24 January 2018

Representing Africa in British Museums

Friday 8 June 2018, 10.15am to 5pm  Ticketed but free
Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter

Objects from the African continent were initially acquired by traders, political officers, explorers, scholars, and missionaries. How well does this material represent Africa? 
This question will be explored in a series of multi-disciplinary talks, presented by internationally-renowned curators and academics of African collections in Britain.

Planned presentations:
Exploring donors, uncovering collections, and transforming displays: the Africa collection at RAMM
Mr Tony Eccles (Curator of Ethnography, Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter)
Representing (South) Africa in the British Museum: the art of many nations
Dr John Giblin (Head of Africa Section, Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, British Museum)
Representing African Islam in British Museums
Professor Timothy Insoll (Al-Qasimi Chair in African and Islamic Archaeology, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter)
Rearrangements and Reevaluations of the African Collection at Liverpool’s World Museum, 1895 to 2018
Dr Zachary Kingdon (Curator, Africa Collections, World Museum, Liverpool)
Kente Trade: African Choices and British Museums
Dr Malika Kraamer (Independent Curator and Researcher)
The Rehabilitation of the Fetish
Professor John Mack (The Sainsbury Research Unit, Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, University of East Anglia)
Manchester Museum’s Cross Disciplinary Approach to Representing Africa
Mr Stephen Welsh and Dr Campbell Price (Curators of Living Cultures and Egypt and Sudan, The Manchester Museum, University of Manchester)
African Collections in the National Museum of Scotland
Dr Sarah Worden (Senior Curator, African collections, Department of World cultures, National Museums Scotland)
Putting the ethnography back into ethnography galleries: Redisplaying African collections in the new World gallery at the Horniman
Dr Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp (Curator of Anthropology, Horniman Museum, London)

Book tickets here 

23 January 2018

Book Review: The Conservation of featherwork by Ellen Pearlstein

Figure:  Huichol hat, Fowler Museum at UCLA, X66.2858, 34 cm x 18 cm
Featherwork from Central and South America rank among the most beautiful objects with meaning and symbolic value, used and worn as signs of rank and respect. Collection history, consultations and anthropological studies contribute greatly to our understanding of such featherwork collections in museums. However, museum or online databases often provide insufficient information for researchers e.g. on feather identification, feather type, attachment and modification methods and whether those objects show traces of use or change in cultural practice. Recording featherwork in a concise manner will not only provide information for interpretation but also for representation of the object on display. It will advise on conservation treatment and will assist on collection decisions designed to further preventive care.

'The Conservation of Featherwork' is designed to guide museum specialists like conservators, curators and researchers through implementation of such recordings. It is a valuable resource for teaching conservation students and those interested in material culture. The content of the book reflects on the interdisciplinary research approach by the author, bringing together knowledge of ornithologists, tribal featherworkers, curators, conservators and conservation scientists.

The introduction of the book by Judith Levinson (Director of Conservation, Division of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History) highlights the advantages of documenting featherwork as proposed in this publication and in particular its potential to link technical, material based and intangible qualities.

Ellen Pearlstein (Professor for Information Studies and in the Conservation of Ethnographic and Archaeological Materials atUCLA) offers concise and condensed information on feather recordings, preventive care, conservation treatment methods and legal aspects related to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). For further studies, the main literature on the subject is listed for the interested reader. The author developed a protocol for examining featherwork, a feather identification and condition template, which can be copied from the book and utilized as part of a survey.
Six case studies that follow the template, provide a comprehensive technical study, feather analysis, and examples of a conservation treatment and housing. The case studies carried out by conservation students, focus on headdresses, which entered the collection of the Fowler museum (Los Angeles) as gifts from private collectors:A lori-lori headdress made by the Karajá people from Brazil (Betsy Burr) and a Karajá skirt worn during initiation ceremonies (Heather White), a Huichol basketry hat from Mexico (Tom McClintock), a Shapra headdress attributed to the Shuar people of Peru (Lesley Day), an archeological feather plume (William Shelley) and a headdress made by the Asháninka (Colette Badmagharian), both from Peru.

Each case study, well structured and lavishly illustrated, demonstrates instantaniously the benefit of such recordings. The book can be highly recommended for museum specialists but also for those passionate about featherwork.

Renée Riedler
Mag. phil. Mag. art
Objects Conservator, Preventive Conservation Specialist
Lecturer in Conservation at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

10 January 2018

Queer Legacies: Transforming Practice in Museums and Galleries post-2017.

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Topics to be addressed include:
Have LGBTQ collaborations and events in the museum and gallery sector during 2017 created a permanent legacy?  Have they helped to challenge and change the ways in which museums and galleries look at and share their collections, how they operate and how they collaborate with diverse communities?  The conference explores the challenges and successes of projects over the past year, from the point of view of museums, galleries and the communities with which they have collaborated, and the legacy that is transforming the ways in which the sector works.

Speakers include:
Matt Smith (Chair): Artist and curator. In 2015-16 he was Ceramicist in Residence at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Solo exhibitions include Queering the Museum at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery (2010-11) and Other Stories at the University of Leeds (2012). He holds a PhD in Queer Craft from the University of Brighton and is Professor of Crafts at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, and Honorary Visiting Fellow at the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies.
Mirjam Sneeurloper and Maik Mirkovic on Transmission (2015-16) at Amsterdam Museum;
Beth Asbury, Clara Barker and Jozie Kettle on Out in Oxford (GLAM Oxford); 
Martin Pel, Ellie Newland and members of the Project’s Youth Team on Wear it Out: Queer Looks at Brighton Museum;
E-J Scott on the Museum of Transology at Brighton Museum; 
Clare Barlow on Queer British Art, Tate Britain;
Alice Cox on Refracted at Russell-Cotes Museum, Bournemouth;
Mark Wilson and Vivien Walsh on Never Going Underground at the People’s History Museum, Manchester.

Further details can be found and bookings made via the Eventbrite page.

For enquiries, please contact the Booking Office at the Royal Pavilion & Museums, tel 03000 290900