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.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Attic Productions Presents...

...THE BROWN BAG SEMINAR!

We are proud to announce the first Brown Bag Seminar of the new year. On the 20th January at 1pm, Jenny Suing, the Head of Education at the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin will be presenting her paper 'Working with Diverse Communities'. We'd like to that Viv Golding and Serena Iervolino for organising this. We hope you'll join us. If you ever (shock horror!) need pursuading in these terms, here's the blurb, just to encourage you even more.

Synopsis of seminar
The Chester Beatty Library is a unique art museum and library in the centre of Dublin. Its uniqueness derives from the collection, which in the Irish context is one-of-a-kind. It houses the great collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), an American mining engineer partly of Irish descent. On his death the collection was left in the care of a board of trustees to look after with the financial support of the Irish Government. For many years it remained a low-key museum, perhaps because it did not sit comfortably with Irish national identity. Located in the suburbs of Dublin, few locals visited, yet its reputation attracted numerous scholars from overseas.
The ambition of sharing this collection with a wider audience was realised with the re-housing of the Library in the city centre in February 2000. Today, the Library's rich collection from across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast: Egyptian papyrus texts, illuminated copies of the Qur'an and the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts, Turkish and Persian miniatures, Buddhist paintings, Chinese dragon robes and Japanese woodblock prints are all on display.
The Library and Intercultural Dialogue
Since 2000 the Chester Beatty Library has been a key initiator in developing exploratory cultural projects with existing and new communities. The Library defines intercultural dialogue as, “a means of encouraging thoughtful and respectful engagement between one or more persons from different groups through a variety of activities allowing for a deeper and better understanding of each other and their cultures.”
The Library’s education programme was established in 2000. Working with such a diverse collection is exciting but also a great challenge. Creating a programme to enhance as well as engage offers visitors the opportunity to explore the cultures represented in the collections, and, in turn, to consider their own culture. This is a first in contemporary Ireland as national institutions tend to reflect Irish national identity; to date no other Irish museum has explored other cultures in any significant way.

The seminar will explore how the Chester Beatty Library was established and where it sits within an Irish and international context and look at examples of how intercultural dialogue plays a key role in the education programme.

There will be time for q&a as well as the opportunity to discuss various topics.

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