17 December 2018

Job Opportunity: Research Assistant in Digital Archiving

Contract: fixed term for 8 months
Reference: 0407
Salary: starting at £29,515 and rising to £33,199 per annum, pro rata
Placed on: 7 December 2018
Closing date: 15 January 2019.  Applications must be received by midnight of the closing date. 
Expected interview date: 4 February 2019
Expected start date: 1 April 2019.

Job description

The University of Sussex is seeking to appoint a digital assistant to work on a new AHRC funded project, ‘Making African Connections from Sussex and Kent Museums:  Decolonial Futures for Colonial Collections’. The successful candidate will join a team of international scholars and curators engaged in a ground-breaking project that documents the little known historic African collections in South coast museums, focused on 3 specific collections of international significance originating in missionary, military and ethnographic encounters between 1890 and 1940 in Botswana, Sudan and the Namibia/Angola borderlands.
One of the project’s major outputs will be the creation of a digital archive based on the digitization of a minimum 600 artefacts. The Research Assistant’s primary role will be to work on this digital archiving aspect of the project, overseeing metadata capture and digitisation of analogue materials.  It will involve travel to the Royal Engineers Museum (Gillingham) and the Powell Cotton Museum (Birchington on Sea), as well as work at University of Sussex.
The successful candidate will have a Masters-level qualification in archiving and/or digital humanities as well as experience working on similar projects. In addition they will have a) Knowledge of African History and b) Experience of working in a Museum environment. They will be based in the Department of History within the School of History, Art History and Philosophy (HAHP) at the University of Sussex, and will be closely supported by the cross-disciplinary Sussex Humanities Lab (SHL).

Writing the Ethnological Museum - PhD Opportunity

Supervisory team: Dr Priya Gopal (Cambridge) and Professor Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum)
This collaborative project uses the historic inscription practices of the Pitt Rivers Museum as a lens through which to study the history and ongoing legacies of the knowledge made through colonialism in the context of the ethnographic museum. Primary material includes all writing practices involved in the functioning of the anthropological museum as an institution from 1884 to the present day: from vocabularies of people and thing to museum labels as a genre, a narratology of annual reports and accession books, a close reading of the card index and database, and the study of the diversity of practices of writing on objects. The hands of particular curators and collectors and the re-writing of museum displays will be put into dialogue with a broader set of questions about the relationships between objectification through material culture and representation through text.
In a cross-disciplinary perspective that brings literary analysis into dialogue with linguistic anthropology through material culture, the research  will involve a literary study of language, writing and speech acts as imperial technologies of objectification in the academy in the past, and a consideration of the scope for rereading and revision today.
Case studies will be drawn from across the geographical, temporal and disciplinary scope of the Pitt Rivers, from Asia and Africa to the Americas and Oceania, with regional or thematic focuses developing from the student’s own interests.
The research will be conducted at the intersection between a series of present themes in postcolonial literary and museum studies, including thinking about ‘voice’; the politics of representation/self-representation; technologies of writing; the making and unmaking of cultural, racial and gendered identities; archival silences and archival traces; reparative histories; the construction of narratives of self and other; the politics of the ‘contact zone’ and encounter and the question of ‘culture wars’; aesthetics and politics; the constitution and/or reframing of the archive; the politics of the particular and the universal; authority and authorship; narrative strategies and ‘narrativity’; (re)reading against the grain; and resistance, dialogics and rewriting.
The contemporary politics of empire and colonialism and their ongoing legacies will be central to the project, but in supple ways which allow for considerations of resistance, reflexivity and reconstitution. It might be possible, for instance, to consider the ways in which texts can function as colonial disciplinary and governance mechanisms while examining the possibilities for radical rewriting and re-imagining in the wake of empire. A number of questions might govern a study:
  • Can colonial documents/collections/practices be deployed towards new political claims or imaginings of community?
  • What forms of ‘epistemic co-operation’ might be possible in the reconstitution of collections or archives?
  • Can the collection(s) in question at all enable a revisioning of the relationship between the particular and the universal?
  • How might the voices of resistance be found in the interstices or margins of colonial knowledge?
  • Do the collections entrench epistemic scepticism or can they serve to provide reparative histories and knowledges?
  • In the process of ‘objectification’, does the ‘subject’ disappear entirely?
The student will have a background in literary studies, and a demonstrable interest in any aspect of postcolonial studies, archival studies, or anthropology. 
Application process:
For details of how to apply, please see: http://www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/19544/.  

Research Associate - Labelling Matters

Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford
Grade 7: £32,236 - £39,609 p.a.

16 December 2018

Job opportunity at Pitt Rivers Museum: Research Fellow

Research Fellow 
Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford
Grade 7: £32,236 - £39,609 p.a.

7 December 2018

Collections in Circulation: Mobile Museum Conference, 9-10 May 2019

C19th Japanese paper sample from Kew’s Economic Botany Collection
Registration has opened for this Conference, to be held at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th May 2019.

The conference will bring together scholars from the UK and overseas with a shared interest in the mobility of museum collections, past and present. Their papers will address various aspects of the history of the circulation of objects and their re-mobilisation in the context of object exchange, educational projects and community engagement.

Confirmed speakers include Claudia Augustat, Paul Basu, Joshua Bell, Martha Fleming, Sally Gregory Kohlstedt, Luciana Martins, Wayne Modest, Catherine Nichols, Jude Philp, Daniel Simpson, Alice Stevenson and members of the Mobile Museum project team.

This conference is organised by the Mobile Museum project, a collaboration between Royal Holloway, University of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

4 December 2018

From Bone to Ivory: Materials Identification Workshop

Two Day course on Cultural Objects Worked in Skeletal Hard Tissue 

Date: 19-20 March 2019
Location: Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, 

Cost: £125

This is a two-day continuing professional development course designed for those working in the heritage sector. The materials identification techniques used are non-invasive, low cost and can be achieved with readily available equipment.

It is particularly aimed at conservators, curators and object specialists but equally useful for all those involved in the identification, preservation, study, handling or registration of cultural, historical and archaeological collections or people involved in the detection of illegally trafficked materials.

The major learning outcomes of the course include:

         an appreciation of available identification techniques
         understanding of the chemistry and structure of different osseous and keratinous animal hard tissues used in artefacts including bone, antler, various species of ivory, horn, hoof, tortoiseshell, baleen, rhino horn and hornbill
         experience in recognizing the morphological features resulting from these structures
         experience of the use of reflected light microscopy for non-destructive identifications of worked tissues
         understanding of the meso and macro structural evidence needed to identify these materials and to differentiate between them e.g. bone from ivory, different species of ivory, horn from baleen and rhino horn,
         enhanced confidence in cataloguing objects, CITES and similar assessments
         an understanding of other materials used as substitutes, in imitation of or commonly confused with these animal tissues, including shell, coral and plastics.

These skills are taught through a combination of lectures, handling sessions and work at the microscope, and ends with an identification practical. Much of the work will be done in small groups and the number of participants will be limited to enable individual attention, particularly for those who are new to microscopy.

Please note that the teaching space is not wheelchair accessible.
For further information about the course or any other enquiries please email collectionscarecourses@museums.cam.ac.uk.

Booking and Payment
The cost of this course is £125. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Please book through the University of Cambridge Online Store.
For terms and conditions of refunding please see: http://onlinesales.admin.cam.ac.uk/help/?HelpID=7

3 December 2018

Mutiny documentary now available: Black British West Indies’ experience of WW1

“Mutiny” a documentary resource on the Black British West Indian experience of WW1 created by Sweet Patootee, is now on general release for streaming audiences – beginning with Vimeo on Demand. 

A story of WW1 and the Black struggle for pride and freedom.  Eyewitness testimonies of veterans, official documents, and archive photos reveal the incredible story of the British West Indies Regiment. 'Mutiny' includes extracts from unique video oral testimonies of WW1 era Black British West Indian women and veterans, that have inspired our latest work ‘Turning Point’.

For more information please visit the Sweet Patootee website