Exhibitions as Research: Theory, Practice, Problems
(Session in 36th AAH Annual Conference, 15-17 April 2010, University of Glasgow)
Deadline for submission: 9 November 2009
Ideally, exhibitions always present audiences with new research. When exhibitions are outcomes of individual academic research projects, however, the research undergoes a process of translation. Under the guidance of curators and other museum and art gallery staff, art historians discover how to turn their work into a phenomenological and conceptual experience that communicates not only with their academic peers but also with public audiences, not only through the act of writing about objects and ideas, but also through encountering them and placing them in space and time. As a collaborative situation, the process of exhibition-making can, for some academics, become a form of research in itself.
In this session, the term 'research' is inclusive, incorporating conventional art historical research, research conducted by artists and curators, and other research practices. Forms of research may range from traditional scholarship which informs large-scale survey or blockbuster exhibitions such as Gothic: Art for England, 1400-1547 (V&A, 2003) and Babylon: Myth and Reality (British Museum, 2008/9), and more focused academic exhibitions such as Freud's Sculpture (Henry Moore Institute, 2006) and Close-Up: Proximity and defamiliarisation in art, film and photography (The Fruitmarket Gallery, 2008/9), to artist-led research as in Tacita Dean's An Aside (Hayward National Touring Exhibitions, 2005). This session will consider how research is translated in exhibitions of art from any period, from medieval to modern and contemporary. Questions include: How can display be used to express an argument, explore a concept or even work against the presentation of research? How can interpretation support or extend academic research? What role can contemporary art play to inform exhibitions of historic objects, and vice versa?
Deadline for submission of paper propsals: 9 November 2009. Please contact the session convenors with an abstract (no more than 250 words long), and your name, institutional affiliation and contact details.
Session convenors: Dr Stacy Boldrick (Research and Interpretation Manager, The Fruitmarket Gallery; firstname.lastname@example.org) and Stephanie Straine (Exhibitions Organiser, The Fruitmarket Gallery; email@example.com ).
Additional contact details: The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DF; (p) +44 (0)131 225 2383; (f) +44 (0) 131 220 3130.
Dr Stacy Boldrick
Research and Interpretation Manager
The Fruitmarket Gallery
45 Market Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1DF
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