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, October 31, 2008


Reluctant witch from stevechasmar's Flickr photostream

In the spirit of the day (spirit, geddit?!), I offer for your persusal the website of Ohio's Castle Hallowe'en Museum. Apparently it is, and I quote:

...showplace of the most comprehensive Halloween collection ever assembled.

I beg to differ. I suspect that Ceri and Anna at their Day of the Dead party tomorrow evening might give the 'Hallowe'en Queen' a run for her money!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Facebook for Academics

Thanks to our correspondent 'Down Under' (Hey Jeanette!), I've recently joined up to, which can - as this title suggests - be best described as a Facebook for academics. When you sign up to your University and Department network, you add your academic interests, and other info such as publications, CV, websites, etc., the idea being that you can search for and network with academics in other institutions (world-wide) researching similar areas. Although it's early days (and the site is still a little slow and awkward), looks like it could prove to be a very useful tool. Looking forward to meeting you all there very soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Collecting Bug

I've discovered a couple of interesting blogs this week, one of which I want to share with you today. Apparently, the New York Public Library's staff do periodical posts in which they muse on their subjects of specialty, and refer to the NYPL collections. This recent post caught my eye. Having read a lot about collectors and collecting (mostly books by Susan Pearce, I can honestly say), I've also given this some thought - and it is an intriguing question. What is it about that compulsion to acquire that makes it irresistible? And why does it bite us sometimes, and not at others?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blatant plug!

gift shop
Originally uploaded by
Christa Lohman, The Attic's Chicago correspondent and ex-Leicester MA Museum Studies student, is an amateur photographer extraordinaire! Whilst volunteering at Chicago's Freedom Museum, she took a series of shots that explore the museum's environs from new perspectives. Really worth a look (view the set here), and I'm sure she'd be delighted to receive your comments.

Oh, and Christa's photographic skills are currently 'for hire' by the way. ;)

CFP: Museums and biographies

From H-Museum:


Museums and biographies
National Gallery London
10 - 12 September 2009

Co-organised with the Museums and Galleries History Group and the International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies at Newcastle University.

The conference will bring together those who study the interconnections between museums and galleries, collecting and biography. Drawing together analyses of representation, material culture and personality, we invite papers that can cast new light on the study of lives, objects and display. Abstracts are invited from historians, museologists, artists and others.

Keynote speakers: Arthur MacGregor, Nicholas Penny.

Papers are invited that consider historical and/or current aspects of the following areas:
. The lives of curators, dealers and collectors
. (Auto)biographical display
. Institutional histories
. Object biographies
. Personality museums

Papers will provide innovative methodological or reflexive insights and be based on original research. There will be opportunities for museum practitioners to detail new acquisitions or recent developments in the sector, and other forms of presentation may be considered as well as conventional papers.

Please email a one-page abstract (maximum 300 words), including brief autobiographical details, to Catherine Todd - (or to Catherine Todd, Publications & Conference Assistant, ICCHS, Bruce Building, Newcastle University, NE1 7RU) - by 31 January 2009.

Registration and payment (including speakers) will be invited by 30 June 2009, rates TBA.

Conference Alert: Migration in Museums

From H-Museum:

Migration in Museums – Narratives of Diversity in Europe
Berlin, October 23 to 25, 2008

The conference "Migration in Museums: Narratives of Diversity in Europe" aims at intensifying the dialogue on migration, historical memory and identity in Europe. About 100 museum experts, scholars, artists and representatives of immigrant communities from over 20, mostly European countries will convene at seven Berlin museums and will explore new modes of representing histories of people on the move. They will share their experience and expertise on topics such as the transnationalization of perspectives, the challenges of museums working with communities, the potential and pitfalls of all-inclusive migration narratives and the
possible contribution of museums to political empowerment and social cohesion in diverse societies. The conference will establish new ways of thinking, new links between experts, concepts, ideas and new perspectives in order to foster the adequate representation of migration – past and present – in European museums.


Thursday, October 23, 2008
Kreuzberg Museum, Adalbertstr. 95 / 96, 10999 Berlin

11.00-11.30 Welcome and Opening Remarks
Martin Düspohl (Director of the Kreuzberg Museum)
Günter Piening (Berlin Commissioner for Integration and Migration)
Antoinette Reuter (Centre de Documentations sur les Migrations Humaines)

11.30-12.00 Introduction to the topic and the conference
Rainer Ohliger (Board member of Network Migration in Europe e.V.)
Udo Gößwald (President of ICOM Europe)

12.00-12.30 Wiebke Pöpel (film director)
Short presentation of the film project "Narratives of Diversity in Europe";
15 minutes preview
(interview project with artists from 10 European metropolises)

12.30-13.30 Lunch

14.00-15.00 Guided tours through respective museums for workshop
Seven parallel workshops with 12-14 participants each in seven participating

15.00-18.00 Workshop
Session 1: Introduction and input statements of participants

Luxemburgische Botschaft, Klingelhöferstraße 7, 10875 Berlin
Reception at the embassy of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg; opening of photo
exhibition “Little Italy in Luxemburg” by Christian Kandzia (architect,
photographer, author)

Friday, October 24, 2008 in seven participating museums

10.00-12.30 Workshop
Session 2: Group discussions along set topics

12.30-14.00 Lunch

14.00-15.00 Guided tours through respective museums for workshop

15.00-18.00 Workshop
Session 3: Group discussions along set topics

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Jüdisches Museum, Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin

10.30-12.30 Concluding presentations of results from the seven workshops
Chair: Joachim Baur (Zeitgeschichtliches Forum Leipzig)

12.30-13.30 Lunch Break

13.30-15.00 Concluding panel discussion: Cultural and Political Perspectives
in Immigrant Societies: Migration, Museums and Cultural Diversity

Nefise Özkal-Lorentzen (film maker, Oslo) Fouad Laroui, Writer (writer
Amsterdam) Claude Moraes, (Member of the European Parliament, Great Britain)
Nicolas Schmit (Foreign Minister of Luxemburg in charge of European and
Immigration Affairs), TBC

Chair: Udo Gößwald (ICOM Europe)

19.00-21.00: Public keynote lecture by Saskia Sassen (Columbia University,
New York) in the Jewish Museum Berlin: "Migrants Moving History" (in
cooperation with the Einstein Forum, Potsdam)

Chair: Rainer Ohliger, Network Migration in Europa e.V.


Network Migration in Europe e.V.
International Council of Museums Europe (ICOM Europe) Centre de
Documentations sur les Migrations Humaines (Dudelange/Luxemburg)

Participating Museums:
Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen Erinnerungsstätte
Notaufnahmelager Marienfelde Jüdisches Museum Berlin Jugend Museum
Schöneberg Museum Neukölln Kreuzberg Museum Stadtmuseum Berlin/Märkisches

Opening Meeting (October 23): Kreuzberg Museum Workshops (October 23/24): in
participating museums Concluding Meeting (October 25): Jüdisches Museum
Berlin Public evening keynote Lecture (October 25): Jüdisches Museum Berlin

Supported by: Hauptstadtkulturfonds

Friday, October 17, 2008

Toshiba Lectures in Japanese Art

Kanagawa in Camberwell, by Yersinia

I regularly receive updates from SISJAC, and in the most recent mailing I came across something that might be of interest to some of you. In November SISJAC are presenting a series of free lectures, open to all, at their base in Norwich and various locations in London, on aspects of Hokusai's 'Great Wave of Kanagawa.'

On 13th November at 6.15pm in the Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS, Christine Guth will be giving a lecture entitled 'The Great Wave and the Global Museum,' which will look at the role of museums in the popularisation of the image, and on 20th November at 6pm, she will be concluding the lecture series with 'Celebrity Collectors and Hokusai's Great Wave,' which focuses (and, I quote) 'on the circulation of impressions of this print in nineteenth-century France, and the roles of the artist, writer, and composer Claude Monet, Edmund de Goncourt, and Claude Debussy in laying the foundations for "The Great Wave's" status as a modern masterpiece.'

For more info, see here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Creationist Sideshow

This article caught my eye the other day: "A year later, Kentucky's Creation Museum claiming big crowds" I'm "lucky" enough to live in a province that boasts its own creation museum, but I will resist the urge to critique the concept as such. What I really want to talk about this week is form vs content: at which point does a show about something become a museum? What are the boundaries of showmanship to scholarship?

You may disagree with me, but one trite way of describing early cabinets of curiosities might be that they were forms of interior design: a way of acquiring and arranging possessions to reflect the owners internal and external worlds simultaneously (according to Renaissance ideals of microcosmic-macrocosmic concordance). We all know, I am sure, how much the V&A owes to the Great Exhibition and its ways of seeing. There has also been recent scholarship around Victorian museum architecture and exhibit design and department store models.
I love this quote from the news article:
Patrick Marsh, who helped create exhibits at Universal Studios in Orlando, was brought in as the museum's director of design. "We made a decision quite a few years ago, that we wanted to do it first-class ... as good as you would see at museums or Disney World or Universal Studios," Ham said. "It's become an attraction in its own right, regardless of the message that we have here."

Now, normally, I would be down this man's throat like a rabid pitbull, but since this is a PhD blog, and we are all trying to expand our horizons, I am going to throw out a perhaps-unexpected question. Are Disney World or Universal Studios museums? Why or why not? And following on this, might we not look at the Creation Museum(s) in the same way: a reflection and record of popular culture?

How much of museum work is actually "srs bizns" and how much of it is about striking visual effects whose meaning may or may not be grasped by a lay audience? It's a question that may be equally asked of a Gothic cathedral, so I don't intend to offend. But where do we draw the boundary of the Museum, if we seek to distinguish and define the field? Or should I just change up my ivory tower values for a different set, and apply for a job at Big Valley? What, dear readers, is the point?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brown Bag Seminar Wednesday 10 October 2008

The Brown Bag seminar series at the Museum Studies Department at the University of Leicester offers an opportunity for the academics of the department to invite speakers to present a paper and follow it up with discussion. Last year we were exposed to a number of fascinating talks on all manner of subjects and this year it looks set to continue in the same vein. Remember that if you are a student with us here in Museum Studies you can access recordings of the seminars on Blackboard in case you miss them or want to listen again!

The first seminar for this academic year was presented by Dr Bernadette Lynch, a riveting and thought-provoking talk entitled 'Practising Radical Trust: Museums and the Sharing of Authority.' Bernadette has a long career in the museum sector and academia, including Deputy Director of The Manchester Museum. Her talk focused on the way in which museums work with their communities and her thoughts on how the relationship between them might become more equitable, and how museums might think more about the power implications in their responses to the people and communities that use them.

Bernadette is interested in how we might democratize the museum, viewing them as forums where debate and questioning is acknowledged as part of their function and encouraged, rather than shied away from. Most interesting was the suggestion that museums are afraid of generating conflict; that one 'use' of their power so to speak may be that, by avoiding conflict museums effectively shut down any opportunities for useful debate. Instead they work hard to create a consensus between the museum and their users, which may not always be to the benefit of both and leave many questions unresolved. Although museums are doing more to engage with their users, and non-users, there was a sense that few museums are prepared to go beyond their 'comfort zone' and expose themselves to meaningful dialogue, indulging instead in 'consultation' which rarely goes very deep. A useful term that Bernadette introduced me to was 'empowerment-lite' which has been used to describe this process, the sense that a veneer of authority is given to community groups but in the end it is the museum who retains the power - they have invited the groups in and they retain 'control' for instance over the roles that communities play and the parts of the museum over which they can have a say. Bernadette illustrated her talk with examples from the Manchester Museum and British Museum which illustrated some of the issues and challenges of community engagement.... there were so many issues raised that I am struggling to condense them into a pithy review! It seems that there are many debates to be had over whether museums can become truly democratic spaces, and Bernadette's paper raised many questions which she will be seeking answers for through her research. I very much look forward to reading the outcomes!

Conference Alert: Defining Museum Ethics

From H-Museum (N.B. Our very own Richard Sandell will be giving the keynote speech at this conference):

Defining Museum Ethics
Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
November 15, 2008

The Institute of Museum Ethics is holding its inaugural conference, Defining Museum Ethics, on Saturday, November 15, 2008 at Seton Hall University. The conference brings together museum professionals, museum theorists, and ethicists to discuss what we mean by accountability, transparency and social responsibility.


8:45-9:30: Welcome/Continental Breakfast

9:30-10:15: Keynote - Museums and Moralities: Ethics, Activism, Responsibility Richard Sandell, Director and Head, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, UK; author of Museums, Prejudice and the Reframing of Difference (Routledge, 2006) and editor of Museums, Society, Inequality (Routledge, 2002).

10:15-10:30: Questions/Discussion

10:30-10:45: Break

10:45-12:30: Identifying Problems/Negotiating Solutions

"Why is this here?": How gallery texts conceal or reveal the ethics of collecting and displaying art Pam McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art, Seattle Art Museum

Responsible Utilization: Balancing a Conservator's Obligations with Society's Expectations Malcolm Collum, Chief Conservator, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Post-NAGPRA: Ethics for New Ideas/New Relationships/Future Leaders Patricia Capone, Curator and Repatriation Coordinator, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

Ethical, Entrepreneurial, or Inappropriate? Business Practices in Museums James B. Gardner, Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution

Moderator: Marie Malaro, Professor Emerita, George Washington University, and author of Museum Governance: Mission, Ethics, Policy, (Smithsonian,

12:30-12:45 Questions/Discussion

12:45-1:45: Lunch

1:45-3:30: Museums as Catalysts of Social Change

Politics in the Museum: Rights and Responsibilities Beverly Robertson, Director, National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis

Making a Difference: The Development and Progress of a Collaborative Program for Teen parents and Their Children in Museums Claudia Ocello, Associate Director, Education and Public Programs, Save Ellis Island and Adjunct Instructor, M.A. Program in Museum Professions, Seton Hall University

Rebuilding the Neighborhood with Sustainability at the Core Jane Werner, Director, Children's Museum of Pittsburgh

Museums as "Dangerous" Sites: Fostering Civic Engagement Through Radically Democratic Museum Practices Lisa Yun Lee, Director, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Chicago

Moderator: Gary Edson, Director, Museum Studies Program, Texas Tech University, and author of Museum Ethics (Routledge, 1997)

3:30-3:45: Questions/Discussion

3:45-4:00: Break

4:00-4:45: A Discussion on Defining Museum Ethics

Peter Welsh, Director, Central Division, Arizona Historical Society, Tempe, Arizona

Judith Stark, Professor and Ethicist, Department of Philosophy, Seton Hall University

Robert Macdonald, President Emeritus of the Museum of the City of New York and author of the most recent AAM code of ethics

Emlyn Koster, President and CEO, Liberty Science Center

Janet Marstine, Director, Institute of Museum Ethics, Seton Hall University

4:45-5:30: Reception


The conference is supported by a 21st Century Museum Professionals Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.

The Institute of Museum Ethics was founded in 2007 at Seton Hall University to promote integrity and to encourage social responsibility among museums.
Janet Marstine, Assistant Professor, Department of Art, Music, and Design, is the IME Director and founder.

The conference begins at 8:45 at Jubilee Hall and ends with a reception from 4:45-5:30 at the Walsh Gallery. Registration is $50 (free for full-time
students) and includes lunch. To register, and for information on hotels and all speakers, please go to the conference page of our web portal,

Publications: museum and society, July 2008

museum and society
july 2008, volume 6 no. 2
Special issue: Constructing Nature Behind the Glass, edited by Samuel J. M.M. Alberti and Christopher Whitehead


Constructing nature behind the glass
Samuel J.M.M. Alberti

Repair work: surfacing the geographies of dead animals Merle Patchett and Kate Foster

The matter and meaning of museum taxidermy Rachel Poliquin

Nature dissected, or dissection naturalized? The case of John Hunter's museum Simon Chaplin

From natural history to science: display and the transformation of American museums of science and nature Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. M. Cain

Rethinking the value of biological specimens: laboratories, museums and the Barcoding of Life Initiative Rebecca Ellis

Book Reviews
Ken Arnold, Cabinets for the Curious: Looking Back at Early English Museums Paula Findlen

Conal McCarthy, Exhibiting Maori: A History of Colonial Cultures of Display Curiosity and Enlightenment: Collectors and Collections from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth century Julie Adams

Thursday, October 09, 2008

CFP: Rethinking the Maritime Museum

From H-Museum:

Call for papers

Rethinking the Maritime Museum
Developments – Perspectives – Challenges
Aabenraa and Flensburg
20-22 May 2009

The maritime museum is well established in the world of museums. For 150 years this kind of museum has made its unique presence felt and discovered its own way of understanding and telling maritime history. Like the maritime industry, maritime museums are global. They have established an international pattern, and the items on show and stories they tell do not vary that much. You will find a familiar feel to the maritime museum, regardless of whether it is in Sweden or Argentina.

The main story is that of technological developments in shipping, from steam boats to atomic submarines, especially when the story about the switch from sail to steam was all-pervasive. Such a story is told all around the world, with varying angles. The relation between the global development and the local story is an interesting area of creative tension in which maritime museums can flourish.

Facing new social and economic challenges the maritime museums have to ask themselves if they can sharpen up or refine their profile in order to reach out to new users without losing their traditional visitor groups.

Within the next few years, both the Flensburg Maritime Museum and the maritime section of Museum Sønderjylland in Aabenraa will get the chance to expand and rethink their activities. For that reason, the museums are holding a conference from 20-22 May, 2009 at which it will be able to discuss ideas for innovative developments, new perspectives and current challenges for the maritime museums. The target group will be scientists and professionals throughout Europe.

The conference will take the two museums’ situation as the starting point, but the theme is relevant for the museums debate that is going on at both national and international levels. Many maritime museums are either in the middle of, or are about to embark on, a debate about their foundation. The conference will also tie in with the ICMM’s world congress in Malta in 2008, which more broadly addressed the future of the maritime museums and their opportunities.

Based on the historical development of the maritime museums, many questions will be addressed. These will range from the traditional matters of collections, stories and exhibitions to the broader questions of construction and significance of a maritime identify in modern society. The interaction between museum and culture will also be examined, as will the links between museum and local activists.

The conference will have the following main themes:

Maritime Stories:
Key words: What stories do the maritime museums tell? Museums and science centres – Development of exhibition techniques and styles of learning.
Bringing things to life – What stories are supported by the maritime events culture? Between maritime romance and reality – What notions do people visiting maritime museums have?

Maritime Artefacts:
Key words: What makes an item “maritime”? Which collections policies do we follow? Where are collections focussed on? How do we manage big artefacts that come from the modern maritime world? Do the collections have any blind spots?

Maritime Tourism:
Key words: The maritime world as a tourist attraction? Experiences and money, and where museums fit in. The Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen, amusement parks or museums. Quality or quantity? Links for co-operating with the tourism industry. Many small experiences or notable big ones? The financial aspect of the leisure economy.

Maritime Heritage:
Key words: What is a “maritime identity”? Which role do museums play in constructing und developing a maritime identity? Who care for the maritime heritage? Cultural relics. Volunteers and the historical maritime scene. Museum ports and ports as museums. Professionalization and alienation.

Presentations should be no longer than 20 minutes and focus on examples of “best practice”. Papers of no more than 2,000 characters within one of the four themes should be sent or by 15th November, 2008. The papers will be published in an anthology after the conference.

Practical matters, venue:

The conference will be held from 20-22 May, 2009 in Aabenraa and Flensburg. Following the conference, there will be the opportunity to participate in the 30th Rum-Regatta in Flensburg. The final programme and material will be ready in January.

The conference is being organised jointly by the Flensburg Maritime Museum and Museum Sønderjylland. The conference organisation is being headed by Thomas Overdick, head of Flensburg Maritime Museum (, and Asser Amdisen, head of the maritime section of Museum Sønderjylland ( ).

CFP/Symposium: Building

From H-Museum:


Building Museums Symposium 2009
February 26-28, 2009
Washington, DC

How far have we come! The Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums (MAAM) is pleased to announce the *fifth annual* Building MuseumsT Symposium in Washington, D.C., February 26-28, 2009. The event will be hosted at some of Washington's most celebrated museums including the National Building Museum, the newly renovated National Museum of American History, and the recently opened Newseum.

MAAM is seeking proposals for sessions that will engage museum professionals, architects, planners, and other technical experts in a dynamic exchange of ideas about key issues for museum building projects. Symposium participants will enjoy opportunities to meet and learn from the professionals impacting museum construction projects today. Program content will reflect museums of various sizes, disciplines, budgets, collections-orientation, and scope of building projects.

Building Museums Symposium 2009 is organized under three interrelated themes:

* Day 1: Vision (planning your building project),
* Day 2: Implementation (making your vision a reality)
* Day 3: Sustainability ("life after opening the doors")

Museum staff and board members, students and professionals from various areas of expertise related to museum building projects are invited to participate. If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please complete the form available at: no later than
*October 15, 2008*. For further information and questions, please send an
e-mail to the proposal coordinator at
. We look forward to hearing from you!

Note: Attendee registration will open on *December 15, 2008*. Please check
the MAAM website for more information.

We look forward to your participation!

Conference: Intersections

From H-ArtHist:

Association of Art Historians Annual Conference 2009: Intersections
Manchester Metropolitan University, 2-4th April 2009
Student Session Call for Papers

And you call yourself an Art Historian?
Navigating the terrain of "cross/trans/inter-research"

Every academic discipline has its boundaries: what happens when you cross them? Those who do may find themselves entering a minefield, at constant risk of being deemed "pseudo-academic" or "non-specialist". Can you be a successful art historian while also being a capable writer who can tell a good story? Is it possible to produce findings that are relevant to a larger and possibly diverse audiences, without sacrificing the depth of your argument? Is it possible to work across multiple fields, deploying the ideas and methodologies of other disciplines, without threatening or diluting academic research?

We invite papers that come up against the visible as well as the implicit boundaries of art history: they may operate on the border of other disciplines (whether it be archaeology or neuroscience); may be termed sensationalist (because of writing style or the controversial nature of the topic); or engage with different or multiple methodologies.

This session will look beyond the (unwritten) rules of art history, providing a forum for postgraduates who are navigating the terrain of cross/trans/inter-disciplinary research while still defining themselves as historians of art.

Deadline for proposals: 10th November 2008
To submit a proposal for this session, please download the AAH09 Paper
Proposal Form from and send to:
Lara Eggleton, University of Leeds:
Clare O'Dowd, University of Manchester:

Seminar/Funding Opportunity: Contemporary Art and the Global Age

From H-ArtHist:

ZKM Summer Fellowships 2009
Contemporary Art and the Global Age

The Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany is happy to announce ten international fellowships, supported by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation in conjunction with the research project GAM - Global Art and the Museum. The scholarships are meant to facilitate participation in an international seminar to be directed by Hans Belting and guests. Seminar participants will analyze the situation of art museums, the art market, and art criticism under the spell of globalization. The seminar will take place from June 21 to July 1, 2009 in Bad Homburg and Karlsruhe and will also include excursions to art institutions. The seminar language will be English.

The seminar
The seminar objective is to bring together a global group of art experts who work in art institutions or other areas of contemporary art. It provides opportunity for knowledge sharing and cooperation with the project GAM at ZKM in order to create a network among the participants. The project GAM was originally initiated by Hans Belting and Peter Weibel for the study of the global turn in contemporary art production. It investigates the newly emerging art world where the modern art concept and the hegemony of western art are in doubt. The seminar encourages the discussion of topics such as the museum situation for contemporary art,
new developments on the art market, and the emergence of new audiences. It intends to place an emphasis on art institutions which are important agencies for cultural or national art policy. Case studies are welcome in order to explain the present situation in different territories of global art.

The fellowships will cover travel expenses and accommodation for up to two weeks in Germany, plus a grant of EUR 1,200.-- for individual research in Europe. They are intended for art experts and art curators with a publication record. Applicants will be expected to present a significant paper on one of the seminar topics, which will then be published in the GAM book series of the ZKM. Applications must include a proposal for a paper to be written in English, a CV, and a description of the candidate’s activities or research. The deadline for the application is November 30, 2008. Fellows will be notified by early January 2009.

For more information on the project GAM - Global Art and the Museum and its activities please visit

Applications should be submitted via e-mail to:

Dr. Andrea Buddensieg
Project Co-ordinator GAM
ZKM Karlsruhe
Lorenzstr. 19
D-76135 Karlsruhe

CP: Popular Culture Association National Conference

From: H-Material Culture:

CFP: Material Culture Area
Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association 2009 National
Conference, New Orleans Marriott, New Orleans, Louisiana
April 8 through April 11

The study of material culture offers an exciting area for interdisciplinary research and conversation, as it brings together those engaged in scholarly inquiry in areas as diverse as history, art history, decorative arts, cultural studies, literature, communications, anthropology, and sociology. If your work touches on the study of designed objects and consumer goods, we would love to learn more about it at this year's conference in New Orleans. Graduate students, museum professionals, and public historians are welcome.

Past presentations in this area have focused on decorative arts and the construction of literary characters, the material culture of poverty, commemorative items, historic and modern furnishings and fashion, marketing trends, and a wide range of additional topics.

Submission Guidelines:
If you are interested in presenting, please send an abstract of between 100 and 250 words by 30 November 2008 to Ella Howard at the contact information below. Email submissions are preferred. I am also happy to answer any questions about the ACA/PCA Conference or the Material Culture Area.

Ella Howard
Assistant Professor of History
Armstrong Atlantic State University
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31419
(912) 344-3349

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Amy's CFP here reminded me of something I was going to post earlier this week. It's election season in North America, and us Canadians also had a leadership debate on the same night as the VP debates in the US. This was the English-language debate with the leaders of the major parties (sort of, see below), and the arts came up as a surprisingly hot topic. Museums, of course, featured...

The way the debate was set up was as a sort of round-table discussion, with the moderator taking pre-selected questions from "ordinary Canadians" on the major issues facing Canada today (our media is so saturated with US goings-on, that I'd forgotten we have our own issues!) and each party leader had a certain amount of time to answer on behalf of his/her party.

A brief aside so you know what's going on: The way the Canadian system works, briefly, is that whichever party gets the most members of Parliament elected, gets to put their leader in charge as the Prime Minister. De facto, we have the Conservatives and the Liberals as the major parties, but the Bloc Quebecois (a separatist party), and the New Democratic Party (the even more socialist version of the Liberals) were also there, though they likely won't be the Opposition party. Surprisingly, the leader of the Green Party, who have less than a handful of seats in the Parliament at the moment, was also invited. Her participation was actually boycotted by the PM, who said she was irrelevant at first, but then there was such a hoohah, that they had to invite her anyway.

The (Conservative) Prime Minister has gone on a bit of an anti-arts rampage recently, saying that he was trying to appeal to the working classes, not the "ivory tower" people who go to "gala events". (The sentence that launched a hundred Facebook protest groups, hah!) His administration also cut a massive amount of funding to the arts, although he counters that they added a certain amount of money to other programs. So naturally, all the other party leaders jumped on this as soon as the topic turned to the arts. the Green Party leader particularly singled out the cut to a program that subsidized art transportation costs for galleries and museums, and actually understood that such a cut meant that there was no longer opportunities for people across our (enormous - second largest nation in the world territorially) country to have their horizons broadened by new and different perspectives in culture.

Our PM smugly replied that his government only cut the "ineffective" programs - to which the Bloc Quebecois leader surprisingly cleverly retorted that if so, why wouldn't the government account for which programs were seen as ineffective, and exactly why? As you can probably guess, this quickly degenerated into name-calling, partisanship, and empty promises on behalf of all the leaders, but the question was still a good one: what makes certain arts programs "effective," and how is that to be measured? Most importantly, who gets to decide?

It's not just a rhetorical question, aimed at making us all feel warm and fuzzy inside about what we do and what we believe in (I assume that despite occasional wobblings, most of us are still pretty optimistic and enthusiastic about the arts and culture). In the weak global economy, with governments adopting protectionist, reactionist accounting policies, its a question the answer to which could determine all our futures in the museum profession. What do you think?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

PhD Revels

Apologies for the binge of conference alerts and such-forth this morning. This 'writing-up-your-PhD' thing doesn't half leave you with a backlog of blog posts. ;) To make up for it, here's some pics from our PhD get-together, getting-to-know-you evening last week. Enjoy!

Yummy Turkish meze

Kouros and Anna are not so keen

Chungju and Viv

Jen and Anna

Kouros and Gauntae

Baby Bill (honorary PhD student)

Planning an elaborate Hallowe'en costume!

Ceri, Viv and Heather

Kouros and Heather

Public debate: Researching the arts - why bother?

Researching the arts - why bother?

Thursday 16 October, 7.00pm until 8.30pm, Weston Room, King's College's Maughan Library, Chancery Lane. WC2A 1LR
Tickets: £7.50/£5.00 Click here to buy tickets:

Do the arts have to rebrand themselves as 'useful' in order to justify public money? Is there any role for arts research that simply adds to the pool of human knowledge but with no immediate purpose for contemporary society? A period like ours, when government is obsessed with evidence-based policy, could be seen as a golden age for academic researchers. Research is regularly cited by ministers to back up policy; and research with practical outcomes can find funding and fame. But with research under increasing pressure to develop ideas that are 'useful' in terms of current government and corporate priorities such as economic competitiveness, social responsibility and sustainability, what is the fate of blue-skies research, let alone the 'useless knowledge' often associated with the arts and humanities?

If research and innovation have to be tailored to fulfil perceived social needs, the arts in particular can become squeezed, either defensively trying mould themselves around fashionable concerns, or sidelined as arcane, self-indulgent and irrelevant. How should we value arts and humanities research today, and who should define the criteria for such judgements?


Dr Richard Howells, director, Centre for Cultural, Media and Creative Industries Research, King's College, London; author Using Visual Evidence

Paul Glinkowski, Rootstein Hopkins Research Fellow, University of the Arts London; author Good Foundations: Trusts and Foundations and the Arts in the United Kingdom.

Professor Jonathan Bate, professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature, University of Warwick; Council member of the AHRC,Fellow, British Academy and Royal Society of Literature; author Soul of the Age: The Life, Mind and World of William Shakespeare (forthcoming).

Professor Kim Knott, professor of Religious Studies, University of Leeds; director, AHRC Diasporas, Migration and Identities Programme; author, The Location of Religion: A Spatial Analysis.

Chair: Tiffany Jenkins director, arts & society programme, Institute of Ideas.


Symposium: The History of the Modern Art Museum

From H-ArtHist:

Past, Present, Future

The History of the Modern Art Museum

A Symposium at Moderna Museet

Stockholm, 17-18 October 2008

When an institution such as Moderna Museet celebrates its 50th anniversary, there is every reason to look back and analyse history, in order to discuss the future of the museum. In early October 2008, The History Book. On Moderna Museet 1958-2008 will be published (co-published with Steidl, Göttingen), as a result of a major research project. Anna Tellgren is editor. The book presents twelve new essays covering various fields that have been central to the activities of the museum. It is also richly illustrated and contains information about exhibitions and events and an extensive bibliography. The authors include Moderna Museet curators and researchers from Swedish universities. The artists Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings were invited to contribute an artistic intervention in the book.

To conclude the research project, a symposium will be held on Friday and Saturday, 17-18 October 2008. For two days, Moderna Museet will be the subject of a national and international discussion, where voices from within the museum will encounter foreign researchers. Speakers, dealing with the history of the museum through personal involvement and experiences, will begin the first day. During the second day, discussions around contemporary and future museums will widen the field towards an international discourse on modern museums of art and their relationship to collecting and the writing of art history.

Admission to Moderna Museet on 17 and 18 October will also be valid for the symposium. Admission Fee 80/60 kr
Admission free up to 18 years of age and for members of the Friends of Moderna Museet.

For more information please contact:
Martin Sundberg, project coordinator
tel +46 8 5195 5284

Conference Alert/CFP: Tourism, Heritage and Cultures of the Seaside

From H-Material Culture:

The Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change (CTCC) is pleased to announce the following forthcoming conference:

Resorting to the Coast: Tourism, Heritage and Cultures of the Seaside

25-29 June 2009
Blackpool, United Kingdom organised by Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change & Institute of Northern Studies
Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

Globally, coastlines are arguably the most important sites for tourist activity and tourism development. The various combinations of sea and shore have become highly popular and successful attractions, and a majority of the world's leisure tourists cling to these liminal spaces at the margins of the land. The lure of the 'seaside', the beach, and the resorts which have evolved to service and entertain tourists, is immensely powerful, reflecting a long standing but ever-changing relationship between humans and the oceans. The dominance of coastal tourism within the modern period has generated a wealth of issues which this conference seeks to address, including: The patterns and trends in how tourists mobilise the resources of sea, sand and shore; Ways in which coastal communities have adapted to tourism; Environmental degradation and regeneration of coastal regions and marine ecologies; The historical forms, structures and aesthetics of 'seaside' resorts; Regeneration of 'historic' resorts; Continuing multi-national development of 'pristine' coastlines; Inclusivities and exclusivities in coastal resorts; Changing beach and seaside holiday 'traditions'.

In addressing such issues this major international and multi-disciplinary conference seeks to promote dialogue across disciplinary boundaries on a global stage. We therefore welcome papers from: anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art and design history, cultural geography, cultural studies, ethnology and folklore, history, heritage studies, landscape studies, linguistics, museum studies, political science, sociology, tourism studies and urban/spatial planning. The event will seek to draw upon ideas, cases and best practice from international scholars and help develop new understandings of the relationships between tourism and the coast. It will also provide a major networking opportunity for international scholars, policy makers and professionals.

Key themes of interest to the conference include:

* Histories of coastal tourism developments and resorts;
* Regeneration of coastal economies;
* Social and environmental impacts of coastal developments;
* Representations of seaside holidays in popular culture;
* Worker migrations to coastal sites;
* Beach behaviours and traditions;
* Myths of the sea and coastal communities;
* Coastal resort art and architecture;
* Tourist coastal colonies.

Please submit a 300 word abstract including title and full contact details as an electronic file to the conference manager Daniela Carl ( You may submit your abstract as soon as possible but no later than 2nd February 2009.


For further details on the conference please visit: or contact us at:

Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts and Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Board, Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED, United Kingdom.
Tel. +44 (0) 113 812 8541 or Fax +44 (0) 113 812 8544

CFP: Material Culture and Geography

From H-Material Culture:

Call for Papers
Association of American Geographers Annual Meeting
Las Vegas, NV
March 22-27, 2009

Material Culture and Geography
Session Organizers:
Sara Beth Keough, PhD Saginaw Valley State University
Jason Combs, PhD University of Nebraska at Kearney

Sponsored by the Cultural Geography Specialty Group and Material Culture: The Journal of the Pioneer America Society

We are seeking papers that examine any aspect of material culture in a geographic context. For the purpose of this session, material culture is defined as any tangible or artistic aspect of culture. Contributions could include, but are not limited to, papers on folk and popular culture, the visual and performing arts, culture and technology, historical and present-day analyses of human imprint on the landscape, and topics in historic preservation. Regional focus is open, and papers on international topics are welcome.

Interested presenters should register for the meeting and submit an abstract for consideration by October 10th (following the AAG guidelines) to:

Sara Beth Keough ( ) or Jason Combs ( )

Conference Alert: 8th European Conference on Research for Protection, Conservation and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage

From the ICME listserv:

You are cordially invited to attend the 8th European Conference on Research for Protection, Conservation and Enhancement of Cultural Heritage (, which will be held at Hotel Union, Ljubljana, Slovenia, from 10th to 12th November 2008. The event is supported by the European Union through its 7th Research Framework Programme (under the activity 6.3 "Environmental technologies").

CHRESP conference programme


The programme of oral sessions and posters is available from web page:

CHRESP demonstration area


A demonstration area will be organised in the conference venue, to present technologies, tools, devices and prototypes, developed under the framework of EC and National funded research projects. This exhibition will promote further exploitation of all of these products and prototypes, by showing their applicability to potential end users, conservators, curators, owners and managers of cultural heritage assets. Besides, it will be an opportunity for decision- makers and relevant authorities, as well as the scientific community to learn about the potentially marketable products developed under recent research projects.

In this context, most representative market oriented EC and National funded research projects will be presented, covering movable and immovable heritage prototypes and products, ICT tools, sensors and decision support based platforms. More than 30 stands will be distributed at the exhibition area.

CHRESP workshops


The organisers are delighted to announce six CHRESP and one COST workshop (13th and 14th November), many of which will offer hands-on experience. Practitioners, decision makers, collection keepers and heritage managers are particularly welcome. For details, please visit

The organisers have a limited budget available to reimburse travel costs for participants wishing to take part at the workshops. In order to apply for the reimbursement, please send an application to: until October 1st 2008 with a one-page motivation letter containing:

Short CV (including your age, country of residence and present employee/university)
Estimation of travel costs
Why you would like to attend the workshop and how will this help develop your career

The International Expert Committee will evaluate the applications. Particularly welcome are:

Applications from new and candidate EU countries, Mediterranean (EU and partner countries) and East European countries, Applications by practitioners and students.

CHRESP study visits


The following visits will be organized:

Thursday, 13th November

· Ljubljana – town of architect Joze Plecnik

· Heritage sites of Dolenjska and Bizeljsko
(Cartusia Pleterje, Castle of Brezice and castle of Pisece)

Friday, 14th November

· Earthquake endangered sites of Posocje region with visit of roman archaeological site (Vila Rustica Mosnje) and World war I museum in Kobarid

· Heritage sites of Primorska region (Holy Trinity Church in Hrastovlje) and Park of Skocijan Caves (UNESCO World heritage)



· To register for the conference (€350),
please fill in the registration form.

· To register for the Workshops (registration deadline October 15th 2008. Please do not pay until your participation has been confirmed) and Study visits (each €50) a separate registration form should be filled in.



You are kindly requested to book your own accommodation as soon as possible to secure your preferred option. For accommodation information, please visit

Jana Kolar and Matija Stlic
Conference organizing team