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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Museological Review Issue 17 is now available!

Museological Review Issue 17 is now available!

Following the successful Museum Utopias conference in the School of Museum Studies in March 2012, Museological Review -our PhD student led journal-  started an editorial process to publish contributions that were presented as part of it. Finally, the result is a number of great articles that underwent a rigorous reworking and editing process, both from their authors and editors. They are now in the following link for your enjoyment and reading!

Feel free to circulate and comment. 

Last, the editors would like to thank everybody that made the issue possible. Happy reading!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Course on Offer in NYC

American Material Culture: Nineteenth-Century New York

NEH Summer Institute for College and University Teachers

At the Bard Graduate Center, New York City, July 1-26, 2013

Objects matter. Material culture scholars use artifactual evidence such as consumer goods, architecture, clothing, landscape, decorative arts, and many other types of material.

The Bard Graduate Center will host a four-week NEH Summer Institute on American Material Culture. The institute will focus on the material culture of nineteenth century and use New York as its case study because of its role as a national center for fashioning cultural commodities and promoting consumer tastes. We will study significant texts in the scholarship of material culture together as well as in tandem with visiting some of the wonderful collections in and around New York City for our hands-on work with artifacts. The city will be our laboratory to explore some of the important issues of broad impact that go well beyond New York.

We welcome applications from faculty and others with some experience doing object-based work, as well as those who have never taught or studied material culture. Application materials and other information about content, stipends, housing, etc. is available at: The deadline is March 4, 2013.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Conference: Temporali​ties of Material Culture


“A Matter of Time: Temporalities of Material Culture”
9th Visual and Cultural Studies Graduate Conference
University of Rochester
April 5-7, 2013

Keynote Speaker: Ivan Gaskell, Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts,
Design History, Material Culture

As cultural critics have noted over the past thirty years, we seem to be
living in an age of dematerialization. Increased information transfer
speed, the disintegration of boundaries between private and public, and the
commercialization of image networks have provoked anxiety regarding the
control of objects and images. Yet, taking a critical stance toward the
temporal thrust of this thinking—its teleology, its faith in progress—we
seek to historicize this anxiety as merely another renegotiation in a
continually evolving relation of time and matter. Has our relationship to
material objects ever been fixed?

While indebted to the work of material culture studies, we invite papers
from a wider range of topics of relevance and disciplines that address
questions of materiality and temporality. We understand the relationship
between material and time to develop in at least three distinct ways:
material in our time, material that generates temporalities, and material
that endures. Possible topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
· The relationship between technological and historical change
· Trends in preservation and the time of the archive
· The development of global heritage and the phenomenon of immaterial
· Historical phenomenology
· The materiality of language
· The conditions of materiality in the digital age
· The legacies of historical materialism
· The durability of digital objects
· The historical conditions of contemporary visual culture
· Historical monuments and collective memory

We invite you to submit a 250-word abstract for 20 minute paper
presentations and CV via by no later than February
15, 2013 (extended).

Select presenters will be invited to revise presentations into journal
articles for a special issue of InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal of
Visual Culture.

About the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies at the University
of Rochester:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Initiative (what a great idea!)

I'd like to introduce you to a new multilingual web project: "Registrar Trek: The Next Generation".

What started out as a weird idea my dear colleague Fernando Almarza Rísquez of the Instituto Latinoamericano de Museos ILAM in Costa Rica and I (collection manager at the TECHNOSEUM in Mannheim, Germany) had, came to life on January 2nd.

It is noticable that collection care is often stated as "very important business" but in the daily museum routine it's very often "out of sight - out of mind". It's part of our jobs as registrars, collection managers or curators of collections to keep a low profile. But the work we do behind the scenes should not be forgotten. Personally, I think we registrars have to learn from marketing people in this regard. Especially, as we have important, interesting and often enough amusing stories to tell. That's where this project set in.

We started writing our stories down. Fernando Almarza Rísquez as Latin American long-term registrar of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Caracas and now professor for registration methods, documentation and cataloguing at the ILAM, I myself as European museum professional who is responsible for the collection of a science and technology museum (read: all things big and chunky). The project was supportet by many colleagues of the RC-AAM providing us with great pictures of registrars at work.

I'm extremely happy that we won Matt Leininger for a special "blog within the blog": "FAUX Real: On the trail of an art forger". Matt will tell the story of how he discovered art forger Mark Landis as a follow-up series:
Every second Friday is "FAUX Real Friday" (save the date: part 2 will be released January 18). By chosing this format we have the chance to keep Landis in mind and maybe make him known to international colleagues who never heard of him before. And it's a great lesson in registrar's work, too.

A central idea of this project was always to keep it multilingual. It's language barriers that divide people and are huge obstacles for professionalization. So we provide this website in Spanish, German and English. And I'm a little proud to state that we have won two colleagues who are willing to contribute with translations on a voluntary basis, so more and more posts and articles can be read in this language, too, in the future. As we are not native speakers, feel free to inform us on passages where we messed something. Thanks!

If you are working in collection management and know a great story to tell, feel free to send it to:
As we love our jobs as registrars but don't want to suggest a certain career path we have decided to include the series "How I became a registrar". We also seek for contributions for this section.

But for now: enjoy! If you want to start with a smile, I suggest this story about our "serious business":

New Book Out

The Exemplary Museum is the result of a twelve-month study into campus art museums in the USA commissioned by the Samuel H Kress Foundation. The book's findings and methodology are of international significance for both university museums and art museums generally.

Although visitors to America's 700-plus campus art museums have almost quadrupled in the last 50 years, until now little was known about the visitor experience within them - a situation reflected internationally. This pioneering book changes all that...

Focusing on "exemplary" museums - those which are models of best practice - the book explores the challenges and conditions for success for university art museums. Among the fundamental issues explored are:
* how are these museums integrated into the lives of their users?
* how do users interact with these museums beyond the academic curriculum?
* what organisational cultures and systems best support these museums?

When you order The Exemplary Museum now you'll save up to 15% on the published price - and receive a free Digital Edition to read on any device.

For full details of the book's content, the author, and to place an order, please visit:

Publication contents
* Introduction
* The Effects and Influences of the Great Kress Giveaway
* Art Across the Curriculum
* Museum Art in Everyday Life
* Challenges and Conditions of Success for Campus Art Museums
* Bibliography
* Appendixes:
* 1: Acronyms and Abbreviations
* 2: Mission Statements
* 3: Why Respondents Became Interested in Art Museums
* 4: Interviews with Art Museum Directors
* 5: Educational Uses of Technology
* 6: Interview Questions

About the author
Corrine Glesne is a qualitative researcher, educational anthropologist, and author of the text Becoming Qualitative Researchers (Pearson, 2011, 4th ed.) In 2011, she investigated ways in which academic art museums are integrated into university and college life for the Samuel H Kress Foundation, embarking on a year-long qualitative study of the “exemplary” academic art museum that involved interviews with museum personnel, campus administrators, faculty from multiple disciplines, students, and community members at diverse sites.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Call for Papers for 2013 CARE Marketplace of Ideas

Call for Proposals for the
2013 CARE Marketplace of Ideas
Held at the AAM Annual Meeting and MuseumExpo™ 2013
Monday, May 20, 3:30 PM-5:30 PM
Baltimore Convention Center
Deadline: FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2013
To: Stacy Klingler,, Chair CARE Marketplace of Ideas
The 2013 CARE Marketplace of Ideas will showcase how audience research and evaluation can help museums best harness the power of story, the theme of this year's AAM meeting. In addition to sharing some of the most current work in our specialty, we particularly welcome proposals that describe how audience research and evaluation helps museums answer the following questions:
1. What are the elements that make a great and unforgettable story?
2. What are the techniques for good storytelling?
3. How do we measure the impact of story on our different audiences?
4. How effectively do we use storytelling to share authority?
5. How do we best use storytelling to achieve our immediate goals and fulfill our long-term missions as core educational and community institutions?
In addition to dynamic poster presentations, the CARE Marketplace will team up with the Excellence in Exhibitions competition to present multiple examples of innovative, critical and cross-disciplinary thinking that enable us, as museum professionals, to create visitor experiences that build on the power of the story.
The purpose of the CARE Marketplace is:
1. To showcase audience research and evaluation work currently being undertaken in and for museums
2. To encourage museums of all sizes and types to engage in audience research and evaluation
3. To present information on the related areas of museum audiences and museum programs and exhibitions, to encourage museum professionals to seek generalizations, trends, and principles that can guide efforts to improve practice
Museum staff, consultants, museum studies faculty, and students who have done work on visitor studies, audience research and evaluation, and museum education are encouraged to share their findings.
For those presenters who plan to attend ONLY on Monday (the day of the Marketplace), complimentary day registration will be available; please indicate on the submission form if you desire complimentary registration for Monday.
Each presenter will prepare a poster or other form of display, handouts, and other materials as relevant. Displays will be on view concurrently during the two hour session. Session visitors will be invited to walk from display to display, read the posters and other materials, and interact with the presenters. Presenters must be knowledgeable about the study and available throughout the session for discussion. If accepted, presenters will be sent guidelines for content, format, and delivery of materials.
To submit a proposal, please complete contact Stacy Klingler at to request a 2013 Marketplace Submission Form.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013



22 MARCH 2013

We invite speakers from a wide variety of disciplines to participate in
this symposium to explore the concept of 'in-betweenness' in material and
visual culture. We encourage participants to take an 'object-centred'
approach, each using a particular object as a starting point to explore how
things mediate between worlds in diverse cultural, geographic and temporal
contexts. We welcome papers that seek to expand our understanding of the
nature of mediation, hybridity, ambiguity, mobility, interconnectivity,
creolization and entanglement. How are such qualities expressed in material
form? In what ways is the mediatory agency of such objects articulated? How
do such objects challenge the reification of dichotomized worldviews
(us/them, here/there, present/past, modern/primitive)?

This one-day symposium is scheduled to coincide with the Sowei Mask: Spirit
of Sierra Leone exhibition, on display at The British Museum between 14
February and 27 April 2013. The mask at the centre of the exhibition could
be said to mediate between worlds. It materializes the interconnectivity
between the worlds of the colonized and the colonizer in 19th-century West
Africa. On the one hand it represents the radical 'otherness' of an African
masquerade tradition, on the other hand it illustrates how those very
traditions incorporated Western objects - such as the European top hat -
and made them symbols of power. This hybrid object is neither purely
African, nor purely European, but exists in a space between. Aside from its
ritual context in which the mask mediates between the domain of the spirits
and that of humankind, it speaks of the multi-directional mobility of
people and things as well as the entanglement of culture and power in the
late 19th century. Today, the mask mediates between the museum and its
communities, including diasporic communities who live 'between' London and
Sierra Leone.

A selection of papers will be published in a special issue of the Journal
of Material Culture devoted to the theme of the symposium.
Please email a title and 250-word abstract to Paul Basu
<> if you would like to propose a paper.

The symposium is being supported by:
Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum
Asahi Shimbun Displays
Journal of Material Culture
Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies, University
College London

Friday, January 04, 2013

Interesting conference for those in NA

Call for Proposals:
The Historical Administration Program Association Symposium is looking for presenters for its 36th Annual Historical Administration Program Association Symposium: The Business of Museums: Not-for-Profit is No Excuse
Often it feels as if the "business" of museums is survival. As museum professionals, creating something with limited resources becomes a badge of honor. But with museum closings in the news and donor support dwindling, organizations must create sustainable practices that allow them to weather uncertain times.
Museums must move past survival and start thriving. Are you looking for strategies for coming safely through the present storm of closures and reduced funding? Or ideas to make your not-for-profit profitable?
Consider presenting at the 36th Annual Historical Administration Program Association Symposium on Saturday, April 13, 2013, on the campus of Eastern Illinois University .
PROPOSAL DEADLINE: Dec. 31, 2012 Extended to January 15, 2013!
Email: for proposal forms.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

engage journal - call for proposals

Proposals are invited for contributions to engage 32, on the theme of Critical Citizenship and Belonging
We are interested in contributions from colleagues worldwide, reflecting on the practices and challenges faced in different contexts, in relation to questions such as:

  • How have participatory art and education projects facilitated critical citizenship and addressed notions of belonging?
  • What are the relationships between museum and gallery collections and national identity?
  • How does the visual arts respond to identities which are complex, individual and shifting?  
  • What is the relationship between cultural cohesion in the UK and other countries?  
  • How can the visual arts enable disenfranchised groups to play a more active part in society?
  • What is the role of citizenship in education and how has it changed? What are the challenges to children and young people feeling a sense of belonging or citizenship?
  • How are gallery education projects exploring these concerns and what role can artists play?
  • What impact does the economic and political climate have on the contribution culture makes to defining and developing citizenship?
  • How is cultural identity treated by institutions when citizens are newly arrived, displaced, returning or transient?
  • Is there a new citizenship which is about global urbanism?  
  • Is there a link between national or social identity and making? 

Final articles lie between 1,500 and 4,000 words. The submission deadline for engage 32 is March 2013. We welcome contributions which make use of the engage journal’s online format.

If you are interested in contributing to this issue, please send an informal proposal of no more than 300 words, your job/freelance title and contact details to by 10am on 8 January 2013.

engage is the National Association for Gallery Education, the UK’s most effective advocacy and support organisation for gallery education. First published in 1996, the engage journal is the international journal of visual art and gallery education. Each edition of this twice-yearly online publication focuses on a separate theme, to form a definitive collection of work on all aspects of visual art and gallery education. The journal can accessed by all engage members and institutional subscription holders including libraries around the world.