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.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
in conjunction with IUI2011 Conference (Palo Alto, CA | 13-16 February 2011)
November 12, 2010: paper submission deadline
December 12, 2010: notification to authors
December 19, 2010: submission of camera-ready papers
The rapid development of information technologies and the Internet has enabled cultural heritage and public organizations to provide access to their collections not only through physical displays but also online, and attract even wider audiences than those that visit the physical museums. Additionally, various trends on Web 2.0 allow for users not only to be passive consumers, but also active participants.
Personalization capitalizes on a user-centered intelligent interactive information exchange between museum websites or museum guide systems and visitors. The museum monologue turns into a dialog, and personalization enables a new communication strategy based on a continuous process of interaction, collaboration, learning and adaptation between the museum and its visitors. Personalization could improve the interaction and experience of visitors on museum websites and with museum guide systems by supporting visitors' navigation and assisting them in quickly finding an appropriate starting point, and in discovering new relevant information.
This workshop will focus on the specific challenges for personalization in the cultural heritage setting from the point of view of user interaction and visitor experience. It will investigate how the user interface - the contact point of visitors and systems - can become more intelligent by means of personalization. Overall, the workshop will aim at attracting presentations of novel ideas for addressing these challenges and the current state of the art in this field.
Submission form: http://www.cs.vu.nl/~laroyo/PATCH2011/
Lora Aroyo, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Fabian Bohnert, Monash University, Australia.
Tsvi Kuflik, The University of Haifa, Israel.
Johan Oomen, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, The Netherlands.
“Community Engagement: Making Promises to Keep”
Allison Russell – National Motor Museum of Australia
I always find it fascinating to hear about museology and museum practice in different parts of the world. Last week we had Europe – but this week we went right out of the hemisphere! Allison Russell, of the National Motor Museum of Australia, is currently undertaking research in the UK as a Churchill Fellow. Focusing upon the ways in which community links are fostered in the UK, Allison is speculating upon which strategies might be taken back to Australia – and how. And we were lucky enough to hear some of her thoughts so far – and to help her reflect upon those possibilities.
Australia, clearly, is a huge country. South Australia, where Allison and the Motor Museum are located, has an incredibly low population density of less than 4.3 per square mile. This, of course, has considerable implications for any museum sited in such an environment, and particularly the National Motor Museum, located in the Adelaide Hills at some distance from Adelaide itself. Remote locations for museums – and for various communities – mean that developing links between the museum and the public which it serves is a difficult task. Indeed, as Allison points out, community engagement has not in the past been widely practiced. But perhaps things are about to change.
Monday, October 25, 2010
First, a discussion from the Guardian about whether philanthropy can save the arts and culture industry in the UK in the face of the government's cuts. From the horse's mouth, as it were...
Second, an interesting article in yesterday's Telegraph about the National Trust's increased theatricality in interpretation and the significance thereof. The comments section show opinion, as ever, is split.
Lastly, the effects of the swinging axe start to become clear as the Arts Council announces its budget for next year, with funding cuts of up to 50% and nothing for many major organizations.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Brown Bag 20th October 2010
Andy Sawyer, Sheila Watson and Alexandra Bounia
For some time, now, I’ve been hearing about EUNAMUS, and up until recently it has remained a little mysterious. So I was grateful that this week’s Brown Bag seminar gave Andy, Sheila and Alexandra a chance to explain what it was all about. And explain they did.
The project is enormous. Comprised of multiple ‘work packages’ or projects split across various partners, which along with researchers from our own School includes people in seven other centres across Europe, the project seeks to explore the relationships between national museums, national and European identities, and the critical issues which face Europe today. More detail about the projects and packages can be found on the website – what I want to concentrate on in this review are the ways, historically, in which National Museums have presented histories and identities – both of their audiences, and of themselves.
When considering a national museum, of course, it’s very name suggests that it represents the nation in some way. But the representation of a nation is, of course, fundamentally tied up with the way in which that nation sees itself, or would like to be seen – and of course, these attitudes vary from time and place.
Ireland, for example, Andy points out as being of particular interest. That country, and its museums, must, of course, deal with some very complex political and social issues related to identity which are still manifestly important today. The different groups in Northern Ireland have their histories displayed in very different ways and to different degrees. Where the Unionists have trouble strongly articulating their history, Nationalists are assisted in promoting theirs by virtue of the romance which surrounds their past.
But different attitudes are also expressed towards past events are in different places – in Irish museums, for instance, Vikings are very often presented in a much more positive light than in England, which only goes to show that where you are is heavily implicated in what you see.
The way in which Scottish museums generate a sense of nationhood is also a particularly interesting case, as Sheila points out. Even in collections of early prehistoric archaeology, attempts have been made to retroactively construct a ‘Scottish’ identity, as distinct from a pan-European culture. This essentialist production of ethnicity is a tricky issue, of course, and it has to be said that there is a move away from this in Scotland now, but it remains interesting to note how important it is for groups to view themselves in a particular way, using more recent history as a lens through which to frame the distant past.
This particularity of self perception is also clear in the attitudes of museums towards their own histories – and this part of the Brown Bag, and of the EUNAMUS project as a whole, will, in my opinion, be one of the richest veins for museological historians and critics. Sheila will soon be publishing and disseminating work on the differences between the generative narratives of the British Museum and Royal Academy and those which are expressed today. From the studies of the documents which Sheila has already conducted, the stories are very different from that made public now. The story of the British Museum as a foundation originating in the desire to tell the story of English liberties is not one that gets told all that often – but which, it seems, is right there in its own archive. It’s amazing to me that the narratives of museums’ own histories lie so hidden in plain view. But then, I suppose that, like anything, you form images surrounding a particular thing that suit the current time and context – and which furnish your ability to survive and act in the present world.
Of course, material culture will figure heavily in EUNAMUS too – how Europe is made manifest in its artefacts, how nations are distinct and similar is clearly going to be an issue. And it is not just the past which is under consideration here – we have to ask, as the project will, where museums are going, and how they will foster the Europe of the future. Sheila and Andy will be looking at the ‘distributed national museum’ and the ‘new online museum’ respectively, and the ways in which new forms of life and culture are going to, in the future, determine the way in which Europe, and its museums, look.
It’s a MASSIVE project, like I said. I wish all the participants the best of luck – it’s going to be big, but fascinating. I look forward to hearing more about it in due course – either at more Brown Bags, or at the various conferences and workshops which are going to occur. Thanks to all speakers for sharing!
The homepage for the project is here – explore at your will! I got lost in it for quite a while...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I'm a new PhD student here at Leicester, and my research will explore the European 'cabinet of curiosity' of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. I'm particularly interested in the changing nature of its relationship to museums today, and in how and why the language and iconographies of the cabinet are being re-harnessed as effective vehicles for engaging museum audiences in the twenty-first century.
I've worked and volunteered in a number of museums over the last four years and completed my MA at Leicester only a year ago, so it's great to be back!
Many thanks to the current PhD students who have made me feel so welcome, and I look forward to posting again soon.
This amazing organization is 175 years old and still going strong. But there aren't nearly enough members from the city's two universities. As President this year, I'd like to rectify that and to get the universities much more closely involved with the Society and vice-versa: students and staff. The Society does not only offer twelve lectures from distinguished speakers each year for the bargain price of £12.50, it also awards small research grants. So please do help, even if you cannot attend many lectures. To see what's on this year, just type into Google 'Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society' and access the website. [Or click on the handy hyperlink!]
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
How the heck do church towers stay up?
More specifically, I suppose, I'd be really interested to learn about their construction. They're immense pillars of stone, and it is amazing to me that they should stand at all. They must rest on some kind of foundation, but what?
Please help. Some of you might know. Or be able to direct me to some books on ecclesiastical architecture which will help. I've searched on google for 'church tower' and 'church tower architecture' but have come up with little more information than 'Churches have towers. They are big.'
Sorry for the invasion of silly questions.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Go on, give me your top 5 objects of all time (I'm not as demanding as the BBC and the BM!)
Saturday, October 16, 2010
I'm glad there are things like this. It gives me hope that people care. Hopefully one day the Eastgates Coffee House will be likewise respected.
· A 20 hour a week position as a Research Fellow in Digital Curation
· An annual stipend of $19,000
· In-state tuition and health coverage
· Extensive opportunities to meet key leaders in the Digital Curation research and practice arenas through workshops and symposia to be held at UNC at Chapel Hill
About DigCCurr II
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)-funded project, “DigCCurr II: Extending an International Digital Curation Curriculum to Doctoral Students and Practitioners” seeks to develop an international, doctoral-level curriculum and educational network in the management and preservation of digital materials across their life cycle. This project will prepare future faculty to perform research and teach in this area, as well as provide summer institutes for cultural heritage information professionals already working in this arena.
Applying for the Fellowship:
To apply for the fellowship, please follow the regular application procedures found on the SILS Ph.D. Admissions page (http://sils.unc.edu/programs/phd/admissions.html). Students are encouraged to apply by Dec. 15, 2010 as this ensures consideration of the greatest amount of university funding. However, applications are accepted up to Jan. 15, 2011.
In addition to the required written statement of the student's intended research focus, we ask that a separate essay elaborating on these goals and how they are related to the goals of DigCCurr II be written. Please see the DigCCurr II Web page (http://ils.unc.edu/digccurr/aboutII.html) for more details. Please send this essay in an e-mail message to: Dr. Helen Tibbo, professor at: tibbo (at) ils (dot) unc (dot) edu; or Dr. Cal Lee, assistant professor, at: callee (at) email (dot) unc (dot) edu no later than Jan. 15, 2011. Earlier applications are encouraged. Please note that we are only able to accept applications from United States citizens.
For more information on Carolina Digital Curation Doctoral Fellowship opportunities, send e-mail to Drs. Tibbo or Lee.
Interested applicants may also direct correspondence to:
DigCCurr II Fellowships
School of Information and Library Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Campus Box 3360 Manning Hall
Chapel Hill NC 27566-3360
Friday, October 15, 2010
The day was really born out of the success of the Careers Question Time session at the SMA Post Grad Colloquium in February. The Society decided to organise a day that will specifically discuss careers for archaeology and history students in the heritage sector during this difficult time. During the session in February, students raised concerns about several key issues that are troubling them, namely a lack of job opportunities and poor wages. The Careers Day in Leicester would like to open this discussion out further, and offer practical advice and support to students and recent graduates and the great thing is it is free to all SMA members! This is will be achieved by running three sessions:
Session 1: Careers Question Time
This will follow the same format as the session in February. Like its name sake Question Time, a panel of experts will face questions put to it by the audience members. In this case it is professionals in the heritage sector facing questions from students, and will be chaired by the SMA Student Rep Jill Campbell. Students can either submit questions with the booking form or ask them on the day. Please visit the society website (or see attachment) for a list, plus career biography of all those participating in this session.
Session 2: Personal Development
This section is designed so that students are able to have some one-to-one time with professionals in both the field they are interesting in pursuing, but also to get the opportunity to learn about careers within the discipline that they may never have considered. Academics, finds specialists, museums, historians, county and commercial archaeologists will all be present, alongside representatives from the IfA, English Heritage and BAJR who can discuss bursaries and other such opportunities. The University of Leicester Careers Service will also be present to discuss more practical issues such as writing covering letters, C.V.’s and getting work experience. There will also be stalls present for organisations and booksellers.
Session 3: Key Note Lecture – Carenza Lewis, University of Cambridge
If you would be interested in attending this day, then please visit http://www.bajrfed.co.uk/content.php?233-Archaeology-Careers-Day-Leicester or the SMA website http://www.medievalarchaeology.org/ for more details.
SMA Student Rep
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday 23 November 2010
Museum Studies Lecture Hall
School of Museum Studies
Join us for a conversation with Rib Davis, Special Projects Manager at The Lightbox, Woking, about their ‘Frames of Refuge’ project. Museum of the Year in 2008, winner of the Art Fund Prize for Museums and Galleries, The Lightbox has emerged from over a decade of community activity and engagement. Since opening in 2007, they have addressed a number of contemporary issues through their projects and exhibitions to wide acclaim.
Part of MLA’s national Their Past Your Future 2 programme - looking at how young people can increase their understanding of the impact of war and conflict - ‘Frames of Refuge’ brought together young people with refugees and asylum seekers to create, edit and produce a film and exhibition exploring the lives, and often traumatic, experiences of refugees and asylum seekers who come to the UK. Central to the project was challenging the students’ – and the general public’s - views of refugees and asylum seekers by presenting an alternative to the often misleading and negative perceptions that are present in media reporting on the subject. Significantly, this project represented the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers through their own voices.
As well as talking to Rib, we will be showing the film and there will be a chance to ask questions and find out more about the work of The Lightbox. We look forward to seeing you there.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
The Archives Center holds more than 20,000 feet of archival materials. The collections are particularly strong in documenting the history of technology, invention, and innovation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Both individuals and companies are documented in subject areas including railroads, pianos, television, radio, plastics, ivory, and sports equipment. One of the largest collections is the Western Union Telegraph Company Records, ca. 1840-1994. Other collections of significance include the Earl S. Tupper Papers, documenting the inventor Tupper, and his invention, Tupperware; the Darby Windsurfing Collection, 1946-1998, documenting the invention of the sailboard; and the Records of Small Beginnings, Inc., a medical supply company that designs, invents, manufactures, and distributes products for premature infants. For a comprehensive list of Archives Center collections, see http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives/d-10.htm.
The Lemelson Center Fellowship Program annually awards 2 to 3 fellowships to qualified researchers. Fellowship tenure is based on the applicants’ stated needs (and available funding) up to a maximum of ten weeks. Fellows are expected to reside in the Washington, D.C. area, to participate in the Center's activities, and to make a presentation of their work at the museum. Stipends for 2011-2012 are $575/week for pre-doctoral fellows and $870/week for post-doctoral and professional fellows. Applications will be accepted from 1 October 2010 thru 14 January 2011 and notifications will be made by 15 April 2011. Fellows can begin their residence at the museum on or after 1 June 2011. For application procedures and additional information, please see http://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/research_fellowships.aspx. All applicants are required to consult with the fellowship coordinator prior to submitting a proposal – please contact historian Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D. at +1 202-633-3734 or email@example.com.
The Lemelson Center Travel to Collections Program annually awards 4 to 5 short-term travel grants to encourage the use of its invention-related collections. Awards are $150 per day for a maximum of 10 business days and may be used to cover transportation, living, and reproduction expenses. Only applicants who reside or attend school beyond commuting distance of the National Museum of American History are eligible for this program. Awards may not be used to extend other Smithsonian appointments. Only one award can be offered to a visitor within a twelve-month period. Applications will be accepted from 1 October 2010 thru 30 November 2010 and will be announced by mid-December 2010. Recipients must commence their research at the museum within one year of being notified of the award. Recipients are asked to submit a short report following their research and provide the Center with a copy of any publications resulting from their funded research. For application procedures and additional information, please see http://invention.smithsonian.org/resources/research_travel.aspx. All applicants are required to consult with the travel award coordinator prior to submitting a proposal – please contact archivist Alison Oswald at +1 202-633-3726 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit: http://www.invention.smithsonian.org/resources/default_research.aspx
Travel to Collections Awards: November 30, 2010
Fellowships: January 15, 2011
Eric S. Hintz, Ph.D.
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
National Museum of American History
MRC 604, P. O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Alison Oswald, M.A.
Travel Award Coordinator
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation
National Museum of American History
MRC 601, P. O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
Monday, October 11, 2010
It's the getting there that's going to be a bit of a travail, but hopefully the coach and a certain budget airline will treat me with kindness. This is the pay off you see, about academic conferences; intellectual nourishment bookended by several hours of expensive and bruise inducing travel. But it's going to be worth it, I'm fairly certain of that. I'm looking forward to this, and I'm really grateful that I'm able to go. Because these things don't happen every day - especially when you're a student. It will be nice to be a delegate and see how they run things. Perhaps I'll even find some interest for Curiouser and Curiouser - who knows?
Friday, October 08, 2010
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
Challenging Convention and Celebrating the Unusual in Museums and Heritage
A THREE-DAY Phd Symposium
School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
(28TH -29TH -30TH of march 2011)
CALL FOR PAPERS
Definitions of what is acceptable within museums and collections are changing, catalysed by the blurring of boundaries once enforced by such factors as national identity, ethnicity, socio-economic position and public and personal ideologies. Is what was once considered bizarre or strange becoming more mainstream? What exactly is meant by 'curious' or 'eccentric', and need such words have pejorative connotations?
Building upon the success of our last conference, ‘Materiality and Intangibility: Contested Zones’, which took place in December 2009, the PhD community in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester has set up 'Curiouser and Curiouser' with the intention of exploring these ideas and challenging conventional perceptions of cultural institutions and the roles which they play in contemporary society.
The School of Museum Studies at Leicester is a leading and internationally renowned centre for the subject, and has been training museological practitioners and theorists since 1966. The School works with museums, galleries and related cultural organisations internationally to develop creative practice through cutting-edge teaching and research. Recently, the School was assessed as having the highest proportion of world-leading research in any subject in any UK university (RAE 2008).
‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ sets out to deconstruct notions of normality and eccentricity in museums and heritage institutions. What exactly is normal, and what is idiosyncratic? In an attempt to begin to answer some of these questions, we are inviting submissions for papers or practical workshops on subjects including, but not limited to, the following:
Eccentric: display strategies
education and learning strategies
visitor research and engagement
uses of display space
uses of media and technology in museums
portrayals of museums in other media
museological theories and paradigms
What is eccentric/idiosyncratic?
What is acceptable, and who decides?
Collections, Collecting and Collectors
Intangible heritage and its retrieval
Historical interpretations of collecting, and how what is acceptable has changed
The value of collections, what is worth collecting and why?
Spaces and Places
Eccentric/idiosyncratic architecture, both deliberately designed and unusually used environment and surroundings
Physical compared to virtual collections
Displays in unexpected places
Transformations of spaces
‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ is not only about the unusual and the new, the unconventional and cutting-edge in museums and heritage sites. We are also looking for submissions from those who are willing to experiment with original presentation strategies. As a result, preference will be given to presentations or practical workshops delivered in an innovative way. Some suggestions might be:
If an abstract is accepted for the Symposium, applicants will be asked to provide further details on the ways their presentation or workshop will be delivered. At the end of the Symposium, the most enjoyable presentation will be voted on by the delegates and the winner will receive a prize. In addition, a limited number of bursaries will be offered to delegates who do not have support available from their institution of affiliation. Though the bursaries are open to anyone, international applications are particularly encouraged. Further information on how to apply for the bursary will be available soon on ‘the Attic’ website (http://attic-museumstudies.blogspot.com/), the virtual home of the PhD students of the School Studies.
We welcome submissions from researchers working in the fields of museum studies, cultural studies and allied subjects, but we especially encourage responses from PhD students and early career researchers. Submissions will be accepted for presentations (20 minutes plus 10 minutes Q&A) and practical workshops (between 30 and 60 minutes). We hope to publish - in some form, yet to be determined - the best selected papers accepted for and presented at the Symposium. All papers will be eligible for publication.
DEADLINES: 300 words abstracts must be submitted via email or post by the 15th of November 2010 to the addresses detailed provided below. The abstract should contain the following information: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract, (including the intended nature of your presentational form) d) 3-4 keywords.
Successful applicants will be notified by the 22nd of December 2010, and asked to supply further details about the nature of their paper. Booking details for delegates will be sent out in January 2011.
PLEASE CONTACT: Julia Petrov (on behalf of Museobunny)
- via e-mail: Museobunny@gmail.com
- via post: School of Museum Studies