27 February 2015

Call for papers: Objects in Motion: Material Culture in Transition

Proposals for papers and for visual and performing art are welcome for the three day interdisciplinary conference Objects in Motion: Material Culture in Transition. The conference is supported by and will be held at the Centre for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) at the University of Cambridge on 18-29 June 2015. The deadline for proposals is 15 March 2015, and registration is expected to open in April 2015.

Objects in motion will bring together diverse scholars, curators, writer and artists to discuss material culture in transition. Material objects are produced within specific contexts - geographical, cultural and temporal. This is true for things as diverse as the Great Sphinx built in Egypt at least 4500 years ago, the Lindisfarne Gospels illuminated in 8th century Northumbria, a wooden ceremonial mask carved in 19th century Nigeria, or a mobile phone made in 21st century China. 

What happens when objects such as these transition into other contexts? How are differences in use and meaning negotiated? Sometimes later reinterpretations and reincarnations (including 'fakes' and reproductions) incorporate elements of the objects original use and meaning, and other times they diverge entirely. This can affect not only themselves but also the knowledge and experiences embedded within or produced by them - as with books, musical recordings, and technologies. 

Scholars, curators, writers, and artists from all disciplines are welcome to propose relevant talks. Visual artists (including photographers) are also welcome to propose artwork on the theme to be displayed in the Alison Richard Building. Proposals for performing arts may be made as well, within the constraints of space and time stated below. The papers and art, selected by both CFP and invitation, will be complemented by events at local museums. 

These diverse contributions will help to shed light on material culture dynamics which remain highly relevant even today despite the growth of multinational corporations, global communications, and increasing standardisation. They will also foster,productive dialogue on different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to studying and responding to these dynamics. 

Guidelines for proposing a paper:

Proposals for talks should be emailed to the convenor Dr. Alexi Baker by 15 March 2015. They should include a title, an abstract of up to 250 words, a brief biography, contact information, and any institutional affiliations. Scholars at all stages of their careers including independent scholars are encouraged to apply, as are artists and writers who would like to offer talks reflecting on the conference theme. 

Guidelines for proposing visual or performing arts:

Proposals for visual or performing arts which reflect upon the conference theme should be emailed to the convenor Dr. Alexi Baker by 15 March 2015. The visual artwork will hang in the ground floor seminar rooms of the Alison Richard Building from the time of the conference until at least October 2015, and must be fitted to the available space and hanging facilities. 

The artist(s) must be able to transport their works to the Alison Richard Building themselves and to install them with limited assistance from staff. Each piece will need to come fitted with string or hooks on the back so that they can be attached to the hanging rails in the seminar rooms with nylon string. (the type of rails in use can be seen here). Small labels may also be affixed near the artworks using white-tack. 

Proposals for performing arts will be considered as well as long as they can be staged within the limited space f a seminar room, and have a running time of less then one hour. Possibilities could include for example recitations, musical performances, or self-contained dramatic performances. 

Proposal for visual or performing arts should consist of:

  • Contact information and any institutional affiliations 
  • Title of the installation or performance
  • Description of up to 250 words
  • CV and (if available) website of the artist
  • Examples of the work of the artist
  • Detailed installation or staging requirements  

20 February 2015

Islamic Art and Material Culture Subject Specialist Network Study Day

The theme is Contemporary Collecting, and it will take place at Brighton Museum on Monday 2nd March

Deadline for bookings is 25th February

Please note that numbers are limited to approx 20, on a first come first served basis. Please book by emailing Harriet Hughes 

The day is free of charge to SSN members and includes lunch.

Provisional Programme
10.30am – Arrival and Tea / Coffee 11am Welcome & Introductions

Displaying New Acquisitions or Loans
11.10 - 11.30 – Rebecca Bridgman, Curator of Islamic & South Asian Art, Birmingham Museums Trust and Chair of SSN for Islamic Art and Material Culture

11.30-11.50 – Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (based at Leighton House Museum)
11.50 – 12.00 – Questions
12.00 – 12.30 – Harriet Hughes, Curator of World Art, Brighton Museum – including a tour of the gallery

12.30 – 1.15 LUNCH

How to Collect & What to Collect

1.15 – 1.35 - Julia Carver, Curator, Visual Art, Bristol Museum and Art
1.35 – 1.55 - Marguerite Nugent, Head of Curatorial Services at Wolverhampton City Council (based at Wolverhampton Art Gallery)
Talk title: ‘Contemporary Collecting on the theme of the Arab/Israeli Conflict’

1.55-2.15 - Venetia Porter, Assistant Keeper (Curator), Islamic and contemporary Middle East
2.15-2.25 – Questions

2.25-2.40 pm Tea / Coffee Break

Acquisition Schemes & Funding
2.40 – 3.00 - Robert Dingle, National Network & Strategic Projects Manager at Contemporary Art Society & Christine Takengny, Museums Acquisitions, Public Programme, Whitechapel Gallery Displays Manager at Contemporary Art Society

3.00 – 3.20 - Rachel Browning, Programmes Manager (Projects), Art Fund Talk title: ‘See, fly, buy: Art Fund research and collecting programmes’
3.20 – 3.30 – Questions

3.30 – 4.00pm Round up and Discussion – Role of SSN for Islamic Art and Material Culture in this area

4.00 pm Close 

Dig it: Museums and archaeology

6 March 2015
British Museum, London

The day will include:

- a panel discussion on the challenges of growing archaeology archives
- an update on the Treasure Act and a look at how museums can acquire treasure
- a funding Q&A with organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund
- practical tips on how to develop successful community archaeology projects
- how crowdsourcing is being used in archaeology projects
- new approaches to displaying archaeology.

An essential conference for anyone working with archaeology collections or on archaeology projects.

To see the day's full timetable, details of speakers and to book click here

This event is in association with the Portable Antiquities Scheme and the Council for British Archaeology.

The Herrenhausen Symposium "Museum of Cultures, Wereldmuseum, Världskulturmuseet,... What Else? Positioning Ethnological Museums in the 21st Century"

The Herrenhausen Symposium "Museum of Cultures, Wereldmuseum, Världskulturmuseet,... What Else? Positioning Ethnological Museums in the 21st Century" by the Volkswagen Foundation in cooperation with Deutscher Museumsbund discusses the need for a critical appraisal of the past, present, and future of ethnological museums.

The symposium which will take place from June 21-23, 2015 in Hanover, Germany is looking early career researchers to participate. 

Rooted in the curiosity cabinets of the Enlightenment, ethnological museums experienced an enormous boom during the colonial period. The collections assembled in those past times continue to characterize the exhibits of ethnological museums today, causing the need for a critical appraisal of the past, present, and future of this particular genre of museum. The symposium will address topics like the history of museum collections, provenance research, the special case of "restitution", different forms of cooperation as well as how these aspects can become part of ethnographic exhibitions.

Travel Grants
The Volkswagen Foundation offers 15 Travel Grants for young researchers who wish to attend the symposium. The deadline for application is March 15, 2015. For more information on the application process, please visit the website. 

16 February 2015

Installing Loans at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby

Thursday 12 February 2015

Leeds Museum and Galleries are regular lenders to the annual exhibitions on Cook related themes at the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Whitby. This years theme is 'Fashion and Fibres: Island Dress in Polynesia' and on Thursday morning Emma Bowron, the conservator at Leeds Museum DiscoveryCentre, and I drove to Whitby in the museum van with a European style Samoan barkcloth dress probably dating from the late 1800s. The drive takes around two hours. Arriving in the attic exhibition space we met long-standing friends, MEG members, and ex-colleagues, Barbara Woroncow and Adrian Norris, who were there helping Sophie Forgan and other Whitby staff with the install. Barbara and Adrian are active trustees of the Captain Cook museum. In the large case where the Samoan dress was to be laid gently on a calico covered plastazote 
slope, a 1970s Fijian barkcloth hung at the back, which was one of the last gifts Barbara’s father hunted down for her in a bargain sale, a while ago now. 

The other item in the case is a beautiful modern reconstruction of the tapa waistcoat that Mrs Cook made for her husband, but never finished.  The partial garment, Cook died before it was finished, survives in Australia. This new waistcoat is by Alison Larkin. It has a linen back which laces up the centre, and fine silk floral embroidery enhanced with tiny silver coloured sequins or spangels. There are real pockets under the flaps.

We stayed to help with the install of a stunning tapa poncho cloth from Kew, and to watch the others installing two Maori flax cloaks on loan from the Great North Museum.  The Leeds Samoan girl’s dress is made from tapa coloured with traditional designs, and tailored with a yoke, collar and sleeves and buttons down the front. It may have been made for an indigenous girl, or perhaps for the child of a European missionary or official. It is rare for such dresses to survive. A good photograph of it can be found on the exhibition page of the Cook museum. The dress was transferred to Leeds Museums in 1964 from Leeds Corporation Works Department. The notes say: Formerly in the house of Mrs Bell, cleared by Corporation Housing Department. Items brought to the museum by Mr Fitzgerald of Housing Dept. The material seems to have been brought home by E.R.G. Bell (husband or father in law?) and includes a sketch map of Samoa and its islands.  I’ve tried to trace ERG Bell, but no success so far.

The exhibition opens this Saturday, 14 February and will run until the Captain Cook Memorial Museum closes for the winter at the end of November.

Antonia Lovelace  
Curator of World Cultures
Leeds Museums and Galleries

13 February 2015

Call for Papers: The creation, collection and care of textiles and dress in museums and historic houses: amateurs and professionals

11 June 2015, University of Wolverhampton, UK

CHORD invites submissions for a workshop that explores the role of individuals and organisations, both amateurs and professionals, in making, collecting and caring for dress and textiles in museums and historic houses. Papers focusing on any historical period or geographical area are welcome. Museum professionals, conservators, students, academics or anybody with an interest in the topic are warmly invited to submit a proposal. We welcome both experienced and new speakers, including speakers without an institutional affiliation. Potential speakers are welcome to discuss their ideas with the organisers before submission (please see details below). Some of the themes that  might be considered include (but are not limited to)

Collecting and the collector

Class, gender and/or ethnicity and the care of historic dress or textiles

The roles of professionals and amateurs in museums and historic houses

The history of museum curatorship and conservation in dress and textiles

Professional organisations, charities and philanthropy

Amateur production, conservation, repairs and care of historic textiles or dress

The workshop will be held at the University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton city Campus.

To submit a proposal, please send title and abstract of c.300 to 400 words to Laura Ugolini, at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk by 6 March 2015. Individual papers are usually 20 minutes in length, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion. We also welcome shorter, 10 minute presentations, which might focus on a specific collection, new project or work in progress. If you are unsure whether to submit a proposal, please e-mail Laura Ugolini at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk to discuss your ideas.

Small bursaries will be available for speakers to subsidise the cost of travel (within the UK) and the workshop fee.

For further information, please e-mail: Laura Ugolini at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk or Margaret Ponsonby at m.ponsonby@wlv.ac.uk

Or see the workshop web-page at: http://home.wlv.ac.uk/~in6086/textiles2015.htm

News about CHORD events can also be found here: http://retailhistory.wordpress.com/about/

If you would like to join the CHORD mailing list, please e-mail Laura Ugolini at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

Prof. Laura Ugolini
Professor of History
Joint editor, Textile History
Dept. of History, Politics, War Studies
Faculty of Social Sciences
Room MC334
University of Wolverhampton

Exhibition: A Disappearing Culture: The Amis Earthenware Tradition in Taiwan

17 January – 31 May 2015

The Amis are the largest indigenous tribe in Taiwan with a population close to 182,000, mainly live along the east coast of the island. The Amis are the only remaining matriarchal aboriginal tribe in Taiwan who create earthenware using traditional methods. 

The exhibition looks into the Amis lifestyle, women’s role in earthenware production, the ceremonial aspect of this ceramic tradition and the production process. 

There will be photos and examples of Amis earthenware along the staircase, and a 10-minute documentary film on the second floor.

12 Bennett Street