19 December 2010

Call for Papers: Geographies of Collections

Courtesy of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2011
31 August to 2 September 2011 at 
The Royal Geographical Society and Imperial College in London

Session Convenors: Caroline Cornish (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Philip Hatfield (Royal Holloway, University of London; British Library)
Research Group Affiliation: HGRG 

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 18 February 2011. 

Collections of diverse types provide rich sources for geographical enquiry. The specific systems of organisation developed within them, along with their contexts of use, can variously form or inform the geographical imagination. The collection is also never static, whether it is aggregated as an archive, a library, a museum collection, a scientific dataset or a twenty-first century digital database. As a result, the knowledges and geographies developed within them are always ripe for re-imagination.

The theme of the 2011 RGS-IBG Conference - ‘The Geographical Imagination’, presents an opportunity to adopt what Rebecca Duclos has termed ‘a cultural geography perspective’ towards collections, and to reconsider their geographies at a time of intensified interest in this area. Popular events such as A History of the World in 100 Objects and the British Library Growing Knowledge exhibition show, from opposite sides of the spectrum, how interaction with myriad different collections is changing. This session therefore seeks to question how geographers working within this shifting landscape are engaging with the collection across a range of forms and materialities.

We would be pleased to receive submissions for papers from researchers engaged in a wide variety of ‘collections’ including fine art, natural history, cartographic, photographic, ethnographic, archaeological, and digital. We are particularly interested in papers which address the issues of place, space and imagination in the accumulation and deployment of collections, and in papers which have a historico-geographical focus. Topics might include:
  • Collections and imaginative geographies
  • The languages of collections
  • Materialities of collections
  • Spaces of collections
  • Colllections and networks
  • Collected objects and knowledge production
  • The fluidity of collections
  • Collections and agency
Instructions for Authors
Those interested in participating in the session should contact Caroline Cornish (Caroline.Cornish.2009@live.rhul.ac.uk) AND Philip Hatfield (Philip.Hatfield@bl.uk). The deadline for submission of abstracts is 18 February 2011.

When submitting your paper please include the following information: 1) name 2) institutional affiliation 3) contact email, 4) title of proposed paper, 5) abstract (no more than 250 words) and 6) technical requirements (i.e., video, data projector, sound).

9 December 2010

Freelance Opportunity

  To work with the world collections in the North East.


Stories of the World – Revisiting Collections project

Application Deadline:
17 December 2010 , 5pm
Send application to:
Morag Macpherson,
Principal Learning and Communities Officer,
Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums,
Discovery Museum,
Blandford Square,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4JA
Tel : 0191 277 2333
Email – morag.macpherson@twmuseums.org.uk

The Revisiting Collections project will start week commencing 10 January 2011 and finish March 31 2011. The fees for the contract are based on the freelancer working 1 day a week for 12 weeks (from 10 Jan 2011-31 March 2011).

The daily fee for the work is £250. A travel, subsistence and communication budget is available in addition to this fee.  

Total maximum fee: £3000

For an informal discussion on this brief, or for any further information, please contact:
Morag Macpherson, Principal Learning and Community Officer 0191 277 233 morag.macpherson@twmuseums.org.uk

Sophie Robinson. Project Coordinator - Stories of the World. 0191 277 2308

Major Award for Research on Colonial Photographs and Museums

An international team of scholars and former curators from UK, The Netherlands and Norway, lead by Elizabeth Edwards, University of the Arts. London,  (ex-Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford and MEG Chair) has been awarded a major grant of just under €500,000 in HERA’s (Humanities in the European Research Area) European Cultural Identities strand. 

The project, PhotoCLEC, explores the complex possibilities and relevance of the photographic legacy of the colonial past in a post-colonial and multi-cultural European societies. But while this past is fundamental to the making of contemporary European societies it is largely excluded from national narratives - an area of ‘disavowed history’ as Stuart Hall called it.  

At the heart of the study is the question of how museums use photographs to construct historical narratives as an ‘economy of truth’, or as a critical disturbance. Our project asks does the intersection of two  ‘difficulties’ - the complexity and sensitivity of the colonial past and the volatility of photographs as historical sources – render both ‘unspeakable’ in the museum space ?  

Although we are contacting many people in a wide variety of museums, we would welcome hearing from anyone who has thoughts to share on the experience of addressing complex and difficult visual colonial histories within the museum space. Much of this engagement has been in ethnographic collections and their histories but we would also be interested to hear also of projects in social history, natural history and history of science. 

Please contact: e.edwards@lcc.arts.ac.uk or m.mead@lcc.arts.ac.uk.