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.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

MLA replacement

We finally found out how the role of the recently-cut Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) will be filled: Apparently, the Arts Council (which, as we reported last week, has received extra funding) will be taking care of museums, and now it has been announced that the National Archives will be mentoring archives in proper practice and campaigning for them with government. the Department of Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) aren't thrilled with the idea, and frankly, neither am I - both organizations already have huge specialized roles without having to take on the extra role of advocacy. But at least there will continue to be leadership and a voice for heritage out there.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fascinating and macabre: the preservation efforts to save Scott (of the Antarctic)'s hut in pictures on the BBC. And to lighten the mood but give you an idea of the legacy of Scott's misison, Monty Python's Scott of the Sahara:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

From Heritage Management to Heritage and Society

*Beginning in Spring 2011, the journal Heritage Management will be
renamed Heritage & Society. *Heritage & Society will be edited by
Elizabeth S. Chilton and Neil A. Silberman with the University of
Massachusetts Amherst, and will feature a new editorial board.

*Heritage & Society *will be a global, peer-reviewed journal that
provides a forum for scholarly, professional, and community reflection
on the cultural, political, and economic impacts of heritage on
contemporary society. We seek to examine the current social roles of
collective memory, historic preservation, cultural resource management,
public interpretation, cultural preservation and revitalization, sites
of conscience, diasporic heritage, education, legal/legislative
developments, cultural heritage ethics, and central heritage concepts
such as authenticity, significance, and value.

The journal will provide an engaging forum about tangible and intangible
heritage for those who work with international and governmental
organizations, academic institutions, private heritage consulting and
CRM firms, and local, associated, and indigenous communities. With a
special emphasis on social science approaches and an international
perspective, the journal will facilitate lively, critical discussion and
dissemination of practical data among heritage professionals, planners,
policymakers, and community leaders.

*Heritage & Society* will include peer-reviewed research on policy,
legislation, ethics, and methods in heritage management and will
showcase exemplary projects and models of public interpretation and
interaction. A peer-reviewed Forum section presents position statements
and responses on key current issues. The journal also includes reviews
of books, web pages, exhibits, and innovative heritage projects
throughout the world.

*Editorial Focus:* Heritage & Society publishes original research that
contributes to the theory and practice of Heritage as it impacts on
wider contemporary society. In general, the journal is aimed at both
working heritage practitioners and scholars concerned with evolving
heritage theory and its application in real-world situations. The
journal will provide resources both for ongoing heritage initiatives
within nation-specific legislative frameworks as well as more
theoretical research papers with international or cross-cultural

Exemplary case studies, project reports, heritage management theories,
and technological or technical innovations will be featured in the
Journal's Resources Section, which offers readers a selection of
evolving heritage tools and techniques. The Forum Section will be
devoted to opinion and carefully formulated position papers on
contentious subjects of current heritage policy and law.

*Heritage & Society* welcomes submission of original manuscripts of no
more than 30 double spaced pages that focus on management of the world's
heritage resources. All manuscripts are subject to anonymous peer review
by knowledgeable scholars and professional practitioners and, if
accepted, may be subject to revision. Materials submitted to Heritage &
Sociaety should not be under consideration by other publishers, nor
should they be previously published in any form.

Submissions should include an original manuscript sent via email in MS
Word or RTF format to Manuscripts should be
submitted with low resolution illustrations that can be easily be
transmitted via email They should include a title page that has the
article title, names and full contact information of all authors; and an

abstract of no more than 200 words. Manuscript style generally should
conform to Society for American Archaeology Style Guide Non-conforming
manuscripts will be returned to the author(s) for revision.

Additional details concerning preparation of final manuscripts accepted
for publication can be located elsewhere on this website or from the
editors. For other questions and correspondence, contact one of the
co-editors at:

Heritage & Society
c/o Center for Heritage & Society
Gordon Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
418 North Pleasant St.
Amherst MA 01003 USA

Friday, April 15, 2011

Reading Artifacts Summer Institute


August 15-19, 2011

Presented by:
Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM)
Collection & Research Division and Conservation Services

Are you tired of traditional accounts of science and technology? Discover
alternative historical perspectives and methods in the midst of Canada’s
largest collection in science, medicine and technology. Our annual artifact
sessions in the CSTM storage facility bring together Canadian and
international scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum. Participants
immerse themselves in our collections gaining renewed appreciation for
artifacts and the multiple, unpredictable stories they tell.

Guest faculty for 2011:

· Dag Spicer, Senior Curator, Computer History Museum, Mountain View,
California, USA
· Cindy Stelmackowich, Faculty-Lecturer, Art History, School for
Studies in Art and Culture, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada


· Graduate Students
· Post-docs
· Faculty interested in teaching history through artifacts
· Scholars seeking to expand their research methods

Participants will:

· investigate artifacts, trade literature and photographic
collections as resources for research, teaching, and the public presentation
of history
· work with leading collection scholars in a national museum setting
to explore material culture methodologies and approaches
· use artifacts as the centre of discussion and hands-on group
· learn the basics of conservation, cataloguing and developing
collections in local environments – a growing resource in liberal arts

Location: Canada Science and Technology Museum, Ottawa, Ontario,
Dates: August 15-19, 2011
Tuition: Students $250. Post-Docs $350; Faculty and
Professionals $450
(includes breaks, lunches, and a field trip)
* Students can apply for financial assistance. Send requests and budget
after registration and acceptance.

Register here (deadline: June 17th, 2011): Limit of 30 participants

For further information contact David Pantalony at:

Join our Google Group at:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Things That Go Museum in the Night

It's now a month to Museums at Night, and all the attendant events that brings. I love this idea, and having had the chance this evening to wander around the Pitt Rivers after hours, I am reminded of the evocative power of these spaces at night time, without the disturbance of the day. I'm saddened, too, that Leicester is still somewhat lacking in it's events plan for the weekend.

I hope that this map, will lead you on a journey somewhere and somewhen magical and strange. If you can't take part in a Museums at Night event, I'd like you to share here what you would do, given the opportunity to experience, or organise, a night time foray into the museum of your choice.

Have wonderful, dark wanderings.

Good news from the Art Fund

From the BBC: the arts charity Art Fund is increasing its funding of arts organizations by 50%, rolling out more aggressive fundraising campaigns, supporting curatorial training schemes, and reintroducing its membership card that give free or discounted admission to museums nationwide. I think this is great, although it still stings that it comes out of the government being being so awful to the arts and culture.

New Book - Call for Papers: Museums and the Disposals Debate

We invite international submissions to be included in this forthcoming book, which will be published by MuseumsEtc in Autumn 2011.

The book will be edited by Peter Davies, Cultural Policy Advisor to Canterbury City Council, who has a long-standing interest in how strategy and policy can create a more sustainable museum sector. With an interest in disposals born from a growing understanding of the value of collections versus the cost of management, Peter is a museum professional with a decade of experience at both practical and strategic levels.

As museums enter an era of global recession and austerity, where collecting for perpetuity is no longer the norm, and active disposals are as much a part of collections management as accessioning, Museums and the Disposals Debate will explore this increasingly discussed issue, bringing together international guidance, opinion, best practice, and case studies in deaccessioning and disposals policies and practice within museums large and small.

How museums react to their changing role - from public collector to effective manager - and review the purpose and role of collections within their institution, will shape the future of the museum sector. What are the issues in relation to disposals, and how can the benefits be weighed against the challenges and pitfalls?

The book aims to be a timely addition to current deaccessioning and disposals policies, plans and programmes, acting as a valuable advocate, critical friend and information source for museum managers and collection specialists across the sector.

We welcome submissions - of between 2000 to 6000 words - which address how museums can respond to the disposals debate on areas including, but not limited to:

• historical narratives on collections disposals

• the challenges and benefits of disposals

• the new role of disposals in modern collections management

• designing and implementing an effective, practical disposals policy and programme

• ethical, legal and moral implications of disposing of collections

• the repercussions of disposals mismanagement

• public and professional reaction to the disposal of collections

• developing an objective collections review framework

• managing collections-specific (eg archaeology) disposals

• developing sustainable collecting policies and programmes

• influencing and managing public opinion on museum disposals

• reviewing current policies, guidance and programmes

• outcomes (positive and negative) of disposal activities

• consulting with stakeholders on disposal policies and programmes

• case studies of recent or current disposal programmes

Contributions from international professionals who have developed and delivered innovative programmes for the review, rationalisation and disposal of collections from museums of all sizes are particularly encouraged. We are also interested in museums that have made use of nationally-developed policies and guidelines (eg those of the Museums Association and the American Association of Museums) in this field.

If you are interested in being considered as a contributor, please send an abstract (up to 250 words) and a short biography to both the and the publishers by 20 May 2011. Enquiries should also be sent to these addresses. Contributors will receive a complimentary copy of the publication and a discount on more.

The book will be published in both print and digital formats by MuseumsEtc in Autumn 2011.

Confirmed contributors to date include:

AEA Consulting: Adrian Ellis, Director

Collections Trust: Nick Poole, Chief Executive

Institute of Ideas: Dr Tiffany Jenkins, Arts and Society Director

Philip Mould Fine Paintings Ltd: Dr Bendor Grosvenor, Director

UCL Museums & Collections

More information and a PDF version of this Cal may be found at

Deadlines are as follows:

Proposals: due 20 May

Contributors notified: by 25 May

Completed papers: due 22 July

Publication: Autumn

Friday, April 08, 2011

Voices in (and around) the Museum

Voices in (and around) the Museum

A series of four discursive events co-organised by the UCL Mellon
Programme and UCL Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture

Wednesdays 6pm, May 4,11,18,25,2011 University College London

From being perceived as a collective resting place for mute objects and a
silent, ocular-centric space to showcase them, the museum is increasingly
called upon to account for the voices in its midst. Objects are now widely
understood to tell stories, speaking in different ways to different
constituencies. In turn, the voices of visitors, source communities,
curators, collectors and makers - whether in the form of reminiscence,
testimony, storytelling, myth or song - play an increasingly prominent
role in determining the museum's approach to knowledge production and

This series of oral interventions - by architects, artists, curators,
historians, musicians, theorists, and writers - aims to understand how the
voices emanating from objects and subjects in the museum impact the
institution's traditional remit of researching, collecting and displaying
objects. How do these voices condition the visitor's affective and sensory
experience? How do the narratives told by the museum through objects
change over time? Which voices have been suppressed, and why? What can
museums do to preserve the immaterial traces of the voice? And what new
technologies and outreach strategies will be required to listen to and
broadcast voices both in and outside of the museum?

Speakers include:

Sarah Byrne (UCL Mellon Prgramme)
Debbie Challis (UCL Museums and Collections)
Emma Poulter (British Museum)
David Toop (London College of Communication)
Colin Fournier (UCL Bartlett School of Architecture)
Marysia Lewandowska (Konstfack, Sweden)
Sarah Lowry (Foundling Museum, London)
Steve Cross (UCL Public Engagement Unit)
Toby Butler (University of East London)
Paul Elliman (Yale School of Art)
Seph Rodney (The London Consortium)
Imogen Stidworthy (Jan van Eyck Academy, Naastricht)
Jack Maynard (Tate)
Linda Sandino (V&A and UAL)
Susan Hawkins (Kingston University London)
Hillary Young (Museum of London)

For more information

Or contact Sarah Byrne:; Anthony Hudek:

CFP: Museums, Heritage and International Development

22-23 September 2011, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam

A workshop that will be taking place on 22-23 September at Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. This is the first of a series of workshops and associated publications being organised under the title of 'Critical Conversations in Culture and Development'.

The first Critical Conversation will be concerned with the roles that museums and cultural heritage more broadly can play in sustainable international development. We want to explore recent initiatives by museums and heritage organisations involved in projects in developing countries under the umbrella of development, conflict resolution, capacity building, civil society strengthening or cultural diplomacy.
With the aim of sharing knowledge, experience, and expertise, and informing the development of better practice and policy, we would like to engage with the politics and problematics of these initiatives, understanding their failings as well as learning from their achievements. Mindful of old and new relationships of power between 'developed' and 'developing' countries, we are particularly interested in exploring how these projects can be done in equitable ways and the degree to which they can contribute to a reconfiguration of international and cross-cultural relationships.

We would like to invite scholars across a range of disciplines (e.g.
Development Studies, Social Anthropology, Museum and Heritage Studies, International Relations, etc.), museum, heritage and development practitioners, members of donor organisations and policy-making bodies, and especially beneficiaries to join us in this Critical Conversation.
It is intended that each Conversation will result in an academic publication within a new Culture and Development book series.
Participants in each workshop will also be invited to contribute to the drafting of a policy briefing document, which will be circulated electronically through the Royal Tropical Institute Bulletin series and the UCL Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies.

If you are interested in joining us to critically discuss the relationship between Museums, Heritage and Sustainable Development, please submit a c.500 word outline of your proposed paper, including a title, together with brief CV to Paul Basu and Wayne Modest by 16th May 2011. It is intended to circulate full papers prior to the workshop.

The workshop is being sponsored by the Reanimating Cultural Heritage project based at University College London and the Tropenmuseum, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam. Expressions of interest for hosting or contributing to future workshops in the Critical Conversations in Culture and Development series are also welcome.

Friday, April 01, 2011

CfP - CIDOC conference 2011 - Sibiu, Romania, September 4 - 9

Take part in the CIDOC 2011 conference in Sibiu, Romania September 4-9 2011. The theme is "Knowledge management and museums" - We welcome all Your contributions and participation!

Call for Contributions at:

General information and program at:

Contact person: