18 July 2018

Call for papers: Re-Imagining the Human: Exploring Best Practice in Object-led work with Ethnographic Collections.

Dates: 28-29 November 2018
Venue: Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, UK.
Conference Website: https://www.horniman.ac.uk/visit/events/reimagining-the-human-a-two-day-conference-in-collaboration-with-icme 
ICME (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Ethnography) and the Horniman Museum and Gardens invite scholars and practitioners to explore innovative practices and theories in object-led work with ethnographic collections. Object-led practice can draw strongly on our ability to employ the senses to re-imagine our place in the world. In-depth engagement with ethnographic objects in particular can promote social interactions and critical reflections on the logics of power and prejudice upon which collections are constituted. 

  • How can ethnographic collections be used to examine or contest established notions of ‘Self’ and ‘Other’?
  • How can dialogical and/or affective engagement with ethnographic objects promote critical reflections on controversial issues (e.g. colonial legacies such as racism, ethnocentrism and primitivism, memory making, gender stereotypes)? 
  • To what extent can imaginative engagement with objects (through poetry, drawing, drama, dance, storytelling, music, etc) help challenge a fixed understanding of cultural identity and promote inter and transcultural dialogue? 
  • How can ethnographic museums use object-led practice to strengthen community collaboration and sense of ownership of collections?
Deadline for submission: 1 October 2018.

Keynote speaker Dr. Sandra Dudley will open the conference. Her research as a social and material anthropologist transects social anthropology, museum studies, and material culture studies

Collections Trust conference 2018: Spectrum in action

Join Collections Trust for their conference on 13 September at Bristol's SS Great Britain. A great line-up of speakers will explore how Spectrum 5.0 has been put into action, along with the launch of the new Banish the backlog practical guide, and the announcement of the winner of the 2018 CT Award.
Photo: David Norton, courtesy of SS Great Britain Trust.

Outline programme
Here are the speakers and sessions confirmed so far. There will also be an optional Q&A panel session on choosing collections software, the launch of our Banish the backlog book, and the results of the 2018 Collections Trust Award. We will add further programme details over the coming weeks.

Keynote – Laura Pye: What next for collections?
 The recent Museums Association taskforce report argued that ‘museums need to decide what their priorities are and review the impact of collections development policy and practice over the last decade to make collections more sustainable.’ In the conference keynote, Laura Pye considers the gap between collections management theory and practice and sets out the challenges as she sees them. Laura Pye, Director of National Museums Liverpool, was until recently Head of Culture for Bristol City Council, and chaired the taskforce convened by the MA in 2016.

Research update – Sharon Heal: Collections 2030
The Museums Association is conducting groundbreaking new research into the future use and management of our collections. Sharon Heal, the MA’s Director, will outline the key themes emerging from this wide-ranging study including radical new approaches to dynamic collections management and use. Sharon Heal has been the Director of the Museums Association since 2014, having previously edited the Museums Journal.

Scott Furlong: the revised Museum Accreditation Scheme
Later this year Arts Council England will launch the revised Museum Accreditation Scheme. Scott Furlong, ACE’s Director of Collections and Cultural Property, will explain how the Scheme is being refreshed and how it will dovetail with Spectrum 5.0.

Case study – Kate Diston: Duplicating dodos – implementing reproduction standards at Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Kate Diston is Head of Print and Digital Collections at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History.
Case studies on how museums are using other new and revised Spectrum procedures

  • Documentation planning: Jo Moore, Curator and Collections Coordinator, Wheal Martyn
  • Inventory: Meg McKavanagh, Easton Pearson Archive Coordinator, Museum of Brisbane
  • Collections review:  Kathleen Lawther, Collections Curator, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery
Kevin Gosling: What’s the use of Use of collections?
It seems few readers have made it to the revised Use of collections procedure nestling towards the end of Spectrum 5.0. Yet, as museums almost everywhere struggle to capture and manage knowledge about their collections from a wide range of sources, Kevin Gosling argues that the innovations in this revised procedure might prove the most useful in the long run. Kevin Gosling has been Chief Executive of Collections Trust since 2015, and co-edited Spectrum 5.0 together with Gordon McKenna.

Collections Trust Award 2018 open for entries

Image Credit: Jess Watters and Collections Trust

Collections Trust are inviting museums to tell them about the difference Spectrum 5.0 has made to collections management in their museum, by describing a recent collections management activity or project.
  The winning museum will receive £1,000 to spend on an agreed collections management activity, along with a free place at our 2018 conference to receive the award in person. To enter, simply use their online form, and submit your answers before noon on Monday 30 July 2018.

New displays of African collections: Aso-oke, a Celebration of Style & Townships Journeys

Brighton Museum & Art Gallery are delighted to present two new displays highlighting rich and evolving fashion and identity practices in Africa. These displays have been co-curated with researchers from the African diaspora who live in Sussex. They are part of the Object Journeys Fashioning Africa project in partnership with the British Museum.

On display are post 1960’s textiles and garments collected as part of the Fashioning Africa project, historic African textiles and beadwork from Brighton Museum’s collections and objects on loan from the British Museum. Four films accompany the displays. These feature in-depth interviews with the curators, footage of the production of aso-oke fabric and of some of the displayed outfits in use.

The displays have been co-curated by Edith Ojo, Tshepo Skwambane and world art collection staff, and supported by the British Museum. Through the process of co-curation, Edith and Tshepo have shared their cultural knowledge, expertise and experiences of growing up in Africa, to provide new interpretations for the displays and to breathe new life into historic African objects.
Edith Ojo with the Aso-Oke display (c) RPMAG

Aso-oke, a Celebration of Style, curated by Edith, showcases aso-oke fabric and fashion and reflects Edith’s rich Yoruba, Nigerian heritage and the role aso-oke plays in this. She states “It says party, that’s what aso-oke says to me. I love the spectacle and performance that surrounds aso-oke. It’s so culturally vibrant and constantly evolving.”

Tshepo Skwambane with Township Journeys (c) RPMAG

Township Journeys, curated by Tshepo Skwambane, demonstrates the important role that fashion and identity played for black South Africans living in townships. The display reflects Tshepo’s childhood experiences growing up in a township during apartheid, and the rich cultural mix of people he encountered there. He states “I want to challenge and dismantle stereotypes about Africa and Africans. Apartheid enforced separate and defined communities, but you can’t stop interaction between people and ideas.” 


Fashioning Africa is a Heritage Lottery Fund Collecting Cultures project. With the support of a collecting panel, Brighton Museum has been able to acquire new objects that reflect post-1960 African fashion identities.

This display is part of Object Journeys, a national programme run by the British Museum and supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It supports community partners to research and explore museum collections and create new displays in response to this investigation.

26 June 2018

Words Matter: Book Launch, Tropen Museum.

Thursday 28 June 2018 | Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
The Research Center for Material Culture cordially invites you to an evening on repairing, refusing and re-imagining language to mark the launch of our publication WORDS MATTER.

Recent controversy in the Netherlands surrounding whether museums should change the titles of some of their paintings and refrain from using discriminatory words in wall texts or catalogues is in part the lead up to this publication and symposium series. The emotionally and politically charged nature of discussions in the media surrounding the proposed changes should persuade anyone in doubt that words matter, that language matters. This is not an issue for just a small group of experts, but an ongoing dialogue between colleagues, neighbors, strangers and friends. It is a discussion that is embedded in a larger societal dialogue that debates issues of citizenship, belonging and representation in The Netherlands and beyond.

Indeed, it is not just words that matter: the perspectives or the position from which one writes or displays also matters. In this context, it is important to interrogate our personal and institutional relationships to categories, terminologies and meanings. To whom does language belong? In what ways can language become more inclusive to those who have been marginalized or excluded within our societies and institutions? Who is included in or excluded from ‘modern’, non-‘Western’, ‘traditional’, ‘us’ and ‘them’? And what is the correct pronoun to describe someone who self-identifies as transgender?

The publication WORDS MATTER is the physical manifestation of the museum’s long-term commitment to becoming a more inclusive institution and is the result of multiple, long-term projects that aim to dissect and dismantle some of the complex contested words, stereotypes and concepts that are present not only in cultural institutions, but also in the media and society at large. The symposium is a critical celebration and a stage for artists, academics and the audience to question, refuse, provoke and engage (with) contested languages and their presence within our institutions, societies and relationships.

The program consists of two events: a day program for heritage professionals and cultural producers, and an evening program for general audience.

• Ogutu Muraya (Writer and Storyteller)
• Astrid Roemer (Writer)
• Eliza Steinbock (Leiden University)
• Kira Wuck (Poet)
• Simone Zeefuik (Writer and cultural programmer)

Practical Information
Where: Tropenmuseum, Linnaeusstraat 2, Amsterdam
When: Thursday 28 June 2018, 19:30 – 21:30
Admission: € 8 (incl. publication) - Get your tickets here
Language: Dutch and English
Research Center for Material Culture
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