The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Friday, September 30, 2011

CFP: Popular Culture

Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association

Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Popular Culture Area

The Popular Culture Association and the American Culture Association annual
conference will be held April 11 - April 14, 2012 in the Copley Marriott
Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts. Scholars from numerous disciplines will
meet to share their Popular Culture research and interests.

The Libraries, Archives, Museums, and Popular Culture area is soliciting
papers dealing with any aspect of Popular Culture as it pertains to
libraries, archives, museums, or research. Possible topics include
descriptions of research collections or exhibits, studies of popular
images of libraries or librarians, analyses of social networking or web
resources such as Wikipedia and YouTube, Popular Culture in library
education, the future of libraries and librarians, or reports on
developments in technical services for collecting Popular Culture materials.

Papers from graduate students are welcome.

Prospective presenters should email a one-page abstract with full contact
information by December 20, 2011, to:

Allen Ellis
Professor of Library Services
W. Frank Steely Library
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY 41099-6101

For more information see the associations' website at:

CFP: Material Matters (Emerging Scholars)

Material Matters
Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Center for Material Culture Studies at the University of Delaware
invites submissions for papers to be given at the Tenth Annual Material
Culture Symposium for Emerging Scholars.

Focus: Object-based research has the potential to expand and even reinvent
our understanding of culture and history. In honor of the tenth anniversary
of the MCSES, we seek a broad range of papers from emerging material
culture scholars. Whether exploring the latest theories, viewing existing
material through a new lens, or reinterpreting standing historical
conversations with an object-based focus, proposed papers should exemplify
the possibilities in material culture research. In exploring these material
matters, we hope to promote an interdisciplinary discussion on the state of
material culture studies today.

Disciplines represented at past symposia include American studies,
anthropology, archaeology, consumer studies, English, gender studies,
history, museum studies and the histories of art, architecture, design and
technology. We welcome proposals from graduate students, postdoctoral
scholars, and those just beginning their teaching or professional careers.

Format: The symposium will consist of nine presentations divided into three
panels. Each presentation is limited to twenty minutes, and each panel is
followed by comments from established scholars in the field. There will be
two morning sessions and one afternoon session, with breaks for discussion
following each session and during lunch. Participants will also have the
opportunity to tour Winterthur’s unparalleled collection of early American
decorative arts and to engage in a roundtable discussion on Friday, April
13. Travel grants of up to $300 will be available for presenters.

Submissions: The proposal should be no more than 300 words and should
clearly indicate the focus of your object-based research, the critical
approach you take toward that research, and the significance of your
research beyond the academy. While the audience for the symposium
consists mainly of university and college faculty and graduate students, we
encourage broader participation. In evaluating proposals, we will give
preference to those papers that keep a more diverse audience in mind.

Send your proposal, with a current c.v. of no more than two pages, to

Deadline: Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, November
16, 2011. Speakers will be notified of the vetting committee’s decision in
January 2012.

Confirmed speakers will be asked to provide symposium organizers with
digital images for use in publicity and are required to submit a final draft
of their papers by March 5, 2012.

2012 Emerging Scholars Co-Chairs:

Nalleli Guillen, Alison Kreitzer & Anne Reilly

Department of History, American Civilization Program
University of Delaware

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Postcard from Denmark

I'm sitting here, in Copenhagen, thinking of you all. Travelling, like this, makes you dreamy, and makes you desire to view things from a distance. You fly, you see, and the tiny world below you becomes as beautiful as moonrise.

In a sense, it's the same with exhibitions. And this, perhaps, is why this episode of Front Row, a BBC Radio Four favorite of mine, struck me. For it talks about the new V&A Exhibition 'Postmodernism - Style and Subversion 1970-1980'. Really, in museums, in exhibitions, we are looking at moonrises - whether they are from worlds now distanced in history from us, or distanced in geography, we all look at the surface of the moon.

On a side note, there is also an interesting interview with A.S.Byatt on her new book Ragnorok, for those of you with Nordic or mythological inclinations.

Friday, September 23, 2011


It's tough out there, and every little bit helps. So we are offering discounted admission to the 2012 Museum Utopias conference with this contest. Enter for a chance to win!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CFP: International Conference on the History of Records and Archives

ICHORA 6: International Conference on the History of Records and Archives 6

Exploring Shared Heritage in the History of Archives with Libraries, Information Science/Documentation, Preservation/Conservation, and Museums

Conference dates:
August 2-4, 2012

Austin, Texas, USA

Call for Papers Deadline:
2011 December 12

Further information:

Twenty-first century archivists and librarians, information scientists and documentalists, preservation administrators and conservators, and museum professionals share a common rich enterprise of managing information. Yet the fields of each through time have included work that others stake as their province. Consequently through the centuries this shared heritage often has been honored in rivalry grounded

• in the different purposes archivists and librarians, museum curators and administrators, information scientists and documentalists, and preservation administrators and conservators have claimed as their work,

• in the different traditions of practice grown up to deliver the special contribution of each field to society, and

• in the education appropriate to practicing in each tradition.

We invite proposals for papers for this international conference to explore work in progress, theoretical perspectives, and needs and opportunities for research in the broad area of the history of the shared, conflicting, and complementary heritage of archival enterprise with these related fields.

Proposals for papers should be made in the form of abstracts of 500-750 words.

Please submit proposals as an RTF e-mail attachment to

Professor Patricia Galloway,
School of Information, University of Texas at Austin, at:

Deadline for submission of proposals is
Monday, December 12, 2011.

Announcement of papers to be included on the program will be made no later than February 3, 2012.

Professor Patricia Galloway
School of Information
University of Texas at Austin
1616 Guadalupe, Suite 5.202
Austin, Texas 78701-1213
Phone: 512-232-9220

Friday, September 16, 2011

Writing Up: The Material Culture of Composition

This is a view of my workspace here at home; I took the photo this evening, just as I finished writing up my latest (but not last, alas) chapter. You can see that I have a suitcase in which I keep most of my photocopies - this travels with me when I go back and forth from the UK and to my boyfriend's place. I have considered designing a special thesis suitcase, but my boyfriend wisely pointed out that PhD students wouldn't be able to afford it! And there are books and articles spilling on the floor, and my colourful post-it notes for bookmarking pages in said material are at my right. I have scribbled notes everywhere, and a glass of water to hand but not so close that I can knock it over. And Kleenex, because although my desk is in the basement (a walk-out basement, but still) it gets cold and I have a tendency to sneeze!

What does your workspace look like?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CFP: Stocks, Screens, and Servers: The Materiality of Media

The Velvet Light Trap editorial board would like to announce that the
submission for issue #70 has been extended to October 15 (it was originally
September 15). We continue to welcome any papers that address one or more
aspects of the topic outlined below. Please do not hesitate to write us at should you have any questions pertaining to
this message or the CFP.

- VLT Editorial Board

The Velvet Light Trap #70 CFP:
Stocks, Screens, and Servers: The Materiality of Media

As culture becomes increasingly digitized— from downloading and streaming
videos and music to digital film production and cloud computing— arguments
for the “dematerialization” of media are becoming commonplace. However,
media have always been, and remain, embedded in and structured by material
objects, networks, and practices that delimit their uses and meanings. Any
cultural artifact bears traces and consequences of the material conditions
of its production, distribution, and reception, whether the size and weight
of the camera that shot a film’s images, the geography of the shipping or
cable network through which it was transported or transmitted, or the spaces
occupied by physical record or DVD collections. Even ostensibly
“dematerialized” digital media find material existence in hard disks, server
farms, and wires— as well as in the proliferation of new media devices, from
smart phones to iPads.

The perception of the diminished materiality of media presents us with an
opportunity to reconsider (and reaffirm) the material dimensions of media,
both in terms of the present moment and from an historical perspective. To
this end, The Velvet Light Trap seeks articles considering the implications
of the materiality of media, welcoming studies of film, television, and new
media from a range of approaches— including historical, theoretical,
ethnographic, and/or textual.

Potential areas of inquiry include (but are by no means limited to):
- the effects of technological and other material factors on
film/media craft practices and style
- screen technologies and other exhibition devices, old and new
- issues in the political economy of the manufacture and disposal of
media objects and devices (e.g., labor conditions, e-waste)
- logics and operations of physical networks of distribution and
- media infrastructures and cultural geography
- physical interactivity with media interfaces
- the imitation of material objects in the digital realm (e.g., album
art and liner notes)
- the resurgence of physical formats once presumed ‘dead’ (e.g.,
vinyl, cassette tapes)
- material dimensions of reception and fandom (e.g., collecting,
- the aestheticization of media commodities
- materiality, memory, and nostalgia
- material media objects, cultural capital, and taste
- material collections, archiving, and film/media historiography
- the exploration of materiality by particular artists and/or texts
- materiality and avant-garde cinema
- media materiality and policy

Submissions should be between 6,000 and 7,500 words (approximately 20-25
pages double-spaced), in MLA style. Please submit one electronic copy of the
paper, along with a one-page abstract, saved as a Word .doc file; remove any
identifying information so that the submission is suitable for anonymous
review. The journal's Editorial Board will referee all submissions. Send
electronic manuscripts and/or any questions to
All submissions must be received by October 15.

The Velvet Light Trap is an academic, peer-reviewed journal of film,
television, and new media studies. Graduate students at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas-Austin alternately coordinate
issues. The Editorial Advisory Board includes such notable scholars as
Richard Allen, Henry Benshoff, Mia Consalvo, David Desser, Radhika Gajjala,
Darrell Hamamoto, Joan Hawkins, Barbara Klinger, Jon Kraszewski, Joe
McElhaney, Diane Negra, Michael Newman, Alisa Perren, Aswin Punathambekar,
Yeidy Rivero, Nicholas Sammond, Beretta Smith-Shomade, Cristina Venegas, and
Michael Williams.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Words and muses

I am probably fast gaining a reputation for being a humourless pedant when it comes to museum terminology, but I just don't think it's right to use "curating" in the context of micro-blogging or "museum" in the context of archiving social networking activity. Technically, of course, a museum is a shrine to the muses - that is, it showcases and celebrates the products of creative inspiration, and provides fresh inspiration in so doing. This could take the form of a festival site in Ancient Greece, a fashionable periodical in the early nineteenth century, or as now, a collection-based educational institution with a focus on display. But I don't think it's a positive evolution for it to become synonymous with an advertisement for Intel's new processors:

Friday, September 09, 2011

Museum Utopias Call For Papers

The Museum Utopias 2012 conference call for papers is out now! The deadline for proposals is November 14, and early bird registration will begin in October. Follow the conference blog, Twitter or Facebook for more details!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

e. e. cummings, “it is so long since my heart has been with yours”

it is so long since my heart has been with yours

shut by our mingling arms through
a darkness where new lights begin and
since your mind has walked into
my kiss as a stranger
into the streets and colours of a town—

that i have perhaps forgotten
these hurrying crudities
of blood and flesh)Love
coins His most gradual gesture,

and whittles life to eternity

—after which our separating selves become museums
filled with skilfully stuffed memories