21 March 2017

Call for Papers ‘The evolution of the museum’

Science Museum, London, 13-14th July 2017

Museums are emergent entities – and the evolution of a museum is dependent on a number of factors, including: changes in collecting and disposal practices, redisplays and the legacy of temporary exhibitions. New pedagogical perspectives relating to new questions or ideological trends, either in museology or in the disciplines represented in the collections, are also influential.

This workshop will focus on selected case studies to analyse the impact of these changes on methodological issues relating to universal histories and universal museums. In particular, the evolution of the museum will be discussed in relation to the impact of temporary exhibitions and the circulation of knowledge in the public sphere. The workshop will explore how social knowledge practices influence the structuring of institutional knowledge, and the emergence of new disciplines.

The case studies that we will use to trace this evolution over time are the 1876  Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus at the South Kensington Museum and the creation of the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro.

The 1876 Loan Exhibition is a temporary exhibition which took place in 1876 at the South Kensington Museum and was one of the founding displays which led to the creation of the Science Museum. This exhibition offers an ideal case study for the ways in which temporary displays have a permanent legacy in national and international museum collections, and how far the interpretation and presentation of materials was transformed in this process.

The Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro opened in 1882 following the 1878 International Exhibition, for which the Trocadéro palace had been built. Though many studies have focused on the successive transformations of this museum in the Musée de l’Homme and, successively, the Musée du Quai Branly and the MUCEM, the first assemblage and display of these ethnographic collections is less well known. Drawing on the place given to the arts, the regions, and different themes in universal exhibitions in Paris, and particularly in the 1878 exhibition, the discussion of the Musée d'Ethnographie will cast new light on the motivations and relationships of collectors, learned societies, politicians, and publics in informing the creation of this museum.

The workshop will bring together researchers from ethnography, history of science, and museum history, to explore the evolution of museums, mainly – but not only – in France and the UK. The workshop will also contain a session with the objects studied in the Universal Histories and Universal Museums project. We invite papers and posters exploring the agencies and reception of these two institutions and their collections. Contributions might consider, but need not be confined to, the following themes:

-          History and/or  comparison of the science and art collections in the South Kensington Museum, and the foundation of the Science Museum
-          History of ethnographic collections in Paris (and direct comparisons with other cities and particularly with London) and of the first Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro
-          The impact of temporary exhibitions and universal exhibitions on the creation and development of museum collections.

Important information:
  • Papers - abstract: 300 words (30 minutes papers)
  • Poster presentations – abstract: 300 words
Deadline for both abstracts: 21st April 2017. 
Send abstracts to: universalhistoriesmuseums@gmail.com
Authors will be notified by the 30th April.
Note that we will aim to publish the workshops of the ‘Universal Histories, Universal Museums’ research project as a journal special issue.

On behalf of the Universal Histories and Universal Museums team: André Delpuech, Hervé Inglebert, Sandra Kemp, Chiara Zuanni.
Discover more about the project: https://universalhistories.org - Get in touch via Facebook (page ‘Universal Histories and Universal Museums’), Twitter (@UniversalMuseum), and Instagram (@universal_histories).

Job Vacancy Part-time Collections Database Officer Pitt Rivers Museum

Grade 6: £27,629 - £32,958 p.a. (pro rata)
The Pitt Rivers Museum is looking for part-time Collections Database Officer. The postholder will be responsible for the maintenance of the Museum’s collections databases, that provide internal and external access to the Museum’s world-famous collections. She or he will need to have a good understanding of how best to help others use databases, the ability to create accounts and change layouts, and the ability to ensure that robust systems checks are completed and backup data is available. Working closely with PRM staff, colleagues in the Museums and Gardens IT group, and the system suppliers to ensure that all the Museum’s systems work together in an integrated manner
This is an important role in a busy museum requiring excellent organisation, time management, attention to detail, and communication skills.

This post is part-time for 22 hours per week.

Full details of essential requirements are available in the job description.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on Friday 31 March 2017. Interviews are likely to take place in April 2017.

For further details and to apply https://www.recruit.ox.ac.uk/pls/hrisliverecruit/erq_jobspec_version_4.display_form

Job Vacancy: Part-time Executive Assistant to the Director and Head of Administration and Finance Pitt Rivers Museum

Grade 4: £21,220 - £24,565 p.a. (pro rata)
The Pitt Rivers Museum is looking for part-time enthusiastic and professional Executive Assistant To provide a diary management, administrative and secretarial support service for the Director primarily and the Head of Administration and Finance. To deal with a wide range of matters, sometimes of a highly confidential nature, on behalf of the Director. The postholder will be the point of contact for internal and external visitors for the Director.
This is an important role in a busy Museum requiring excellent organisation, time management and communication skills. Full details of essential requirements are available in the job description.

This role will not attract sufficient points to obtain a sponsored tier 2 visa under the points based immigration system, however applications are welcome from candidates who don’t currently have the right to work in the UK, but who would be eligible to obtain a visa via another route

This post is part-time, 18 hours per week, expected to be Monday – Friday, 10.00am – 1.40pm.

The closing date for applications is 12.00 noon on Wednesday 5 April 2017. Interviews are likely to take place in April 2017.

For further details and to apply https://www.recruit.ox.ac.uk/pls/hrisliverecruit/erq_jobspec_version_4.display_form 

13 March 2017

China Art Research Network (CARN)

Do you work in a museum or a collection, which contains Chinese material? CARN is initiating a research project ‘Mapping Chinese Objects/Collections in the UK’. In addition to the well-known collections of Chinese art, we are aiming to find Chinese material in unlikely places.

CARN has been established to facilitate access to material in object-based research disciplines such as art history and archaeology. This is significant, as there are extensive and often under-researched collections containing Chinese art/objects in the UK. It will provide a platform for art historians, archaeologists, museum and art world professionals who specialise in China and who work on object-based research in disciplines including history, technical art history and conservation.

To find out more, please visit the website. You do not need to be a specialist of Chinese material culture or art: everyone who deals with Chinese material in their everyday work is invited to join CARN membership. This will give you access to the CARN Newsletter in the first instance and in future CARN will be a resource for finding out about Chinese art and for connecting with specialists in the field.

CARN has received funding from Royal Society Edinburgh (RSE) to launch it’s activities which include colloquia, newsletter and website. CARN leader, Principal Investigator, is Dr Minna Törmä, Lecturer in Chinese Art at University of Glasgow; for further information, contact minnakatriina.torma@glasgow.ac.uk  

28 February 2017

PhD in relationships between cultural heritage and indigenous identity - University of Oslo

A doctoral research fellowship within the field of Museum and Cultural Heritage studies is available at the Department of Cultural Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo.

IKOS seeks to recruit a doctoral candidate with excellent research qualifications who will investigate the relationships between cultural heritage and indigenous identity.

The successful doctoral project will engage critically with the notion of indigenous identity and, taking a contemporary perspective, will explore its connections with aspects of tangible and/or intangible cultural heritage (including but not limited to, museums and museum collections, as well as Nature as cultural heritage).

The project may for instance explore the role of cultural heritage in: definitions of indigeneity; the definition and transmission of indigenous knowledge; the politics of the past and the (re)writing of history from a post-colonial perspective; indigenous environmental activism; and indigenous cultural revitalization in the 21st century. Also relevant are investigations of specific practices of display, preservation, interpretation or knowledge production – relating to indigenous heritage – and their connection with indigenous identities. Other topics may also be relevant.

To read the full announcement and how to apply visit here. 

From Malacca to Manchester – Curating Islamic Collections Worldwide 23-24 Feb 2017

Along with Emma Martin and several other MEG members, I attended this conference at the Manchester Museum last week, organised by Jenny Norton-Wright, with help from curator Stephen Welsh.  With 13 speakers on the Thursday and 15 on the Friday each limited to 20 minutes it was an amazing feat of international coverage through a series of succinct and striking visual presentations.  Abstracts are available in the conference booklet we each received on our arrival.

Jenny Norton-Wright, conference organiser, with keynote speaker Dr Stefan Weber
Conference brochure

The keynote address by Dr Stefan Weber,  Director of the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin, highlighted the current political imperatives for understanding Islam better and a variety of ways this has been attempted in Berlin, including an interactive trail called ‘Objects in Transfer’ and the use of local Syrian and Iraqi guides speaking in Arabic. One session looked at the ‘Birmingham Qur’an' in depth from different viewpoints. The big new permanent galleries at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the Louvre in Paris, were mentioned and critiqued by several speakers, and three speakers, including Venetia Porter, gave us a good idea of what the new Albukhary Foundation galleries of the Islamic World will look like at the British Museum, when they open in 2018.  The talks from curators from Be’erSheva in Israel, the Mardajni Foundation in Moscow, the King Adbulaziz Centerfor World Studies in Saudi Arabia and a new Bangsamora gallery at the National Museum of the Philippines, contributed to our greater awareness of the huge variety of Islamic displays and cultures worldwide and current new international developments. 

It was such a rewarding and heady experience that there was talk of a forthcoming publication, perhaps a selection of just some of the papers. The conference was part of the John Ellerman funded initiative between several Manchester museums to prepare for a new South Asia gallery, in an extension at the Manchester Museum, that will open in 2018. A separate community engagement workshop/seminar is planned for mid-summer 2017.

Antonia Lovelace,
MEG Chair and Curator of World Cultures at Leeds City Museum 

21 February 2017

Social History Curator's Group Call for Papers

Annual Conference 2017 'Changing Tides'
Reading Museum, Reading Town Hall, The University of Reading and The Museum of English Rural Life
29th and 30th June 2017 

Call for contributions, papers, workshops, roundtable discussions and other presentations on the theme of: Museums and Cultural Identity in a post-2016 landscape

Guidance on topics for discussion
2016 has been a monumental year for the world as a whole and the effects of its events on museums are likely to be wide-ranging in their consequences. The vote for Brexit and the moves to both the left and the right of the political spectrum across the world will all have a significant effect on visitors, museums and how we adapt to stay relevant in the future.
In a world where nationalism is noticeably rising, how is your museum adapting in order to stay relevant?

How are you as a museum professional helping your museum adapt to the changes? What is being done successfully that will give your organisation more resilience for the future in this new landscape? How do you think museums should think about the withdrawal of EU funding in deprived areas?

We’d like to know how you are responding to this unprecedented and unpredictable future for the sector, and share this with fellow delegates.
Some example ideas are below:

·      Representing the people
o   How do we avoid alienating those with alternative viewpoints on our identity and ensure that museums are a place for everyone?
o   What can museums do to ensure that cultural identity remains relevant to various communities?

·      The effects of political change
o   Presentations that allow us to see how Brexit is, has or will affect a museum or group of museums
o   What impact can large-scale shifts across the political spectrum have on the museums and heritage sector

·      Riding out the storm
o   How do we become more resilient as a sector and how do we implement such changes in order to stay relevant?
o   What does the future hold for the sector if it doesn’t respond to changes on the political landscape?

The quick-fire round!
Do you have an issue relating to the changing Cultural Identities of the world that you want to debate in just three minutes? Following the success of the inaugural quick-fire round in 2016, SHCG invites 6 delegates to each present a 3-minute paper on their issue, the dilemma it presented, how they approached it and ultimately the outcome of situation.
Following the presentations, all 6 speakers will then facilitate group discussions which will aim to give delegates practical advice and guidance, how to (or how not to) face issues in all areas of museum practice and at all career levels.

If you think you have an interesting idea to submit, please complete the application form at the end of this document.

2017 conference
This year we’re looking for any presentation, talk or concept that relates to the topics outlined above in the guidance. The more thought provoking, unusual, practical and insightful the better.

If you have an idea that you think might be appropriate for this conference, we encourage you to submit it as we’ll read and review every application. We believe that insights into how others are working, their successes, their failure and their practices can be of benefit to many others within the wider museum and cultural community.

Contributors are invited to offer perspectives from local, national, international or global context. Contributions that are presented in an a different, interactive or discussion, way will be happily accepted and we keen to accept more contributions that are seen as showing ‘out of the box’ thinking and allow delegates to reflect and think about Social History Curation and its future.

Important dates
·     Please complete the submission form below and return it to Nick Sturgess and Becca Lucas at conferenceshcg@gmail.com by the 25th February 2017.
·     All applicants will be notified by the 4th March 2017.

·      The decision of the conference panel is final. Only one person from each presentation or workshop submission will be given a free day delegate place for the day that they are speaking. Speakers for the Quick Fire Round will not presentation do not qualify for a free place on the day they are speaking. Speakers travel costs will be reimbursed up to a maximum of £100. Unfortunately we are unable to provide additional fees, subsistence costs or accommodation for speakers

The Social History Curators Group is a membership organisation dedicated to improving the status and provision of social history in museums and the standards of collections, research, display and interpretation.

Our annual conference is open to all and aims to facilitate the sharing of skills and experiences, and provoke debate around a current theme affecting our members through presentations, interactive workshops and tours.

For full details visit the Social History Curators website.