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, January 16, 2018

Researchers to Offer Insights into Capturing Visitor-Centered Experiences in January 17th Panel

Capturing Visitor-Centered Experiences: Panelist Session

University of Leicester, School of Museum Studies Collections Room

17th January 2018, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Speakers: Professor Suzanne MacLeod (Design), Dr. Nuala Morse (Health & Wellbeing), Jocelyn Dodd (Learning impact - GLOs), and Jennifer Bergevin (Impact of visiting museums - a longitudinal study)

Visitor-centered experiences are a crucial part of contemporary museum research. In this RCMG seminar, the panelists will briefly discuss research approaches to visitor-centered experiences, the benefits and challenges involved in using these approaches, and their impact on the museum sector. 

After the initial panel discussion, the audience will be invited to actively engage with the theme of capturing visitor-centered experiences, its importance in museum studies research, and the implications of this approach in future academic enquiry.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

2018 PhD Conference: Theme Revealed!

Hi all,

As you may be aware, we're reviving the PhD conference at our School to be held on 13 - 14 September 2018 (to be confirmed). After a couple of meetings we've come up with the theme and questions. Our 2018 Conference title is 'Museums (em)Power' and we've proposed five key questions:

1. How do cultural institutions act as spaces in which power is negotiated?
2. How are cultural institutions challenged by evolving political and societal ideologies? How are they discovering opportunities within these challenges or perpetuate them?
3. How do cultural institutions engage diverse audiences, including marginalized and vulnerable communities?
4. How has the Digital Revolution transformed the ways in which cultural institutions negotiate power with society?
5. How can museum collections, exhibitions, or art impact people (such as intellectually, socially, or emotionally)?

Our next steps are to develop an abstract for each question and plan for funding applications and sponsorships. Under the theme of 'power' the committee aims to involve all the PhD colleagues so if you have comments or suggestions on the theme or any other aspects of the Conference, please feel free to share your thoughts. We'll also keep you updated on our progress so stay tuned!

2018 PhD Conference Comittee

Sunday, November 26, 2017

School of Museum Studies to host Susan Ferentinos for the Research Seminar: "The United States Grapples with the Queer Past"

The University of Leicester's School of Museum Studies will host a special research seminar, "The United States Grapples with the Queer Past" by Susan Ferentinos, on November 29th, 2017 at 1:00pm. The seminar will take place in the Learning Studio of the Museum Studies Building at 19 University Road, Leicester LE1 7RF.

In the United States, mainstream discussion of the history of same-sex love and desire is still relatively uncommon, although that fact is rapidly changing. Spurred on by growing social acceptance of LGBTQ individuals and the federal government’s nationwide LGBTQ Heritage Initiative, more and more museums and historic sites are introducing queer topics into their programming and exhibitions. This presentation will offer an overview of recent efforts in this area, as well as considering some ongoing challenges for bringing the queer past to a wide audience.

The presenter, Susan Ferentinos, is a public history researcher, writer, and consultant based in the United States and specializing in inclusive interpretation and historic preservation. Her current projects include a survey of potential U.S. National Historic Landmarks related to LGBTQ history and consulting with the Stonewall National Monument on the historical significance of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City. Dr. Ferentinos is the author of Interpreting LGBT History at Museums and Historic Sites (Rowman & Littlefield), which won the 2016 book award from the National Council on Public History.

Monday, November 24, 2014

School of Museum Studies Research Seminar Wednesday 22nd October 2014, Professor Simon Gunn The Strange Death of Industrial England

On Wednesday 22nd October 2014 Professor Simon Gunn, Professor of Urban History at the Centre for Urban History, a research centre within the University of Leicester’s School of History, and author of books including:  History and cultural theory (2006) and The public culture of the Victorian middle class:  ritual and authority and the English industrial city, 1840-1914 (2000), visited the University of Leicester School of Museum Studies Research Seminar Series to speak on the topic of ‘The Strange Death of Industrial England’.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Museums Alive! conference

The PhD students at the University of Leicester School of Museum Studies recently partnered with the Migration Museum Project to present the sixth School of Museum Studies PhD student led conference Museums Alive! Exploring How Museums Behave Like Living Beings 3-5 November. This conference attracted delegates and presenters from 22 different countries. Over half of the delegates came from either the museum profession or from other universities and academic departments. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dear Fellow PhD Students

I think it's high time we wrote a letter to you, because I know at least a few of you follow this blog, and a few more have since graduated, but started following us when you were students.

If you've finished, congratulations! I hope your careers are going well for you.

If you haven't finished, I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel, though you may not yet be close enough to the end to see it. But it is there.

I know this, because up until three months ago there was no light. It was just a long and very dark tunnel and I had begun to lose hope. But there's a light now, and it's been growing steadily brighter ever since it appeared. And I can almost - almost - glimpse the shape of that light. It's sort of curved at the top, and flat on the bottom and sides. It's starting to look more like a tunnel exit (or entrance).

I have just, literally, started the last 30 days of my PhD. In 30 days I have to have edited, proofread, printed and submitted my thesis, because in 30 days I have to be on an airplane. Which is one of those deadlines that is rather...set in stone, as it were. Or in metal.

And I thought, in admits all that work, that I'd stop for a moment and share what life is like for me right now. Because, I admit, I don't think most people talk about the last couple of months of their PhD, because they are too stressed or anxious or overworked to stop and have that talk with others. And that's unfortunate, because it's just as important a time as any other month in your PhD. But I've concluded that I really had no idea what this month would consist of, and perhaps knowing ahead of time would have been better for me; mentally, at least.

Everyone is different and everyone's timeline is different, but the last month roughly consists of finishing edits, having your work reviewed by your supervisors, proofreading and finally printing the copies to submit (or having them printed for you).

I have found, so far, that all of it is a bit anti-climatic. And I don't say that to worry you, just to make you aware. I though the overwhelming excitement and relief of each step in this last final push would be wonderful and exciting and any other words you can think of. But it's not. I'm tired. I really, really am exhausted after a very busy six months of trying to get this finished. It's winter. I'm cold. The department is growing quiet after the new influx of students have slowly dispersed to work on their own PhDs. Last week, I submitted my draft to my second supervisor, after having gone through my first supervisor's edits. And I thought I'd feel elated. I really, honestly, did. Instead, I wondered around the department for the rest of the day in something of a mental fugue, wondering what exactly I was supposed to do with myself for the interim. I'm still not quite sure, even though I have my edits from the 2nd back now (the first round, that is). I found it far too easy to fall out of the habit of writing after I finished in September, and even easier to fall out of the habit that editing brings. I have been left to poke at things, which is fine; poking still gets stuff done, but I'm not as focused or as driven as I was a few weeks ago. And perhaps that's normal. Perhaps it isn't normal. I'm not certain, because people don't talk about these last few weeks of edits.

But I'm sharing my experience with you now, not because I expect yours will be/has been the same, but because I wanted those of you who are reaching this point (or will reach it) to know that everyone goes through it. That it's not easier or harder than anything that came before. That it's going to be strange and new and weird, because everything you've gone through in your PhD experience has been that way (unless you're on your second PhD, and if so, congratulations). I guess, in the end, what I really want is for people to talk more. Not just at the beginning about how scared they are, or in the middle about how tired they are, but all the time, to people who are behind you and people who are in front of you and at all the stages in between. Because I have found that, singlehandedly, the most helpful thing in my PhD has been to discuss the experience with others.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Heritage Career Day in Birmingham

AAH Art History Careers Day! 
Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham 
Saturday 25 October

The event will bring together a wide-range of speakers from leading cultural institutions who will share their professional experiences and expertise in areas including curatorship, art management, gallery marketing and education, and research.

Tickets (includes lunch and refreshments): 
AAH members £8; non-members £12

Places are limited and tickets must be bought online in advance:

Speakers include: 
Reyahn King (Head of Heritage Lottery Fund, West Midlands) 
Dr Connie Wan (Pop Art Curator, Wolverhampton Art Gallery) 
Sarah Shirley-Priest (Senior Specialist and Branch Manager, Bonhams) 
Jane Thompson Webb (Conservator, Birmingham Museums Trust) 
Alex Jolly (Learning & Access Assistant, Barber Institute of Fine Arts) 
Hannah Carroll (Marketing Officer, Birmingham Museums) 
Carly Hegenbarth (Doctoral Researcher, University of Birmingham) 
Chris Packham (Careers Consultant, Arts and Law, University of Birmingham)

Facebook event:

Careers Day | AAH - Association of Art Historians