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.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reflections on NaMu: Day 2, Part 1

Continued from Day 1...

Before I start to recount Day 2's events, I must just mention the lovely meal laid on by University catering the previous night; seriously, they surpassed themselves as this photo attests.

Anyway, back to the subject in hand, day 2, which saw two parallel sessions of delegate papers. I chose to attend the sessions taking place in the Henry Welcome Building but, embarrassingly, due to my body's seeming inability to wake up earlier than 8am, I missed Jennifer Carter's paper, Virtual Archives or Architectural Adaptations? National Museums Mediating Exhibitions on the Web. However, I did manage to arrive in time for Leicester's very own Sally Hughes' presentation, Telling the Tale: Locating the British Museum's Case for Retention of the Parthenon Sculptures in Exhibition Text, Audio, Print and Web.

Sally looked at the semantic differences between print and web produced by the British Museum in association with the Parthenon Marbles debate. She determined that the controversy was dealt with in a more balanced (although hardly!) manner than the rhetoric used by Neil McGregor in the forward to a recent BM publication about the marbles. She concluded by asserting the view (which was shared by many delegates at the workshop) that society is moving beyond simple materialism, and that as we spend more of our lives online, the real object is needed by a society that craves solidity, permanence and reality.

Sally's paper was followed by Elodie Moreau's overview of a current University of the Aegean project, which looks at the role of national museum's websites in the creation of national cultures and identities in France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

A quick 'comfort' break was followed by Tracy Buck's paper, Debating 'Indianness': Shifting Boundaries of Identity at the National Museum of India, which reflected upon her doctoral fieldwork at the museum. She had determined that in India, national identity was increasingly established in less tangible ways than those favoured by Western museums (and thus loaded with colonial symbolism and felt to be limiting in the Indian context): in particular, a move away from materiality and a spotlight on spirituality.

The first half of the session was closed by Ana Sanchez-Law's presentation which she had based upon an exhibition of video and art installations that challenged official narratives of Panamanian identity, including an video game she had designed for the show that reflected upon the 1989 invasion.

A quick tea break followed and before we knew it, it was time to head back to the lecture theatre for Emily Stokes-Rees - accompanied by her extraordinarily stoic baby daughter Hilary - and her paper, Exhibitions Without Objects: The Case of 'The Singapore Story'. Emily explored one aspect of the Singapore History Museum's presentation, a museum which - interestingly - has largely displaced real objects with audio-visuals.

Karoline Kaluza considered the differences between Polish and English-language versions of the same museum websites, where designers have actively sought to directly target the needs and interests of visitors, for example, the English-language version of the Polish History Museum's website, which - in a departure from the Polish presentation - focuses on emigration, displacement and Jewish genealogy.

Karen Shelby followed Karoline with her paper, Site-specificity and the Nationalistic Program of the Flemish WWI Museum, which looked at nationalistic rhetoric in architecture, specifically two World War 1 memorials/museums in Belgium: the Ijzertoren and In Flanders Fields Museum and how they are presented online.

The final presentation of the session was by Palmyre Pierroux. She examined the phenomenon of online social networking sites and their application in museums as experienced by young people taking part in a project in which she was involved.

And so to be continued.

Conference Alert/CFP: New Professionals 2008

The University of Bournemouth, in collaboration with National Museums Liverpool, is organising a conference for MA and doctoral museology students to be held in October 2008. Looks like there could be some good opportunities to present research and network. For more details click here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

CFP: Curating Difficult Knowledge

Forwarded by the NaMu listserv:

“Curating Difficult Knowledge”

April 16-18, 2009
Concordia University, Montréal

How are public spaces used to shape memories of systematic mass violence? What unique challenges arise in attempts to deploy narratives and documents of collective suffering for public display? And what innovations in exhibition, museology, and the activation of memorial sites might these challenges inspire? Employing as a point of departure a notion of “difficult knowledge” as that which challenges or disrupts anticipated experience (and thus potentially induces transformations in understanding or subjectivity), and considering “curation” in its deeper meaning of “taking care of,” this conference will provide a venue in which to grapple with these questions as they arise in theory and practice.

The Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the aftermath of Violence (CEREV - ) at Concordia University is pleased to announce our first international conference, co-sponsored by the Canada Research Chairs in Post-Conflict Studies and Latin American History. Keynote speakers will include Prof. Roger Simon, Faculty Director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Media and Culture in Education and Director of the Testimony and Historical Memory Project at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

The specific aims of the conference are:

- To engage an emerging body of interdisciplinary scholarship and practice around representing and conveying experiences and meanings of historical suffering and injustice

- To envision and critique innovative attempts at public knowledge production and transmission about post-conflict experience

- To reflect on the creation of public spaces for the discussion of past violence as part of community and nation-state recognition of the past for future generations

We especially encourage participation by scholars, curators, artists, activists and other practitioners who are engaging with these questions in the context of museums, memorials, and “sites of conscience.” Our goal is to bring together individuals who are engaged in experimental curatorial work in the aftermath of violence with researchers undertaking fine-grained reporting on and analysis of such work.

Instructions for submission:

We invite 250 word abstracts for 15- or 30-minute presentations that will explore the conference themes outlined above. Since a central goal is to foster conversation among participants, we encourage you to request the shortest time-slot in which you can communicate your key points in your chosen medium (i.e. a spoken conference paper should fit in 15 minutes). We welcome the use of photographs, sound/video clips and other digital media in presentations, and for this reason are offering the option of a 30-minute time slot. Please send abstracts, along with a current CV and a 100-word description of your current area of research/practice to:

Deadline for abstract submission: August 31st, 2008.

Notification: by September 30th, 2008

Pending funding, we hope to be able to offer some travel subsidies to participants coming from beyond North America. Please indicate in your submission if such funding would be essential for your participation.

Survey: Conservation Approaches to Unprovenanced Antiquities

From the icme listserv:

Conservation Approaches to Unprovenanced Antiquities: when would YOU conserve them?
Kathryn Walker Tubb

The opinions of working conservators/restorers matter. This survey is about your views. The results will show current attitudes about treating unprovenanced artefacts.

The questionnaire is available at:

The anonymity of respondents is assured by the Opinio software. Do not feel you have to answer all the questions - but more complete data give a fuller picture.

At the AIC meeting in April 2007, I conducted a preliminary survey. The results were interesting but need to be tested more widely. The questionnaire should take only a few minutes. However, comments in the text boxes would be most welcome.

The deadline for answering the questionnaire is July 30, 2008. Completed questionnaires received before June 26 will be used in the oral presentation of 'Shifting Approaches to Unprovenanced Antiquities among Conservation Professionals', a paper I am preparing for the sixth World Archaeological Congress, June 29 to July 4, 2008, in Dublin and later publication.

Your participation is essential if this investigation is to produce meaningful data and is very much appreciated.

The results will be made available in November 2008.

Many thanks
Kathryn Walker Tubb
Institute of Archaeology/UCL
31-34 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PY
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 1533

Curioser and curioser...

This label has appeared outside the Department of Museum Studies. And it's not a unique incidence (see Flickr and Facebook). There's a guerilla-labeller on the loose folks!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A gentle reminder...

Please remember that The Attic does not publish anonymous comments. :)

Comments Policy

Monday, June 23, 2008

PVSD: Post-Viva Stress Disorder

Forwarded by the recently 'doctored' Jeanette (well done!). Thought it was too good not to pass on. :D

From the Times Educational Supplement:

Foot in mouth disease hits nation
17 May 1996
Chris Hatton

Chris Hatton reports on a serious and growing threat to the mental health of the research community.

Recent advances in psychiatry have identified a new syndrome sweeping the nation's research community, post viva stress disorder. PVSD has many similarities to post traumatic stress disorder, which afflicts many people after being involved in major disasters, such as submissions to the Research Assessment Exercise. PVSD, however, is specifically linked to the emotional and behavioural disturbances displayed by postgraduates after undergoing an oral examination, or viva. (It is no coincidence that oral examinations are also conducted by dentists.) Several aspects of the viva contribute to the onset of PVSD. First, the viva usually takes place fairly soon after the postgraduate (in psychiatric parlance, the "victim") has finished writing the thesis. This ensures that the victim is isolated from society and divorced from the normal routines of everyday life.

In addition, any slack time between the submission of the thesis and the viva is usually used up by colleagues relating their favourite viva horror stories: the four-day vivas without food or water; those examiners with obscure neurological conditions causing them to shout "failed, you bumptious upstart!" at regular intervals; the time they turned up at the wrong viva to be grilled on the role of the potato in Carolinian architecture; or when they discovered they unaccountably missed the external examiner's seminal reference in the Guatemalan Journal of Theology and Radish Science.

The second element that can lead to PVSD is that the length of a viva is indeterminate. There are no guidelines concerning the acceptability of the victim taking short breaks for refreshments, toileting, or even quiet gibbering. This uncertainty can lead to the victim thinking they are still in the viva for several weeks after the event, and answering questions such as "tea or coffee?" with confused disquisitions on quantum theory and how it was all their supervisor's fault anyway.
Finally, there is the vexed issue of previous encounters with the external examiner. Unless he or she turns out to be a complete stranger, the external examiner generally will be known to the victim only through drunken exchanges at conferences, in which the victim will have told him or her "You're * brilliant, you are" or "You're * rubbish, you are".

At their cruellest, external examiners will actually have read the victim's thesis and will ask pertinent questions about its content. Such behaviour inevitably induces the early symptoms of PVSD - increased length of answer, a gradual absence of coherence or grammatical structure, answers ending in the words, "erm, yeah, I don't know really".

Post viva reactions depend partly on the outcome of the viva. A "fail" can, in extreme cases, induce post viva catatonia (or PVC) in the victim. This involves paralysis, alleviated only by a cold can of strong Bulgarian lager being placed swiftly in the hand.

A "pass with revision" often results in waxy PVC (also known as Barbour syndrome). Here, the victim remains in paralysis until the fingers are placed on a computer keyboard, at which point the changes required will be made, all without any apparent conscious effort.

A "pass with" or a "pass without minor corrections" induces one of two distinct forms of PVSD. The first form has been informally dubbed the Groucho Marx syndrome. Victims behave according to the principle that they could not possibly belong to a club that would have them as a member. The very fact that they have been awarded a PhD indicates its worthlessness. They are filled with feelings of depression and fraudulence, and any last vestiges of faith in academia are removed. The prognosis is poor: many victims are destined to become admissions tutors, laughing in a hollow fashion as they indiscriminately bin applications from eager students.
The second form of PVSD following a pass is more properly a form of mania. Here, victims believe they have actually become a real doctor. This has potentially disastrous consequences. Mild forms include ringing the bank within minutes to change cheque book titles to Dr, and the development of a strong desire to own a BMW. In extreme cases victims will wander the streets, offering to perform open-heart surgery on passersby with a coat hanger and a bottle of brandy.
While such behaviours could have disastrous consequences in the community at large, in a properly controlled environment (ie. a university) the prognosis is good, with victims almost inevitably becoming professors by the age of 40.

More research is urgently needed into PVSD, together with innovations in treatment strategies. To date, drug treatments have failed, despite extensive use. Behavioural programmes, such as giving people a job for life and shutting them in a windowless room, have also proved ineffective. If academics are to become valued and useful members of society, PVSD has to be conquered. Not that I have it, of course. Now where did I put that coat hanger?

Chris Hatton, research fellow at Manchester University, was awarded his PhD this year.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

New Poll Alert!

How often do you read The Attic? Let us know by casting your vote in our new poll (see the right-hand column).

Conference Alert: Dress & the Natural World

Via the Ethnomuseums listserv:

Courtauld History of Dress Association Annual Conference: dress & the natural world

Friday 27 June and Saturday 28 June 2008

Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, Courtauld Institute of Art
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R

From feathers to leathers, bones to stones, jewels and furs and hair, people have long adorned their bodies with such materials, or their facsimiles. Clothing and other types of adornment made from animal parts or representing other elements of nature has provided some of the most striking dress through time and across cultures. This conference aims to explore such convergences between dress and the natural world. Speakers include academics, museum curators and textile conservators and promise to offer two days of absorbing papers and lively discussions.

Download conference booking form and programme and the website.

For further information please contact Sonnet Stanfill or Helen Persson, Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL, UK, Email:

The Courtauld History of Dress Association is a registered charity. CHODA’s aims are to sponsor students and guest tutors for the MA course in the History of Dress. The annual conference provides a venue for new research in dress and fashion history.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Reflections on NaMu: Day 1

Between 16th-18th June, the University of Leicester hosted the fifth in a series of six workshops on the subject of Making National Museums. This was, despite helping to organise last year's Leicester workshop, my first NaMu workshop. Having heard lots of good things about the previous sessions, I was interested to take part even though the subject, 'Re-imagining the National Museum: Traditional Institutions in an Era of Technological Change' was not directly relevant to my research area. Not least, I thought, it would offer a great opportunity to network with other museology research and postdoctoral students based around the world.

The first day kicked off at midday with registration and lunch (always welcome!). The afternoon was taken up with inspirational keynote speakers on a range of related subjects. Ross Parry, from the Department of Museum Studies, gave the introduction, 'Framing Digital Heritage'. His argument, that the history of museums is inextricably linked to technology, from the most basic methods of display and information management, to - increasingly in the last forty years - digital media, set the scene for the workshop. Lee Iverson, from the University of British Columbia furthered this point, by setting forward his persuasive viewpoint that technology should serve the people and that museums need to consider relinquishing control of the message inherent in their presentations - with direct reference to websites - to their audiences. This would bring 'life' to museums: national museums would become for the nation, instead of of the nation (as the situation currently stands).

Lee was followed by George Oates, Senior Programme Manager for Flickr. I have to admit that this was the presentation that I found most exciting; I've recently become quite obsessed with photography (thanks to my lovely new camera!) and regularly upload the more artistic of my shots (ha!) to the photo-sharing site, so I was very interested to hear about its origins (in 'Game Neverending') and its potential applications, in particular collaboration with museums and archives (see The Commons) to democratise their photographic collections, by allowing users to tag and organise institutional collections in much the same way as they can currently 'curate' their own uploads.

Following George was Paul Marty, from Florida State University. His key note presentation considered 'Digital Heritage and the Future of the National Museum' and, in particular, how - by relinquishing some of their control over information (there was a real theme developing here!) - museums can refocus their websites towards a person-centred approach; one which allows users to navigate online exhibitions and interpretation according to their differing needs and wants. Central to this argument was the traditional authority of the museum, in Paul's words, a comfortable illusion. To remain relevant museums should work towards exposing the decisions, currently hidden, that led to the creation of 'authority' in the first place (I started to think about Latour's 'black boxes' here) and to assess and meet the changing information needs of their audiences.

The final key note speech of the day was given by Alexandra Bounia, of the University of the Aegean. Her paper, 'National Museums and New Technologies: A European (Union) Perspective' gave an overview of EU-funded digitisation projects in museums. The EU took the decision in the mid-90s to support the use of ICT to promote European citizenship and improve quality of life across the union. To these ends, a regulatory framework has been constructed which embeds the relationship between culture and information technology. Currently, the primary concerns of the EU, vis-a-vis technology is to remain competitive in the global economy, by using ICTs to 'learn better' and enrich shared and local cultural heritage. I have to confess that my mind began to wander at this point, which is by no means a reflection of Alexandra's paper, I should add. It just happened to be scheduled for the end of a busy, exciting and, thus, tiring day.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Conference Alert: Representing the Everday in American Visual Culture

From H-Museum:

Conference announcement:

Representing the Everyday in American Visual Culture
University of Nottingham (UK)
12 & 13 September 2008

A Two-Day Conference hosted by NIRVC (Nottingham Institute for Research In Visual Culture) and funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art

To claim that a work of art represents the everyday is to make a powerful assertion about what constitutes normative experience. The structures and rituals of everyday life are thus common points of reference in attempts to construct and define coherent national narratives. Calling such constructions into question, various artistic and cultural practices have privileged accounts and images of everyday life that seek, simultaneously, to amplify what is invested in securing representations of everydayness and to puncture and resist discourses of power. Pointing to the way that particular aesthetic and formal approaches produce different versions of the everyday, critical theorists -- Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, and Michel de Certeau, for instance -- have made the question of ethics central to that of representation: whose everyday is being represented and how are such representations circulated and consumed? Across diverse moments and media, the antebellum genre painters William Sidney Mount, George Caleb Bingham and Lily Martin Spencer; the magazine illustrators Alice Barber Stephens and Norman Rockwell; and the "American Scene" painters John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton produced images of the American everyday that were by turns ambiguous, sentimental, celebratory and nationalistic. Ashcan School paintings of urban poverty, the African-American domestic sphere delineated by Harlem Renaissance artists and documentary photographs of the dustbowl challenged and expanded this discourse.

While many of these works pursue a smooth assimilation of the everyday, the act of representation also distances us from the everyday, marking it off and making it strange. Artists like Robert Frank, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol and Dan Graham have exploited this process of estrangement, producing ambivalent or critical images of everyday American life. Others, including Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg and Mierle Laderman Ukeles, have sought to minimise or negate this division, in sculpture and collage that incorporate everyday materials or performances that enact everyday practices. Bringing the mundane into visibility through its material representation reveals, paradoxically, the extraordinariness of what is often considered, dismissed, or celebrated as everyday.

Guest Speakers:
Michelle Bogart (Stony Brook University), Jeff Brouws (photographer, New York), Anna Dezeuze (University of Manchester), Michael Leja (University of Pennsylvania), Alexander Nemerov (Yale University), John Roberts (University of Wolverhampton)

Conference Registration
The conference will take place in Florence Boot Hall Registration will be at on Friday 12 September.

The Conference fee £20.00 includes lunch, tea/coffee for both days

Bed & breakfast at Florence Boot Hall is £28.00 per night standard room with shared bathroom facilities or £42.60 per night with ensuite facilities

Conference Dinner (optional) £20.00

Further details and booking forms can be found at:

Elizabeth Jennings
Postgraduate Administrator
Department of Art History
Lakeside Arts Centre
University of Nottingham
Nottingham NG7 2RD
tel: +44(0)115 846 7779
fax: +44(0)115 846 7778
Hours of work: Mon-Thurs 08.30-13.30

Bursaries to attend EVA London 2008

From H-Museum:

Free attendance (and even lunch) at this lively multi disciplinary event ...

... if you do not have other funds to apply to, for instance if you are an artist or self employed, a sole trader or a member of a very small company, or a student, you may be allocated a bursary.


When? 22-24 July 2008
Where? British Computer Society, 5 Southampton Street, London WD2E 7HA

No need to complete the registration form first. Simply send a joint email

George Mallen, and ,

with 'EVA London bursary application' as the subject.

A bursary selection panel will decide on applications as they arrive and you will be notified soon after we receive your application.

Your email should state:

* Your name and affiliation, and whether you are a student, employee, or self employed
* Your role in the EVA conference - just wishing to attend the conference, giving a paper (with title), presenting in the Visualisation Session or the Research Workshop
* Which days you wish to attend
* What other funds, if any, are available for you to apply for
* Why you fit the criteria for an EVA London bursary
* About 100 words maximum why you are interested in the conference and what you hope to gain from attending.

The bursaries will cover the costs of registration for EVA.

You will be able to register free of charge if your bid is successful.

Registration and outline programme

EVA London 2008 will debate the issues, discuss trends and demonstrate the digitial possibilities in:
. Performing arts
. Visual arts
. New technologies
. Interactive media
. Museums, archives and galleries

If you are interested in the new technologies in the cultural sector -- if you are an artist, policy maker, manager, researcher, practitioner, audience evaluator or educator -- this conference is for you.

About my research project:

Conference website:
Electronic Visualisation & the Arts

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

Dr Suzanne Keene
Reader in Museum Studies
University College London
Institute of Archaeology
31-34 Gordon Square
London, WC1H 0PY

t: +44 (0)20 7679 4935
m: 0779 962 7002

CFP/Publication: Digital Convergence

From H-Museum:


Digital Convergence: Libraries, Archives, and Museums in the Information Age

Three Special Issues of Library Quarterly, Archival Science, and Museum Management and Curatorship


The editors of Library Quarterly, Archival Science, and Museum Management and Curatorship are pleased to announce plans for three special issues exploring the shared information needs and challenges facing libraries, archives, and museums in the information age; the overlapping educational goals of library and information science, archival studies, and museum studies programs; and areas of convergence for educators and professionals working to meet user needs in libraries, archives, and museums.

The resulting three separate issues of Library Quarterly, Archival Science, and Museum Management and Curatorship will be published at approximately the same time (end of 2009), and all three issues will be Guest Edited by Dr.
Paul F. Marty, College of Information, Florida State University.

The impetus for this project stems from a recent conference, sponsored by the IMLS, on the need for information professionals who can transcend the traditional boundaries between libraries, archives, and museums to meet user needs in the information age (see: ).

The increased use of and reliance on digital resources has blurred traditional distinctions between information organizations, leading to a digital convergence of libraries, archives, and museums. In light of this convergence, there is a need for more research examining how libraries, archives, and museums can collaborate and combine forces to better serve their users, many of whom do not clearly distinguish among different institutions or the information resources they manage.

We are looking for papers addressing one or more of the following three broad questions in ways that cut across the traditional distinctions between libraries, archives, and museums:

1. What are the information needs of libraries, archives, and museums in the information age, both internally (staff and other
professionals) and externally (public services)? How can new information technologies support information professionals as they adapt to meet these needs?

2. What are the roles and responsibilities of information professionals in libraries, archives, and museums in the information age? What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to succeed at their jobs (e.g.
intellectual property, information management, digital preservation, etc.)?

3. What kinds of educational programs best prepare information professionals to meet the needs of libraries, archives, and museums in the information age, including degree and non-degree programs? How are these programs currently preparing their students, and what potential is there for sharing expertise across programs?

While authors may choose to focus primarily on libraries, archives, or museums (depending on their interests and expertise), each article should attempt to explore issues of convergence across libraries, archives, and museums.


* Optional Abstract: September 1, 2008

* Submission Deadline: December 1, 2008

* Review Decisions: February 1, 2009

* Final Versions Due: June 1, 2009

* Publication: End of 2009


If you wish, you may submit an optional abstract (by email to Paul Marty at for feedback by September 1, 2008 (please indicate the journal to which you plan to submit).

Please direct your submission to the journal that most closely matches the particular focus of your article, research, or discipline, as

* Library Quarterly, follow submission instructions at

* Archival Science, follow submission instructions at
(When specifying "Article type" please select the "Special Issue on Digital

* Museum Management and Curatorship, please email submissions directly to Paul Marty at
(Please see instructions for authors at

Please mark your submission as being intended for the special issue on digital convergence.

If you have any questions about the special issues, please contact Paul Marty at

A PDF version of this CFP is available at:

Paul F. Marty, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
College of Information
Florida State University
Tallahassee FL

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Conference Alert: Explaining Musical Instruments at a Museum

Forwarded by Brenda:

August 24 - 29, 2008
México City, Escuela Nacional de Música

CIAMIM's theme will be Explaining Musical Instruments in a Museum. The Conference will bring together specialists in different fields of acoustics, as well as specialists devoted to museology, computer music, cognition, musicology, education and informatics relating to musical instruments, in order to discuss the present and future possibilities of interdisciplinary work among all these fields of science in reference to the theme of the Conference.

Museums, in general, have evolved in the last decades by providing a greater emphasis on educational aspects, mainly, as a means of transmitting knowledge through an explanation of objects in their collections.

However, museums harboring collections of musical instruments are at present a long way from achieving this educational goal, which leads to, for instance, small attendances of the general public.

A musical museum, as an educational center, must offer to its public means for approaching the use and enjoyment of instruments and, thereby, of music.

Any musical instrument is related to numerous aspects of life and science. Explaining a musical instrument means informing about it from different points of view, which may be musical, acoustic, historical, or concern the role which the instrument plays for each individual and for society, as well as its structure, different techniques for playing the instrument, its construction, restoration and conservation, and the benefits provided by its use to humans, including strengthening, among other things, of abilities of concentration, hearing, motor coordination and socialization.

Through an explanation of a musical instrument in the museum, one also may achieve spreading of science, since a fundamental form of explaining this type of art object is through an application of scientific concepts.

The complexity of this problem requires interdisciplinary work among the several people making up a museum's personnel and the specialists in each of the diverse areas involved. Such concerted work has become an imperative. Nevertheless, this kind of collaboration is necessary not only in museums but in many other aspects of scientific research related to musical instruments, as well. We intend to have this Meeting promote interdisciplinary work among its participants.

The classical topics of musical acoustics meetings, such as the acoustics of stringed, wind and percussion instruments, as well as the acoustics of the human voice, musical psychoacoustics, musical reproduction, electronic music and room acoustics, will also be covered at this meeting. Furthermore, workshops devoted to Western and Pre-Hispanic instruments will also be included.


• To have specialists in different fields related to music and musical instruments meet.
• To have these specialists relate in interdisciplinary work.
• To discuss the possibilities and the convenience of explaining musical instruments and music in museums and, thereby,

• To bring the public nearer to musical instruments and music.
• To convey and explain the benefits which musical exercise and experience bring to children and to adults.
• To spread scientific knowledge related to musical instruments.




Tel: (5255) 5688-3358 / 5680-3746
Tel/fax: (5255) 5651-6998 / (5255) 5554-3981

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is there life beyond a PhD?

Perhaps it's just my fear of being pigeon-holed, (I still harbour dreams of becoming the BBC's first female football commentator, or an internationally renowned textile artist!), but recently I've been quite preoccupied with coming up with a list of celebrities and other well known people with PhDs, who are predominantly known for something else. So far I have this paltry list:

Are there any more? The finality of becoming Dr Barnes is causing me anxiety; what if I have nothing left to strive for? I need to know that there is life outside academia beyond a PhD. And, just to make things worse, I keep reading surveys that suggest that women with PhDs are more likely to remain singletons. Am I destined to become spinster of this parish? Questions, questions, questions...

China Landscape @ the British Museum

So. on Friday I took a whistle-stop trip to London to get some fieldwork done at the British Museum and the V&A. Whilst at the former I was sufficiently intrigued by the garden - that has appeared outside the main entrance - to take a look.

China Landscape is a collaboration between the museum and Kew Gardens, and recreates a Chinese-inspired landscape in the heart of London. Most of the plant species on 'display' (if that's the right word in this context?) are native to Sichuan province, which - given the recent, devastating earthquake - lends an extra poignancy to the installation.

The garden appeared to be fairly new; the plants don't quite yet look completely at home in their new location, but give it a couple of weeks and I'm sure the vegetation will be lush and the flowering plants will be bursting with buds. Well worth a look, should you happen to be in the area. The exhibition is free, and on until October 27th.

I've never before come across a garden in a museum, or - at least - one that forms an exhibition, with plants as objects. One ponders, could this be the beginning of a new exhibitionary fad?!

The entrance to the garden, marked by a calligraphy-adorned rock.

The facade of the British Museum in the background (complete with crane!)

A scholar's rock - for contemplation

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

New MA Distance-learning blog

Ever wondered what it's like to be an MA distance-learning student in the Department (I was one, so I already know all about it!)? Then take a look at the new blog dedicated to documenting and reflecting upon last week's distance-learning Summer School here in Leicester. It seems they all had a great time - lots of eating, drinking, gossiping, shopping, socialising and a little bit of learning. ;) Just like our own PhD Research Week, in fact!

Writing Opportunity: Journal of Museum Ethnography Book Reviews

The following is an updated list of books available for review in the Journal of Museum Ethnography. Please contact Claire Warrior if you are interested in writing a review for any of them:

Deadline: 15 August 2008

Brown, Alison K. 2008. Material histories. ISBN 97809511311-4-4. Aberdeen: Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen. Paperback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Captain Cook Memorial Museum. 2008. Smoking coasts and ice-bound seas: Cook’s voyage to the Arctic. Paperback.

Gascoigne, John. 2007. Captain Cook: voyager between worlds. ISBN 978-1-84725-002-5. London: Continuum. Paperback.

Keurs, Pieter ter. 2007. Condensed reality: a study of material culture. ISBN 978905789112-0. Leiden: CNWS Publications. Paperback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Keurs, Pieter ter (ed.). 2007. Colonial collections revisited. ISBN 978905789152-6. Leiden: CNWS Publications. Paperback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

King, J.C.H. and Christian F. Feest (eds.). 2007. Three centuries of Woodlands Indian art. ISBN 978398116200-4. Altenstadt: ZFK Publishers. Paperback.

Mack, John. 2007. The art of small things. ISBN 978971415046-8. London: British Museum Press. Hardback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Price, Sally. 2007. Paris Primitive: Jacques Chirac's Museum on the Quai Branly. ISBN 978-0226680682. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Paperback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Rawson, Jessica (ed.). 2007. The British Museum Book of Chinese Art. London: British Museum Press. ISBN 978071412446-9. Paperback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Stanley, Nick (ed.). 2007. The future of indigenous museums: perspectives from the southwest Pacific. ISBN: 9781845451882. Oxford: Berghahn Books. Hardback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Swain, Hedley. 2007. An introduction to museum archaeology. ISBN 978052186075. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Paperback.

Weaver, Stephanie. 2007. Creating great visitor experiences: a guide for museums, parks, zoos, gardens, & libraries. ISBN 978159874169-8. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. Paperback. ALREADY ALLOCATED

Monday, June 09, 2008


From H-Museum:

NODEM 08 in Reykjavik: Call is now open

You can view the graphical version of this newsletter here,9,91a4eac3182b5274fd2d01840e51498c


NODEM 08 will take place at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik from 3rd to 5th December 2008. NODEM (Nordic Digital Excellence in Museums) is a professional forum for exchanging knowledge and establishing collaboration between museums, research institutions, galleries, science and discovery centres, cultural/natural heritage sites and similar organisations. Further information about NODEM 08

NODEM 08 invites submissions of papers, project presentations and exhibition proposals from museum and exhibition designers, museum experts, researchers, curators, social scientists, interaction designers, media producers, artists, ICT developers and engineers or anyone else who has an interest in the field. Further information about the call

- Outdoor digital interaction.
- Visualisation techniques - virtual, mixed reality, augmented and 3D simulations
- Interplay between objects and digital media
- Tools for education and training in cultural heritage
- Internet-based cultural heritage applications
- Mobile technologies that enhance experience
- Designing for experience in cultural/natural heritage
- Emotional or learning experiences related to objects and physical environments
- Cultural heritage and history ingrained in nature
- Cultural heritage in role play and games
- The benefit of digital media for tourism
- Museum 2.0
- Social media and museums

Paper and project submission deadline: September 10th Exhibitions proposals
deadline: October 1st, 2008.

Coordinator of NODEM 08
Margrét Guðmundsdóttir
Centre for Research in the Humanities
University of Iceland
mgu at
Tel. +354 525 4462

CFP: Museum Education Monitor (MEM)

From H-Museum:

What's going on with education-related research and evaluation in science centres and science museums? What are you working on? Want to share it with others?

MUSEUM EDUCATION MONITOR (MEM), the monthly e-newsletter, is compiling a list of ongoing research and evaluation projects for the upcoming June
2008 issue. Listings by museum workers, faculty, and students at all levels of study are welcome. This month's focus is work in science centres and science museums but studies in institutions related to other disciplines are equally welcome.

If you wish to share information on your research or evaluation project with others around the world, please send an e-mail to that
- name of project
- question(s) [no more than 50 words, please]
- how the data will be presented
- principal researcher(s)/ evaluator(s)
- site(s) where research is being conducted
- time span
- contact information
- key words/labels to describe the project [no more than 4 or 5, please.

Check out all research listings back to October 2007 at the MEM blog,
"FORUM: Research and Resources in Museum Education" .

All listings are free of charge and displayed in their language of origin.

**Deadline for the June issue is Friday June 13, 2008.**

FYI, the following research projects were listed in MEM, May 2008:

- Concepciones sobre adquisición y transmisión de conocimiento científico en investigadores dedicados a la divulgación. [Conceptions about scientific knowledge transmission and acquisition in researchers as science communicators] (Brazil)

UPDATES on research listed in earlier isues of MEM:

- Evaluation of Renaissance in the Regions-funded Education programme at Stoke-on-Trent Museums (United Kingdom)[Available for download]

A complimentary copy of this Museum Education Monitor, May 2008, is available upon request to .

Please get in touch for more information about this call or to discuss your research. I look forward to hearing from you!

M. Christine Castle, Editor, Museum Education Monitor For more information about Museum Education Monitor visit

Sunday, June 08, 2008

PhD Research Week Review: Day 2, Afternoon session

On Day 2 of PhD Research Week, students introduced their research to their peers. In the afternoon, Ceri Jones and Jennifer Jankauskas took to the 'stage'.

As a new student it was the first time Jennifer had had the opportunity to present her research subject to the rest of her PhD colleagues (or, at least, those in attendance). Her paper examined the The Intersection of Art and Economics, and the reasons behind the current strength of the international art market in spite of economic downturn in North America and Europe.

In contrast, Ceri Jones is three years into her part-time PhD student. For this year's Research Week presentation she gave a paper called Never Work with Museums, Schools or Children: the making of a case study. In it she gave a perhaps enlightening insight for our newer colleagues, into the dark period of fieldwork which we all inevitably encounter on our PhD journey. However, she was able to confirm that there was light at the end of the tunnel, and had decided to impart some of her experiences and advice for the benefit of others. She concluded with her 'key words' for undertaking successful fieldwork: perseverance, opportunistic, flexible and calm (i.e. don't panic!).

N.B. Recordings and copies of (most of) the presentations from Research Week are available for Uol Museum Studies students to access from Blackboard.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Sculpture in the Garden 2008

Sculpture in the Garden 2008: a sense of place

Artists including Laura Ellen Bacon, Jill Randall, Abu Jafar and Adam Reynolds exhibit their work in the University of Leicester's Botanic Garden.

Taking place throughout the summer, this vibrant exhibition of contemporary sculpture takes you on a journey through the University of Leicester's Botanic Garden. Among the artists exhibiting this year are Laura Ellen Bacon, Jill Randall, Abu Jafar and Adam Reynolds.

From Saturday 21 June. FREE admission.

I expect we could all do with a bit of motivation...

I really enjoy reading Leon Babauta's blog Zen Habits and his most recent post is about how to get, and keep, the motivation to achieve your goals.

The Ultimate Guide to Motivation - How to Achieve Any Goal

His 20 Ways to Sustain Motivation When You're Struggling are, I think, particularly applicable to combatting the dreaded PhD procrastination malaise:

1. Hold yourself back.
When I start with a new exercise program, or any new goal really, I am rarin’ to go. I am full of excitement, and my enthusiasm knows no boundaries. Nor does my sense of self-limitation. I think I can do anything. It’s not long before I learn that I do have limitations, and my enthusiasm begins to wane. Well, a great motivator that I’ve learned is that when you have so much energy at the beginning of a program, and want to go all out — HOLD BACK. Don’t let yourself do everything you want to do. Only let yourself do 50-75 percent of what you want to do. And plan out a course of action where you slowly increase over time. For example, if I want to go running, I might think I can run 3 miles at first. But instead of letting myself do that, I start by only running a mile. When I’m doing that mile, I’ll be telling myself that I can do more! But I don’t let myself. After that workout, I’ll be looking forward to the next workout, when I’ll let myself do 1.5 miles. I keep that energy reined in, harness it, so that I can ride it even further.

2. Just start. There are some days when you don’t feel like heading out the door for a run, or figuring out your budget, or whatever it is you’re supposed to do that day for your goal. Well, instead of thinking about how hard it is, and how long it will take, tell yourself that you just have to start. I have a rule that I just have to put on my running shoes and close the door behind me. After that, it all flows naturally. It’s when you’re sitting in your house, thinking about running and feeling tired, that it seems hard. Once you start, it is never as hard as you thought it would be. This tip works for me every time.

3. Stay accountable. If you committed yourself publicly, through an online forum, on a blog, in email, or in person … stay accountable to that group of people. Commit to report back to them daily, or something like that, and stick to it! That accountability will help you to want to do well, because you don’t want to report that you’ve failed.

4. Squash negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. This is one of the most important motivation skills, and I suggest you practice it daily. It’s important to start monitoring your thoughts, and to recognize negative self-talk. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try squashing those negative thoughts like a bug, and then replacing them with a corresponding positive thought. Squash, “This is too hard!” and replace it with, “I can do this! If that wimp Leo can do it, so can I!” It sounds corny, but it works. Really.

5. Think about the benefits. Thinking about how hard something is is a big problem for most people. Waking early sounds so hard! Just thinking about it makes you tired. But instead of thinking about how hard something is, think about what you will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about how hard it is to wake early, focus on how good you’ll feel when you’re done, and how your day will be so much better. The benefits of something will help energize you.

6. Get excited again! Think about why you lost your excitement … then think about why you were excited in the first place. Can you get that back? What made you want to do the goal? What made you passionate about it? Try to build that up again, refocus yourself, get energized.

7. Read about it. When I lose motivation, I just read a book or blog about my goal. It inspires me and reinvigorates me. For some reason, reading helps motivate and focus you on whatever you’re reading about. So read about your goal every day, if you can, especially when you’re not feeling motivated.

8. Find like-minded friends. Staying motivated on your own is tough. But if you find someone with similar goals (running, dieting, finances, etc.), see if they’d like to partner with you. Or partner with your spouse, sibling or best friend on whatever goals they’re trying to achieve. You don’t have to be going after the same goals — as long as you are both pushing and encouraging each other to succeed. Other good options are groups in your area (I’m part of a running club, for example) or online forums where you can find people to talk to about your goals.

9. Read inspiring stories. Inspiration, for me, comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve, or who are currently doing it. I read other blogs, books, magazines. I Google my goal, and read success stories. Zen Habits is just one place for inspiration, not only from me but from many readers who have achieved amazing things. I love, love, love reading success stories too.

10. Build on your successes. Every little step along the way is a success — celebrate the fact that you even started! And then did it for two days! Celebrate every little milestone. Then take that successful feeling and build on it, with another baby step. Add 2-3 minutes to your exercise routine, for example. With each step (and each step should last about a week), you will feel even more successful. Make each step really, really small, and you won’t fail. After a couple of months, your tiny steps will add up to a lot of progress and a lot of success.

11. Just get through the low points. Motivation is not a constant thing that is always there for you. It comes and goes, and comes and goes again, like the tide. But realize that while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back. Just stick it out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal, ask for help, and do some of the other things listed here until your motivation comes back.

12. Get help. It’s hard to accomplish something alone. When I decided to run my marathon, I had the help of friends and family, and I had a great running community on Guam who encouraged me at 5K races and did long runs with me. When I decided to quit smoking, I joined an online forum and that helped tremendously. And of course, my wife Eva helped every step of the way. I couldn’t have done these goals without her, or without the others who supported me. Find your support network, either in the real world or online, or both.

13. Chart your progress. This can be as simple as marking an X on your calendar, or creating a simple spreadsheet, or logging your goal using online software. But it can be vastly rewarding to look back on your progress and to see how far you’ve come, and it can help you to keep going — you don’t want to have too many days without an X! Now, you will have some bad marks on your chart. That’s OK. Don’t let a few bad marks stop you from continuing. Strive instead to get the good marks next time.

14. Reward yourself often. For every little step along the way, celebrate your success, and give yourself a reward. It helps to write down appropriate rewards for each step, so that you can look forward to those rewards. By appropriate, I mean 1) it’s proportionate to the size of the goal (don’t reward going on a 1-mile run with a luxury cruise in the Bahamas); and 2) it doesn’t ruin your goal — if you are trying to lose weight, don’t reward a day of healthy eating with a dessert binge. It’s self-defeating.

15. Go for mini-goals. Sometimes large or longer-term goals can be overwhelming. After a couple weeks, we may lose motivation, because we still have several months or a year or more left to accomplish the goal. It’s hard to maintain motivation for a single goal for such a long time. Solution:
smaller goals along the way.

16. Get a coach or take a class. These will motivate you to at least show up, and to take action. It can be applied to any goal. This might be one of the more expensive ways of motivating yourself, but it works. And if you do some research, you might find some cheap classes in your area, or you might know a friend who will provide coaching or counseling for free.

17. Never skip two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row!

18. Use visualization. Visualize your successful outcome in great detail. Close your eyes, and think about exactly how your successful outcome will look, will feel, will smell and taste and sound like. Where are you when you become successful? How do you look? What are you wearing? Form as clear a mental picture as possible. Now here’s the next key: do it every day. For at least a few minutes each day. This is the only way to keep that motivation going over a long period of time.

19. Be aware of your urges to quit, and overcome them. We all have urges to stop, but they are mostly unconscious. One of the most powerful things you can do is to start being more conscious of those urges. A good exercise is to go through the day with a little piece of paper and put a tally mark for each time you get an urge. It simply makes you aware of the urges. Then have a plan for when those urges hit, and plan for it beforehand, and write down your plan, because once those urges hit, you will not feel like coming up with a plan.

20. Find pleasure again. No one can stick to something for long if they find it unpleasant, and are only rewarded after monthsof toil. There has to be fun, pleasure, joy in it, every day, or you won’t want to do it. Find those pleasurable things — the beauty of a morning run, for example, or the satisfaction in reporting to people that you finished another step along the way, or the deliciousness of a healthy meal.

And if that doesn't help, remember my favourite mantra, The only way out is...through. ;)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

News snippets...

Gorbachev calls for purge museum

The former Soviet leader has signed a petition calling for the development of a museum in memorial of the victims of Stalinist purges.

UK University lectures on iTunes

UCL, Trinity College Dublin and the Open University are the first European Universities to upload lectures to 'iTunes U'.

The Great Barrier Reef rendered in crochet
The Times reports on a collaborative project to recreate the Great Barrier Reef using hyperbolic crochet, on show at the Royal Festival Hall from 11th June.

Monday, June 02, 2008

CFP/Conference Alert: Traditions and Transformations

From H-Museum:


The Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change/ Leeds Metropolitan University is pleased to announce the following forthcoming conference that might be of interest to you:

Traditions and Transformations:
Tourism, Heritage and Cultural Change in the Middle East and North Africa Region

Amman, Jordan
4 - 7 April 2009

Tourism is a well established phenomenon across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Region and despite political instabilities it demonstrates remarkable resilience. As well as being a major economic force and a key driver for development, tourism is also an important mechanism for social exchange and identity building at both the individual and regional/national levels. Over recent years the rate of tourism development has increased substantively. Multi-national investments in hotels, resort complexes and infrastructure, together with major heritage conservation projects are catalysing significant social changes (such as shifting patterns of labour migration and the testing of 'traditional' values and practices), environmental changes (at the aesthetic level and in terms of physical change), and political changes (re-orientation of alliances and new globalised relationships).

The aims of this major international and multi-disciplinary conference are:
To critically explore the major issues facing the MENA region with regard to the development of tourism and its relationships with heritage and culture; To draw upon ideas, cases and best practice from international scholars and help develop new understandings and research capacities regarding the relationships between tourism, heritage and culture in the MENA Region and; To provide a major networking opportunity for international scholars, policy makers and professionals.


In this major conference we seek to examine the phenomenon of tourism across the Middle East and North Africa Region and its changing relationships with heritage and culture. We wish to promote dialogue across disciplinary boundaries and thus we welcome papers from the following disciplines:
anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art and design history, cultural geography, cultural studies, ethnology and folklore, history, heritage studies, landscape studies, linguistics, museum studies, political science, sociology, tourism studies and urban/spatial planning.

Key themes of interest to the conference include:

* Histories, mobilities, and the symbolic / political economies of tourism
* Tourism in the construction of places / spaces / nations
* The role of archaeology in contemporary tourism
* Structures / infrastructures of international tourism - building/ architecture/ design for tourism & tourists
* Tourism and the role of the museum
* The conservation of heritage for tourism
* The practices and performances of 'tradition'
* Tourist art and art for tourists
* Intangible heritage and its role in tourism
* Rural and urban tourism practices

Please submit a 300 word abstract including title and full contact details as an electronic file to Prof Mike Robinson ( ). You may submit your abstract as soon as possible but no later than 30th September 2008.

Conference Organisers: Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom, and the Council for British Research in the Levant, Amman, Jordan.

For further details on the conference please visit: or or contact us at:
phone +44 (0) 113- 2838541 or email


Daniela Carl
Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts & Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Old School Board
Calverley Street

phone +44 (0)113- 283 8541
fax +44 (0)113- 283 8544

CFP/Conference Alert: Places of Meaning, Meaning in Place

From H-Museum:

Second Call for Papers

Places of Meaning, Meaning in Place: Tangibility, Controversy, and Conscience at Historic Sites Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology Toronto, Ontario, Canada January 6-11, 2009

Organizers: Kevin M. Bartoy (The Hermitage) and Jay Stottman (Kentucky Archaeological Survey)

Session Sponsored by the Public Education and Interpretation Committee

Every piece of ground is a historic site. The events of the human past have traversed every inch of soil on this planet. Yet, it is in the present that we invest these sites with sufficient significance to make them places of meaning. These places provide tangibility for the intangible. It is through this process of making meaning in place that historic sites become contested landscapes. That is, places in which a past is interpreted and reinterpreted from a variety of perspectives in the present. In this process, they become places of controversy and conscience. This session seeks to explore our role as "interlocutors" in dialogues between events of the past and meaning making in the present. As such, we critically engage with a variety of publics in "locating" the past in place physically and in place with social issues of the present.

We are looking for papers from a broad spectrum of practitioners of public archaeology, public history, museum studies, and heritage studies. We hope that the session will be international in scope and diverse in contributions. While we do not want to limit creativity, some potential papers may address the following:

* Engaging sites and subjects of controversy
* Interpretation and presentation of histories and archaeologies of controversial topics
* The productions of contested landscapes and heritage
* The relationship between landscapes, heritage, and identity
* Making histories and archaeologies relevant to present issues of heritage and identity
* The role of archaeologists or archaeology in the production of meanings, identity, or controversies

We also hope that there may be a potential to have remote participation for those who cannot physically attend the conference. So, feel free to submit even if you are constrained in your ability to travel to Toronto for the session.

Proposals are due by June 10, 2008.

If you are interested in participating in this session, please contact Kevin M. Bartoy, Director of Archaeology, The Hermitage, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
( )

Kevin M. Bartoy
Director of Archaeology
The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson 4580 Rachel's Lane Nashville, Tennessee 37076
Phone: 615.889.2941 ext.200
Fax: 615.889.9289

Preserve, Educate and Inspire!

Publication/CFP: Exhibitionist

From H-Museum (sounds like it could be interesting - see question beneath the 'fold'!):

Dear Colleagues,

We are working on an issue of "Exhibitionist," the journal of the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME), part of the American Association of Museums. The theme of the issue (Fall 2008) will be "The Unexhibitable."

In this issue we hope to publish some of your replies to the question below, along with other articles on a variety of topics some might consider "Unexhibitable." We are talking with museum colleagues from all over the world, and we'd like to ask you to add your voice to the discussion. We give a number of ideas below, just to get you thinking, but don't feel you have to discuss any or all; you may have other thoughts. It's up to you. We need your responses by June 15, 2008.

No more than 200 words, please. Also please give name, and affiliation/organization if any, and country.

For any comments we publish, we will run article by you for review before printing.


Is there any idea or topic that you consider to be "Unexhibitable"? That is, incapable of being made into an engaging museum exhibition? If so, please say why and give an example(s). Or if you think there is nothing that cannot be exhibited, please also explain and give an example(s):

Some of the reasons people have already discussed are the following. You may talk about one or several of these, or provide your own example. Is there a topic or idea that is:

- too controversial or sensitive
- too violent
- too revolting or disgusting
- too abstract
- too ordinary or insignificant
- untimely - could/could not have been exhibited years ago, as opposed to now; or perhaps in a few years, but not now.
- constrained by place- my museum/country could/could not do it, as opposed to another museum/country
- unexhibitable for some other reason?

Please send responses to and

We also encourage you to go to where there is a blog on this subject. We will be collecting comments from the blog as well.

Thanks and we look forward to hearing from you.

Gretchen Jennings
Washington, DC

Maureen McConnell
Senior Exhibit Developer
Museum of Science, Boston

Call for Participation: Museums & Sustainable Heritage Development

From H-Museum:

International Field School in Museums & Sustainable Heritage Development Vietnam, 6 - 21 December 2008

The International Field School in Museums and Sustainable Heritage Development offered by the Museum Studies Program at the University of Queensland aims to provide first-hand experience to graduate students and Professional Development Program participants in locating culture in sustainable development in a rapidly globalising world. Museums and heritage places kinds are considered in the context of sustainable economic, environmental and social development, with a focus on documented case studies and real-life examples in Vietnam. Participants will consider how museums, cultural institutions, and heritage tourism can play a role in the revitalization of local culture and economy, and how international conventions for heritage protection, governance structures, and local area planning intersect within holistic heritage management frameworks. The course provides a critical introduction to cultural mapping, gender and youth issues in community engagement, poverty alleviation and Millennium Development Goals. It also examines the challenges posed by the conflicts between conservation and development, particularly in World Heritage Areas.

This Field School provides practical field experience not only to graduate students and researchers in museum, heritage and environmental studies, practicing museum and heritage professionals, but will also be of interest to those involved in archaeology, anthropology, planning, postcolonial studies, sustainable development and cultural heritage law.

The International Field School will be offered during the University of Queensland Summer Semester 2008/9 in Vietnam (6 -21 December 2008), with the support of the local, provincial and national cultural institutions and their respective authorities.

Key topics include

* Museums and community engagement with indigenous and minority ethnic
groups: workshop at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology on the participation of indigenous and minority groups in the conservation and interpretation of tangible and intangible heritage and their representation in museums.
* Critical investigation into the positive and negative effects that tourism has had on the traditional ways of life and heritage values of indigenous and ethnic minority groups in northern Vietnam.
* Challenges in the practical implementation of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, including workshops with management in Hue, Hoi An, My Son and Ha Long Bay World Heritage Areas.
* Urban development and heritage conservation - evaluation workshop with the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology examining the future development and management of Ba Dinh Archaeological Site and Thang Long Citadel in the heart of Hanoi, and the sustainable heritage development of Hanoi Old Quarter.
* Roundtables at the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts and the Vietnam Temple of Literature in Hanoi to interrogate the construction of the aesthetic in art museum discourse and its contemporary globalisation through biennales and triennials.
* The significance of Object ID, national cultural heritage law and UNESCO Conventions in the minimization of illicit traffic in cultural property.
* Women and youth issues in culture and development - seminar at the Vietnam Museum of Women addressing issues of gender, representation and participation in museums, environmental education, and globalization.
* Ecomuseums and holistic heritage management: participation in a planning workshop bringing together floating fishing villages and curators, site managers and conservators to evaluate the construction and development of the world's first floating museum in Ha Long Bay World Heritage Area.
* Evaluating cultural policies, cultural mapping methodologies and intercultural dialogues in locating museums in integrated local area planning and sustainable development.
* Post-conflict heritage management and sustainable strategies for community engagement in Vietnam, with case studies in Ha Long Bay, Hue and My Son archaeological site.
* UNESCO Conventions on cultural diversity and the protection of intangible cultural heritage, including Vietnamese Masterpieces of Intangible Heritage, and the integration of intangible and tangible heritage in museums and World Heritage Areas.


The Field School is led by a faculty of national and international researchers and museum professionals with a substantial track record of applied work in Vietnam. It is coordinated by Dr Amareswar Galla, Professor of Museum Studies, the University of Queensland, and Guest Curator of International Projects, Vietnam National Department of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture and Information.

The Vietnamese faculty includes Professor Nguyen Van Huy, former Director, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology; Mrs Nguyen Tuyet, Director of the Vietnam National Museum of Women; and the managers of various World Heritage Areas.


Graduate students from higher education institutions across the world may be able to enrol as cross institutional students. Professionals from the museum, heritage and other relevant sectors can take the course as a Professional Development Program subject to prior approval from the Course Coordinator and meeting the entry requirements.

Please note that places are strictly limited to 20.

The full program and travel itinerary will be sent to the participants on acceptance of enrolment. Participants pay for their own return airfares to Hanoi, travel insurance, plus a discounted land package fee in addition to tuition fees/professional development fees.

NB: December is a peak tourist season in Vietnam and participants are encouraged to book early to benefit from discounted airfares.


All applicants must submit:

* a completed APPLICATION FORM

* a brief Expression of Interest (150 words) stating how you will benefit from the Field School.
* Current Curriculum Vitae. It should include details of graduate qualifications.
* Professional Development Participants may need a supporting letter from a referee or employer.
* Further documentation of educational qualifications may be required for the admission to the Field School.

***The first round application closes Friday 5 September, 2008*** NB.
Earlier applications are encouraged. The intake will close as soon as the quota is filled.

For more information visit:

or contact:

Professor Amareswar Galla
University of Queensland
Museum Studies
School of English, Media Studies and Art History