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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Reflection s on writing-up #11

This writing-up thing must be a whole lot easier if you have a significant other to make you cups of tea and keep you in chocolate, not to mention to do the washing-up, laundry, hoovering, grocery shopping, etc.

I'm 'Enery the Eighth, I am...

For the Henry VIII enthusiasts among us, visitors and students alike, an article about a new exhibit of armour going on display. The video is worth watching - fascinating experimental archaeology going on there. I love the discourse - the journo is being all fake-naive, and the "expert" is being all earnestly academic, and the dresser, who probably knows far more than anyone else there, is totally silent. It's so very typical of museum publicity pieces - let's all play dress-up and have a bit of a laugh at serious history! (And if you are in dress history, like me, you get bonus points for mentioning poor hygiene, corsets-as-torture, or the naughty bits and lack thereof of our prudish/exhibitionist ancestors! This piece comes close, and it's good to see even as macho a subject as armour be treated so cavalierly. You know, in a schadenfreude sort of way...)

Also interesting is the politics of the suit of armour (the last surviving set made for him) and the arms, now separated. One of the things that came out in my MA research was the rivalry between the English museums and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at the turn of the 20th century: The British were very upset that their heritage was leaving the country after auctions in country houses, but they didn't exactly have the financial wherewithal of JP Morgan (chairman of the board of directors of the Met and passionate collector of European arms and armour)! I always find it interesting when these "reunion" exhibitions happen, particularly since at least in medieval art, it's not very common - you will often find Jesus separated forever from his cross, or side panels from altarpieces scattered around museums, never to be reunited into a triptych/screen.

Slightly off-topic, but suggested by the BBC website: can someone who has been to Hever Castle explain those dreadful mannequins of Henry's wives to me? Hever isn't a Tussauds property, is it? ...It always fascinates me how the boundaries of real and unreal are blurred at places like Hever. There's David Starkey in that wonderful great hall with the portrait of Elizabeth of York, and behind him are those horrible fiberglass wives! Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived... in effigy! Talk about the experience economy in museums!

Museum Cookery, Part 2

I have a passionate amateur interest in experimental archaeology, especially as concerns food and weapons. I'm weird. But for people like me, Historic Royal Palaces Hampton Court has published a Tudor recipe book, The Taste of the Fire, filled with recipes tried in the working kitchens of the palace. How awesome is that?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Seminar Series: SHOWCASE summer 2009

SHOWCASE: The Manchester Museum Research seminar is a forum for innovative collection and museum-based research in museology, the humanities and the natural sciences.

All seminars Wednesdays 3.00 for 3.15pm, at the Manchester Museum. All welcome, simply turn up.

22 April 2009
Jocelyn Dodd
Director, Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, University of Leicester
'Rethinking disability representation'

20 May 2009
Dr Nick Merriman
Director, Manchester Museum
'The global museum in the postcolonial world'

17 June 2009
Steve Davies MBE
Director, Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester
'MOSI: Its central role in heritage leadership and educational excellence'

SHOWCASE is run by the Museum-Academic joint appointments: contact<>

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Smithsonian Institution Announces a New Outreach Program and Interactive Feature at

How Does Photography Change Our Lives? How Has Photography Changed Your Life?

 A New Outreach Program and Interactive Feature at


The Smithsonian Photography Initiative invites the public to participate in an unprecedented online dialogue about the impact of photography on history, culture and everyday lives. Visitors to "click! photography changes everything" at are encouraged to submit their photos and stories about the many ways photos shape experience, knowledge and memory.


The Smithsonian Photography Initiative recently started selecting stories and images submitted by site visitors on an ongoing basis to be regularly uploaded to the "click!" Web site. In addition, on a bi-monthly schedule, it is issuing more specific and theme-based calls for visitor-contributed content. New images and stories will join an archive of written and filmed commentaries that the Initiative began collecting last year from invited experts investigating how photography has changed the progress and practice of their diverse fields—from anthropology to astrophysics, from media to medicine, from philosophy to sports.


The Initiative is collecting and sharing images and narratives that shed light on how photography influences who people are, what people do and what people remember. Has a photograph been used to document property loss, inspire a hairstylist, sell a house, beat a traffic ticket or helped with the decision about where to go on vacation? Has a single photograph ever influenced what someone believes in or who someone loves? Visitors can go to the website and follow the easy steps to share their stories about the power of photography and to see images and read stories submitted by others.


Selected entries from the general public will be featured alongside those by invited experts such as Stewart Brand, founder and editor of the legendary Whole Earth Catalog, who understood how photography could change the way people viewed Earth and their life on it; Diane Granito, an adoption specialist and founder of the Heart Gallery, who explains how commissioning and exhibiting compelling photographic portraits of foster-care children helped the children find new families and homes; and Lauren Shakely, publisher at Clarkson Potter of a string of best-selling cookbooks, who describes how and why photography can change the kinds of food people crave.


"click!" also presents seven videos—available online, as downloadable podcasts and on YouTube—that feature Smithsonian curators, historians and scientists speaking about photography at the Institution. Visitors to the site can see and hear Lonnie Bunch, the director of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, explain the role photography plays in building a new museum about cultural identity. In another video, Lisa Stevens, curator of primates and pandas at the National Zoo's Department of Animal Programs, describes how photography, in addition to turning pandas into celebrities, spreads knowledge about little-known species, generates funds and raises public awareness of conservation issues.


At this transitional moment—as digital technology alters the form, content and transmission of photos—the goal of "click!" is to provide a unique opportunity and gathering place for experts and the public alike to reflect on the history, spread, practice and power of photography.


About "click! photography changes everything"


In March 2008, the Initiative launched "click! photography changes everything" as an interdisciplinary Web site. The goal of "click!" is to stimulate an unprecedented dialogue about the ways photography enables people to document and actively interact with the world. Later that year, the second phase of "click!" launched, inviting the public to actively participate in a dialogue about the role photos have played in history and their everyday lives, a dramatic alteration of the traditional one-way, curator-to-visitor dynamic.


Marvin Heiferman serves as creative consultant and curator of "click! photography changes everything." His vast experience organizing major exhibitions about photography and visual culture includes exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the International Center of Photography and the New Museum. "click!" is his first online exhibition project.


Support for "click! photography changes everything" has been provided by several private individuals and foundations, including the Comer Foundation, PhotoWings, The Henry Luce Foundation and the Trellis Fund. Night Kitchen Interactive of Philadelphia is the Smithsonian Photography Initiative's Web-design firm for "click!" Video Art Productions of Washington, D.C., produced the videos for the Web site.


About the Smithsonian Photography Initiative


The Smithsonian Photography Initiative was established in 2001 to encourage greater awareness of the Smithsonian's vast and unique image collections. It is dedicated to creating interactive programming, including online exhibitions, publications and educational activities via its Web site,

# # #

For the full press release online, visit:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Conference Alert: Televising History 2009

Televising History 2009 conference
University of Lincoln, 22-25 July 2009

A diverse, and interdisciplinary, international 3-day conference open to media professionals, archivists, museum professionals and scholars, with papers given on the broad themes of representing the past on TV and in other fora. The conference forms part of the Televising History 1995-2010 AHRC-funded research project:<>

Dr David Starkey has been confirmed as keynote speaker, and Prof Pierre Sorlin (Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris); Prof Jay Winter (Yale University); Prof John Corner (University of Liverpool) and Dr Alison Landsberg (George Mason University) are confirmed plenary speakers.

Proposals for papers and panels are most welcome; themes of panels are suggested on the conference website (below). The deadline for proposals, to be submitted to<> is 1 April 2009. We would be grateful if you could keep abstracts to a maximum of 150 words. Please contact Erin Bell or Ann Gray with any questions:<> and<>
Please do forward this to colleagues and postgraduate students. Further information is available on the conference website:

Dr Laurie Garrison
Lecturer in English
University of Lincoln

Web searches #1

For your delectation, some amusing, unusual and downright disturbing searches by which teh interwebs have delivered people to The Attic (thanks to Sitemeter).

Is doing a PhD tough? (In a word, yes)

Senior exhibitionist video (think about it - disturbing, non?)

Should I love in Leicester (if you are an attractive, single, heterosexual man in his early thirties - yes!)

Tidbits to ponder (the mind boggles)

Webcomic short woman works in museum (Any ideas?)

Is the museum a good first date? (Yes, hint hint.)

Military campus life poems (I can't even begin to imagine.)

PhD forum despair (perhaps we need some more upbeat stories of hope to balance things out?)

PhD viva horror stories (ditto)

Ben Miller fancy (?)

Brain decline (yes)

Collecting love objects (eugh)

Curioser and curioser (oh yes!)

East Anglian taciturn (well, that *is* what my French teacher wrote on my report.)

Effect of Facebook on academics (failed PhDs)

Henry VIII leg (it was gouty)

Famous people who have been to New Walk Museum (it's on the A list's regular circuit)

Conference Alert: The Heritage Theater (Rotterdam, 13-15 May 09)

The Heritage Theater.
The dynamics of cultural heritage in a globalizing world
Rotterdam Conference on Globalization and Cultural Heritage
May 13-15 2009

The Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of History and Arts, Erasmus University Rotterdam, is the location of two research programmes, 'Globalization and Cultural Heritage' and 'Community Museums Past &
Present', funded by NWO (Dutch Science Foundation, part of the programmes 'Transformation of Art and Culture' and 'Cultural Dynamics') and the Dutch VSB Foundation. See for more information:

To conclude the first and to launch the second project, the Department is organizing an international conference on the effects and causes of globalization and cultural heritage, 'The Heritage Theater. The dynamics of cultural heritage in a globalizing world'.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, organizations for the preservation of heritage were founded as part of European national cultural policy, in countries colonized by the West, and in independent
states outside Europe. In this sense, heritage institutions are early examples of cultural export on a global scale. The export of heritage concepts, heritage formats, and heritage knowledge from the West to other countries and vice versa is still going on, not only in traditional, well-tried ways, but also in other formats, like theme
parks, games and internet sites. Similarly, in non-Western countries various other ways of protecting and
presenting cultural heritage have developed over the last few decades. Institutions such as cultural centers and community centers displaying cultural heritage have no counterparts in Western countries. In the last decades, heritage institutions work together on a global scale. The perception of a shared past created new forms of cooperation between institutions in different nations and the legitimacy of traditional local museums was challenged by the migration of new, sometimes transnational oriented communities.

The current interest in cultural heritage is also the result of the growing demand on the part of international tourism for places with a cultural heritage that can be experienced as part of leisure activities. All over the world, countries are beginning to realize the economic benefits of tourism, and searching for possibilities to expand tourism. Today, the interest in cultural heritage is global and diverse. Indeed, it is no longer correct to speak of a single audience, since cultural heritage visitors have different backgrounds and different expectations. The growing exchange of information between individual heritage institutions, and between those institutions and the public, is part of a global process that makes use of interconnected information networks.

Location: Wereldmuseum Rotterdam
Contact: Marlite Halbertsma,

Chairs: Marlite Halbertsma (EUR), Alex van Stipriaan Luïscius (EUR and Royal Tropical Institute), Christine Chivallon (Institut d'Études Politiques de Bordeaux) and Wiendu Nuryanti, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta)


Wednesday, May 13

18.00 Wellcome Dinner

Thursday, May 14

10.00 Opening of the Conference by Dick Douwes, Dean of the Faculty of History and Arts

10.15 Key Note Speech by Mike Robinson, Chair of Tourism and Culture, Leeds Metropolitan University and Director of the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change: 'Meaning in chaos, experiencing cultural heritage and the challenge of the popular'

11.15 Coffee break

11.30 Yatun Sastramidjaja, Erasmus University of Rotterdam: 'Virtual identities and the recapturing of place: heritage play in civil society's re-appropriation of the past'

12.30 Lunch break

13.30 Uta C. Protz, European University, 'Between heritage and theatre: The rise of the museum in the Arab Gulf'

14.00 Sybille Frank, Technische Universität Darmstadt: 'When global flows meet local cultures: tourists (re)fashioning Cold War heritage at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin'

14.30 Cheryl Finley, Cornell University: 'Performing the past: slavery, tourism and commemoration'

15. 00 Tea break

15.30 Christoph Rausch, University Maastricht: 'Trophy Houses. The heritage of the 'Maisons Tropicales'

16.00 Karel Arnaut, Ghent University, and Bambi Ceuppens, Royal Museum for Central Africa, Brussels: 'After heritage: can the subaltern remember? Notes from Belgium's Africa'

16.30: Panel

17.00 Drinks, dinner

Friday, May 15

10.00 Valika Smeulders, Erasmus University Rotterdam: 'Channeling emotions about the slavery past and the audiences they speak to'

11.00 Coffee break

11.15 Anja B. Nelle, Fundaçao de Desenvolvimento Habitacional de Fortaleza: 'Urban intervention and the globalization of signs: marketing World Heritage Towns'

11.45 Ferdinand de Jong, University of East Anglia: 'Memory and materiality: The Jola Museum and its Fetishes'

12.15 Lunch break

13.00 Gwenny van Hasselt, Erasmus University Rotterdam: 'The Dutch National Historical Museum'

13.30 Patricia van Ulzen, Open University Heerlen: 'International airports as showcases for national cultural heritage. The case of Schiphol Airport'

14.00 Dorus Hoebink, Erasmus University Rotterdam: 'Community museums and virtual communities'

14.30 Tea break

15.00 Hélène Verreyke, Erasmus University Rotterdam 'Migration museums and global communities'

15.30 Heng Wu, University of Bergen, 'The interpretation of ethnicity as a type of cultural heritage in Chinese context in a globalizing world'

16.00 Sadiah Boonstra, Free University Amsterdam: 'Performing identity, shaping heritage. Wayang puppet theatre and the dynamics of heritage formation in contemporary Indonesia'

16.30 Panel. End of the conference

17.00 Drinks, fare-well dinner


Humanities-Net Discussion List for Art History
E-Mail-Liste fuer Kunstgeschichte im H-Net

Fragen an die Redaktion / Editorial Board Contact Address:

Beitraege bitte an / Submit contributions to:



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Materiality and Intangibility, contested zones (revised/extended)

N.B.  Note extended deadline for abstracts.

- - -


Materiality and Intangibility: contested zones

An international two-day symposium for PhD students and early career researchers.

Provisionally scheduled for 24th and 25th September 2009 (subject to change)


Venue: TBC, Leicester, UK.

Museums are all about the material world; the display and preservation of objects and of art, their representation and interpretation to audiences, who make meaning for themselves and the wider world as a result of their interaction with the 'physical.' Yet it can be argued that it is the 'intangible' elements of objects, museums and audiences which help to create meaning from the material world; the emotions engendered by a museum experience, our interactions in the physical and virtual world, the narratives which position some objects as iconic and others as controversial, the narratives which confer importance and the narratives which exclude. Between the 'material' and the 'intangible' there is often a line drawn; it is in this area, what we conceive of as the 'contested zone' between overt and hidden meanings, inclusion and exclusion, how objects might speak or how they might be silenced, that we are looking to explore in a two-day seminar.

The PhD symposium Materiality and Intangibility: contested zones will comprise workshops to stimulate debate and practice, presentations, social events and keynote lectures from leading academics in the field. The event will be hosted by the research student community based in the Department of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, a leading, internationally renowned centre for museum studies and teaching since 1966. The Department was recently assessed as having the highest proportion of world-leading research in any subject in any UK university (RAE 2008).

We are looking for inter-disciplinary presentations from doctoral students of museology and allied subject areas, which engage with materiality and intangibility in inspiring and innovative ways. The symposium offers an opportunity to demonstrate your creativity and flair. Could your research translate to a film or digital presentation? How about leading a collaborative workshop? Perhaps organising an artistic intervention might be more your thing? Above all the event is envisioned as an informal arena for sharing and developing ideas in a supportive environment.

We have been purposefully broad in our approach to our theme and we do not wish to overly prescribe how potential presenters will respond. However some of the themes that can be covered under the broad over-arching theme of 'Materiality and Intangibility: contested zones' include:

  • How the history of the world is presented through the material objects that are on display in museums – what implications does this have for our understanding of history? Whose voices are included and whose voices are silenced? Who decides the narrative of history which underpins the presentation and interpretation of objects?

  • Every object tells a story – but whose story is told? Issues to do with the interpretation of objects. How do audiences make meanings from objects and how do these coincide or conflict with official meanings?

  • Digital technology and media pushes museums and their collections into the virtual world – what implications might this have for our understanding of what is material?

  • Concepts of tangible and intangible heritage – are these at odds with each other? Can the traditional concept of the museum incorporate a wider definition of heritage, one which includes the intangible as well as the intangible? Is this desirable?

  • In the consumer world emotions are encouraged by the media and marketing to create desire for products – how might museums and art galleries work in the same way to create 'desire' amongst audiences for their narratives and world views? Examine the use of music, temperature, colour, design etc in the museum and art gallery, the intangibles that combine together to create the optimum 'museum' or 'art' experience.

Live art event:

We are also seeking applications from practising artists, musicians, writers and designers working with, or inspired by, museums and collections who would like to contribute to a two-day live art event to run in parallel with the symposium. Please contact Serena Iervolino ( for more information. We may be able to offer a small contribution towards expenses, funding permitting.

How to apply:

If you would like to participate in the symposium as a presenter, please email an abstract (max. 500 words) to Jennifer Binnie ( by 5pm on Thursday 30th April 2009, giving details of your institutional affiliation and the proposed subject and mode of your presentation. Joint presentations (collaborations between more than one presenter) will be welcomed.

Successful applicants will be notified by the end of May.

Prospective delegates may wish to register their interest in attending the symposium by emailing Jennifer Binnie ( The likely cost will be £10 per day (£20 for both days), including lunch and refreshments.

Please address any enquiries to Jennifer Binnie (


Monday, March 23, 2009

A History of the pictures

Those of us interested in maritime history, the development of science and technology or astronomy, might like to take a look at this Guardian slideshow

The commentary, based upon his new book The Telescope: A Short History, is provided by Richard Dunn, Curator of Navigation History at the National Maritime Museum and an Associate Tutor in the Department of Museum Studies. 

He's also my cousin-in-law, but that's by-the-by. ;)

CFP: TAT2009: Interdisciplinary material culture conference - CFP Extension and Registration

TAT09 is, an interdisciplinary, graduate conference focusing on Material Culture will be held in University College Dublin from 5th- 7th May.

Due to a series of technical issues with the website earlier this week and the great amount of interest being shown in TAT09 from around the world, the abstract deadline has been briefly extended. The final deadline for submission of paper abstracts and TATart proposals is now Monday 23rd March. Please see for full details.

Registration is also now open, all presenters and attendees are required to register online and pay the registration fee. The early registration fee is €20 (Student) and €40 (Non-Student). We will be posting up details of accommodation in Dublin in the coming days.

A full conference line-up will be available on the website in the coming weeks once the speaker confirmation process is complete. For further information, or to sign up to our mailing list see or email

Seminar: Social Media for Museums and Galleries (London/UK, 12 May 2009)

Social Media for Museums and Galleries: One Day Seminar
Collection, Central London
Tuesday 12 May

Social Media for Museums and Galleries is an intensive, information-packed event which - to maximise learning and interaction - is limited to some 25 participants.

Social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, are fast becoming mainstream communication platforms. And their potential benefits for museums and galleries are huge. (One museum using Twitter has found its attendance doubling in a matter of months!) They are inexpensive. Easy to use. Quick to implement. Reach huge numbers of people. Encourage two-way communication. And can almost instantly incorporate photographs, video and audio.

The seminar will be led by Brian Jones and Christian Payne, two of the UK's leading social media advocates, who have extensive, practical hands-on experience in the field.

The seminar will explore the use and the potential of the most popular social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and blogs and will incorporate practical demonstrations as well as actionable, in-depth information and advice. There will be the opportunity to discuss your organisation's particular requirements, and to get invaluable advice on your needs, your approach and your opportunties.

During the course of the day, the following key issues will be covered:

    * Social media explained, including creating online profiles
    * The key differences between media such as Facebook and Twitter
    * Using social media as marketing tools, to enhance the visitor experience, and to have a conversation with visitors.
    * Using social media to drive traffic to online media content
    * Linking streaming video and audio to social media
    * The benefits of blogs as communication platforms
    * Case studies of best practice
    * The role of director/coordinator of social media
    * How social media differ from traditional PR and marketing

You will also be able to raise in advance any issues you would particularly like covered, so that the day will really meet your needs. This will be a unique, intensive and highly-rewarding event. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Brian Jones
A seasoned journalist and photographer, Brian Jones is Director of Social Media for Audio on the Web. He has been online since 1993 and is an advanced user of a range of social media platforms. He produces written, audio and photographic content for three blogs and has helped many organisations use social media networks more effectively.
twitter: iambrianjones

Christian Payne
An experienced journalist, Christian Payne maintains and hosts blogs and podcasts with readers and listeners in over sixty countries. With a hand in social media, citizen journalism, professional photography and audio and video podcasting, his recent projects have included documenting the plight of Iraqi refugees for the United Nations; expanding the Open University's new media remit; and working alongside Reuters on groundbreaking projects with Gordon Brown and David Cameron.

Who Should Attend?
Professionals with responsibility for - or a requirement to enhance - their institution's work in the field of: communication, outreach, online services, interpretation, presentation, education and learning, audience development, fundraising, marketing, or community relations.

H-Net Network for Museums and Museum Studies

Publication/CFP: Memory,Identity, and Cultural change

Memory, Identity and Cultural Change- call for papers

We invite a few high quality contributions for a proposed special section of the journal Theory, Culture and Society on the theme Memory, Identity and Cultural Change.

This proposed special section will consider the role of memories in challenging or shaping socio-cultural and political narratives and counter narratives at the individual, community or national levels. Papers might explore how memories can be appropriated or kept alive for political purposes, to reinforce a 'sense of place' or to create a unified story for cultures. They might also consider the location, contexts and effects of remembering, exploring who is doing the remembering, why and with what results. Finally, the impacts of memories on individual or communities' sense of ownership of the past and their role in the shaping of the present may also be examined.

Papers are therefore invited that address any of the following:

• The reclaiming of cultural memories, sacred memories and stolen memories

• How memory can operate as a powerful discourse, silencing certain narratives about the past and privileging others

• The normalising role of memory especially within postcolonial contexts

• Memory shaping within cultural institutions and organisations such as museums

• The role of memory, myth and storytelling in tourist - orientated performance

Interested contributors should submit abstracts of 500 words to the editors of the proposed special section (see details below) as soon as possible and by 24th March 2009.

The following is a proposed time frame:

Abstract submission – 24 March 2009
Initial Acceptance – 31st March, 2009
Full paper submission – 1 June 2009

Special section editors:

Elizabeth Carnegie. An ethnologist and oral historian, her research interests include the politics of representation within museums, cultural identity and public memory, and festivity and religion in contemporary society

Contact details:
Programme Director Arts and Culture Management
Sheffield University Management School,
9 Mappin Street, Sheffield. S1 4DT.

Dr. Donna Chambers: main research areas include cultural/heritage
tourism with special interest in discourse and postcolonial theories

Contact details:
Lecturer in Tourism Studies
Programme Director International Event Management
University of Surrey

Award: PhD thesis award 2009 Musée du quai Branly

Something for recent PhDs...

Ph.D. thesis award 2009

Musée du quai Branly

The musée du quai Branly's  Department of Research and Higher Education wishes to encourage and support multidisciplinary research in the academic field of anthropology, ethnomusicology, art history, history, archaeology, sociology and performance studies. The research topics concerned are:
Western and non-Western arts, material and immaterial heritage, museum institutions and their collections, technology and material culture.

To this end, a thesis award, amounting to a total of 7000 Euros, is granted each year to distinguish an outstanding doctoral thesis.

Theses in French and English can be submitted; they must have been defended between October 1st 2007 and December 31st 2008 in a European university.
The subject of the thesis must be relevant to the fields of interest defined above.

The winner will be selected by the scientific assessment committee of the musée du quai Branly.


Applications must be presented by the thesis supervisor or by a recognized member of the scientific community.

The application must include the following documents:

- report on the defense or viva

- copy of the diploma awarded by the university

- summary of the thesis (10 pages maximum)

- CV and list of publications

- letter from the Ph. D. supervisor outlining reasons for distinguishing the thesis.

- letter of recommendation by a member of the scientific community other than the thesis supervisor

- copy of the thesis manuscript on a Cd-Rom (PDF file)

- application form to be downloaded at the following address :

Deadline for application : May 15th 2009 (post office stamp as proof).

Please send your application to: Musée du quai Branly, Département de la recherche et de l'enseignement 222, rue de l'université, 75343 Paris cedex

The file may also be deposited to the musée du quai Branly's reception desk at 222, rue de l'université during museum opening hours.

Dr. Laurent Berger
Research Supervisor
Research and Teaching Department

Phone number: 0033 1 56 61 53 85

* Musée du Quai Branly
     222 rue de l'Université
     75343 Paris Cedex 07

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What WW2 might look like in the future...

For Ceri....

Workshop: Intepretation Planning (London/UK, 21 May 2009)

"Intepretation Planning: A Step By Step Guide to Doing it Yourself"
21 May, 2009: London

Anne Fletcher, formerly Head of Interpretation at the Historic Royal
Palaces, leads this interactive session on putting together interpretation
strategies for your organisation. Education and access budgets are often
the first to be cut when funding gets tight, and funding for consultants is
often reduced or eliminated altogether.

In this day-long session, Anne will take delegates through the four major
stages of interpretation planning so you can do it yourself. Anne will give
useful examples from her work at St. Paul's and Rochester Cathedrals, the
Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. By the end of the day, delegates
will have produced an outline of their own plan to kick-start their own
planning strategies…the first step in getting funding for your projects.

Delegate places are £197 plus VAT for the first delegate. Subsequent
delegates each get £20 off the standard rate.

To book, go to

Ann E. Curtis
Heritage Solution Ltd
29 Studley Grange Road
W7 2LU London, Great Britain
fone: +44 7971 011 629

H-Net Network for Museums and Museum Studies

Training event: The Social Media Exchange for the Museums (London/UK, 1 June 2009)

From H-Museum:

MONDAY 1 JUNE 2009 - The Resource Centre London, N7

As we know, it's more important than ever to make sure your web presence is
reaching as many people as possible. But are you making the most of your
online strategies? Are you waiting for people to come to you - when you
could be going directly to them? Social networking, blogging, podcasting
and the plethora of new social media applications create great opportunities
for the Cultural and Heritage sectors. They're cost-effective, quick to get
going and have the potential to reach and engage new audiences.

On Monday 1 June sounddelivery is hosting The Social Media Exchange for the
Museums, Cultural and Heritage Sectors in London. This practical training
event is specifically aimed at staff working in museums, galleries,
libraries, archives and heritage sites. The day will feature bitesize
masterclasses, practical social media surgeries, discussions, and
collaboration and networking opportunities. This event will bring together
experts in the sector who are using social media tools and will share their
experiences with you.

For more information and do download a booking form all you have to do is
go to

You will:
. Get a solid understanding of not just the what and why but the how of
social media in an informal and relaxed environment.
. Get up to speed on the changing media climate, the increasing role of
social media and how this can apply to your work.
. Be given practical examples of how podcasts, social networks, blogs,
digital storytelling,twitter and other applications are actively being used
in the sector.
. Meet like-minded people within the sector who are using social media tools
in their work and who want to share what they have learnt with their peers.
. Actively participate in sessions and be encouraged to bring your ideas and
projects to the event for development and brainstorming.

The day will include:
. 20 Interactive Masterclasses focusing on social media, journalism and
. Practical group surgeries in blogging, podcasting, twitter, video and
mobile technology.
. A panel discussion including representatives from Google.
. Opportunities to make connections, learn new skills, compare, contrast and
bounce ideas off other delegates
. Liveblogging, Twittering, Live Podcast Production, Video Feedback.

Masterclasses include:
. Powerful Podcasts
. The Power of the Blog
. Mobile Learning - from mobile phones to the iPpod Touch
. Building up a social media presence from scratch
. How to promote your events online ... on a budget
. Digital Storytelling - creating content through audio slideshows
. Using social media to tackle the learning agenda
. Getting Savvy with Social Networks
. Social Inclusion and Social Media
. How to Engage the Media

This is the opportunity for you and your colleagues to make connections,
compare, contrast and bounce ideas off other organisations. You'll leave the
event with practical skills, fresh ideas and inspiration.

We would really appreciate it if you would forward the details of this event
to your networks and colleagues.

Best wishes

Jude Habib
Director sounddelivery
07803 721481

Research Network: Surface Tensions. Surface, Finish and the Meanings of Objects

From H-Museum:

Surface, Finish and the Meanings of Objects

A Research Network convened by the University for the Creative Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum

Qualities of surface and finish contribute significantly to the characteristics of designed objects, in industrial manufacture and hand making, and in objects made from diverse materials. This new Research Network, convened by the University for the Creative Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum will explore this subject. The following themes are proposed:

- the artisanship of finish (traditional techniques, new technologies)

- surface and maintenance (gender and labour in historic objects)

- surface, quotation and simulation in textiles and craft

- finish in the development of standardised industrial production

- surface and the museum object

- surface and depth (theory, philosophy, methodology).

Surface and finish are important, yet overlooked, qualities within design history and material culture, as well as in many areas of creative practice. Since the late nineteenth century, the surface qualities of objects have been played down in a rhetoric of design that has valued form over surface, applied decoration or finish, prioritising depth over the superficiality of applied techniques.

Discussions of patina, of processes of decay, and of deconstruction are no more than isolated fragments in a much wider field that is ripe for definition and investigation. In the initial application of surface techniques the emphasis is often on meticulously achieved, pristine, effects; the resulting surfaces are degraded in use. Yet this is not an inevitable process. The relationship between people and objects is often organized around strategies that maintain, repolish and renew fragile and mutable surface qualities. This cycle is endlessly complicated in interpretation and practice, particularly when surface effects are understood as expressive of symbolic qualities or social values, or when designers artificially simulate the signs of wear or meticulous maintenance.
This network aims to explore this subject through historical and theoretical study, contemporary practice, and the museum object.

Surface Tensions will co-ordinate a programme of events and publications, commencing in Summer 2009. If you are interested in participating in events or receiving news about the network¹s activities please contact Dr Victoria Kelley (

Reflections on Writing-up #10

Amy ponders if there is such a condition as 'Death by Thesis'?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Symposium: The Body as Object: The Human as Material Culture

The Body as Object: The Human as Material Culture

1 May 2009, Telus Centre, University of Alberta, Edmonton Canada; 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (8:30 a.m. registration).
Cost: $30 / $15 (concessions). Lunch and refreshments included.
Register at:

The Material Culture Institute’s 3rd Annual Symposium investigates human bodies in relation to the material world. Please join us for a day of exciting and thought-provoking discussion concerning how bodies may be perceived as objects!

Speakers & topics:

Susie Orbach:
How do we get a body?
Susie Orbach’s books, Fat is a Feminist Issue, Hunger Strike, The Impossibility of Sex, and most recently, Bodies, are internationally-renowned as ground-breaking discussions of how femininity, gender, and body image are constructed. A psychoanalyst and writer, Susie Orbach is currently Visiting Scholar at the New School for Social Research, New York and has been a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, as well as a consultant to the World Bank, Unilever, and the UK’s National Health Service.

Becky Conekin:
Pretty Hard Work: Professional Fashion Modeling in London & Paris, 1947-1967
Historian of culture and identity in the 20th century and Senior Research Fellow at the London College of Fashion, Dr. Conekin has explored fashion in the context of modernity through work on Vogue Magazine, and the artist, photographer, and model, Lee Miller. Her current research will lead to the publication ‘Model Girls’ in 1950s London & Paris: Gendered identities and employment. Becky Conekin's other publications include contributions to the book, Fashion as Photograph, to the journal, Fashion Theory, and to the Journal for the Study of British Cultures.

Ben Barry
Why reflect reality? Ideal and ‘real’ models in fashion advertising
Entrepreneur Ben Barry, CEO of Ben Barry Agency, a Toronto-based model consultancy, has a long-standing interest in the use of ‘real’ models in fashion. Currently a PhD candidate at Cambridge University, Ben Barry has written Fashioning Reality: A new generation of entrepreneurship, and was a business columnist for the Globe and Mail newspaper. As well as being featured in a diverse range of media - from the Oprah TV show to The Financial Times newspaper - he has been honoured with a Governor General’s Award for his leadership in advancing the equality of Canadian girls and women.

Jörg Scheller
It’s the Arts! The body as an object of artistic expression
Through considering the body as a site for aesthetic freedom, Jörg Scheller explores how humans act as ‘body-artists’ as they design themselves according to individual desires and through modifications such as plastic surgery, bodybuilding, tattoos and piercings. With a background in Art History, Philosophy, Media Art and English Philology, Jörg Scheller is currently a doctoral candidate in the graduate school of Image-Body-Medium at the University of Arts and Design Karlsruhe.

Lianne McTavish
The Embryo as a Modern Object
Professor in the History of Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the UofA, Dr. McTavish’s interdisciplinary research centres on early modern French medical imagery, and representations of cure and convalescence in France, 1600-1800. Her work includes the book, Childbirth and the Display of Authority in Early Modern France, and articles in Social History of Medicine and Medical History. Lianne McTavish is also an established scholar of museums, with publications in New Museum Theory and Practice: An introduction and the journal, Cultural Studies.

Pirkko Markula
‘Sculpt Your Body with a Killer Workout’: Exercise as a technique of body management
Professor of socio-cultural studies of sport and physical activity at the UofA, Dr. Markula studies dance, exercise and sport through the lenses of critical cultural studies, the work of theorists such as Foucault, Derrida, and Deleuze, and a range of interdisciplinary, qualitative methods including autoethnography and performance ethnography.

Pirkko Markula’s research has been featured in Sociology of Sport Journal, Journal of Sport & Social Issues, and Qualitative Inquiry. She is co-author of Foucault, Sport and Exercise: Power, knowledge and transforming the self and co-editor of Critical Bodies: Representations, identities and practices of weight and body management.

Come visit me in Edmonton, and learn about material culture!! Feel free to re-post wherever appropriate.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Lion in Winter: A Film Review

The Lion in Winter (1968) directed by Anthony Harvey, and based on James Goldman’s 1966 play, is an overtly historical film, set at Chinon Castle in 1183, where Henry II summons his imprisoned wife Queen Eleanor, his three sons Richard, John and Geoffrey, Philip Augustus the King of France and his sister Alais, also Henry’s mistress, to a Christmas gathering to discuss the succession. “What follows is a battle royal among all those present as each tries to out-scheme the other” (Kevin J. Harty, The Reel Middle Ages: Films about Medieval Europe, Mcfarland and Company, Jefferson, 1999, p313).

There is no question that The Lion in Winter is striving for medieval authenticity from its setting in a reconstructed Chinon Castle to the costumes worn by the actors. Watching the film is like being thrown into a medieval domestic drama; the king is forever arguing and making up with his estranged queen with both vicious and tender verbal sparring between the two leads (Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn). The three sons are all characterised broadly; John is the selfish, spoilt brat who has no loyalty not even to the father who loves him, Geoffrey is the quiet, careful schemer and Richard is characterised as a bluff military man who is too virtuous to be aware of the scheming going on around him. It has an air of soap opera about it, albeit it with intelligent dialogue and visually arresting scenes. The Angevin family are just like other ‘dysfunctional’ families except their concerns play out on the larger canvas of medieval Europe. The focus throughout the film is very personal, tightly involved with the family but mainly through the relationship of Henry and Eleanor, powerfully represented on screen by Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn. This perhaps endears it to modern audiences, as well as the believability of the settings it is because we can recognise the troubles which face the royal family. We can recognise the reasons for the arguments between the three sons (despite the fact Henry and Eleanor also had many daughters none of them are deemed important enough to be included in the film), that John is selfish because he is the youngest, that mother and father both have favourites. These are stock stories of modern soap operas – ungrateful children, estranged parents, relationships between an older man and a younger woman which splits up a marriage… these are not unrecognisable, only the context in which they exist is different to our own. This film plays on the assumption that human nature is unchangeable – that although our medieval ancestors inhabited a ‘foreign country’ their reactions to the world in which they lived are fundamentally governed by the same emotions and feelings that we still exhibit today. Also implied is the sense that although these people are royal they are still human – a very modern conception of our own monarchy who have experienced similar family breakdowns in recent years.

Without extensive research it is not possible to reconstruct the motives of the filmmakers, nor the original author of the play upon which the film is based, but there is evidence that the character sketches drawn within the film are close to contemporary descriptions of Henry and his sons. One such contemporary was Gerald of Wales, who described Henry as a manic, restless, and rather extreme man: “His eyes were bright and, and in anger fierce and flecked. He had a fiery complexion, his voice was husky…” (Ralph A Griffiths, ‘Gerald and the Kings of the English,’ in Charles Knightly, A mirror of Medieval Wales: Gerald of Wales and his journey of 1188, ed. D.M. Robinson, Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, Cardiff, 1988, p18).

Another contemporary, Walter Map, complained that “We wear out our clothes, our bodies and our horses… in vain and entirely unfruitful haste we are borne on our insane course. Truly the court is a place of punishment…” (Ralph A Griffiths, ‘Gerald and the Kings of the English,’ in Charles Knightly, A mirror of Medieval Wales: Gerald of Wales and his journey of 1188, ed. D.M. Robinson, Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments, Cardiff, 1988, p15). It is believed by some that Henry was a manic depressive (Clifford Brewer, The Death of Kings: A medical history of the Kings and Queens of England, Arson Books, London, 2004, pp39-40) and whilst the film does not offer such an explanation, or show Henry participating in any extreme actions such chewing the rushes as alluded to by some later chroniclers such as Matthew Paris, he is portrayed however with a maniacal energy that reflects the contemporary descriptions. Likewise it is evident that the characters of his wife and sons have been influenced by contemporary descriptions. Unlike academic historical texts there is no room in the film to question these portrayals, except in the minds of the audiences after the film. We take them as they are. Does the fact that the writers seem to have used contemporary views of the protagonists make this picture of the medieval court authentic? It seems so in the mind of Roger Ebert, the US film critic, who was also impressed by the visual representation of the world in which the characters inhabited because he felt it accurately represented how he felt the period of the time should be:

“In this England, 250 years earlier than the time of Thomas More, there are dogs and dirt floors, rough furskins and pots of stew, pigs, mud, dungeons-and human beings. We believe in the complicated intrigue these people get themselves into because we believe in them. They look real, and inhabit a world that looks lived in.”
(Roger Ebert, November 4 1968 - accessed 1 10 2006).

Despite the visual authenticity of the movie and the attention to detail in the characters through the assumed use of contemporary sources, there are identifiable historical inaccuracies in the film, which are mentioned on The Internet Movie Database ( Kevin Harty however does not feel this distracts from the film: “While the film takes liberties with historical fact, it is a feast for the eyes – and ears” (Harty, The Reel Middle Ages, p313). Is it petty therefore for the apparent authenticity of this film in terms of the characters of the king and his family, the visual representation of the medieval world to be destroyed by the fact that this event never took place? That although the film reflects current events of the time (contemporaries speak of the rivalries of Henry and his sons, there is textual evidence for the machinations alluded to within the film) as a ‘fact’ it is worthless? And if the authors were able to take such liberties with some aspects of the film then why would they seek to be authentic in some areas and not others? Like the contemporary medieval sources upon which this film appears to have been based, we must seek to understand the motivations for this film. What are they trying to convey and why? What is it about the themes of this royal and dysfunctional family which are felt to be enduring to both medieval and modern audiences? The Lion in Winter presents us with an unfamiliar setting but with a distinctly ‘modern’ medieval family. The film therefore is both familiar yet strange – exactly how we might regard the middle ages. Thus it is not only the facts or the representation of the past which can be considered in terms of assessing its authenticity but how the film makes us feel, the emotions that it generates, not only in regards to its conception of the medieval ‘past’ but also in regards to the present.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

PhD related hallucinations

I am not sure if there has been any research carried out into PhD-related hallucinations and obsessions (and terribly for a professional researcher I am too lazy... um too BUSY to Google it) however it has been a random feature of my PhD life in Leicester for there to be several random sightings of strange faces appearing in fruit.  First there was the famous sighting of Mother Teresa in the strawberry [ed. to add link] and now comes this rather odd face which appeared in a piece of pineapple from University-catering.  Trouble is I cannot tell whether the face is looking cheerful or disturbed!  Probably the latter.

Webcast: Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies

From H-Museum:

The National Science Resources Center and the Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies invite colleagues to view the webcast of a recent Smithsonian program that examined the research behind learning in informal environments.

The program is available at

The program features opening remarks from Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough and presentations from:

. Sue Allen, Director of Visitor Research and Evaluation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Ca, and currently Program Officer, Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings at the National Science Foundation

. Philip Bell, Associate Professor in the College of Education at theUniversity of Washington

. Kevin Crowley, Associate Professor of Learning Science and Policy,School of Education, University of Pittsburgh

. Cecilia Garibay, Independent Consultant, Garibay Group

. Heidi Schweingruber, Acting Director, Board on Science Education,National Research Council

. Andy Shouse, Senior Program Officer, National Research Council

. David Ucko, Director, Informal Science Education Program, National Science Foundation

The panelists discuss the findings of the National Research Council's newstudy: Learning Science in Informal Environments: People, Places, and Pursuits (the report was released on January 14, and is available online at and their implications for educational practice in science centers and museums.

CFP: Marketing the Past - Managing the Future

Call for Proposals for the 2009 International Tourism Biennial

"Marketing the Past - Managing The Future"

Location: Canakkale, Turkey Date: 14-17 October 2009 Call Deadline: 29 May 2009
Conference language: English

Meeting Description:
The concept of tourism invokes multiple and complex interpretations. Tourism is both a problem and a solution to a problem. The theoretical and empirical base can be approached from a large number of perspectives (see themes). More than anything else, however, tourism is seen as a kind of social practice. As a consequence the focus shifts towards the role and responsibility of the individual in larger contexts, with attention being devoted to the future of tourism and the sustainability of it all.

Theme & Subthemes:

The conference focuses on three major themes:
Tourism & Crises (ecological, economical, social, ...)
Tourism & Heritage
Tourism & Management
Other possible themes include:
Tourism and Development (Globalisation, social development, third world development etc)
Tourism impact assessment
Tourism Marketing and Consumer Behaviour
Maritime Tourism
Nature Based Tourism
Hospitality and Tourism
e-Tourism and Distribution
Media, Popular Culture and Tourism
Tourism & Identity
Tourism Education
Tourism & Ethics
Tourism & Research Issues


bring together a group of established and emerging scholars from around the world,
focus on the changing practices in tourism in contemporary times, have an interdisciplinary focus, focus on cutting-edge work in the distinct and emerging fields of language and literacy research that make up literacy studies, as well as numeracy studies.


We accept extended 5 page abstracts. Panels will generally include three or four papers or presentations. For panel proposals, the session organizer should submit a 150-250 word statement describing the panel topic, including the extended abstracts for each paper or presentation in the panel. Time allotted for paper presentations is 20min (+10min discussion).Submit your abstracts via this website (link will be added), or by sending them via email to us using the document template. Remember to give the name(s) of the author(s), affiliation, e-mail address, phone number, fax number and 50 word biodate.All proposals will be reviewed by the Scientific Committee on their quality and relevance to the themes of the conference. A selection of submissions will be sent to the Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management or the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology for publication.

Confirmed Keynotes:
Prof. dr. Betty Weiler (Monash University, Australia)
Prof. dr. Clayton Barrows (University of New Hampshire)

Important Dates:
Deadline for submission of abstracts: 29 May 2009.
Notification of acceptance: 26 June 2009.
Program available: 10 July 2009
Early bird registration: 3 July 2009. Details regarding the program, registration and hotel accommodation will be communicated via the website. Upon submission of an abstract, you will automatically receive this information. If you do not submit an abstract, send us an e-mail or subscribe to this website in order to receive our next newsletter.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Brain decline begins at 27

This explains an awful lot.  Another reason to get this damn thesis written before I turn 33. 

Museum Cookery

I took Amy at her word, and present the fist (I think?) installment of The Attic's Museum Cookery course. This is a recipe posted in one of the permanent exhibits in the Lewes Museum (Sussex). I personally think all museums need to provide recipes as part of their curatorial programming. 

Roman Recipe

Sweet Wine Cakes

450g self-raising flour

1 tbspn sweet white wine

a pinch of aniseed

a pinch of cumin

50g lard

25g grated cheese

1 beaten egg

12 bay leaves

Moisten the flour with the wine and add the aniseed and cumin. Rub in the lard and grated cheese and bind the mixture with egg. Shape into 12 small cakes and place each one on a bay leaf. Bake in the oven at gas mark 6, 400 F (200 C) for about 25-30 minutes.

If you actually make this, let us know how it turned out!

A walk around Tower Hamlets Cemetery

Tower Hamlets Cemetery, opened in the 1840s, is one of the less well-known cemeteries in London, possibly because it is the burial place of relatively ordinary people rather than historical celebrities or members of the upper classes which has kept interest high in places like Kensal Green.   However it is one of the loveliest I think for, as with most older disused cemeteries, it provides an area of wilderness in the East End of the city and, surrounded as it is by tower blocks, there is an interesting juxtaposition between the bustling, modern city on the one hand and the quiet solitude of the woodland paths on the other.  I went for a walk around the cemetery in the Winter; it had a kind of stark beauty with the leafless trees, but also made me feel a bit safer since it was a lonely place to walk alone, as a very friendly elderly man pointed out to me.  However the place was evidently well-used by joggers, people walking their dogs and even a family come to look at the gravestones so it was not completely solitary.  According to the very interesting book 'London's Cemeteries' by Darren Beach (Metro Publications, London, 2006) which I recommend for anyone with more than a passing interest in visiting cemeteries, Tower Hamlets cemetery is the largest area of woodland in east London and the decision was consciously taken to develop it into a haven for wildlife after a long period of neglect.  Another interesting fact is that it was bombed copiously during the war and some of the marks from the shrapnel can still be seen on some of the graves.

A view along one of the main paths running around the perimeter of the cemetery, looking towards nearby housing estates

The grander, more imposing memorials are located in probably the most expensive part of the cemetery, conspicuous along the main path

An intricate detail on one of the memorials showing a ship sinking at sea, a common hazard in the age of sail

One of the ponds, home to wildlife in the cemetery (the railway line is in the background)

Memorials emerging romantically from a sea of green foliage

Much of the cemetery is dense woodland

On my journey to reach the cemetery I walked from the centre of London through Whitechapel, Mile End and along to Tower Hamlets.  It was a good long walk and along the way I saw many fascinating traces of the city's history.  For instance just before Mile End there was an attractive 'estate' of almshouses arranged around a green and enclosed with ornate fences and gatehouses.  Upon the gatehouses were carved ships, which suggested to me it was a home for retired naval men or sailors, something like that.

Although it was right on the main road, the little estate looked very peaceful and a step back in time.

Closer to Whitechapel is the Royal London Hospital, a very grand building, which was once the home, in his final years, of Leicester's Joseph Carey Merrick, otherwise known by his 'stage' name of the Elephant Man.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Publication/CFP: Material & Visual Culture (Material Culture Review)

From H-Material Culture:

Material and Visual Culture: Narrating National Heritage in Global Contexts

A special-themed issue of Material Culture Review
invites contributions that advance our understanding of the ways relationships of material and visual culture contribute to cultural tourism generally, and particularly, to the ways cultural tourism narrates national heritage in global contexts. Narrating may be understood to mean representing or conveying something about events, situations or other features relevant to or exemplifying national heritage, defined in this instance as human landscape as well as social, cultural and natural environments, objects, images, ideas and practices.

A range of approaches and methods are welcome. Contributors may address any of the following questions or raise others that explore relationships of material and visual culture historically or in the present.

How does the interplay of material and visual culture create, modify, destroy or participate in sustaining, representing or remembering forms and practices of national heritage, globally? What challenges does narrating national heritage in global contexts bring to relationships of material and visual culture? How and to what ends do material and visual culture facilitate the mobility of national heritage? How do their relationships foster, promote or re-narrativize national memory, identity, history or tradition along transnational pathways established
through diaspora, exile, migration or travel and including to former émigrés and diasporic communities? In what ways and to what effects do material and visual culture together address people as the subjects and subjectivities of cultural tourism? Conversely, how do the subjects
shape and otherwise alert us to features and processes of the interplay of material and visual culture? What enables material and visual culture to constitute a contact zone through which national subjects and heritages connect? How do material and visual culture link personal and civic history to national heritage in global contexts? How do they position national heritage in relation to cultural as well as other types of tourism?

Contributors are invited to submit articles, research reports or exhibition reviews formatted according to the guidelines available on the website for Material Culture Review,  The deadline for an expression of interest, consisting of a 300-word abstract and cv, is May 15. Completed work will be due August 1, 2009 to Jennifer Way, 

New Research Network: Surface Tensions


Surface, Finish and the Meanings of Objects

A Research Network convened by the University for the Creative Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum

Qualities of surface and finish contribute significantly to the characteristics of designed objects, in industrial manufacture and hand making, and in objects made from diverse materials. This new Research Network, convened by the University for the Creative Arts and the Victoria and Albert Museum will explore this subject. The following themes are proposed:

€ the artisanship of finish (traditional techniques, new technologies)
€ surface and maintenance (gender and labour in historic objects)
€ surface, quotation and simulation in textiles and craft
€ finish in the development of standardised industrial production
€ surface and the museum object
€ surface and depth (theory, philosophy, methodology).

Surface and finish are important, yet overlooked, qualities within design history and material culture, as well as in many areas of creative practice. Since the late nineteenth century, the surface qualities of objects have been played down in a rhetoric of design that has valued form over surface, applied decoration or finish, prioritising Œdepth¹ over the Œsuperficiality¹ of applied techniques. Discussions of patina, of processes of decay, and of deconstruction are no more than isolated fragments in a much wider field that is ripe for definition and investigation. In the initial application of surface techniques the emphasis is often on meticulously achieved, pristine, effects; the resulting surfaces are degraded in use. Yet this is not an inevitable process. The relationship between people and objects is often organized around strategies that maintain, repolish and renew fragile and mutable surface qualities. This cycle is endlessly complicated in interpretation and practice, particularly when surface effects are understood as expressive of symbolic qualities or social values, or when designers artificially simulate the signs of wear or meticulous maintenance. This network aims to explore this subject through historical and theoretical study, contemporary practice, and the museum object.

Surface Tensions will co-ordinate a programme of events and publications, commencing in Summer 2009. If you are interested in participating in events or receiving news about the network¹s activities please contact Dr Victoria Kelley

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Professional Proofreading Services

A little more student news.  Recent Leicester graduate, Dr Jeanette Atkinson, is offering a range of competitively-priced professional proofreading services.  See the flyer below for more info...

New exhibition: Wilhelm Freddie in Copenhagen

If you find yourself in the area, you might like to check out 'Wilhelm Freddie: Stick the Fork in Your Eye!' at the Statens Museum fur Kunst in Copenhagen.  Our very own Mette Houlberg Rung took some time off from her PhD to work on the exhibition which takes a comprehensive view of the work of Danish radical artist Wilhelm Freddie 1909-1995).

For more information about the exhibition click here (in Danish) or here (in English).

The exhibition runs until 1st June 2009.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Light Entertainment

I just found out that they have made a sequal to Night at the Museum ha ha...

'Battle of the Smithsonian' should be out at the end of May.

Go to if you wanna see the trailer :)

CFP: Resorting to the Coast

From H-Material Culture:

The Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change (CTCC) would like to remind you of the approaching final deadline (16th March 2009) for receiving abstracts for the following 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 16th March 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
Old School Board, Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED, United Kingdom.
Tel. +44 (0) 113 812 8541 or Fax +44 (0) 113 812 8544