31 January 2020

Decolonisation and Democratisation Conference: call for papers

Decolonisation + Democratisation is a national conference exploring how heritage and arts organisations are engaging and sharing ownership with communities.
Have you got big ideas about how to transform the face of heritage and the arts? Are there some simple steps to changing how we think about and work with communities that can have significant impacts?

 If so, we want to hear from you. We are looking for submissions from all career levels and all sizes of organisation.   
 We are particularly keen to hear examples of: 
·         Museums working in partnership, especially ones involving organisations/ individuals outside of the cultural sector
·         Museums being used for non-traditional activities
·         Ways of enhancing collections knowledge through partnership work
·         “Failures” as well as success stories, which can help others learn
When: Thursday 10th September, 2020 
Where: Colchester Castle, Essex 

Where presentations involve community partners, we would love to hear from both parties and have bursaries to support community participation.  
If you are unable to get to Colchester in person, please do still get in touch as we would love to explore remote contributions, such as via Skype. 
 We are looking for contributions for:   
·                     Workshop activities (30 mins)  
·                     Short presentations (20 mins)  

If you have something to share, we’d love to hear from you. Email us with:  
·                     Name(s) and contact details, including organisation   
·                     Summary and title of your idea (no more than 300 words), including structure   
·                     What you expect delegates to take away from your session  

Submissions to be emailed to Ben.Paites @colchester.gov.uk by 9am on Monday 30th March. All submissions will be considered and we shall inform successful applicants by Friday 24th April. All presenters will receive free entry to the conference. (NB: the cost for delegates will be £25 for the day).   


Request for help: Clement Lindley Wragge

Staffordshire County Council (Archives and Heritage) are looking into the whereabouts of any items from what was Stafford’s first museum – the Wragge museum, given to the town of Stafford by Clement Lindley Wragge (1852-1922) in 1878.  Wragge was a traveller, meteorologist and collector and was quite a character.  The collection consisted of natural history and ethnography, including items chiefly from Australia, but also southern Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Fiji, Tahiti and New Zealand, collected during his travels.   The story of the collection since the opening of the Museum has been mixed, and nothing remained in the Stafford Museum collection when it was first fully catalogued in the early 1960s.

What remained from the ethnographic collections was given to Mr J.T. Hooper of the Totems Museum in Arundel, Sussex in 1957.  This closed in 1963 and James Hooper disposed of his collections, or returned them to Tahiti and Fiji, between 1976 and 1983.

If you know of items which have been identified as part of Wragge’s collections please can you contact Chris Copp, Senior Museums Officer at Staffordshire County Council.


26 January 2020

Workshop and CFP:Public Textiles and Dress in Museums and Historic Houses: Textiles and Dress for Display and Show

Thursday 11 June 2020

University of Wolverhampton, UK


Building on last year’s workshop on Private Textiles and Dress, CHORD invite submissions to a workshop that explores historic textiles and dress held in museums, historic houses, archives and other collections, which were and / or are intended to be displayed, seen or worn in public. They also welcome submissions that focus on ‘private’ items that have become ‘public’.

Papers focusing on any historical period or geographical area are welcome. They define ‘public’ broadly, and also welcome papers that challenge a simple distinction between public and private, including domestic items or collections intended for public view, or ‘private’ items that might also have a political meaning. Both textiles and clothing are of interest, as are all aspects of their acquisition, care, display, interpretation or conservation.

Museum professionals, conservators, archivists, students, academic scholars or anybody with an interest in the topic are warmly invited to submit a proposal. We welcome both experienced and new speakers, including speakers without an institutional affiliation.

Individual papers are usually 20 minutes in length, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion. They also welcome shorter, 10 minute ‘work in progress’ or ‘collection spotlight’ (which aims to draw attention more briefly than in a full paper to a particular item or collection) presentations, also followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussion.

Some of the themes that are of interest include (but are not limited to):

◾Flags and banners
◾Dress for show: party clothes
◾Textiles in public buildings
◾Collecting, conserving and displaying public textiles and dress ◾Textiles for display: artworks, samplers, tapestries ◾Outerwear, protective clothing, coveralls ◾Displaying private clothes and / or textile items
◾Displays: photographs, fashion shoots, shop displays ◾Uniforms, insignia and symbols ◾Office wear, sports wear, dance wear ◾Theatrical costumes and disguises

Small bursaries will be available for speakers to subsidise the cost of travel (within the UK) and the workshop fee (please contact the workshop organiser for further information).

To submit a proposal, please send title and abstract of c.300 to 400 words, specifying whether you are proposing a 10 or a 20 minute presentation to Laura Ugolini, at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk by 20 March 2020.

If you are unsure whether to submit a proposal or would like to discuss your ideas before submission, you are encouraged to e-mail Laura Ugolini at l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

The workshop will be held at Wolverhampton University City Campus, a short walk from Wolverhampton’s bus and train stations.

The call for papers can be found here: https://retailhistory.wordpress.com/2020/01/07/public/

News about CHORD events, as well as blogs based on past conference papers, can be found here:

For any further information, please e-mail Laura Ugolini at: l.ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

19 January 2020

Freelance Opportunity: Buxton Museum

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is looking for help to identify ethnographic material and for advice on potential restitutions.  They write:

These objects were purchased between 1940 and 1988, and were part of the Derbyshire Schools Library Service collections.
We are looking for people who can help identify objects from:

·         Plains Indian (around 33 objects)
·         First Nations (around 10 objects)
·         Inuit (around 72 objects)

The objects are located in Buxton, Derbyshire. You will need to travel to view the objects in person.

With the support of the Esmee Fairburn Collections Trust funding, we are able to offer a fee of £250 a day plus reasonable travel expenses. Due to budget constraints we can only offer a maximum of two days’ work on the material. 

The work needs to be carried out between mid February and March. 

If you are able to help, please send a description of no more than 500 words detailing your relevant experience to Bret Gaunt at Bret.Gaunt@derbyshire.gov.uk by 5pm on Friday 31st of January.