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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

New Walk Museum - immigration exhibition

I went to New Walk Museum over the weekend which is currently undergoing some refurbishment, but hidden at the back of the museum there was an exhibition I knew nothing about, exploring the experiences of three immigrants to Leicester. As I was chatting about with Amy and Ceri last night, what Leicester is famous for today is it's multiculturalism - The subject of immigration and integration is as we all know are hotly debated, and the exhibition I didn't think explicitly addressed this debate - which maybe it could have done. What it did do was explore the human experience of being forced to leave one country and make a life in another. One of the participants fled her home country of Rwanda with only the clothes she was wearing and her bible, both were exhibited in the gallery. The bible which was incredibly fragile and obviously very precious to its owner, got me thinking about what it means to display objects that obviously carry great personal meanings for somebody and the best way of conveying this meaning? I felt very thankful to all of the participants who took part in this exhibit for allowing me an insight into their lives. And although I am not an immigrant to the country I am not a native ‘Leicesterian’ and could see common themes emerging about integration into a new place. One criticism though - I would have been nice to have seen the museum space used more effectively as a forum for discussion here. I don't think (from what I saw – please correct me if I’m wrong) there was an opportunity to leave comments for example.

I'm interested to hear if anyone else has seen this exhibition what they thought? Exhibitions about this theme are not uncommon in museums at the moment, what's the impact of these I wonder? What do they do well and what do they not do so well?

CFP: Archaeologies of memory in the global south

From H-Museum:

Call for Participation

Archaeologies of memory in the global south: uncovering and displaying the remembered and unremembered past
A seminar for the rising generation of scholars, curators, and activists
Brown University, Providence, RI
June 9-11, 2008

Brown University's Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World and the John Nicholas Brown Center for public humanities and cultural heritage invite your application to a seminar to explore the archaeologies of memory in the global south. We will consider the ways in which ancient times, aboriginal cultures, colonial society, and post-colonial conflicts have been remembered and forgotten, ignored or displayed, heralded or discarded. This seminar will consider both the theory of cultural heritage and its practice, looking to understand the complexities of the past's shaping of our times, and the way that our times shape our understanding of the past. We believe that the wide range of topics will let us reflect on the challenges, practical, political, and social and economic benefits, and personal pleasures of examining and presenting the past.


The seminar, to be held June 9-11, will bring together academics and practitioners from the global south with a small group of Brown faculty, students, and visiting experts. Each of the visiting scholars and practitioners will be asked to present a case study of his or her work for discussion by the group. There will be tours to nearby sites that address complex issues of cultural heritage, including the Mashantucket Museum and Research Center, and Plimoth Plantation.

Brown University will provide funding for travel and accommodations for participants. Please apply by sending a c.v. and a description of the work you would present at the conference to Steven Lubar, lubar@brown.edu, by April 20, 2008.

http://www.brown.edu/Research/JNBC/memoryseminar.html

Publications: The Public Historian, 30:1

From H-Museum:

The Public Historian Volume 30, Number 1 (2008)

Special Issue: Sites of Conscience: Opening Historic Sites for Civic Dialogue

-----------------------------------------------

University of California Press Journals and Digital Publishing is proud to announce the publication of a special issue of The Public Historian, the official journal of the National Council on Public History. "Sites of Conscience: Opening Historic Sites for Civic Dialogue," (Volume 30, Number 1) is concerned with the ways in which society's response to museums, memorials, and historical sites can grow from passive observation to active engagement.


Says editor Randolph Bergstrom in his introduction, "Public historians are coming to recognize that their sites can be more than important places of encountering the past. Astute practitioners are learning to use the distinct opportunity these sites afford to promote civic engagement." This issue, available today, features the following essays from members of the International Coalition of Historic Site Museums of Conscience:


The Reconstruction of Memory at Constitution Hill
Churchill Madikida, Lauren Segal, and Clive van den Berg

Places of Memory as a Tool for Education: The "Peace in Four Voices Summer Camps" at Monte Sole
Nadia Baiesi, Marzia Gigli, Elena Monicelli, and Roberta Pellizzoli

The Museum as a Democracy-Building Institution: Reflections on the Shared Journeys
Program at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Maggie Russell-Ciardi

The District Six Museum: An Ordinary People's Place
Valmont Layne

Challenges on the Road to Memory
Maria Laura Guembe

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Colloquium: Bodies on Display

From H-ArtHist:

Bodies on Display
McCord Museum
Montreal, QC

November 7 and 8, 2008

A two-day colloquium organized by the McCord Museum of Canadian History in collaboration with the Costume Society of America, Northeastern Region in conjunction with the McCord Museum exhibition Reveal or Conceal?


Fashion is inextricably linked to the bodies that wear it. Bodies give shape and meaning to clothing, while dress makes bodies social and fashionable (or unfashionable). How do we address the body in researching and interpreting the history of dress and fashion? How do we address its absence in studying the material culture of clothing?

In the light of the growing scholarly interest in addressing the body in many academic disciplines, this colloquium aims to foster a dialogue among those in the academic setting who study the body as it relates to dress and fashion, and dress as an embodied practice, with those who approach it from the museum, material culture, living history, and design perspectives.

Themes:
Abstracts for papers are sought on the following themes, in historic or contemporary, Western or non-Western perspectives. Research incorporating or intersecting with material culture is encouraged.

Uncovering modesty: Issues in the historical and contemporary perceptions of acceptable body covering, regulating dress and modesty, the interplay between modesty and eroticism in dress.

Shifting standards: Key changes in constructions of physical comfort in dress, notions of public and private in fashion and the body, and gendering and the dressed body.

Fashionable immodesty: The power of the partially dressed body, marketing the body, readdressing theories such as the ?shifting erogenous zone?

Wearing the body: methods of shaping the body from corsetry to fitness, embellishment and modifications of the exposed body, issues surrounding appropriate public presentation of the body.

Putting bodies on display: aspects of museum or living history presentation of dressed bodies, such as the creation of mannequins and supports for bodies, clothing for bodies to be displayed in unusual ways. Practical demonstrations are welcome.

Languages
English and French

Submission of Abstracts
Abstracts for papers should not exceed 600 words in length and should be sent via e-mail to symposium@mccord.mcgill.ca with a short biography for use in the program or publicity (about 200 words). A separate page must indicate the authors? names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses, and to whom all communications should be directed. Students (Masters and PhD) are encouraged to submit, and should also indicate their degree status and school and program in which they are enrolled. All contributions must be received no later than June 13, 2008. Notices of acceptance will be sent out by July 11, 2008. Speakers will not pay registration fees at the colloquium.


Cynthia Cooper
McCord Museum of Canadian History
Montreal, QC
H3A 1E9
514-398-7100 ext. 288.
Email: cynthia.cooper@mccord.mcgill.ca

Visit the website at http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en/activities/colloquia/

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday Phantom Blogging

Forget catblogging, that's boring! Phantom blogging's where it's at.

Rumour has it that last week one of our number had a chilling paranormal experience in the Social Work building (for the uninitiated, that's where the PhD students have their offices). Apparently, upon looking down a stairwell, he spied a blond-haired spectre heading in the direction of the basement. Disembodied footsteps and voices have also been heard, not too mention the incredibly strong odour of cigarette smoke that choked me last summer (and which no one - no one living, that is - owned up to). Eek!!! I always knew that building was way too spooky.

Have you experienced anything other worldly in 107 Princess Road East? If so, drop us a line...

The wonders of Liverpool, City of Culture

All the publicity states that Liverpool is the 'City of Culture' 2008.  What is about to follow is an account of alternative places to visit in Liverpool - the 'Alternative Wonders of Liverpool' if you like - which largely adheres to the view that yes, Liverpool has an enormous amount to offer on the cultural and historical front.  However the more cynical amongst us might also conclude that Liverpool is the 'City of Building Sites and Cones' 2008 which must present many embarrassments for tourists and visitors expecting a pristine view of the Mersey or an unhindered journey around the city centre.  Still, living in Leicester, itself a building site, has made me pretty oblivious to smoke and noise so I will dwell on it no more as it was not that detrimental to the visiting experience.  What is detrimental is that Blogger will not let me upload any pictures so I am going to have to use all my powers of description to bring to life the Alternative Wonders of Liverpool.  Which have nothing to do with The Beatles by the way.

The First Alternative Wonder of Liverpool: Sudley House, Mossley Hill
Sudley House was discovered through following a brown sign glimpsed on the way to Morrisons at Speke.  If it hadn't been shut we would have spent two hours in a supermarket however as luck would have it we instead found ourselves learning about the life and times of one of Liverpool's merchant families, the Holts, who made their money from shipping and built themselves a pretty house atop Mossley Hill.  It has fine views all the way to the Welsh mountains, the large pink sandstone house still surrounded by park and so retaining some of its external grandeur.  Internally it is quite different however.  When Emma Holt left the house to the City in the early 20th century they sold off most of the furniture, although they retained her father's, George Holt, impressive art collection.  There are works by Turner, Millais and other noteworthy paintings all presented in un-pretentious fashion.  Interpretation is through short films from the point of view of the house's former inhabitants so 'George Holt', 'Emma Holt' and 'the maid' who tellingly is not deemed worthy of a name.  It is effective (with subtitles and BSL for those who need it) in the absence of actual characters but more information would be nice.  Upstairs there is no attempt to recreate the house as it was and there are typical displays of costume and children's toys.  At the time there was a fascinating display of photos taken of wealthy middle class 19th century houses showing that whilst people might have had money they could not buy taste with hideously overdone recreations of 18th century, gothic, Oriental room settings - showing also that the taste for retro and clutter is nothing new!  Still, it's a sweet little house which has the potential to have more community or local history.

Second Alternative Wonder of Liverpool: Tate Liverpool
Okay so this is cheeky as the Tate is not really off the beaten track slap bang as it is in the Albert Dock.  But the third floor was definitely less well visited in that the crowds were much thinner and the oxygen levels depleted... so I made that last bit up.  Anyway what I found amusing was that the levels of pretentiousness in the interpretation and quality of artwork seemed to increase the higher up you went so by the time we were at the third floor the artwork and its explanation were increasingly at odds.  A fabulous game I thought would be to remove all the labels and get the visitors to try and match them to the object.  One in particular resembled a large chewed piece of chewing gum with a slash through it which was described as representing the infiniteness of being and the vast emptiness of space.  Ambitious these artists can be!

Third Alternative Wonder of Liverpool: The Conservation Centre
I'll annoy my mum and dad now by saying that the Conservation Centre is a good place to go for lunch - after finding the Tate full and the Maritime Museum out of food in their two cafes, it was refreshing to find it was empty.  My mum remarked she was quite pleased it was less popular.  However I would urge you to visit if you find yourself with a spare moment in Liverpool.  It is an interesting Centre which describes how museums conserve and interpret the objects that they put on display.  It gets quite scientific in parts but presented in an accessible manner.  Also on display is the original statue that used to sit on the top of the Walker Gallery, it was only here that I realised that the one on the Gallery is a replica.  Currently they have an exhibition 'Metropolis' which showcases photographs from Liverpool's history showing the growth of the city in the 20th century.  Although the exhibition shows only a teeny amount of the archive owned by the City there are plans to digitise the collection so that it is made more accessible.  Alongside the shots of buildings and vanished railways there are images of workplace parties, kids with their smiling faces turned to the camera and dressed in their finery, those who built with their sweat the impressive buildings around us today and reminders of the more mundane such as shop displays (including one for National Corset Day which we learn took place on 17-22 of May).

Fourth Alternative Wonder of Liverpool: St James' Gardens
I love how Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral continues to dominate the skyline of the city, perched as it is on a rocky escarpment, despite the best attempts of skyscrapers to outdo it. Built between 1905 and 1978 it is a largely soulless building, the 'Guinness Book of Records' of cathedrals my dad christened it because of its obsessive need to tell us that it is the world's largest this and the world's largest that.  Hence why I was much more interested in St James' Park, the former cemetery, sitting deep in the bowels of an even earlier quarry at the foot of the cathedral.  This quarry, as a pillar at the centre of the park tells us, effectively built most of Liverpool!  You enter the cemetery through a steeply sloping tunnel, lined with gravestones, and emerge into an atmospheric basin largely created through an air of decay and rot.  Most of the gravestones have been stacked around the edges of the park and it is sad to see that few are tended - only one grave to Kitty Wilkinson who provided baths and care to poor orphan children was marked by flowers.  The cemetery is notable for the grave of William Hukisson, the Labour MP who became the first victim of a railway accident when he was knocked down and killed at the opening of the Liverpool to Manchester railway in the 19th century.  His tomb is a tall, ornate rotunda which dominates the park; close by is Liverpool's only remaining spring which flows into an unappealing murky pool.  Even more interesting were three plain stones listing orphans from the workhouse and Blue Coats medical school, something which I have never seen in a cemetery before.  The gravestone of a sea captain from America who died on route had a very strange eye on the back sculpted as if part of a masonic code - again I would love to show you a picture but sadly it proves impossible (Any ideas Amy??).  It was a grey and overcast day which meant the park was relatively empty, although its popularity with dog walkers made it a hazard as anyone who has visited an English park will understand.

Fifth Alternative Wonder of Liverpool: Crosby beach
Whilst I was in Liverpool I also visited Crosby beach to see the Anthony Gormley installation, 'Another Place', basically 100 naked statues cast in iron of the artist fully naked (and it was a freezing cold day with sandstorms whipped up by the wind).  I imagine it would look better at high tide when the figures are partly submerged, and perhaps when slightly misty.  It was impressive however to see how far out they went and we wondered if people in passing ships would see them?

To end, we wanted to see other things including the newly opened Bluecoats gallery and Cains brewery however it proved impossible to fit everything in.  That's good however because it means more to see next time I'm in Liverpool - I also intend to walk along the former track-line of the overhead railway which used to run on iron rails suspended in the air, earning it the nickname of the 'Docker's Umbrella.'  This ran along the pier in front of the Liver Building, from Seaforth to Dingle and passing through most of the docks and warehouses that littered the edges of the Mersey estuary until 1957 (I think, I have a terrible memory for dates).  But what do you think about my choices?  Are there other 'alternative' wonders of Liverpool that you think should be considered?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Escape the Museum

I am, I have to confess, a huge devotee of casual games, to the detriment of my PhD I'm sure. But look what I found this evening: Escape the Museum!

[link]

At long last I can combine research with my gaming. ;)

People watching in the Great Court

Just some ponderings about a recent visit to the BM

I had an hour or so to kill the other day while I was down in London doing some fieldwork, so I thought I'd call by the British Museum to see if there was a chance of seeing the first emperor exhibition. Although to be honest I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't be able to! - It's one of those exhibitions I feel morally like I should see... but am not sure why exactly! Maybe someone out there (Amy perhaps?) could sell it to me!

Anyhow, I haven't been to the BM in ages and had a very heavy bag full of err... essential fieldwork materials.... (I hadn't just been shopping for dresses to wear to the series of weddings that seem to be happening this year...honest!), so when I got into the Great Court I just decided to sit and observe what was going on around me. I have to say that this was fascinating! I used to go there for a bit of time out every now and then as a student in London, but had forgotten just how interesting it is to watch what people do in that space. So many little stories going on all around you!

I watched a French family with a very enthusiastic dad and less than enthusiastic child, who was made to stand next to the monumental lion statue from Kindos for a photo (http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/gr/c/colossal_marble_lion.aspx)
It's funny that when the camera was pointed her way she did the obligatory photo performance, you know the one, the cheesy smile etc - despite her original protests. You can imagine the scene: 'Dad...why do I have to go and stand in front of that stupid lion for another photo? You’ve already got me in front of the marble statue of a youth on horseback, the black siltstone obelisk of Nectanebo II and the Head of Amenhote' It got me thinking though about the biography of that lion, once placed at the top of a huge funerary monument in Asia Minor, and now the backdrop for countless obligatory photograph performances! I wonder what it would say if it could speak? And I wonder what, in years to come, that photo will mean to that girl and her family?



Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book Review Opportunity

Journal of Museum Ethnography: books available for review

Deadline: 15 August 2008
Please address queries to: Claire Warrior, Senior Curator of Exhibitions, National Maritime Museum

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Museums as a site of protest


I was interested to see that a couple of activists protesting against the recent Chinese crackdown in Tibet made use of the First Emperor exhibition at the BM this week, to publicise their campaign. Before anyone panics, the museum has confirmed that no damage was caused to the figures and, indeed according to anecdotal reports, many of their fellow visitors applauded their action.

Link to The Times' report

It's made me wonder about other, similar incidents, where museums and exhibitions have become the background to, or focus of, protests. Off the top of my head I can only think of one other example - in Los Angeles, where Cuban exiles protested outside a museum hosting the 'Che Guevara: Revolutionary & Icon' exhibition, which later travelled to the Victoria & Albert Museum. I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this post, but I'm sure there would be plenty of scope for considered enquiry. Hmmmm.....

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If you haven't already registered your vote ( see top of right-hand menu), you've got another couple of days to do so!

Enjoyment from human trauma and misery: a trip to the Galleries of Justice

It was years ago that I decided that living history and costumed interpreters make me feel uncomfortable; it's quite okay watching them from a distance but the minute they expect me to participate I go all traditionally British and stiff upper lip and quietly mumble some response which inherently screams 'please leave me alone!' However, since my PhD research is all about the impact that costumed interpreters can have on the learning of history I was very pleased to be invited along on a trip to the Galleries of Justice to experience their approach to 'living history.' I must admit that despite the topic I do not have much experience of living history except a half remembered visit to Blist's Hill at Ironbridge, an American Civil War re-enactment on the school fields as a teenager, and a recent visit to the London Dungeon which made me giggle hysterically as 'medieval' people roasted in the background and Jack the Ripper's victims languished in their plastic bloody monstrosities. Not quite the sensitivity which is required for the victims of crime and torture and for that I fully blame the Dungeon's pantomime approach and tattered mannequins which must have been made in the 80s (and not had any care or attention since then either).

The only way to explore the Galleries of Justice is through a guided tour. Waiting for the tour to begin you cannot help but notice how small and narrow the entrance to the building is considering how grand it looks from the pavement outside. It turned out to be deceptive though and the tour, which takes you along winding passages, underground cellars and up copious amounts of steps soon reveals just how huge the former courthouse and prison is. There has been some sort of prison on the site since the 15th century, although the current building was built in the 1870s after a fire destroyed the previous building so its relatively 'modern.' There are a few relics of its gruesome past including a copy of some stocks and the last gibbet which was used to display the rotting remains of some criminal, in bloodthirsty Leicester of all places.

On beginning the tour, everyone is given a ticket with a convict number on the back. At various points in the tour there are boards with the number printed on and then you can find out which 'convict' you are meant to be. Its an interesting concept as it is supposed to put visitors in the mindset that they are the inmates meeting the people who would have taken care (ha ha) of them whilst they were in prison. For me it was not entirely effective, partly because I discovered that other people had the same convict as me so it removed the opportunity to claim them for yourself, and it was until near the end that you found out what your convict looked like. Also the 'convict' sometimes changed through the tour so that was another blow for identification. It was not personal enough and suffered as a result.

The first 'experience' takes place inside the huge county courtroom, which has retained all its original features and fittings from the 19th century. Its pretty impressive. Scattered around the room there are various static models of Victorian ladies and gents which are distracting and not really necessary. The costumed interpreter turns out to be part of the court but I cannot remember what her role was supposed to be, and picks on four volunteers to take part in a mock trial. Unfortunately it's a bit flat with four people who are not so keen to be involved but they do their parts valiently and our accused 'man' gets sent down to the prisons below. This was our cue to traipse down after him, leaving our first actor behind in the court room.

We emerged in a cellar where, after passing an unfortunate model woman being burned for forgery, we bumped into our next actor, who was dressed as an 18th century gaoler. He was very engaging and was more lively than the previous interpreter. Not only did we get to hold some shackles, which were heavy enough to convince you of the inhumanity of some of the punishments of the past, but we learnt that convicts had to pay for the privilege of having a less crowded cell or food that was not inedible slop! I remember learning about this at the Tower of London and being baffled by it the logic then.  Even worse, gaolers were not paid so they were effectively forced to bribe prisoners in order to cover their own needs. Seems very peculiar to me how the whole system managed to work - it obviously didn't hence the huge period of reform in the 19th century. As part of the experience we also got to see what it was like being in a cell (one of the nicer ones) with the door closed, it wasn't that bad because there was enough light to see by and it was much cleaner than it would have been in the 18th century!

Leaving the gaoler we came to the women's part of the prison. In the past only five or six women would have been kept in prison at a time, but they would have been guarded by a fearsome Matron, who was the third actor we met. She showed us the bath house, where all prisoners were washed (30 at a time in the same water) and had their heads shaved on entrance to the prison. Next we saw the laundry house and the women's cell with one bed for everyone and scratchy blankets, tiny fire and (then) no glass in the windows. There was a very young child with the group and if it had not been for her the Matron character might have been more terrifying, however it seemed that she held back a bit.

By now you were feeling a bit rushed and with little time to look over the exhibits and scattered text panels properly. However the next part of the tour was actor-less so it slowed down and turned into a more conventional museum visit. After the women's prison there was an opportunity to look round the debtors prisons and the 'pits' reserved for the poorest or most dangerous prisoners, carved deep out of the rock beneath. Sadly they felt the need to put in more of the tatty looking models which rather spoiled the atmosphere created by the building. In fact the building is the greatest asset in creating a sense of empathy and emotion - it is not lost on you that you are in a real prison where real people were kept in these cells for entire days, only being let out to walk round in silence in the exercise yard, or engaged in tough and arduous work in complete silence and not even being able to look up. I'll return to the impact of this later.

After the cells there was a chance for fresh air in the Exercise yard - made more poignant by the gallows and memorials to those who had been hanged upon it. The next part of the exhibition attempted to explain what happened when prisoners were transported to Australia, but it seemed half finished and so made little impression. A very good part was to follow, however, an exhibition of the collections of HM Prison services. It was a diverse array of uniforms for prisoners and wardens, reconstructed cells, various objects that prisoners had swallowed in order to be sent to hospital (including a sharp looking fork!) and other bits and bobs. Unfortunately no photos were allowed but the display was very good with large display cases that showed the objects in good light. Particularly compelling was a former cell decked out in pictures from the 19th century of prisoners looking sternly, shyly, or directly at the camera. It was important because it showed that prisoners came from all walks of life and all ages, and they were real pictures not models. Previously there had been a few life size pictures of inmates but these had been rushed past during the tour. Curiously I didn't find myself wondering why they were in prison (and anyway there was no information to tell you).

Final things of note included a strange experience about a man condemned to de for hanging. To the voiceover of a hangman talking prosaically about his job, there is a vignette of more tacky models showing a man about to hang, whilst on the wall are the recollections of a father who was waiting for 9am when his son would hang. It was a bizarre display, both poignant and hideous at the same time. I could see why they had a warning sign outside. It was interesting that they chose here to put a small voting box as to whether visitors thought capital punishment should be brought back. The 'NO' box was of course full to bursting... I couldn't help but wonder what the results would be elsewhere in the gallery. Back in the main entrance there was also a small exhibition to Oscar Wilde and his incarceration for homosexuality, a crime in the 19th century. It was an interesting display although it was marred by a loud voiceover of a poem (Ballad of Reading Gaol I presume but it didn't tell me anywhere what it was) and sloppy spelling / formating mistakes in the text panels. There were lots of celebrity messages of support which I guess where to counteract any criticism of such an exhibition.

Overall I found the experience interesting and a good attempt to bring the building to life. I found it especially interesting that the Galleries offers no moral judgement on the prisoners - in fact it seemed to me that it was the reverse and they wanted you to sympathise with them. I got this impression from the fact that in the court 'trial' featured a reform act rioter who was convicted to hang in 5 minutes by the jury (clearly a travesty of justice); the bad conditions of the prison were emphasised at every point and a voiceover in the woman's prison was of an inmate who had been wrongly imprisoned for stealing. The idea of having a convict number, whilst it did not engage me emotionally was obviously meant to create empathy, and the room full of photographs contained a small mirror in which you were meant to see your own face and think that you too could have been a 'criminal.' Yet there would have been some inmates who were there for proper horrible crimes and so I am not sure where my sympathies lie! Still, the HM Prison Services asked a lot of questions about whether you felt prison was fair etc and by not giving you any answers enabled you to question your own beliefs and attitudes about crime and punishment. It was a shame that there was no real space in which to reflect on these questions and perhaps air them. The visitors book which invited you to do so was full of vacuous comments so did not encourage any sensible responses - it perhaps needs a more focused question.

I hesitate to say that I enjoyed my experience only because I am wondering whether it is ethical to gain enjoyment out of people's trauma and misery, even if their experiences are far enough now in the past? The models made me feel uncomfortable because they seemed somewhat tacky in such a serious place and reminded me of places like the London Dungeon where they hype the gore up for commercial reasons. Maybe its a bit po-faced but I felt at the moment the Galleries of Justice sits somewhere in the middle of over-the-top tourist attraction and serious attempt at conveying the experiences of 18th and 19th century prisoners. It is due an overhaul I think and it will be interesting to see how it develops in the future.

CFP/Publication: Kaleidoscope

From H-ArtHist:

The Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Journal of the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University

www.durham.ac.uk/kaleidoscope

Editor-in-Chief: Ian James Kidd (i.j.kidd@durham.ac.uk )

Call for Papers (Submissions by March 31, 2008): "Modelling"

Kaleidoscope is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal (ISSN 1756-8137) edited by postgraduates at Durham University. Working under the auspices of the Institute of Advanced Study, Kaleidoscope is designed to foster communication between postgraduates in different disciplines, to promote excellence in interdisciplinary research, and raise awareness of the IAS as a public forum for interdisciplinary scholarship.


The Institute of Advanced Study publishes a new theme for study each year, and submissionsare particularly encouraged relating to the theme. The theme for the academic year 2007-2008 is "Modelling."

Interpreted in its broadest sense to be of wide appeal to a range of disciplines, this programme is examining the value, strengths and weaknesses of a modelling culture upon which modern society has become so dependent. Suggestions include, but are not limited to:


Modelling Uncertainty


Modelling Climate Change


Modelling Extreme Events


Modelling and Representation


Modelling Behaviour

For more details on the IAS sub-themes, see:
http://www.dur.ac.uk/ias/themes/0708/

Submissions interpreting the theme of "Modelling" are encouraged from postgraduate students and post-doctoral scholars from all disciplines: the arts and humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Recognising that different disciplines apply different styles and standards of writing, we welcome material in a variety of formats, including (but not restricted to):


Full length articles (7000­10000 words) of original scholarship in your discipline. Articles should be comprehensible to those from outside your field.


Articles reflecting on how the current theme relates to your discipline, or reflections on how your work is informed by working across disciplines.


Short book reviews (1000 words). Please contact the reviews editor Shane Collins (s.m.collins@durham.ac.uk ) for a list of titles available for review.


Review essays (4000 words).


Deadline for submissions will be March 31st, 2008, with publication due in April 2008.
Please forward this call for papers to students and colleagues within your department.


Guidelines for Contributors to Kaleidoscope

Brief details of the submission process are provided below, but more detailed guidance can be found at www.dur.ac.uk/kaleidoscope/editorial/submission/ .

Manuscripts should be sent as email attachments in MS Word (97 or 2000) format to i.j.kidd@durham.ac.uk . All direct and indirect references to the author in the manuscript should be removed. Submissions must be accompanied by a short abstract, and a brief biography outlining your institutional affiliation and research interests (100 words maximum), and a signed
Author¹s Copyright Agreement
(www.dur.ac.uk/kaleidoscope/editorial/submission/copyright/ ). Please consult the latest issue and The Chicago Manual of Style (15th Edition) for citation format (www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html ).


By submitting a manuscript to Kaleidoscope, you acknowledge that the work is original, has not appeared in print and is not under consideration elsewhere.


Please email the editor for any further queries: i.j.kidd@durham.ac.uk.

---------------------------------------------
Beth Hannon
Durham University
Department of Philosophy
50/51 Old Elvet
Durham
DH1 3HN

www.durham.ac.uk/em


Symposium: Museum, society and development

From H-Museum:

Symposium

Museum, society and development
Friday May 16th 2008, 14.00 17.00 hrs.
Reinwardt Academy, Dapperstraat 315, Amsterdam

The Tropenmuseum (The Netherlands) in cooperation with CulturCooperation (Germany) would like to invite you to symposium on museum, society and development on may 16th, 2008. In this symposium, 12 young museum professionals from the South and Europe will discuss topics on the changing role of (national) museums in the south and their (ethnographic) counterparts in the north.


The purpose is to explore the role of museums which is increasingly under public scrutiny, both in Europe and in countries in the South. These institutions often have a much broader scope than just ethnography. What these types of museums do share is a founding history that relates to the colonial past, and the challenge to find ways to get beyond the institutional format and find new relevance for society. In Europe this means: responding to changing populations and expectations, taking a position in debates around illicit trade, repatriation of collections and the ethics of (re-)presentation. In the South the debate revolves around the role museums play in national development: museums are challenged to contribute to the solution of problems ranging from conflict resolution to poverty reduction. In both Europe and the South an important issue is community involvement and reaching target groups. Even if we have our policies in order, does anybody care? Do museums attract audiences; do they play a role in public debate?


Admission: free

Confirm attendance: l.kitungulu@kit.nl

Websites: http://www.tropenmuseum.nl/
http://www.culturcooperation.de/


Drs. Anne Hardon

Information specialist Culture & Development
KIT Information & Library Services
T +31 (0)20 568 8288
http://portals.kit.nl/culture_for_development

Royal Tropical Institute
Mauritskade 63 [1092 AD]
P.O. Box 95001, 1090 HA Amsterdam
The Netherlands
F +31 (0)20 665 4423
http://www.kit.nl/

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Poll

Make your mark on The Attic! Take part in the poll (right-hand menu) and give us your views.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Workshop/CFP: Representation (Key Concepts in Tourism Research)

Call for Contributions:
“Representation” – Workshop“Key Concepts in Tourism Research” Series
8/9 May 2008
Leeds/ UK

Keynote: David Crouch, University of Derby
“The Problems with Representation: Consumption, Space and Images”


This workshop is part of the “Key Concepts in Tourism Research” series. This series focuses on the concepts Experience, Exchange, Memory and Representation, as much research in the field of tourism addresses at least one of these concepts. Although these concepts are very popular, it is not always clear what they actually refer to, and how we may grasp them in, or through, our research. Therefore, the PhD-students at the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University took the initiative to organize a workshop series on key concepts in tourism research. During the spring term of 2008, four two-day workshops will focus, respectively, on Exchange, Memory, Representation and Experience.



Other workshops in this series will be:

13/14 March 2008 Workshop “Experience”
Keynote: Claudio Minca, University of London
“After the Island: the hard work of being (with) tourists”

3/4 April 2008 Workshop “Exchange”
Keynote: Keith Hart, Goldsmith College London
"On commoditization: exchange in the human economy"

17/18 April 2008 Workshop “Memory”
Keynote: Sharon MacDonald, Manchester University
“Memory, Materiality and Tourism”

This workshop series is open to PhD-students from all disciplines. Its philosophy is to generate an interdisciplinary dialogue based on short paper presentations by the workshop participants. The contributions do not necessarily have to be polished conference papers; contributors may also present ideas, work in progress or critical reviews. To promote lively and engaged discussion, draft copies of all presentations shall be circulated among the workshop participants ten days in advance. Each workshop will be jointly led by a team of CTCC PhD students and an invited academic with wider expertise in the respective topic. This invited expert will also give a keynote address situating this topic and opening the discussion. Based on these introductions, we will explore different meanings and approaches to the concepts in question. By bringing together PhD students and leading academics from different academic institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, this workshop series constitutes a unique opportunity to get feedback on theoretical reflections and work in progress. It will allow the exchange of ideas, the clarification of epistemological stances and the building of networks among PhD-students.

Cost: £20.00 for one workshop. You can also register for all four workshops for £60.00.

Please register for the workshop “Experience” or not later than 6 April 2008 by either sending an abstract of no more than 200 words explaining how you intend to relate to the topic of the workshop. Please note that the deadline for submission of the papers and contributions for this workshop is 27 April 2008. E-Mail: C.Mueller@leedsmet.ac.uk


***
Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts & Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Old School Board
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED
UK
***


Workshop/CFP: Memory (Key Concepts in Tourism Research)

Call for Contributions:
“Memory” – Workshop“Key Concepts in Tourism Research” Series
17/18 April 2008
Leeds/ UK

Keynote: Sharon MacDonald, Manchester University
“Memory, Materiality and Tourism”



This workshop is part of the “Key Concepts in Tourism Research” series. This series focuses on the concepts Memory, Experience, Exchange and Representation, as much research in the field of tourism addresses at least one of these concepts. Although these concepts are very popular, it is not always clear what they actually refer to, and how we may grasp them in, or through, our research. Therefore, the PhD-students at the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University took the initiative to organize a workshop series on key concepts in tourism research. During the spring term of 2008, four two-day workshops will focus, respectively, on Exchange, Memory, Representation and Experience.



Other workshops in this series will be:

13/14 March 2008 Workshop “Experience”
Keynote: Claudio Minca, University of London
“After the Island: the hard work of being (with) tourists”

3/4 April 2008 Workshop “Exchange”
Keynote: Keith Hart, Goldsmith College London
"On commoditization: exchange in the human economy"

8/9 May 2008 Workshop “Representation”
Keynote: David Crouch, University of Derby
“The Problems with Representation: Consumption, Space and Images”

This workshop series is open to PhD-students from all disciplines. Its philosophy is to generate an interdisciplinary dialogue based on short paper presentations by the workshop participants. The contributions do not necessarily have to be polished conference papers; contributors may also present ideas, work in progress or critical reviews. To promote lively and engaged discussion, draft copies of all presentations shall be circulated among the workshop participants ten days in advance. Each workshop will be jointly led by a team of CTCC PhD students and an invited academic with wider expertise in the respective topic. This invited expert will also give a keynote address situating this topic and opening the discussion. Based on these introductions, we will explore different meanings and approaches to the concepts in question. By bringing together PhD students and leading academics from different academic institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, this workshop series constitutes a unique opportunity to get feedback on theoretical reflections and work in progress. It will allow the exchange of ideas, the clarification of epistemological stances and the building of networks among PhD-students.

Cost: £20.00 for one workshop. You can also register for all four workshops for £60.00.

Please register for the workshop “Experience” or not later than 16 March 2008 by either sending an abstract of no more than 200 words explaining how you intend to relate to the topic of the workshop. Please note that the deadline for submission of the papers and contributions for this workshop is 06 April 2008. E-Mail: C.Mueller@leedsmet.ac.uk


***
Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts & Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Old School Board
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED
UK
***


Workshop/CFP: Experience (Key Concepts in Tourism Research)

Call for Contributions:
“Experience” – Workshop
“Key Concepts in Tourism Research” Series
13-14 March 2008
Leeds/ UK

Keynote: Claudio Minca, University of London
“After the Island: the hard work of being (with) tourists”



This workshop is part of the “Key Concepts in Tourism Research” series. This series focuses on the concepts Experience, Exchange, Memory and Representation, as much research in the field of tourism addresses at least one of these concepts. Although these concepts are very popular, it is not always clear what they actually refer to, and how we may grasp them in, or through, our research. Therefore, the PhD-students at the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University took the initiative to organize a workshop series on key concepts in tourism research. During the spring term of 2008, four two-day workshops will focus, respectively, on Exchange, Memory, Representation and Experience.


Other workshops in this series will be:

3/4 April 2008 Workshop “Exchange”
Keynote: Keith Hart, Goldsmith College London
"On commoditization: exchange in the human economy"

17/18 April 2008 Workshop “Memory”
Keynote: Sharon MacDonald, Manchester University
“Memory, Materiality and Tourism”

8/9 May 2008 Workshop “Representation”
Keynote: David Crouch, University of Derby
“The Problems with Representation: Consumption, Space and Images”

This workshop series is open to PhD-students from all disciplines. Its philosophy is to generate an interdisciplinary dialogue based on short paper presentations by the workshop participants. The contributions do not necessarily have to be polished conference papers; contributors may also present ideas, work in progress or critical reviews. To promote lively and engaged discussion, draft copies of all presentations shall be circulated among the workshop participants ten days in advance. Each workshop will be jointly led by a team of CTCC PhD students and an invited academic with wider expertise in the respective topic. This invited expert will also give a keynote address situating this topic and opening the discussion. Based on these introductions, we will explore different meanings and approaches to the concepts in question. By bringing together PhD students and leading academics from different academic institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, this workshop series constitutes a unique opportunity to get feedback on theoretical reflections and work in progress. It will allow the exchange of ideas, the clarification of epistemological stances and the building of networks among PhD-students.

Cost: £20.00 for one workshop. You can also register for all four workshops for £60.00.

Please register for the workshop “Experience” or not later than 24 February 2008 by either sending an abstract of no more than 200 words explaining how you intend to relate to the topic of the workshop. Please note that the deadline for submission of the papers and contributions for this workshop is 29 February 2008. E-Mail: C.Mueller@leedsmet.ac.uk


***
Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts & Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Old School Board
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED
UK
***

Workshop/CFP: Exchange (Key Concepts in Tourism Research)

This, and the other (to come) CFPs in this workshop series, forwarded by Anna (W). Thanks!

Call for Contributions:
“Exchange” – Workshop
“Key Concepts in Tourism Research” Series
3/4 April 2008
Leeds/ UK

Keynote: Keith Hart, Goldsmith College London
"On commoditization: exchange in the human economy"


This workshop is part of the “Key Concepts in Tourism Research” series. This series focuses on the concepts, Exchange, Experience, Memory and Representation, as much research in the field of tourism addresses at least one of these concepts. Although these concepts are very popular, it is not always clear what they actually refer to, and how we may grasp them in, or through, our research. Therefore, the PhD-students at the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Leeds Metropolitan University took the initiative to organize a workshop series on key concepts in tourism research. During the spring term of 2008, four two-day workshops will focus, respectively, on Exchange, Memory, Representation and Experience.


Other workshops in this series will be:

13/14 March 2008 Workshop “Experience”
Keynote: Claudio Minca, University of London
“After the Island: the hard work of being (with) tourists”

17/18 April 2008 Workshop “Memory”
Keynote: Sharon MacDonald, Manchester University
“Memory, Materiality and Tourism”

8/9 May 2008 Workshop “Representation”
Keynote: David Crouch, University of Derby
“The Problems with Representation: Consumption, Space and Images”

This workshop series is open to PhD-students from all disciplines. Its philosophy is to generate an interdisciplinary dialogue based on short paper presentations by the workshop participants. The contributions do not necessarily have to be polished conference papers; contributors may also present ideas, work in progress or critical reviews. To promote lively and engaged discussion, draft copies of all presentations shall be circulated among the workshop participants ten days in advance. Each workshop will be jointly led by a team of CTCC PhD students and an invited academic with wider expertise in the respective topic. This invited expert will also give a keynote address situating this topic and opening the discussion. Based on these introductions, we will explore different meanings and approaches to the concepts in question. By bringing together PhD students and leading academics from different academic institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, this workshop series constitutes a unique opportunity to get feedback on theoretical reflections and work in progress. It will allow the exchange of ideas, the clarification of epistemological stances and the building of networks among PhD-students.

Cost: £20.00 for one workshop. You can also register for all four workshops for £60.00.

Please register for the workshop “Exchange” or not later than 2 March 2008 by either sending an abstract of no more than 200 words explaining how you intend to relate to the topic of the workshop. Please note that the deadline for submission of the papers and contributions of this workshop is 23 March 2008. E-Mail: C.Mueller@leedsmet.ac.uk


***
Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change
Faculty of Arts & Society
Leeds Metropolitan University
Old School Board
Calverley Street
Leeds LS1 3ED
UK
***



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Symposium: Oceanic Art

From the ICME listserv:

Announcement:
Oceanic Art Symposium
Organised by the Pacific Islands Museums Association (PIMA)
and the Vanuatu Cultural Centre (VKS)
Port Vila, Vanuatu, 6–8 May 2008
Final date for Registration Monday 14 April 2008

The first Oceanic Art Symposium on “Oceanic Art Today: Status, Production and Tendencies” provides a space for international art scholars and museum professionals to share new ideas about creative traditions and contemporary arts practice in the Pacific region today. The symposium, organised by PIMA and the VKS in collaboration with the French Embassy in Vanuatu, aims to ensure the safeguarding of intangible creative traditions, the transmission of knowledge and the stimulation of interest amongst young generations of artists to keep contemporary practice alive and evolving. The symposium will include the opportunity for participants to identify opportunities for international and regional interaction with Pacific Islands’ museums, artists and creative industries. It will be an opportunity to promote recognition of PIMA’s Code of Ethics for Pacific Islands Museums and Cultural Centres, and to develop the relationship between PIMA and the Pacific Arts Association (PAA). The symposium aims to produce a set of recommendations advocating the way forward for enhancing
ethical research and practice in the field of Oceanic Art.

Optional Tour (additional cost)
The two-day symposium will be preceded by an optional one-day field trip to Chief Roi Mata’s Domain on Efate Island, Vanuatu’s first World Heritage-nominated site.


Of additional interest to visitors, the Vanuatu National Sand Drawing Festival will be held on the island of Ambrym from the 13th to the 15th of May, the week after the Symposium.

Please see http://www.culturepacific.org/ for further details of the Symposium program, discounted accommodation and flight options, the Field Trip, and links to Vanuatu Sand Drawing. Registration includes

§ Attendance at all symposium sessions on Wednesday 7 May and Thursday 8 May, 2008;
§ Registration materials (information package, program, symposium proceedings etc.);
§ Refreshment breaks and lunch on Wednesday and Thursday;
§ Welcome reception on Wednesday 7 May;
§ Closing reception on Thursday 8th May.

Registration does not include accommodation or travel costs. PIMA has negotiated discounted accommodation and travel prices for symposium participants. Please check the PIMA website for details and updates.

To Register for the Symposium
Registration forms in Word or PDF format are available online at http://www.culturepacific.org/en/bm/whats_on/

Please return completed registration form (with payment) by email, post or fax to:

PIMA, c/o Vanuatu Cultural Centre,
PO Box 184, Port Vila, Vanuatu.
Fax: +678 26590.
Email: pima@vanuatu.com.vu.


Monday, March 10, 2008

CFP: Migration, Diaspora, Pilgrimage

From H-Museum:

CALL FOR PAPERS - 2nd Announcement

"Migration, Diaspora, Pilgrimage"
ICOM-ICME annual meeting, Jerusalem
November 17-19, 2008

ICME (the ICOM International Committee for Museums of Ethnography) will hold its 2008 annual conference "Migration, Diaspora, Pilgrimage" in Jerusalem on 17-19 November, 2008. The meeting will be hosted by The Isaac Kaplan Old Yishuv Court Museum and the Jerusalem Foundation in collaboration with ICOM-Israel, L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art, Tower of David Museum of the History of Jerusalem, and U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art. Final details are still being confirmed, but the general format of the annual meeting will consist of paper and discussion sessions, museum visits including discussions with staff, and walking tours with community scholars.


The conference will be preceded by a one-day walking tour of pilgrimage sites in Jerusalem and will be followed by a two-day post-conference tour of pilgrimage sites in northern Israel.

Registration forms, registration fee information, hotels, post-conference tour costs and other details will be available on the ICME web site in early February at http://icme.icom.museum/

CALL FOR PAPERS: "MIGRATION, DIASPORA, PILGRIMAGE"
People move. Some movement is voluntary - better economic and political situations are sought. Other movement is involuntary. Through the processes of migration and in the diaspora, many people keep alive their identity through the continuity of language, social structure, traditional culture, and belief systems. Part of this latter cultural expression leads people to return to their places of origin to reverence sites they consider to be holy or to hold power. Many as individuals and as groups return from the diaspora to their places of origin in the process of pilgrimage. The
sites to which they return might be sacred or they might be secular. Nonetheless, pilgrimage is a process that crosses many lines of meaning.

Museum of ethnography and ethnology hold material culture, which speaks to the origins of many peoples.
What is the role of museums of ethnography and ethnology in these processes - migration, diaspora, pilgrimage?
Do research and collecting policies and public programs bring light to these processes with reference to communities in which the museums are located?
On the other hand, have museums become sites of pilgrimage for those who cannot make return visits home?
Do museums of ethnography and ethnology work with community leaders to help members keep alive their traditional culture, beliefs and memories?

ICME invites papers discussing "Migration, Diaspora, Pilgrimage" for the 2008 Annual Conference. Paper proposals of up to 300 words should be submitted to: president@icme.icom.museum by April 31, 2008.


Annette B. Fromm
3060 Alton Road
Miami Beach, Fl 33140
305-532-3530

Friday, March 07, 2008

Pick up a book, and bulk up your brain

While we're on the subject of health and well-being, here's something to make you feel good about all that time spent buried in books.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Get Fit At Your Desk!

Stuck indoors working? Not enough time to get down to the gym? Can't afford the gym? Well, here's the perfect solution for those of us stuck in front of a computer screen writing-up. This week Times Online is running a series of short videos introducing a set of exercises that can be done at your desk, as demonstrated by Sharron Davis. Personally, I'm working on my bingo wings. ;)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Lecture: Learning Across Time and Place

Learning Across Time and Place: The Role of Museums in the Informal Educational Landscape

The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies announces the next G. Brown Goode Education Lecture: 'Learning Across Time and Place: The Role of Museums in the Informal Educational Landscape.' The program will take place on Monday, March 3, 2008 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the Ring Auditorium of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The program will also be web cast live on http://museumstudies.si.edu. 'Learning Across Time and Place' is the first of two G. Brown Goode lectures looking at the research on learning in formal and informal museum settings.


Less than 15% of a schoolchild's waking time is spent in the classroom. Yet the national investment in education is almost exclusively limited to that small portion of a child's life. This program will look at the role learning plays in other settings and times -- at home, in museums, in after school programs, and on the net -- in developing students' interest, readiness, and capacity to succeed both in school and as lifelong learners.

The program will feature two speakers:
Professor Phillip Bell is the associate professor of the Learning Sciences at the University of Washington Seattle and co-chair of the National Research Council's Informal Science Learning Committee. Dr. Bell will share recent research from the NSF-funded LIFE Center (Learning in Informal and Formal Environments) that examines how learning develops across time and setting.

Bronwyn Bevan is the Director of the Center for Informal Learning and Schools (CILS), a partnership with the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Kings College London and University of California Santa Cruz. Ms. Bevan will report on what the NSF-funded CILS is learning about the role that museums can and do play in enhancing and extending learning that happens both in and out of school.

A companion program, 'The Role of Museums in Formal Education,' will be held on Tuesday, May 6, 2008. Dr. Bob Bain, Associate Professor of History and Social Studies Education at the University of Michigan will speak about his multi-year study of teaching and learning history in museums and with museum resources. Further information about the May lecture will be provided at a later date.

Both programs are part of the G. Brown Goode Smithsonian Education series of professional development. Through this series, named after the Smithsonian Institution's earliest proponent of museums as educational institutions, Smithsonian and other museum staffs can help keep abreast of emerging developments in education pertaining to many aspects of their work, from exhibit design to outreach in the schools. All Goode Lectures are web cast and made available for viewing at http://museumstudies.si.edu.


We're excellent - yay!

There's a meme doing the rounds in the blogosphere at the moment and The Attic has been tagged! Michael at The Dispersal of Darwin blog has rated us 'excellent' (too bloody right, mate!), which means that we can display this fancy badge



- and bestow a similar honour on our (i.e. my!) 'most excellent' blogs. Dude. ;) So, here goes...

Adventures in Collections Management
Material World
Museum Blogging
Museum 2.0
Mary's Research Blog

- and, because I believe in sharing the wealth, a few non-museum related blogs that have caught my eye...

Say It Ain't So Joe
Just Hungry
It's Probably Me
Fashionist
The China Beat

CFP: Heritage and Practices of Public Formation

From H-Museum:

Call for Papers

HERITAGE AND PRACTICES OF PUBLIC FORMATION
A Special Issue of the International Journal of Heritage Studies

The International Journal of Heritage Studies invites submissions for a special theme issue devoted to a critical consideration of the implications of heritage practices in regard to the re-articulation of existing publics and the formation of new ones.


Those who think heritage is only about the past have got it wrong. Practices of heritage are always about the future. Such practices are inherently implicated in enduring questions regarding the viable substance of social life, questions which include the problem of human connection across historically structured differences of time and place. Heritage practices present an arena of social participation. They not only offer meanings and affect that help consolidate exiting social solidarities, but they also offer the possibility of new connections among diverse people, connections essential for the continual renewal of democratic life and the attainment of environmental sustainability in an increasingly complex and interdependent world.

This issue of IJHS will be devoted to discussions of heritage practice that move beyond the notion of a public as an identifiable pre-existing set of people who form the potential audience for any given heritage event and who are then reminded of their connections to each other through their collective attention.

In these circumstances, previously constituted identities and/or interests are often invoked to explain the thoughts and feelings that tie people to each other, establishing their willingness to accept a given normative basis for shared values and institutions. Differently from this concern with how heritage practices are implicated in the reproduction of existing social relations, for this issue we are encouraging explorations that start with the idea that as plural formations, publics may be initiated and consolidated when strangers come to recognize new shared interests and
affinities. Thus our focus is the way diverse sets of people engage with various forms of both tangible and intangible heritage forging relationships that were not pre-existing.

When heritage practices are implicated in this moment of the making (or re-making) of collectivities, something of what Hannah Arendt called "world-making" happens. In such moments, through engagements with representations of the past and each other, varied people may come to understand themselves in new ways as members of a public in formation. An important consequence of considering heritage practices on such terms is that it extends the manner in which such practices may be understood to be both political and pedagogical. More concretely stated, heritage practices within but not limited to museums, urban landscapes, internet web sites, tourist sites, monuments and memorials, as well as engagements with music, dance, drama, craft and art may all contribute to the formation of new publics and hence social and political re-formation of everyday life.

For this special issue IJHS we are calling for papers concerned with how heritage practices provoke the conditions that enable the existence of publics, and contribute to their plurality, historicity, stability/instability, and relationship with each other. Such papers would likely consider not only what it means to be with others in new public formations but as well, they may address the material and spatial conditions that enable and limit their coming into being. Further, consideration might also be given to the substantive relation of new public formations to existing State forms and global ideologies. IJHS calls on scholars to consider the potential of heritage practices for enriching public landscapes, engendering collective experience and insight, inciting debates and democratic practices, and creating new forms of human solidarity. Papers
should aim to reevaluate and reposition ideas of the public, placing heritage within contemporary contexts and concerns.

Please submit paper proposals (abstracts of up to 300 words) by June 1, 2008 to the issue's editors Roger I. Simon (rsimon@oise.utoronto.ca) and Susan Ashley (sashl@yorku.ca). Completed manuscripts will be due September 30, 2008.

Potential contributors will be interested to know that Routledge has expressed an interest in publishing the special issue in book form once it has been published by the IJHS.

THE EDITORS:

Roger I. Simon is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the Faculty Director of the Centre for Media and Culture in Education and Director of the Testimony and Historical Memory Project at OISE/UT. Simon has written broadly on critical approaches to cultural pedagogy most recently focusing on the areas of public history and museum studies. His research and writing addresses questions of the pedagogical and ethical dimensions of practices of cultural memory. This work is part of Simon's on-going exploration of the intersections of social and political theory, cultural practice, and
pedagogy in regard to the project of securing a public sphere enabling a just and compassionate society. His recent publications include articles in Museum and Society, Museum Management and Curatorship, and the Journal of Museum Education. His most recent book is The Touch of the Past: Remembrance, Learning and Ethics published by Palgrave MacMillan 2005.mailto:rsimon@oise.utoronto.ca

Susan Ashley is a SSHRC-CGS doctoral candidate in the Communication and Culture program at York University in Toronto. She has had 20 years of experience in the heritage field as a front-line interpreter, program and exhibit planner, and consultant, working with public heritage sites across Canada. She has published in IJHS, Museum & Society, the Canadian Journal of Communication, and various heritage professional journals.