that the idea of experience culture transforms the nature of art itself, which would eventually convert the museum into a space dedicated to the muchlarger phenomenon of culture. Or, based on the same observation, the
radical separation of historical and contemporary art could be suggested. In the context of a contemporary art, which seems to take its bearings from horizontal rather than vertical developments, one must also ask the question of the capacity of art historians to administer contemporary art. Should contemporary art at least partly be moved out of the survey museum?

The status of the art museum being fundamentally challenged by experience culture, the stakes of a large number of contemporary artists in the museum also merit attention. Is exhibiting in the museum simply a way to access important sources of finance which would remain beyond the reach of a purely political or socially oriented art? Is the museum merely one of many showrooms in a complex exhibition strategy in which the museum has lost its primacy? Do museums lose their specificity when engaging in the production of art, or may the reconfiguration of museums into production units constitute an answer to the changes it is currently facing?

The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies invites PhD- students, post-docs, and young researchers to participate in two international workshops and a conference committed to examining the challenges of exhibiting contemporary art in a museal setting.

The first workshop will take place at the University of Copenhagen on April 14 and 15 2008. 10-15 participants are invited to present a problem within the context of the conference subject. The paper (25-30 minutes) should include references to at least one recent exhibition or exhibition practice. Each presentation will be followed by a 30- minute discussion.

For the second workshop all participants will be asked to work on the exhibition Reality Check - Contemporary Art from the Mid-90s to the Present (Statens Museum for Kunst, (English version available), September 2008 - January 2009). After a visit to the exhibition in September, paper contents will be agreed upon and prepared by each of the participants for a work session at the museum on October 4 and 5 2008. The exhibition curator, Marianne Torp, has agreed to take part in the discussions.

The workshops will provide the foundational work for a 2-3 day conference planned for March 2009. A separate call for papers will be edited for that event. Workshop participants are strongly urged to send in proposals, although all participants cannot expect to be
included along with the invited speakers at the conference. A number of working methods will be pursued, ranging from public paper presentations to discussions of ongoing PhD and post-doc projects in smaller forums.

Participants should be prepared to engage very actively in the meetings. The working language will be English. External speakers may be invited for short presentations at both workshops, and working methods altered to best stimulate discussions as they progress. Depending on the outcome of the three sessions, and the possibilities of obtaining financial support a publication is envisaged. Participants should be prepared to submit a printed copy of their presentations for use in the discussions.

The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies sponsors lunch, coffee, and a dinner at each of the workshops. In addition, the conference will finance one return ticket for international participants at a reasonable tariff. This ticket is reserved for the visit of the exhibition in September. A limited number of scholarships are available for participants with no possibility of obtaining financial support from their home institutions (one plane or train return ticket per workshop). A short application signed by the director of the applicant's home institution should be attached to the abstract.

Participation in at least both workshops in 2008, preferably also the conference in 2009, is required.

Abstracts of no more than 200 words, including a CV and contact information for one academic reference, should be sent to Manager Kirsten Zeuthen no later than March 1 2008. Applicants should expect to receive an answer by March 8 2008.

The workshops and the conference will be organized and moderated by Rune Gade (PhD, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen) and Jesper Rasmussen (PhD-student, University of Copenhagen and University of Paris-Nanterre).

[1] Danish art historian Julius Lange jokingly suggested this phrase as an inscription for the new State Museum of Art in a private letter dating from 1896. See Villads Villadsen: Statens Museum for Kunst 1827-1952 (Gyldendal, Copenhagen, 1998): 125

Workshop Series: Major Concepts in Tourism Research

From H-Museum:

Interdisciplinary Workshop Series

"Major Concepts in Tourism Research"
March to May 2008

Much research in the field of tourism addresses at least one of the following concepts: Exchange, Memory, Representation and Experience. Although these concepts are very popular, it is not at all obvious what they actually refer to, and how we may be able to grasp them in our research.

Therefore, the PhD-students at the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University are organising four workshops. Each of these workshops will extend over two days during which we will discuss intensively one of these concepts. These discussions will be based to a large extent on the contributions of the participants. Thus, we invite PhD-students from all disciplines to present short papers. PhD-students may also contribute ideas and critiques of articles, which we will distribute before the workshops. The contributions do not have to be polished conference papers but can be presentations of ideas related to the particular workshop theme. The papers will be circulated among the other participants 10 days before the respective workshop to promote lively and engaged discussion. People can also attend without presenting any formal contribution.

Furthermore, we have invited an expert on the specific topic for each workshop to give an introductory keynote and lead the discussions. On the basis of their introductions we will explore meanings and different approaches to the concepts. This constitutes a unique opportunity for PhD-students to get feedback on their reflections and work in progress by leading academics and other PhD-students, sharing and developing ideas in relation to the four themes addressed.

Cost: £20.00 for one workshop. You can also register for all four workshops for £60.00.

Please register for one single workshop or the whole series not later than 17 February 2008 by either sending an abstract of about 200 words or stating how you relate to the topic of the workshop.

Please note that the date for submission of the papers and contributions for the first workshop is 29th February 2008. E-Mail:

Timetable of the Workshop-Series

13/14 March 2008 Workshop "Experience"
Keynote: Claudio Minca, University of London
"After the Island: the hard work of being (with) tourists"

3/4 April 2008 Workshop "Exchange"
Keynote: Keith Hart, Goldsmith College London
"On commoditization: exchange in the human economy"

17/18 April 2008 Workshop "Memory"
Keynote: Sharon MacDonald, Manchester University
"Memory, Materiality and Tourism"

8/9 May 2008 Workshop "Representation"
Keynote: David Crouch, University of Derby
"The Problems with Representation: Consumption, Space and Images"

Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts & Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Old School Board
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED

Free Seminar: The Body & Soul of Medical Collections

From H-Museum:

The Medical & Healthcare Subject Specialist Network
'At the heart of medical & healthcare collections'
Invites you to attend a FREE two-day conference and training seminar

The BODY & SOUL of Medical Collections
Thackray Museum, Leeds
Monday 10th & Tuesday 11th March 2008

The conference will inspire delegates from museums, libraries and archives to make better use of their medical and healthcare collections. Future plans for the network will also be discussed, including a project to map medical and healthcare collections.

Keynote speakers:
Almut Grüner, Chief Executive, Thackray Museum
Nick Winterbotham, Chief Executive, Millennium Point & Thinktank

Topics will include:
Audience Development
Collection Rationalisation
Collections Care & Access
Contemporary Collecting
Engaging Public Debate
Gallery Refurbishment & Redisplay
Oral History
Other speakers:
Beth Hawkins, Science Museum
Bridget McKenzie, Flow Associates Victoria Rogers, Cardiff Museum Project
Carolyn Ware, Beamish
Dr Francis Neary, University of Cambridge
Dr Joe Cain, UCL
Kate Reeder, Beamish
Katie Maggs, Science Museum
Martin Warren, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service
Pauline Webb, MOSI, Manchester
Pete Starling, Army Medical Services Museum
Stella Mason, Museum Consultant
Sue Weir, Medical History Walks

For hotel accommodation contact Leeds TIC telephone 0113 242 5242. Join other delegates for a shared meal in Leeds on Monday evening.

Full programme on receipt of booking form or from:
Steph Gillett, Coordinator, Medical & Healthcare SSN
Telephone: 01793 845910.

Travel and accommodation bursaries may be available to those institutions unable to cover their costs; please include a letter of application with your booking form. Independent museums should also seek help through AIM's Bob Harding Training Grants. This event is supported by funding from the MLA's Renaissance programme.

New publication: Designing Modern Childhoods

From H-Material Culture:

Rutgers University Press is pleased to announce the publication of 'Designing Modern Childhoods:History, Space, and the Material Culture of Children' edited by Marta Gutman and Ning de Coninck-Smith. In Designing Modern Childhoods, architectural historians, social historians, social scientists, and architects examine the history and design of places and objects such as schools, hospitals, playgrounds, houses, cell phones, snowboards, and even the McDonald's Happy Meal. Special attention is given to how children use and interpret the spaces, buildings, and objects that are part of their lives, becoming themselves creators and carriers of culture.

Contributors include Annmarie Adams, Harriot Beazley, Helene Brembeck, Anne-Marie Chatelet, Olav Christensen, Alison J. Clarke, Ning de Coninck-Smith, Anene Cusins-Lewer, Paula S. Fass, Julia Gatley, John R. Gillis, Rebecca Ginsburg, Peter Gossage, Marta Gutmn, Marry S. Hoffschwelle, Mizuko Ito, Kristine Juul, Zeynep Kezer, Roy Kozlovsky, David C. Sloane, and Abigail A. Van Slyck.

To view the table of contents for this book, please visit the following link:

To view purchase information, book information and read reviews, please visit this link:


Michael Tomolonis
Webmaster and E-Marketing Manager

Rutgers University Press
100 Joyce Kilmer Ave.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: 732-445-7762, ext. 625
Fax: 732-445-7039

Monday, February 11, 2008

A review...of sorts

I'm kind of reluctant to post this. Read on, and you'll see why...

On Sunday I went to see Ancient Greeks: Athletes, Warriors and Heroes, a British Museum travelling exhibition, currently on display at New Walk Museum. I intended to do a straight review, but then I had a stunning idea (always dangerous).

I'm participating in the Thing-A-Day project, and I thought I could (to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak) see if there was a way of achieving both tasks with the same piece of work. Hence, the following poem (yes, you read that right - a poem) inspired by the exhibition. Quite honestly, it has to be the worst poem ever written in the history of civilization but, hey, at least I've tried to approach this post from a new, more creative angle. *ha!*

And so, without futher ado, I present to you dear Attic readers, the first piece of poetry I have written for public consumption since I was, oh, about eleven! Please be kind.

Black and red-figured amphorae,
Images of young men honing their skills.
They do battle, in sport, in the theatre,
To achieve status,
To become citizens.

The victorious athlete raises his absent arm
To place a wreath of laurels upon his head.
A hoplite combats his Persian counterpart
In a symbolic battle between civilisation and barbarity.
Greece, the cradle of learning.

In the arena are poets, musicians and actors.
A clever turn of musical or literary phrase.
A comedy,
A tragedy,
Sophokles is a fighter too.

Myth and reality fuse.
Herakles achieves redemption -
The Olympiad delivered of his labours.
An odyssey.
A wooden horse.

A woman covers her hands in an act of modesty.
Her marble-chill gaze looks distant,
Through time, she has prevailed.
In life, smothered by her culture,
As the folds of her cloak envelope her now.

And yet all ends, changes.
The past is forgotten, meaning is lost.
Those accursed statues and pagan icons,
Are destroyed to save the present
From the long since dead.

Resonance FM

Quite randomly I found out about Resonance 104.4 fm which describes itself as "the world's first radio art station." I have not listened to any programmes yet but it sounds promising - here is some more of the blurb from the website FAQ:

"Its brief? To provide a radical alternative to the universal formulae of mainstream broadcasting. Resonance 104.4 fm features programmes made by musicians, artists and critics who represent the diversity of London’s arts scenes, with regular weekly contributions from nearly two hundred musicians, artists, thinkers, critics, activists and instigators; plus numerous unique broadcasts by artists on the weekday “Clear Spot”."

It may be a little London-centric but it may open up doors to new avenues? You can find Resonance FM online at where you can listen to the radio, subscribe to their email newsletter and find out what's on.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Review: The Creative Researcher

By Pippa Sherriff

The Creative Researcher
Richard Attenborough Centre
Tuesday, 5th February 2008

I recently attended the above one-day session, along with Amy and Magnus, and felt it well deserved a blog review. Although the session came under the University of Leicester Staff Development Centre umbrella, the co-facilitator Geri Grogan is herself a practising artist and art teacher. The session was of particular relevance to my personal research area but I’d consider that it had much wider benefits to anyone working within a research community.

The brief for the workshop read that it would help participants to identify issues within their research where creative thinking would be useful and introduce them to the theories of creativity. Through the use of art, participants will develop their creativity and become more flexible and inventive in their thinking.

Although it’s actually stated quite clearly I for one was not expecting the session to be quite so practical, which as it happens was the real bonus of the day. I felt also that other attendees, maybe not so familiar with drawing, found the environment non-threatening and people’s perceived inhibitions about ‘I can’t draw…’ were treated with sensitivity and encouragement throughout the day. To begin with we were encouraged to draw pictures of when we feel the most creative in our life and then at work and share these with the rest of the group. From the opposing perspective we also drew a picture to symbolise when we feel at our least creative and a problem we are currently encountering that maybe needs a creative solution and we returned to these later in the afternoon.

The next part covered some theory on the difference between left and right side brain activities. As an advocate of Betty Edwards ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain’, I pre-empted where we were maybe going on this one. Still the exercises of a blind contour drawing and an upside-down drawing illustrated how such activities can increase awareness of our own mind and how it works. From here we can maybe ‘open doors’ into more creative solutions to problems in both our personal and working lives.

In the afternoon we undertook a group painting activity, based on Matisse's La Danse. We were each given a small square (12 in total) of a copy of a painting to work from. With a palette of primary colours, and using sponges rather than brushes, we had about 20 minutes to make a start on painting an enlargement of the section we’d been allocated. Then we moved round, keeping our own palette of colours, and spent 5 minutes or so working on other sections. For the final part we worked in pairs. In turn we gave verbal instructions to each other whilst the section of painting was obscured to the person painting. Once dry all 12 sections were placed together to display the overall picture (see below). This exercise emphasised the worth of looking outside what can sometimes be our insular perception of a situation and the value of embracing a creative team approach to the bigger picture.

The session ended by returning to our individual ‘big problems’ and we were encouraged to offer creative solutions to each other’s current dilemmas! Overall this was a very interesting and beneficial session and one that I’d strongly recommend.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

CFP/Publication: Beyond the Facts

ARC Call for Papers (April 2009 Issue)

Beyond the Facts: Invention and Reinvention in Archaeological Practice

The Archaeological Review from Cambridge invites papers on the theme of invention and re-invention in archaeology. The past quarter century has seen a rich academic debate about the nature of archaeological interpretation. Post-modern theories such as constructivism and relativism have encouraged archaeologists to debate the nature of 'truth' and to re-evaluate the influence of their own biases and judgments on the past. The topic of invention and reinvention in archaeological methodology has also proved insightful. Experimental archaeological methodologies give a great deal of room for imagination and invention. In archaeological theory and practice, it appears that many 20th century archaeological epistemologies might be 'reinventions' of earlier methods used by professionals in the past: archaeologists like Matthew Johnson, for example, have claimed that 'phenomenology' may be a 'reinvented' tradition from the British Romantic landscape studies. The discipline of archaeology has also promoted better awareness of alternative perspectives on the past, such as the recognition of indigenous values or notions of the sacred; however, lines are still uncertainly drawn between 'valid' claims of the past and other, 'less valid' fringe theories. In many cases of post-colonial archaeology, post-conflict heritage, or identity studies, the past is a debated realm. Meanings are often constructed, manipulated, invented or re-invented through the use of material culture. Professionals have also been more attentive to the role of the public in propagating myths and folklore, and the relationship between media and pop-culture to professional archaeology.

ARC invites contributors to explore the broad theme of invention or re-invention in archaeological interpretation and practice. Possible topics for contribution include, but are not limited to:

- Exploring invention, reinvention, or imagination in experimental archaeology, new archaeological methodologies, and archaeological epistemology.

- Reinvention in archaeological practice and field work.

- Inventing identity: cultural heritage as propaganda; manipulation of heritage to invent or reinvent history.

- The uses of myths, folklore, and stretches of the imagination in archaeological heritage.

- The ethics of narrative, invention, and leaps of interpretation in presenting the reconstructed past to the public.

- Debates on the value of studying alternative, intangible, 'fringe' or pseudo-archaeological explanations of material culture and the past.

- Fictional or dramatic representations of archaeology in the media; archaeology as invented or re-invented in pop-culture.

- Debates about the "constructed" past.

Please send an abstract of 400 words to Tera Pruitt ( ) by 5th March 2008. The full article should not exceed 4000 words.

Archaeological Review from Cambridge is a journal of archaeology. ARC is managed and published on a voluntary basis by postgraduate research students at the University of Cambridge. Issues are released twice a year. ARC is a non-profit making organisation. Although primarily rooted in archaeological theory and practice, ARC has increasingly begun to accommodate a wide range of perspectives in the hope of establishing a strong, inter-disciplinary journal which will be of interest to those engaged in a range of fields, and therefore breaking down some of the boundaries that exist between disciplines.

Publications: museum & society (Nov 07)

museum & society, november 2007, volume 5 no. 3



The politics of nostalgia: museum representations of Lafcadio Hearn in Japan
Rie Kido Askew 131

Managing the cultural promotion of indigenous people in a community-based Museum: the Ainu Culture Cluster Project at the Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, Japan
Naohiro Nakamura 148

Locality, luck and family ornaments
Jane Parish 168

Review article: Museum factions-the transformation of museum studies
Conal McCarthy 179

Book Reviews

Amiria Henare, Museums, Anthropology and Imperial Exchange Bronwyn Labrum

Kylie Message, New Museums and the Making of Culture Marta Herrero

Workshop: Preparing For the Unexpected

From H-Museum:

CCAHA Disaster, Protection and Security Program in May 2008 - Register now!

Philadelphia, PA
May 12 and 13, 2008

Cosponsored and Hosted by: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

About the Program

This two-day program will present information on assessing vulnerabilities; disaster planning; crisis communication; fire prevention, detection and suppression strategies; and evaluation and mitigation of security risks. In addition there will be interactive sessions on the "exercising" of disaster plans and on emergency recovery of paper-based materials.

This program is intended for staff charged with collections care, including librarians, archivists, curators, collections managers, and stewards of historic house museums, and for staff responsible for the safety of collections, such as site and facility managers and security and safety staff. To encourage institutions to register staff involved in both collections care and safety and security, CCAHA is offering half-price registration to a second participant from the same institution.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Keynote Address
From her unique perspective as Vice President for Emergency Programs at Heritage Preservation, Jane Long will address the value of disaster planning and highlight national programs and publications that help staff in cultural institutions organize disaster response functions and tackle common threats to collections.

Disaster Mitigation and Emergency Preparedness
This session is designed to help institutions develop effective strategies to minimize the likelihood of a disaster, to mitigate damage to collections, and to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Program participants will learn how to conduct a vulnerability analysis and assess risks to their institution and its collections. A pocket response plan template will be introduced that can be used to compile or update an emergency plan, including setting collection priorities, key emergency preparedness roles, and practical decision-making skills during an emergency. Speaker: Julie Page, Co-Coordinator, California Preservation Program (CPP) and User Services, Western States & Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS)

Crisis Communication
The ability to communicate effectively with staff, volunteers, patrons and media during an emergency is vital to institutions and their collections. This session, presented by a crisis communication expert, will provide participants with communication strategies to be utilized at the time of an emergency and will address the impact of media communication on public perception. Speaker: Michael Smith, PhD, Director, Graduate Program in Professional Communication, Department of Communications, La Salle University

Exercising the Plan
In this interactive session, attendees will learn how to both exercise a disaster plan and determine its effectiveness using emergency scenarios. Tools for training staff and volunteers in the use of an institutional disaster plan will also be covered. Session Leader: Julie Page, Co-Coordinator, California Preservation Program (CPP) and User Services, Western States & Territories Preservation Assistance Service (WESTPAS)

Recovery of Paper-Based Collections
In the context of a simulated disaster event, registrants will have a hands-on opportunity to learn and practice emergency salvage techniques for paper-based materials. Supplies to have on-hand, prioritizing item retrieval, and packing of items to be treated off-site or at a later date
will be addressed. Session Leader: Abby Haywood, Book Conservator, Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fire Safety: Risk Assessment, Detection, and Suppression Assessment and analysis of the hazards and risks faced by an institution are critical to making informed decisions on fire protection methods. This session will focus on the need to review current fire protection procedures and systems in historic and cultural institutions and will equip participants with current information in order to make decisions about the most appropriate systems and methodologies for their own institutions. Speakers: Nick Artim, Director, Heritage Protection Group, John (Jack) M. Watts, Jr., PhD, Director, Fire Safety Institute

Understanding Security Risks
Without proper security procedures and systems in place, cultural institutions face risks to their staff, collections, and records. This session will provide participants with tools to evaluate their security risks and will include discussion of low cost solutions for improving institutional and collections security. The importance of technology security for business continuity will also be discussed. Speaker: Steven R. Keller, CPP, Principal Consultant, Steve Keller & Associates, Inc.

The fee for this two-day program is $185 for CCAHA member institutions and $210 for non-members. A second registrant from the same institution, registering at the same time, can register for $92.50/CCAHA members, $105/non-members. Registration begins immediately. Full speaker biographies, program and registration information are available at:

For more information, contact the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts: call 215-545-0163, email or visit

Kim Andrews
Preservation Services Officer
Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts
264 South 23rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215.545.0613
Fax: 215.735.9313

Monday, February 04, 2008

Workshop: Musee 2.0

From H-Museum:

MNAM / Centre Pompidou workshop "musée 2.0" deals with electronics into the museum of modern and contemporary art. Curators and experts will talk and exchange around two main topics: digital heritage and digital editorial policy.



Conference Alert: Love Objects

From H-Material Culture:

Organised by Design Research Group and the Faculty of Visual Culture at the National College of Art and Design, the LOVE OBJECTS conference invites discussion and reconsideration of the relationships between people and their objects, concerning the role of objects in negotiations surrounding sex, desire, romance, identity and memory.

Keynote speakers include: Victor Margolin, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, Chicago. Dr Louise Purbrick, Lecturer in History of Design at the University of Brighton.

Margolin is the curator of the Museum of Corn-temporary Art and the author of many publications including: Culture is Everywhere: Selections from the Museum of Corntemporary Art (Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2002), The Politics of the Artificial: Essays on Design and Design Studies (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002) and The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1946 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997).

Purbrick has published extensively on the meanings of everyday life and the domestic world, new museum practices and cultural policies at sites of conflict and the material culture of the Great Exhibition of 1851. Her recent publications include The Wedding Present: Domestic Life
Beyond Consumption (London: Ashgate, 2007) and ‘Sites, Histories, Representations’ in Louise Purbrick, Jim Aulich and Graham Dawson, (eds.), Contested Spaces: Sites, Histories and Representations (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007).

The conference will include papers by the following speakers:
Angela Alexander (Ind.) Setting up home in the period 1800-1840
Emily Angus (Yale University Press) With this ring.. The Mystical Union, English Betrothal and Wedding Rings
Catherine Bates (Ind.) Comparing consumption at Irish weddings
Macushla Baudis (NCAD) Passion and possession: The Collector J. H. Fitzhenry and his relationship with the V&A
Jamie Brassett & Nicholas Rhodes (Central St. Martins) Luxury, Sex, Design, God Joanna Brück (UCD) Material Metaphors: objects andidentity in Early Bronze Age burials
Linda Carreiro (University of Calgary) Playing with bodily knowledge: interacting with anatomical manikins
Jill Connaughton (TCD) The Material of Devotion: a look at personal devotional objects in late medieval and early modern Ireland
Adam Drazin (NUIM) The Uncertainties of Home-Making: Irish-Romanian homes and relationships in Dublin
Christina Edwards (University of Wales, Aberystwyth) Material Memories: Making a Wet-Plate Collodion Memory-text
Alison Fitzgerald (UCD) Vested Objects: Silver and its meanings in eighteenth-century Ireland
Pauline Garvey (NUIM) Devotional Objects Stacey Greenbaum (Ind.) Product Voodoo: the extra rational life of objects
Kirsten Hardie (Arts Institute, Bournemouth) For the Love of Flock: Flocking Lovely Catherine Harper (University of Brighton) Double Dresses for Double Brides: identity design in lesbian Civil Partnerships
Jane Hattrick (University of Brighton) Seduced by the Archive: A personal relationship with the archive and collection of objects pertaining to the London couturier, Norman Hartnell
Emma Hoskins (University of Hull) Objects of Modernity: Symbolic Power and Discourse in a Globalising World
Elizabeth Howie (Wake Forest University) Bringing Out the Past: Courtly Love and 19th Century American Men’s Passionate Friendship Portraits
Kay Inckle (TCD) Love Hurts? Scars, Tattoos and the Emotional Body
Linda King (IADT) ‘Fly The Friendly Airline’: The Aer Lingus Air Hostess and the Commodification of Irish Femininity, 1951-1961.
Dagmar Korbacher (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) Museum Objects Today: Between Treasury and Merchandising
Claire Lerpiniere (De Montfort University) The Textile Snapshot
Sylvia Löeffler (NCAD) “Straight from the Heart” - The Use of Love Imagery on the Body and in Public Space
Helen McAllister (NCAD) Shoes: objects of love and desire
Ciara Murray (Ind.) Casting identity: a context for Belleek pottery
Jenifer Ní Ghrádaigh (UCC) Loving Christ as your own: Christ-dolls, thwarted maternity and private devotion
Noreen Giffney (UCD) Objects of Desire: Queer Theory and the Non/Human
Paul O’Brien (NCAD) Cyber-Sex
Hyun-Jung Oh (University College London) Putting Together Memories and Fantasies: the Phenomenon of Dolls’ Houses and Women in their Second Childhood
Özlem Savas (University of Applied Arts, Vienna) A Diasporic Taste
Community: Islamic Fashion among Turkish Girls in Vienna
Jessica Sewell (Boston University) A Playboy’s Pipe
Jo Turney (Bath Spa University) Making Love with Needles: Tales of love, hate, possession and rejection from three knitted objects
Arno Verhoeven (Sandberg Institute) Touch: Ambient Intelligence, traditional craft and commensality
Nadine Wagener-Böck (Georg-August University of Göttingen) A Cape, A Cusp and the ‘Communist Skirt’: Some Thoughts on How Clothes Shape Mother/Daughter Relationships
Audrey Whitty (NMI) The Albert M. Bender Collection of Asian Art in the National Museum of Ireland
Wendy Williams (Wendy Williams Design) Mad about biscuits
Ann Wilson (NCAD) Love and devotion: Nineteenth-century Irish Catholic material culture as represented in novels

Convened by the Design Research Group, Conference Steering Committee, NCAD:
Sorcha O’Brien
Anna Moran
Dr Ciáran Swan

Further information and registration forms can be found at
or by emailing

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Conference Alert/CFP: Museums and Disasters

From H-Museum:


"Museums and Disasters"
ICOM / ICMAH Annual Conference 2008
New Orleans
12-16 November, 2008

Organized by ICOM's International Committee of Museums and Collections of Archaeology and History (ICMAH) and The Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans/ USA and The Historic New Orleans Collection


This conference will explore the various ways in which museums document and interpret the direct and indirect effects on society of natural, economic, and military disasters. It will be held in a city that suffered a devastating flood in 2005 that killed 1,464 people and where recovery has been painfully slow. Special emphasis at the conference will be on recent history/contemporary events. Speakers will address four interrelated themes to explore the conference topic.

The ethics of collecting and interpreting disasters. What special ethical issues face museum professionals as they seek to document and interpret disasters? For example, who holds legitimate title to artifacts (clothing, personal effects, or wreckage) collected from disaster sites by museum professionals or others? At what point does the display of human suffering in the museum cross the line between education and exploitation? Should museums display people's images without their permission or that of their families? Is the display of human remains a legitimate interpretive strategy (e.g. Cambodia's Killing Fields Memorial)?

Establishing the truth. Whose perspective prevails in the interpretation of disasters in museums? Is it the perspective of victims and their families, government, the media, or that of "experts" (historians, scientists, social scientists, etc.)? Is it possible to present multiple perspectives? Do museums have an obligation to make clear to visitors that all interpretations are ultimately subjective? What is the role of politics in the interpretation of disasters; are there stories that museums simply cannot present, or cannot present fairly, for fear of reprisal? Ultimately, is the museum's version of events reliable; is it believable?

What's the message? Why do museums interpret disasters in the first place? Is it to simply document or commemorate a horrific event, the loss of life? Or are there other agendas driving the process, such as the desire to influence decision making, to bring about change, in the present and in the future? For example, museums in Hiroshima and Nagasaki dedicated to the atomic bombing of those cities emphasize the importance of international peace and nuclear disarmament.

Exhibition design. What are the most effective strategies for engaging visitors intellectually and emotionally in the story of a disaster? Should museums rely on the eloquence of artifacts alone to bear witness and carry the storyline? How effective are first-person accounts presented via video or oral history? Are theatrical settings, computer animations, and other high-tech approaches most likely to appeal to visitors? How do we determine the success of these different approaches?


We invite you to support our annual ICMAH 2008 conference with suggestions of how we, as museum professionals, do and should carry out the professional responsibilities placed upon us.

The challenges and problems outlined above will be studied by means of keynotes, panel contributions and case studies from actual museum and exhibition work of recent years.

Marie-Paule Jungblut, President of ICMAH, Rosmarie Beier-de Haan, Secretary General of ICMAH, and David Kahn, Director of the Louisiana State Museum invite all ICOM members to attend and actively participate in three days of professional exchange and discussion.

Please submit any suggestions for talks and presentations of case studies by 31 May 2008 to: and

The length of abstracts should not exceed 250 words.
Please also ensure that you indicate your role in the submitted project and include your contact address and all professional details (name, position, address, telephone and fax numbers, email).

Marie-Paule Jungblut
c/o Musée d'Histoire de la Ville de Luxembourg
L-2090 Luxembourg

Tel : +352 4796-4562
Fax : +352 47 17 07
E-mail :

David Kahn
Louisiana State Museum
P.O. Box 2448
New Orleans, La. 70176
Tel: +1 504-568-6967

CFP: Visible Memories Conference

From H-ArtHist:

Visible Memories Conference
Syracuse University
Oct. 2-4, 2008

Call for Papers

Conference Theme: The Visible Memories Conference at Syracuse University invites papers for competitive selection. The conference will explore the intersections between visual culture and memory studies with particular focus on the ways in which memories are manifested and experienced in visible, material, or spatial form.

Examples of especially relevant and desirable research topics include: local sites of memory; memorials and archives; environmentalism and representations of nature; regional, national, or global tourism; photography or cinema; digital media; and art installations. We also welcome other research topics in similarly innovative areas.

The Visible Memories Conference is presented by the Visual Arts and Cultures Cluster of The Central New York Humanities Corridor, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Corridor is a large-scale partnership with Syracuse University, Cornell University, and the University of Rochester that connects scholarship in five other cluster areas: philosophy, linguistics, religions and cultures, musicology/music history, and humanities at the interface of science/technology.

Conference Format: The conference will feature an innovative combination of events designed to facilitate conversation not only between a variety of researchers concerned with the study of visual culture and memory but also between academics and distinguished professionals in art and design, film production, and institutional archiving.

Featured events will include:

- Keynote lecture by conceptual artist Ernesto Pujol.

- Plenary speakers Cara Finnegan, Andrea Hammer, George Legrady, Julia Meltzer, Phaedra Pezzullo, Gregory Sholette, David Thorne, Patricia Zimmermann.

- Competitive panel sessions.

- Research workshops and roundtables.

- A gallery reception and film/video screenings.

Submission Guidelines: Submit a paper abstract electronically (500 word maximum). Include a separate cover page with paper title; author name and affiliation; and contact information. Submissions should be addressed to Dr. Anne T. Demo ( ).

Abstracts will be reviewed by the conference planning committee.
Deadline for abstract submission is May 1, 2008. Acceptance notification will be sent by June 1, 2008.

Conference History: Syracuse University has been heavily involved in the study of public memory and visual culture for the past seven years. The university has previously hosted two major interdisciplinary conferences devoted to the themes of “Framing Public Memory” (2001) and “Contesting Public Memories” (2005). These events have attracted national and international scholars from such disciplines as Anthropology, Rhetorical Studies, Philosophy, Writing, Geography, and Art. As a result of these efforts, the Syracuse University “Public Memory Project” has become a hub for collaboration among scholars from over a dozen departments and has hosted numerous individual scholars while supporting specific memory-related projects within the Syracuse community.

See our conference website for further details: .

Additional questions about the Visible Memories Conference may be addressed to:

Dr. Anne T. Demo
Phone: 315-443-1032
Communication and Rhetorical Studies
100 Sims Hall, Building V
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York 13244