The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Material Culture Review: Call for Exhibition Reviews

Material Culture Review/Revue de la culture matérielle (MCR/RCM) is
currently seeking original scholarly exhibition reviews for publication in
its next special issue, UNESCO’s Convention for the Safeguarding
of IntangibleCultural Heritage.

The deadline for consideration is August 1, 2013.

MCR/RCM is Canada's only scholarly journal dedicated to the study of
material culture. It documents cultural artifacts, describing their
historical context and role in society. MCR is published twice annually by
Cape Breton University Press in Sydney, Nova Scotia in partnership with the
Canada Research Chair in Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Just as exhibitions are a major form of research in material culturestudies,
exhibition reviews are an important feature of MCR/RCM. The purpose of
reviews is to recognize the significance of such research, to extend the
impact of certain exhibitions beyond the museum setting and to stimulate
debate in the academic and museum communities about the value of
exhibitions. Reviewers should assume that readers might not have seen the
exhibition and so should include a brief description of the exhibition, an
assessment of the objectives of the exhibition and a critique of how well
those aspirations are met. Reviewers are encouraged to include commentary
on how an exhibition may differ or resemble other exhibitions or books on a
subject or theme. In some cases, curators and/or others responsible for
assembling an exhibit may be invited to respond to a review. Photographs of
objects or art work included in the exhibition or the installation may be
included in the publication. Comparative reviews are also possible.

Preference will be given to reviews that discuss exhibition strategies
and/or curatorial approaches to intangible cultural heritage.

Typical length is 10-15 pages.

Please submit electronic files to:
For more information about the journal and submission guidelines please

Monday, June 24, 2013

One Year On

Research Week has started for the PhD students in the department. Well, so I gathered from various posts on my Facebook newsfeed; I don't get the emails any more. The news made me realize that it has been a year since I had my viva; obviously, I didn't get granted the degree right away, and I visited Leicester for my graduation in January, so the anniversary (viva-versary?) feels strange. It was kind of a strange time anyway; I had moved back to Canada in April, then came back for a flying visit in June, with just enough time to do some research in London, hang out with friends, do the viva, and present about the experience the same afternoon in a Research Week session! I can't say I was very helpful to anyone there, as my experience went very smoothly, and there's no learning from that! But perhaps I can be more helpful with a little summary of my year since then.

Because I had busy but efficient examiners, they made sure to get me my list of corrections right away. These were very clear, and I was able to get them done within a few days. I then made arrangements for printing and binding the final thesis, and waited for my degree confirmation, which came 6 weeks after my viva. Short and sweet! It was a lovely moment to get my bound thesis in the post, and it has pride of place on my bookshelf.

Then, real life set in. I have written about that a little bit here already. I was lucky enough to have friendly contacts in my hometown, who set me up with short museum work contracts, and then I got some teaching gigs. In the fall, I was teaching a museum studies introductory course at my local uni, and some art history at the art college. Winter was crazy, as I was invited back to my old place of work 300km to the north to teach a course for a sick friend, but was still teaching in Calgary, too. I enjoyed it, but it was not exactly practical. Now, I am finishing up a condensed spring term with two courses; the finals have been postponed because of catastrophic flooding in the city (I'm fine!). Because I have written 7 courses from scratch this year, I haven't attended any conferences, but have prepped some papers to publish. Writing a book, even if it is from my thesis, is still daunting, however; I need to do some extra research, but with the expenses of wedding planning looming large (yes, Virginia, there is a personal life!), a trip to the UK is out of the question at the moment.

Life still feels very tentative; and I agree with Jenny that managing real life is much harder than the relatively single-minded pursuit of the PhD (personal circumstances notwithstanding; I recognize that many of our students do not have funding, are not single and childless, and are not unemployed). Still, looking back on this first year, I am pleased that, however temporary, I am on track to building a scaffolding for a post-PhD life. I'm even teaching a material culture course next year, which I am looking forward to enormously.

So to those in Leicester this Research Week - enjoy! And if you're not enjoying it: it gets better. Or different. But it does get along, little doggies.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Museum Metamorphosis Exhibition - Call for Artists


 Exhibition at the School of Museum Studies

University of Leicester

We are offering exhibition space to four artists who are interested in visually interpreting objects from the collection of New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester through a 2D or 3D medium of their choosing. Each of the four displays must respond to the concept of ´Metamorphosis.’

It will be the artist´s responsibility to visit New Walk Museum & Art Gallery and select one object from the permanent collection to interpret it through the visual medium of their choice. In their submission to this brief, artists will need to include specific information on this object they have chosen, the concept  for their interpretation of this object and ideas for their new artwork. General information about the collection can be found on the website:
If selected to work on this project, artists will need to also include digital images of their artistic process in creating their work for possible display within the School of Museum Studies building.

Context of the Exhibition

Current PhD students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and staff of New Walk Museum & Art Gallery are working together to organise a conference, entitled ‘Museum Metamorphosis’, which will focus on how museums change and are changed.  The conference will take place at the School of Museum Studies on 5 and 6 November 2013.

The conference will be complemented by an exhibition in the School of Museum Studies that will be on display from 30 September 2013 – 28 February 2014.  The exhibition, also entitled ‘Museum Metamorphosis’, will include artists’ interpretations of objects from the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

The main audience for the exhibition will be people who use the School of Museum Studies building, including academic staff, Masters and PhD students, visiting scholars and museum professionals, and attendees of the 'Museum Metamorphosis' conference.


The exhibition will be promoted via the local press and relevant mailing lists. Details of the exhibition will also be included in the conference programme and on the conference website:
How to apply
Please submit the following information by the 9th of July 2013 via email to:
·     Details of one object of your choosing from the permanent collection of New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester
·     Written concept of your planned artwork, clearly demonstrating the concept of ´Metamorphosis’ (maximum 200 words)
·     Preliminary sketches demonstrating your concept
·     Up to four examples of your previous work. We can accept images via email, or web links to website/online portfolio/facebook
·     Biography  (maximum 150 words) and contact details: name, mobile number and address
Selection criteria
     Creative and original approach to the interpretation of one object from the permanent collection of the New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester
     Clear demonstration of the concept and process of 'Metamorphosis', showing the transformation and changes from the chosen object to the final artistic creation
     High artistic quality of submission and response to the specific issues of this brief
Applicants will be selected from the supporting information submitted. The selection panel will be made up of representatives from the School of Museum Studies and New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester. 
Applicants must be available for the installation during week beginning  23 September 2013.
The School of Museum Studies has four cases: three downstairs in the foyer and one upstairs.  We would like each artist to fill one case each. Interpretation panels and labels will be designed by the artists in collaboration with the School of Museum Studies. The exhibition will be installed by the artists during week beginning  23 September 2013 with support from the exhibition organisers.
Dimensions of Cases
Case 1: Main Foyer (Large Inca): 1950 display width, 930 glass shelf width, 630 display depth, 610 glass shelf depth, overall height 2200, case height 1725, visible glass height 1475
Case 2: Main Foyer (Right - Double Sided): 1190 case width, 1470 case height, 590 case depth
Case 3: Main Foyer (Left - Built-in): 925 display width, 344 display depth, 1388 case height
Case 4: First floor lobby (Backed): 1190 case width, 1470 case height, 550 case depth
Each artist will receive £200 including VAT, which includes time spent choosing an object from New Walk Museum & Art Gallery in Leicester, creating the artworks and any materials or expenses incurred for the creation of their own artworks. This will be paid on receipt of invoice following the exhibition´s installation. Artists should be registered as self-employed and will be responsible for their own Tax and NI. Artists will need to have their own public liability insurance. The artists will also get to keep their work after the exhibition is over.
Insurance of each display must be covered by the artist’s own insurance provision.
Feedback about the exhibition will be collected from a range of visitors, and the resulting evaluation report will be shared with participating artists.
For further information please contact Romina Delia and Laura Diaz Ramos.
Please note: the deadline for all applications is  9th of July 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Another Berlin post!

Greetings from Berlin X

Macht Kunst – An Exhibition for All

In April the„DeutscheBank KunstHalle“ invited artists living in Berlin to exhibit one of their works, advertising such its new exhibition hall. The response was overwhelming: more than 2.000 people – professionals and laypersons – brought their creations to present them to the public. The exhibition was shown twice for 24 hours and the Berlin audience came in flocks. 

I liked the democratic approach of this project and visited the second venue. Zest was added by the wild mixture of the art works, concerning technique, topics and quality. The hanging of the pictures expressed no value judgment. Thus visitors were left to their own devices. I found it challenging to reflect why I loved one artwork and hated the other. 

One painting dared me extremely. I was torn between disgust and enthusiasm and decided finally that I found it gorgeous, because of the sheer joy expressed and the careful workmanship. I was happy to read in the newspaper afterwards that the artist, Nicolas Fontaine, had won one of the awards funded by the Deutsche Bank. 

Painting by Nicolas Fontaine
  The Deutsche Bank is thinking about repeating the project because of its success.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

An Interesting New Website to Check Out!

Get Into Heritage is the latest offering from Creative and Cultural Skills’ ‘Get Into Series, designed at helping young people enter into creative careers. There are so many jobs available in heritage and museums, but the most well-known – like the curator and conservator positions – are the ones often quoted.
This site is due to become a resource for academic staff, museum education teams and individuals looking for the most up to date and varied career information.
Along with the free information, compiled by industry advisors, there is also a growing database of employee case-studies, showcasing heritage professionals’ journey, tips and advice.
There are features like a jobs and opportunities board, which provides listings that all meet minimum wage standards, but there’s also a vital expert feature that sets the website apart from other heritage career sites. Visitors can ask questions online to a panel of heritage experts – from top heritage intuitions like Shakespeare’s Globe, The British Museum and Birmingham museums – and experts will reply back online. Submit your question online.
Visit the site now for more information on how you can Get Into Heritage.

Friday, June 07, 2013


THE BEST IN HERITAGE 2013, 19-21 September, Dubrovnik

The Best in Heritage is an annual survey of award-winning museum, heritage and conservation projects. Organised in partnership with Europa Nostra and under special patronage of International Council of Museums, it is supported by The City of Dubrovnik and Croatian Ministry of Culture.

The conference offers an overview of the best from the field of museums and heritage. Twenty-four projects awarded in 2012 from all over the world will present their success stories. Presenters will elaborate on the creative and innovative approach which earned them an award, will interact with the audience and take part in moderated discussions.

Participants have a unique opportunity to get inspired by many acclaimed experts and acquire insight into contemporary trends and tendencies. The gathering is ideal for networking, establishing contacts and discussing potential collaborations. In addition to inspiring array of best practices, the programme features rich social and cultural content, all taking place in the Renaissance city core of Dubrovnik.

For the full 2013 Programme: here