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 29, 2006

Performance at Tate Modern

Saw this on the Tate Modern website. Sounds mad but fun!

FrenchMottershead: Club Class
Saturday 7 October 2006, 14.00–18.00

Club Class is a performance experience created by FrenchMottershead (Rebecca French and Andrew Mottershead) that invites participants to explore the social rituals and museum etiquette of Tate Modern.

Participants choose from four micro-classes led by experts, which explore the possibilities of what might happen when behavioural attitudes are altered. Using bad behaviour, clothing, surveillance or body language to reassess the customs of a museum visit, the experience offers the opportunity to devise performances to be played out in various locations in Tate Modern.

Places are limited so applicants are asked to select a micro-class from the Curriculum and send a sentence explaining their interest in participating to

Supported by Arts Council England
Tate Modern East Room£10 (£7 concessions), booking required
By application only
For tickets, call 020 7887 8888.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Conference Alert: Cultural Heritage Issues: The Legacy of Conquest, Colonialization and Commerce

This one is a little short notice, but if you happen to be in Oregon, it might give an interesting perspective on some of these issues (from the H-Museum network):

Cultural Heritage Issues: The Legacy of Conquest, Colonization and Commerce
Willamette University, Salem (Oregon)
October 12-14, 2006

The 2003 looting of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad generated international discussion about the law and policies of cultural heritage management. How can we protect archaeological sites and museums against looters? Is there a way to curb the illegal trade in stolen art and artifacts? How can we resolve national and international disputes about the repatriation of human remains and artifacts that were displaced as the result of war, genocide, colonization and commerce? Should cultural treasures such as the Elgin marbles or the Benin bronzes be repatriated, and should the 9,000-year-old "Kennewick Man" skeleton be studied by scientists or be reburied?

This conference, open to the public, brings together archaeologists, legal scholars, art historians, museum curators and experts from the FBI and U.S. State Department to debate these questions. More than two dozen internationally recognized experts from Australia, Canada, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Nigeria and the United States will engage the audience in a critical dialogue about the legal and ethical dimensions of cultural heritage issues. As part of the conference, there will be two public lectures that are free and open to the public (registration not required). The first of these lectures by Prof. Kwame Anthony Appiah is entitled "Who Owns Culture?" Prof.Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His most recent book is Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006). Prof.Appiah's lecture will take place on Thursday, October 12, 2006, at 7:30 pm,in Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center at WillametteUniversity. The lecture is co-sponsored by The Lilly Project at WillametteUniversity.The second public lecture in conjunction with the conference is by Mr.Matthew Bogdanos and is entitled "Thieves of Baghdad: The Investigation into the Looting of the Iraq Museum." Designed to separate myth from reality, thepresentation will explore the investigation into the theft and looting ofthe Iraq Museum (in April 2003) from the creation of the U.S. government's first multi-agency task force ever deployed to a war zone (in the frozenhills of Afghanistan) to that team's recovery of thousands of history's most priceless antiquities in eight countries. Mr. Bogdanos' illustrated slide lecture will also expose the flourishing black market in stolen antiquities that is funding the insurgency in Iraq. Mr. Bogdanos (J.D. Columbia Schoolof Law; U.S. Marine Reserve Colonel) is an Assistant District Attorney inManhattan. He served as the Deputy Director of the Joint Interagency Coordination Group and headed the investigation of the looting of the Iraq National Museum. Mr. Bogdanos will speak on Friday, October 13, 2006, at 7:30 pm, in Hudson Hall in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center at Willamette University. The lecture is co-sponsored by Willamette University College ofLaw.

To register and to view the programme, visit the conference website:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Exhibition: Story of Rice

Have just been to see 'Story of Rice 3' at New Walk Museum. Really interesting, and worth a visit if you haven't already been. The installation - a series of neon lights - is part of a much larger collaborative project that the artist, Suki Chan, is working on with the Chinese communities in Leicester and London and in China.

The focus is, predictably, on rice and it's key role in cultural and personal identity. The resource room, adjacent to the installation, consists of audio-visuals (a DVD of edited interviews with people in China and Britain talking about their personal 'relationship' with rice, covering diverse topics as when best to sow (during the month of 'excited insects'), how it used to be sold in China (apparently facilitated by a system of weights and pulleys!), famine and the decline of rice farming during the Great Leap Forward and the quality (or lack) of modern rice. Visitors are asked to submit their own stories of rice, on postcards (displayed in the gallery), and in drawings using graphics software (one of the computer monitors wasn't working, which was a shame). Visitors can also listen to recordings via phone handsets mounted on the wall, mostly in Chinese - which bemused some visitors. In fact, I wish I had had someone with me who could read characters, as I think that would have added an extra dimension to my appreciation of the installation, in particular.

I was amused by the reaction of some visitors: 'Story of Rice. Huh. Don't tell me this is about the food, rice [er, yes!].' 'What the hell is all this about then?' 'Oh, it's just boring stuff in here'. But I was thoroughly irritated by the parents of small children with particularly loud feet, using the gallery space as a playground. Now, I'm not one for reverential behaviour in museums and galleries, but really this was ridiculous. Screaming, shouting, whinging...and that was just the parents. ;) Getting very intolerant in me old age!

Anyway, I'm going off on a tangent. There's a lovely website of the whole 'Story of Rice' project online (which can also be accessed in the gallery), which includes images of the installation at New Walk, and lots of other resources. And, more information about the artist can be found here.

The second of the 'China Talks' season exhibitions at the New Walk Museum presents the work of three artists from Leshan in Sichuan province, who paint contemporary landscapes in a fairly traditional style. I particularly enjoyed the graphic style of Huang Zhongxin. If only I had a spare £500 hanging around...!

I am now racking my brains to think how I could incorporate a discussion of these two exhibitions in my thesis, when I should be thinking about more pressing issues like unpacking (I moved house yesterday).

Anyone else been to any good (or bad) exhibitions recently?

Friday, September 22, 2006


(Originally posted 6th September 2006)

Let's get a bit of debate going, shall we? I've got a few questions for you all. (Choose one or two and let everyone know what you think by clicking on 'comment' at the bottom of this post.)

  • Which exhibition or museum sticks in your mind, and why?
  • What first got you interested in your research subject?
  • How do you maintain motivation?
  • What's a good cure for writer's block?

Here's what I think:

The Dinosaur Museum in Dorchester really sticks in my mind. We went several times as a family when I was young. My brothers were obsessed with dinosaurs, as only little boys can be and I was very into fossils (after a very successful fossil hunting trip to France - I found a complete ammonite fossil bigger than my hand). It was one of the first museums I ever visited that had really worked on interactivity, and had clearly recognised that their main audience were children. It was more like a playground than a museum! I remember dragging my (by that point very unwell) poor Grandad round the museum, who clearly had no interest in it whatsoever!

How did I first get interested in my research topic? Well, I have always been fascinated - from a very young age - with stuff from China. I relished Chinese take-away when I was still my high chair, my Mum can remember me being transfixed by Chinese acrobats on the telly (incidentally, they were doing a routine based on a revolutionary theme), but I think it all really started when I studied Modern China as part of GCSE History. Part of the course looked at the Tiananmen Square 'incident', which had only happened a matter of eighteen months before hand. So, although I always loved history, that was really the first time that it seemed really relevant. I can clearly remember watching Kate Adie's (for the BBC) 'tell the world' covert filming in the aftermath, and it made an enormous impression on me. I think things that get at you at that age remain significant influences for the rest of your life. But, of course, around the same time the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union collapsed - all these really massive historical, political and social events happened in the space of a few years and really captured my imagination. Plus, when I was fourteen/fifteen I thought the Manic Street Preachers' were quite the best thing since sliced bread and I lapped up all their politicking and appropriation of communist ideology and iconography (as anyone who witnessed my - very long and muddled - presentation at the last Summer School can attest to!): All those things came together to influence my interest in communism (I should point out, that in spite of popular opinion, I don't profess to being a 'communist' ;)) By the time I got to University, I was studying art history, but with a focus on Asian Art. For my dissertation I got to combine my love of all things Chinese with my interest in political art and did a study of post-1949 propagandist visual culture in China and Tibet. And, it wasn't an enormous leap from that, to studying museum studies and the image of communist China in the West.

Now, the last two questions I don't have answers for. I'm hoping you can all help me with that ;)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

CFP: Ruins and Reconstructions: Pompeii in the Popular Imagination

From the H-ArtHist Network:

17th-19th July 2007, Clifton Hill House, University of Bristol

In the two hundred and fifty years since excavations began, Pompeii has became a major source of inspiration to western imaginations. The site, andthe widely accessible creations it inspired throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (novels, films, paintings, exhibitions, domesticinteriors, souvenirs and guide books) brought antiquity into the public sphere of knowledge, to be shared between gentleman enthusiasts, middle-class readers and music hall audiences alike. More recently, whilst the physical state of the site itself has reached a critical state of decay, a surge of popular interest in Pompeii, a prototype ground zero, has seen the city, as imaginative tool, model of disaster and tourist hotspot,reach a wider audience than ever before.This conference, sponsored by the Bristol Institute for Research in theHumanities and Arts, will explore the popular receptions and representations of Pompeii. Our aim is to provide a stimulating environment in which academics studying the city and its reception can be broughttogether with practitioners who have tried to bring Pompeii to life in media such as novels, painting, photography, documentary and journalism.Confirmed keynote speakers include Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, Mary Beard,Stephen Harrison, Stefano de Caro and Lindsey Davis.The conference organisers now invite proposals for 30 minute papers on any aspect of Pompeii's reception, or on any of the following themes:immorality and decadence; taste and domesticity; visualising disaster;ghosts and ruins; sex and death.

Please send a 300 word abstract to ShelleyHales ( or Joanna Paul(, or to Shelley Hales, Dept of Classics &Ancient History, University of Bristol, 11 Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1TB.

Abstracts must be received no later than 30 November 2006.

---Dr Joanna Paul
Lecturer in Classical Studies
School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology
University of Liverpool
12 Abercromby Square
L69 7WZ
Tel. 0151 794 2469

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Getty Research Institute Fall 2006 Events

From the H-ArtHist Network:

Lectures and Screenings
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Drive
Los Angeles

Please join us at the Getty Center this fall for free public events!
Below is a preview of scheduled programs presented by the Getty ResearchInstitute. Watch for news of individual events starting in October.

David Blackbourn
Religion, Nature, and Art in Nineteenth-Century Germany
Wednesday, October 11, 4:00 p.m.

Frances Terpak
More than a Snapshot: Photographs as Tools of Inquiry at the GettyResearch Institute
Tuesday, October 17, 4:00 p.m.

Marjorie Perloff
The Manifesto as Art Form: A Futurist Invention
Thursday, October 19, 3:00 p.m.

Films by Gordon Matta-Clark
November 1, 7:30 p.m.

David Cannadine
Mellon: An American Life (book signing and presentation)
Wednesday, December 6, 2:00 p.m.

Paul Vangelisti
West Coast Futurism: Influence of Futurist Visual Poetry on ContemporaryPoets
Wednesday, December 13, 3:00 p.m.

Also of interest:

Curators' tours of the Research Institute's current exhibition, ATumultuous Assembly: Visual Poems of the Italian Futurists
Works in Progress series on November 10 and December 8

The Getty Conservation Institute presents stone conservator SimonWarrack on conservation at Angkor Wat
Thursday, September 21, 7:00 p.m.

Admission to these events is free, but reservations are generally required. Parking at the Getty is $8.00 per car. Visit the calendar section of or call (310) 440-7300 for more information.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A whole new take on interactive museum displays

From: Sinofile Times Online Weblog

A mortifying lapse of security around the famed terracotta warriors that stand as they have for centuries -- although now on display in a huge hangar-like museum.
They were joined at the weekend by a young German arts student said to be obsessed with the figures. The trouble was, after his daring leap down into the pit the security guards had some trouble finding the fake warrior and then evicting him.

Read more


I'm going to republish posts that contain discussion points, just in case people missed them first time round. First up is Kouros' post about fieldwork; originally posted to the blog on 30th August.

just to say my hello
Hope all things are going well for you.
I am working for a part of my fieldwork under very hot weather!
what is your feeling about fieldwork in a research?
thank you for all things and congratulation for the new blog of the phd students.
best wishes,

Saturday, September 16, 2006

CFP: Fields of Vision

From the H-Museum Network:

Fields of Vision: The Material and Visual Culture of New England, 1600-1830
Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts
November 9-10, 2007

It has been twenty-five years since the path-breaking exhibition New EnglandBegins opened at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The exhibit, and itscomprehensive three-volume catalogue, brought new scholarly attention to theart, artifacts and built environment of early New England. Since that time,the discipline of material culture has matured, while the emergingfield of visual culture has brought new methods and genres to bear on thestudy of images, objects, landscapes and the technologies that shaped them.This two-day conference, sponsored by the Colonial Society of Massachusettsand the Center for Historic American Visual Culture at the AmericanAntiquarian Society, will assess new approaches to the material and visual culture of New England. Reflecting the scholarly trends that have emerged inthe past quarter century, the conference will extend the chronological scopeof inquiry to embrace the eighteenth and early nineteenth century and will explicitly address the innovative work being done in the field of visualculture. We particularly welcome proposals that address Native American andAfrican-American material and visual culture as wellas proposals that engage broad theoretical, methodological, andhistoriographical approaches.The conference committee will consider individual submissions as well aspanels with three papers and a moderator/commentator. Two-page proposalsaccompanied by a two-page c.v. for each presenter should be sent via electronic mail to Georgia B. Barnhill, curator of graphic arts at theAmerican Antiquarian Society (

For further information, please contact Martha McNamara ( or Georgia Barnhill.

The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2006.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Conference Alert: Making Sense of Art, Making Art of Sense

From the AAH's 'artline' listserv.

Oxford, Friday 27 October – Sunday 29 October

Venue: Science Oxford
1-5 London Place
Oxford OX4 1BD

Conference organizers: Dr. Francesca Bacci, Department of History of Art ,
University of Oxford
Dr. David Melcher, Department of Psychology,
Oxford Brookes University

Sponsors: Institute of Historical and Cultural Research,
Oxford Brookes University
Quest International


The conference brings together scientists, art historians, curators and artists working on the question of the role of the senses in the creation and reception of art. An international group of invited speakers will convene in five sessions on Touch, Audition, Smell and Taste, Vision and Synaesthesia.

The art historical discipline is increasingly oriented towards privileging the visual, both through the inclusion of “visual culture” as a field of study and through its traditional, if criticised, ocularcentic approach. Contemporary art practice, on the other hand, has long begun to explore new multi-sensory ways to reach the public’s consciousness. Psychologists and neuroscientists are demonstrating that all of the senses are inter-related and real-world perceptual experience involves a fusion of information from different sensory modalities (cross modal integration).
As these different disciplines deploy their specific methodologies to uncover the variegated sensory territory, it is profitable and momentous to create an interdisciplinary platform in which knowledge and experience can be shared and capitalized. Empirical scientific research can both inform and be informed by artistic and historical investigations into the nature of the senses.
Some of the issues discussed in this conference may include:

Ø The relationship between the senses
Ø The relationship between sensory experience and artistic representation
Ø The predominance of visual experience in human perceptual consciousness, and the scientific foundation, or lack thereof, of the current interpretative model of ocularcentrism
Ø The mechanisms of cross-modal integration and interference
Ø The physical mechanisms that underlie each sense and the brain processing of sensorial input
Ø The role of the senses in attention and memory
Ø Art and cultural history of the senses
Ø Production and reception of non-visually centred artworks

Answers to these questions are of intrinsic interest, but they also have a wider significance, having the potential to generate new theoretical premises for the investigation of the creation, reception and display of art.

Despite the significance of this topic and the numerous diverse individual approaches to its study, there is only a very limited interdisciplinary literature on art and the senses. One methodologically novel aspect of this conference is the fact that the pair of speakers for each session (one from the sciences and one from the humanities) will interact before and during the meeting to create a productive interdisciplinary dialog. The essays presented in this conference will form the first book on “Art and the Senses”.

For more info, including the programme, see the conference webpage:

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I've added links (see sidebar) to the National Museums Liverpool blog and; a site that provides details of over 70 museum-related blogs including one called...The Attic. We've gone global! Have an explore of the blogs available, and if you come across anything particularly interesting or useful, why not let us all know about it?

Cheap(er) books and CDs and stuff

Amazon are offering students with a valid NUS card an extra 5% everything for a trial 14-month period. See their website for more details.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Conference Alert: Vision 2006, Sustainable Communities 200 Years after the Abolition of the Slave Trade?

From the ethnomuseums Jiscmail listserv:



A one day conference organised by InterCulture
Thursday 21 September 2006
Harewood House, Nr. Leeds

The British Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 can be viewed as one of the most significant early human rights legislation ever passed anywhere in the world. Yet 200 years later, have we the basis for a sustainable communities agenda based on respect for diversity and difference?

Harewood House was the venue for a previous InterCulture Conference, Vision 2003, which brought together a number of agendas from the world of arts, heritage, regeneration and race relations. Harewood is an important Site of Memory for the Bicentenary and is organising a number of activities as part of the 2007 programme. This conference will be the first public event in its newly completed conference centre.


Hilary Beckles, University of West Indies
David Richardson, Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation
Peter Roberts, Academy for Sustainable Communities
Ruth Dass, InterCulture
Inderjit Bhogal, Yorkshire and Humberside Faiths

The lunch-time and evening programme will include performances and presentations by Yorkshire-based artists RJC Dance Company, visual artist Howard Angus and jazz band, Yamanu.

Throughout 2007 cities such as Liverpool, Hull, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Bradford and London are organising an extensive programme of events to mark the bicentenary. This conference has been planned as an opportunity to give delegates a chance to explore some of the complex inter-related issues which span so many disciplines, to network with other key professionals and to be able to participate in the planning for some of the legacies after the year is over.

Places are limited and will be issued on a first come, first served basis. For more information and bookings please see

Price £185 (including lunch and an exclusive evening buffet in the Harewood House courtyard, creative performances and a tour of Harewood House).
Concessionary price for representatives from voluntary organisations: £95

Monday, September 11, 2006

Exhibition: Beyond the Page: Contemporary Art from Pakistan

Was sent this info by Asia House:

The current exhibition, Beyond the Page; Contemporary Art from Pakistan (31 August to 11 November), has now opened with extensive coverage in both the UK and Pakistani press. I would like to draw your attention to the Events Season featuring talks with leading experts in Asian art and contemporary artists inspired by the rich tradition of Pakistani art.

Asia House Members - £4 (non-members £7. Free to Westminister residents, students and academics)
To book, call 020 7307 5454

Wednesday 20 September, 6.45pm ­ Innovation Through Tradition: What the Miniature Has Now Become. Hammad Nasar, curator in conversation with artist Hamra Abbas.

Monday 25 September, 6.45pm ­ Two Steps Forward One Step Back: Contemporary Art in Pakistan Since 1980. Naazish Ata-Ullah, Associate Professor at the Department of Fine art at the National College of Arts, Lahore

Wednesday 18 October, 6.45pm ­ Four Hundred Years of Miniature Painting in Lahore. Robert Skelton, OBE, Former Keeper of Indian and South East Asian Art at the V&A Museum.

Saturday 4 November 10.30am ­ 1pm. Panel discussion with films, visuals and discussion moderated by Hammad Nasar, with Anna Sloan, Nicole Wolf, Nurjahan Akhlaq and Puja Kaul, exploring how Pakistani artists have transformed miniature painting into a distinct contemporary art practice.

LUNCH TIME GALLERY TALKS ­ Tuesdays 1 ­1.30pm

Tuesday 19 September ­ Virginia Whiles, historian, critic, curator and lecturer at Chelsea College of Art

Tuesday 26 September ­ Tim Wilcox, curator of Asia House's 2000 exhibition Pakistan: Another Vision ­ 50 Years of Painting and Sculpture from Pakistan

Tuesday 10 October ­ Zarah Hussain, artist using Islamic geometry as a source of inspirationTuesday

17 October ­ Faiza Butt, Pakistani artist working in London using formal elements of the modern miniature

For all bookings and information, please call 020 7307 5454.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Dear all,

We've been getting some 'spam' comments, so I've enabled comment moderation. This means all comments posted will be sent to me first for approval before they appear online, so it may take a little while for any comments you post to appear on the blog.

Amy x

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Collections: A Journal for Museums and Archives Professionals, 2 (4)

From the H-Museum Network:

Collections: A Journal for Museums and Archives Professionals
Volume 2, Number 4: Legal Issues

Guest Editor's Foreword
Pamela White Trimpe


The Iraqi Museum of Modern Art: Legal Implications of the 2003 Invasion
Nada Shabout

Long after the War is Over, the Controversy Remains: Looting of Cultural Properties by the Nazis during World War II
Patricia VanRollins

Endangering Collections: Legal Obligations for Museums Holding Endangered Species
Tiffany Adrain

Museums and Copyright: Is Ignorance Really Bliss?
Blythe Burkhardt and Pamela Trimpe

Reference Guide to Museum Legal Issues
Nicolette B. Meister and Pamela Trimpe


Who Owns the Past?: Cultural Policy, Cultural Property, and the Law edited by Kate Fitz Gibbon
Elise Ewing

Useful little website this. You can access information about exhibitions and collections at over 100 participating museums in 14 European countries. The following info is from the H-Museum network:

euromuse, the exhibition portal for over 150 museums in Europe, celebrates its fifth anniversary

euromuse is a public access portal of Europe's museums of art and cultural history. It was set up five years ago to give up-to-date and accurate infor­mation about Europe's museums and their major exhibitions, and to provide all this information concisely and in one easily-accessible place.Today, the portal has 51 partners representing more than150 museums in 16 European countries - and the number of participating museums is constantly growing.

euromuse includes the Louvre in Paris, theTate in London, the Uffizi in Florence, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, theStaatliche Museen zu Berlin, the Kunsthistorische Museum in Vienna, theJewish Museum in Prague, the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens and the National Museum in Gdansk.The exhibitions cover all the arts, at every period. In time, they range from pre- and early history and antiquity to Old Masters, 19th century and contemporary art. Media represented include painting, graphic art,s culpture, coins and medals, applied arts, film, photography, architecture and design. They include art from all over the world as well as European art itself.Europe's rich tradition in producing and collecting works of art, and in making them available to all, has given its museums a primary place in the experience of art. euromuse's objective to help bring together this extraordinary cultural rich­ness by announcing exhibitions, and also describing the cultural heritage and specific European traditions which they represent.More than 100 current exhibitions are covered on euromuse at present, and the archive contains almost 1,000 more. Because all the information published on euromuse - information about the exhibition, the museum, admission fees, opening hours and relevant web-links - is supplied directlyby each institution, euromuse can offer a high quality and accurate website.The information published on euromuse is available in the language of the exhibiting country and in English. At present this multilingual website offers 10 languages: Danish, German,English, French, Spain, Italian, Czech, Dutch, Swedish and Polish.The portal was developed by the National Gallery in London; the Musée du Louvre and the Réunion des musées nationaux in Paris; the KunsthistorischeMuseum Vienna; the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam; the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen; and the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Hello folks,

The date for my APG has just come through. I'm scared! Any tips or advice from those of you who have been through it?

Of course this means that I'm going to have to do some work, so I'm relying on everyone out there in the PhD community to keep this blog going while I'm otherwise disposed. :)

Amy x

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Exhibition Recommendation

Hello everyone, I just wanted to write a quick post to tell you about an exhibition I saw last week. If you are in London in the next month and have a spare half an hour to kill I can really recommend going to the 'Front Page' exhibition at the British Library, (On until October 8th). The theme of the exhibition is British newspapers from the last 100 years, it definitely makes you think about the power that the media has in constructing 'history'. You can also take away with you free copies of historic newspapers from the early 20th century and you don't have to pay to get in!

CFP: 2006 International Symposium on Artists, Curators and the Screen (ACTS 2006)

Call for Papers
ACTS 2006
Deadline: 2 October 2006

Following the success of the first Sixty Second Film and Video Festival(SSFVF 2004), we cordially invite arts professionals, those working in the museum and gallery sectors, artists and the academic community to make submissions to the SSFVF 2006 International Symposium on Artists,Curators and The Screen (ACTS 2006). ACTS will also be part of Portsmouth Screen 2006: festival of film and new media, which takes place from November 10–19 2006.

The symposium will take place on November 11, 2006. The University of Portsmouth will host the ACTS symposium and the program will include competitively selected papers, as well as small number of invited speakers, Malcolm LeGrice will give the keynote lecture.

* Themes*

The symposium welcomes multidisciplinary and collaborative inquiries across such fields as Artists’ Film, Artists’ Video, Performance,Curation, Museology and Independent Practice etc. Topics appropriate forsubmission are diverse, however, ACTS especially welcomes proposals for papers that examine:

* how the once alternative forms of artists’ film and video have become commodified and taken up a place in the official canon of mainstream art (for example, the Turner Prize) and whether this has led to new sets of expectations in different fields.

* the significance of technological convergence for both exhibition and preservation.

* the role of generative processes in the construction of new moving-image narratives.

Deadline for proposals: 2 October 2006. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes. To submit a proposal, please send a paper title, a 250-word abstract and your contact details to: or by post to Dr. Garrett Monaghan,University of Portsmouth, School of Creative Arts, Film and Media, Saint George’s Building, 141, High Street, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2HY.

For more information about Portsmouth Screen, see:

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Are there any francophones or German-speakers out there? I often get conference alerts in French or German. Currently I don't blog them, but if you would be interested be, let me know.

Opportunity to write for the Museums Journal!

I came across a little advert in the latest Museums Journal yesterday, which you might have missed. They're looking for 'people to write critical reviews of new and redeveloped museums and galleries and temporary exhibitions'.

To be considered, post or email a short CV (inc. areas of expertise) and one example of your writing to the following address by 1st October 2006.

Simon Stephens
Deputy Editor
Museums Journal
24 Calvin Street
E1 6NW

Tel: 020 7426 6920

or email:

Might be worth looking into. Could be a good way of developing your writing skills and getting your name out 'there'. And, who knows, the pay might not be too bad either! ;)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Conference Alerts/Calls for Papers

I've received quite a few conference alerts and calls for papers over the last couple of days from the H-ArtHist and H-Museum networks. To save time I've collected them together. I think there's probably something here for everyone!

Museums and the Web 2007
11-14th April, 2007
San Francisco, California, USA

Click on the link below for information about the themes of the conference, session formats, deadlines and an online proposal submission form.


Collecting across Cultures in the Early Modern World
Huntington Library in San Marino, California
May 11-12, 2007

The USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute will host a major international conference, "Collecting across Cultures in the Early ModernWorld," to take place at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, on May 11th and 12th, 2007. The conference organizers invite proposals for papers examining aspects of collecting as a global and transcultural phenomenon in the period ca. 1450 to ca. 1850, including but not limited to the following topics:

- The formation and organization of collections: trajectories, networks,circulation, exchange
- The motivations and uses of collections: science, art, religion, curiosity, commerce, empire
- The interpretation, contextualization, and reinvention of early moderncollections
- The transference of techniques, artistic styles, ideas, and beliefs through the circulation of objects
- The role of geography in the production, circulation, and interpretation of collections
- The usefulness of theories of center and periphery, diffussionism,transculturation, metissage, etc. in the understanding of collections
- Relationships between objects, texts, and images

The conference organizers encourage the submission of proposals which examine not only how non-European material was collected by Europeans but also how collectors outside Europe collected from other cultures.The conference welcomes applications from scholars working across disciplinary and institutional settings.

To be considered, please submit an abstract (not to exceed one page) and a c.v. (not to exceed two pages), or mail a copy of these materials to

Collecting Conference Organizing Committee,
USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute,
University of Southern California,
Los Angeles, California, 90089-0034.

Proposals are due no later than November 1, 2006.

The conference will provide transportation and local costs for those accepted on the program. The papers will be pre-circulated among participants and must be available by March 30, 2007. Questions may be addressed to the conference organizers, Daniela Bleichmar( ) and Malcolm Baker ( ). Information about the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute can be found at

Contesting forms, testing functions: Dynamic encounters between sculpture, decoration and design

This session forms part of the AAH conference 2007,
12-14 April,
University of Ulster,

See for full details.

Deadline for Submissions, 10 November 2006

The category of 'decorative art' defies precise definition. As a term, it is descriptive rather than definitive, and implies a condition of art,instead of a distinct category of its own. It is often used interchangeably with 'applied art', 'industrial art' and 'design', even though each of these terms evokes a specific period and comes with its own unique associations. Inherently interdisciplinary, these practices cross fluidly into other, more easily defined categories of art, such as painting, sculpture and architecture. Yet paradoxically, when they are studied, catalogued or displayed, objects classed as decorative art and design often assume an autonomy that contradicts their conditional nature.This session seeks to explore these divisions and intersections with specific reference to sculpture and the 'plastic' arts: when does an object count as sculpture, decoration or design? In turn, how are these definitions absorbed and reflected into art history and histories of decorative art and design? Taking the historic partnership that has existed between sculpture, decorative art and design as a means of investigating the problems that arise when we divide art practices into disciplinary categories, this session aims to examine, firstly, the motives that inform the categories by which we order objects and, secondly, to test this ordering by examining more closely the objects themselves, as well as their critical reception and status. The session will seek to bring together a range of different approaches, and will welcome specific case studies as well as broader theoretical, historiographic and museological discussions, focusing on any period or geography. By addressing these issues across both historic and modern contexts, the session aims to highlight shifts and continuities in the dialogue between decorative art and sculpture.

For further information about this session please call Ellen Tait on0113 246 7467.
Please submit abstracts (c.500 words) and a CV by email to or by post to Ellen Tait, The Henry Moore Institute, 74 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AH
by 10 November 2006.

CFP: The Interplay of Art and Globalization

From the H-Museum Network:

Last Call for Papers

IFK_conference on "The interplay of art and globalization - consequences for museums"
Vienna, Austria
25 - 27 January 2007
Convener: Hans Belting (IFK Vienna)
Commentators: Peter Weibel (ZKM Karlsruhe), Beat Wyss (HFG Karlsruhe), John Onians (University of East Anglia), Ladislav Kesner (Cultropa Prague)Focus

As a medium of global participation and awareness, contemporary art claims to be universal, but it simultaneously presupposes local roots, alternative genealogies, and plural modernities. The postcolonial era in non-Western sites often uses art in a twofold manner: it claims contemporary art to exist everywhere, as a medium of global participation, and, at the same time, stages local art history as a claim for an independent avant-garde and a different modernity, whether such claims are a fiction or not. The interplay of art and globalization thus may bring to the fore, at one and the same time, an aggressive localism that makes use of culture as weapon of otherness and defense, and a transnational art, indifferent to claims of geography, history, and identity.In light of this development, local museums of whatever culture and locationare forced to redefine their meaning, purpose, and function both contextually and globally. Since art museums connect to a given society and its official self-interpretation, they have also to act as civic laboratory
which implies that they have to offer tempting narrations about the relation of art, society, and history not only for visitors from abroad but also for the broad cultural and social spectrum of the local clientele. The delicate agenda of positioning a museum between the local and the global raises questions of how to respond to intercultural and transnational aspects of art while ensuring a place-bound genealogy of art history, and of how to deal with both - traditional "art", if it can be labeled as such, and global, that is contemporary art. Though many debates have recently focused on the challenge of a non-Eurocentric view on art recognizing the specificities of Latin American, African, Indian, Asian art production etc., many prominent museums in the West did not reshape their politics of display to successfully meet this challenge. Rather one can observe either a "ghettoization" of non-Western art within special collections and a curatorial populism selling it as exotic art for mass audiences, or one can observe global expansion strategies of Western museums such as MOMA's and Pompidou's attempts to create outlets in major urban destinations beyond the US and Europe.The conference shall foster the debate of these complex issues in an interdisciplinary format calling for proposals by cultural theorists, cultural historians, museum experts, art historians, and experts of other disciplines. The presentations shall address the interplay of art and globalization and its consequences for museums and collections, and shall analyze the implications for their corporate identity, exhibition politics, and marketing strategies.

Practical information: PhD students and post-doctoral researchers are eligible for participation in this conference. Interested researcher should submit a paper proposal inEnglish (350 words), a curriculum vitae and the full contact coordinates (postal address, email, phone number) until 30 September 2006. The conference presentations will last 20 minutes. The working language is English. Successful applicants will be notified by 25 October 2006. The IFK will cover their travel and accommodation costs.

Applications shall be submitted via E-Mail to Prof. Hans Belting
DirectorIFK - Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften
Reichsratsstraße 17, 1010, Vienna, Austria

Saturday, September 02, 2006

News: Maze site 'should feature museum'

It would be interesting to get peoples' thoughts on the following. The redevelopment of and institution of a museum at the Maze/Long Kesh site is likely to be highly controversial. Already I have come across several articles and news reports which relate the different (perhaps unreconcialable?) perspectives from all interested parties. It raises all sorts of issues: how do museums deal with controversial and contested histories, with politics, with conflict, with suffering? Is there a fine line between commemoration and celebration? How do we - as museum professionals (those of us that are!) - maintain a neutral perspective when dealing with such a contentious period of history? Should we try to maintain a neutral perspective? Who has the right to speak about the prison and 'the troubles'?

A £10m conflict resolution centre and museum should be built on the site of the former Maze prison in County Antrim, Sinn Fein has said.
Launching its proposals for the project, the party insisted it would not be a shrine to republicans.
The government's proposals for the 360 acre site near Lisburn include a multi-sports stadium and "centre for conflict transformation". A competition has been launched to build the 42,000-seater stadium.

Sinn Fein said it wanted some prison walls, watchtowers and H-block prison wings retained.
It also urged the prison hospital, where 10 IRA and INLA hunger strikers died in 1981, to be preserved.

Speaking on Wednesday, Sinn Fein's Paul Butler said: "We repeatedly are on record as saying it should not be a shrine to any of the hunger strikers or any individual. "The history of republicanism has to be told, their history, the history of imprisonment. "But nowhere in this document is it proposed that it's going to be a shrine to anyone." Mr Butler, a member of the Maze/Long Kesh Monitoring Group, said it was important that the experiences of loyalist inmates and prison officers should be also be preserved.

The sports stadium is the main element of the government's plan, but part of the prison will be retained for the conflict transformation centre. However, a final decision on the plans could still be more than a year away.

As well as an outdoor stadium the plan also features an indoor stadium, a hotel, equestrian arena and land for housing and industry. The minister responsible for the regeneration of the Maze site, David Hanson, said the monitoring group had endorsed the appointment of Deloitte Touche to undertake the preparation of a business plan for the international centre for conflict transformation. Mr Hanson, said he would not rule out the possibility of the new stadium being used for events like the weekend hunger strike commemoration at Casement Park.

His comments followed the Sports Council's call for an urgent meeting with GAA officials over the controversial rally, because the west Belfast ground received significant lottery funding.
PricewaterhouseCoopers are to conclude a business plan for the multi-sports stadium, and RPS is to advise on site preparation, planning application preparation, transport assessment and design and environmental studies, he said. Mr Hanson also confirmed that a separate announcement would be made shortly regarding the stadium design competition.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/16 21:52:25 GMT© BBC MMVI

Article: Sound and Vision at Tate Modern

Gallery looks to contemporary music to attract the next generation

Esther Addley
Friday September 1, 2006

Writing about music, someone once said, is like dancing about architecture. In which case making music about abstract art must be a little like knitting origami in rhyming couplets.
Undaunted, however, eight musicians have accepted that challenge, agreeing to each compose a track in response to a piece of art at Tate Modern that inspires or moves them.

The museum at London's Bankside may be the most popular in Europe but it remains concerned about its appeal to young people and those communities where gallery-going is not a frequent pastime. The gallery has asked artists as diverse as the hip hop singer Estelle, former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon and east end rap collective Roll Deep each to select a work in the museum and compose a piece in response.

The tracks will be rolled out month by month, with listening posts installed next to the artworks where visitors can pause, don headphones and tap their feet in tune to such artists as Anish Kapoor, Andy Warhol and Cy Twombly.

Yesterday saw a preview of the first work to be installed, a track by the Chemical Brothers inspired by Jacob Epstein's 1913-14 sculpture Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill. Epstein once said that his bronze sculpture, half man and half machine, was "an armed, sinister figure of today and tomorrow. No humanity, only the terrible Frankenstein's monster we have made ourselves into". The response from the dance duo is a dark, pounding bass track that evokes hammers on anvils and chandeliers being flung down staircases.

Will Gompertz, director of Tate Media, said the point of the exercise was to show that "you don't have to have an art history degree to come and enjoy the collection at Tate, you can just come in and take the emotional, the visceral experience away with you".

Despite an early gaffe that suggested that the two worlds are perhaps not yet perfectly aligned, in which Mr Gompertz referred to the Sheffield indie band The Long Blondes as "the long johns", he said he had been surprised at the uniformly high quality of the tracks produced by the artists.

"What's amazed me is they're all bloody good. Because you never quite know. They've all done it out of the goodness of their hearts and because they are interested in the project, and so you're not in a position to say yes or no, you just take what you're given. But they've been amazing."
Flow Dan, one of the Roll Deep MCs, said the group had settled on its chosen work, Anish Kapoor's egg-like sculpture Ishi's Light, because "it was the piece that really got us excited the most. There's a lot of art in here and a lot of nice things, but this one, it's more hands on. You go in and there's an experience, and you come away thinking, as opposed to just staring at a piece and not knowing what it is." Their track, Searching is a response to the disorientating effect of the work's reflections.

Graham Coxon said he had wanted his piece, a 15-minute thrum more reminiscent of a faulty fridge than one of his better known singles, to be as simple as possible so as not to distract from his own chosen work, the 1960 Franz Kline painting Meryon.

"I didn't want to interfere with the meditation that I feel I'm having when I'm looking at a painting. So I didn't chop up the sound, organise it into bars, or use drums or any kind of rhythm. I tried to use the simplest type of sound I could - vibration - and that's really all it is, just a few things vibrating and moving around, and some dissonances. Then it builds, I suppose, and gets a bit catchier at the end. Not much catchier though."

Coxon, now a solo artist and also a prolific painter who has designed all of his own record sleeves, said he didn't think galleries needed to panic about attracting young people. "There have always been people who dig art and people who couldn't care less."

But he added: "Hopefully people will get hooked, if they allow themselves to be hooked by abstract art and not be too self-conscious or believe that they aren't good enough to like it. I know it can be scary. It's not really, it's just paint."

The musicians and their inspiration

September 1
The Chemical Brothers Torso in Metal from The Rock Drill (1913-14) - Jacob Epstein
October 1
Roll Deep Ishi's Light (2003) - Anish Kapoor
November 1
Graham CoxonMeryon (1960-61) - Franz Kline
December 1
The Long BlondesArtwork to be confirmed
January 1
Vavavoom Brillo (1964) - Andy Warhol
February 1
EstelleCommon Sense (1995-9) - Martin Parr
March 1
KlaxonsUntitled (1980) - Donald Judd
April 1
Union of KnivesQuattro Stagioni (A Painting in Four Parts) (1993-94) - Cy Twombly

Friday, September 01, 2006

A selection of funding and post-doc opportunities...

... from H-ArtHist Network (click on the h-net link below each 'announcement' for more info):

Title: Fulbright Scholar Opportunities
Description: The Fulbright Scholar Program offers faculty and
professionals numerous opportunities for lecturing, research or
a combination of the two in 150 countries and all regions of
the world. Applications continue to be accepted for some
Fulbright Scholar awards during the 2007-2008 academic year.


Title: Woodrow Wilson Womens Studies Dissertation
Fellowships--2007 Competition Now Open
Deadline: 2006-10-10
Description: The Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Fellowships in Womens
Studies support the final year of dissertation writing for
Ph.D. candidates in the humanities and social sciences whose
work addresses issues of women and gender in interdisciplinary
and original ways.

Title: 2007 International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF)
Deadline: 2006-11-01
Description: The Social Science Research Council and the American
Council of Learned Societies announce the 2007 competition of
program designed to support distinguished graduate students in
the humanities and social sciences conducting dissertation research.

Title: Charlotte W. Newcombe Dissertation Fellowships,
Woodrow Wilson Fndn--2007 Competition Now Open
Deadline: 2006-11-06
Description: The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation
Fellowships are designed to encourage original and significant
study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the
humanities and social sciences, and particularly to help Ph.D. candidates in these fields complete their dissertation work.

Deadline: 2006-12-31
Description: The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences , National University of Singapore, invites applications for up to twenty Postdoctoral Fellowships (PDF) to be based in various departments/ programmes. The PDF scheme is intended for scholars at the beginning stages of their academic career.

CFP: Patronage and Collecting, A Tribute to Western Culture

From H-ArtHist:

Jewish Patronage and Modernism

The Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg , i.e. the chair for Jewish Art (Prof. Dr. Annette Weber) and the Ignatz-Bubis-Chair (Prof. Dr.Johannes Heil) are planning to hold an international and interdisciplinary symposium in cooperation with the Chair of Modern ArtHistory (Prof. Dr. Raphael Rosenberg) of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg from May 30th to June 1st 2007 entitled PATRONAGE and COLLECTING, A TRIBUTE TO WESTERN CULTURE. Jewish Patronage and Modernism. The symposium aims to address an important but only partially explored dimension of European Jewish history and culture in order to present a new approach to the idea of Jewish collecting and art dealing. The symposium will explore the strategies of dealing and collecting aimed at integration, self-assertion and cultural identity. The symposium will consist of the following sections: 1. Jewish collectors in the Age of Emancipation; their socio-political strategies of collecting; the role of the Rothschild Family for theformation of the modern collector.2. Jewish collectors as a cultural avant-garde; collecting as a mean of self-assertion but as well as a refuge form the conflict between political loyalty and modernity. One focus would be the role of avant-garde art dealers in the formation of a new taste for art. 3. Collecting as a manifestation of Jewish Identity in modern times; acomparison of the installation of European Jewish museum before and after the Shoah. In what degree did the Shoah affect collecting of Jewish art and artefacts?

Prof. Dr. Annette Weber,Lehrstuhl für Jüdische KunstHochschule für Jüdische Studien, Friedrichstr. 9 , D 69117 HeidelbergTel: +49 (0)6221-4385118 Fax:+49 (0)6221-4385129e-mail:

Symposiums sekretariat:Jihan Radjai, MA. Adresse: wie obenemail: