Seminar: Creative practice and uncomfortable heritage, 9 April

ICCHS Research Seminar,  1-2pm, Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace

Speakers: Irene Brown, Toby Lloyd, Wolfgang Weileder, Fine Art Department, Newcastle University

Creative practice and uncomfortable heritage

The Schoolboy Partisan: Ugo Forno

This seminar will focus on experiences and outcomes from the recent REcall European Conflict Archaeological Landscape Reappropriation research project. Based on the principal that heritage is a dynamic process where memory and history is refashioned for contemporary purposes REcall aimed to address issues around the ‘reuse, valorisation and communication of the 20th Century European Conflict Heritage considered as Cultural Landscape.’ The project brought together interdisciplinary and international teams of artists, architects and archaeologists to develop sustainable design proposals for the reuse and reimagining of a series of World War Two sites in Italy and Norway.

REcall was a partnership project between: Newcastle University Fine Art Department; Polytechnic of Milan (Italy): Aalborg University’s (Denmark); the Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Falstad Centre (Norway); Turin’s Museum of Resistance (Italy); The Romsdal Museum (Norway); and the European Snark Space Making Network.

Visit the Recall blog for further details about the project and to view the design proposals.

Irene Brown is an artist, Fine Art Lecturer and MFA Course Leader. Her recent research has explored the relationships between artists and museums, museum history, philosophies and taxonomies. Irene’s latest project the ‘Gallery of Wonder’ is an exhibition and research facility exploring the evocation of wonder through curatorial display.

Toby Lloyd is a Newcastle-based artist and was a member of one of the interdisciplinary design teams involved in Recall.  His work uses video, photography and performance to explore the shifting relationship between self and the contemporary urban and commercial environment.

Wolfgang Weileder is an artist and Professor of Contemporary Sculpture. His current research project, ‘Jetty’ connects debates around fine art, urban design and sustainability through the creation and investigation of an architectural scale artwork for the historic Dunston Staiths, a landmark Scheduled Monument and Grade II structure on the south bank of the River Tyne in Newcastle Gateshead.

All welcome. No need to book. Please just come along!

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 9 April 2014

Culture Under Threat Conference

A US Army tank outside part of the Iraq National Museum in March 2003.

A US Army tank outside part of the Iraq National Museum in March 2003. (Photo: Joanne Farchakh Bajjaly)

Peter Stone is co-organising the Call for Papers for Culture Under Threat, a joint conference organised by the American University of Rome, Blue Shield, World Archaeological Congress, and Newcastle University.

2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its 1st Protocol and also the 15th anniversary of its 2nd Protocol. Sadly, almost every part of the world has seen armed conflict since 1954 and cultural property has been damaged in all of these conflicts through collateral destruction, military insensitivities, and extensive looting.

The conference will be held May 15-21, 2014, at the American University of Rome. It will review what actions are currently taken to mitigate the destruction of cultural property during conflict and address what might be done in the future to enhance its protection and to restrict and counter the trade in illicit antiquities that feeds off conflict. The conference will conclude with a discussion of a draft of the World Archaeological Congress’ Accord on the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

Call for Papers: Abstracts of no more than 200 words for papers should be sent to or by Monday 14 April 2014. Authors of accepted papers will be notified by Monday 21 April.

Curating Human Remains workshop

Workshop participants during a practical workshop session

Last month Myra Giesen delivered a presentation on the ethical and legislative framework surrounding the curation of human remains. The event, held appropriately at the Royal College of Surgeons, London, was organized jointly by the Human Remains Subject Specialist Network and the Museum Ethnographers Group. Contributors included leading practitioners in the field, including specialists from the Natural History Museum and the Museum of London.

More than thirty curators, conservators and archaeologists attended the London event and future workshops on the topic and a possible online version are planned.

For further details of the February workshop and for news on new event dates visit the Museum Ethnographers’ Group Blog.

Research seminar: Emotions in the history museum, 19 March

ICCHS Research Seminar,  1-2pm, Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace

Visiting speaker: Sheila Watson, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

Emotions in the history museum

Sheila Watson’s presentation will suggest that museum studies has lagged behind social sciences in the growth of interest in affect and emotions, to the detriment of our understanding of the ways in which visitors engage with objects, narratives and displays. Drawing on case studies Sheila will consider how emotions are culturally regulated and how research can help us develop a more subtle concept of what sorts of emotionally driven learning takes place in museum sites, and how exhibition design facilitates certain types of emotional responses from visitors. This talk will focus specifically on history museums.

Dr Sheila Watson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester. She is a historian with particular interests in narrative and affect in museums, particularly in institutions which deal with archaeology and history. Sheila’s recent research has explored how the museum deals with military history and concepts of myth and popular memory, and how this contributes to contested national histories. Sheila was co-investigator on the recent EuNaMus European National Museums and the European Citizen project, a three year investigation into the ways in which histories are made and consumed in European national museums.

Her recent publications on emotion, nationhood and the history museum include:

Watson, S. ( 2013) ‘Emotions in the history museum ‘in A. Witcomb K. Message (eds) Museum Theory: an expanded field,Oxford, Blackwell.

Knell, S.J. , 2012., Axelsson, B Eilertsen, L. Myrivili, E.  Porciani, I. Sawyer, A. and Watson, S. Crossing Borders: Connecting European Identities in Museums and Online, Linkoping University Press, Linkoping.

Watson, S. (2012) ‘Museums and the origins of nations in Poulot, D and Bodenstein, F (eds) Grand Narratives of the Past: Traditions and Revisions in National Museums: 545-565 University of Linköping.

All welcome. No need to book. Please just come along!

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 19 March 2014

Research seminar on 26 February cancelled

Unfortunately Janet Marstine’s scheduled Research Seminar this Wednesday has been cancelled due to problems with train services to and from Newcastle and Leicester. We hope to reschedule Janet’s presentation for later in the year. Please check back for updates.

Our next Research Seminar will now be on Wednesday, 19 March, when Sheila Watson, from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester will be speaking on emotions in the history museum.

Hope to see you then!


Call for research participants for Discovery Museum visit

As part of the European Commission-funded research project ‘European Museums in an Age of Migrations’ (MeLa) ICCHS researcher Chris Whitehead is calling for people who might like to participate in a research study. Working with colleagues from the Copenhagen Institute of Interactive Design, we will be conducting visitor studies at the Discovery Museum on the 10th and 11th of March.

We need 2-3 sets of people to visit the new ‘Destination Tyneside’ gallery in pairs (friends, relatives or couples are all fine) and 2-3 people to visit on their own. As this is a study of visitor behaviour and responses to the display we are looking for people who are NOT ICCHS staff members, students or graduates or heritage professionals. This is because we need people who have not been trained to be critical of exhibitions. So we are appealing to readers of this blog to pass this invitation on to friends and relatives who might be interested in being involved in the study.

The research consists of visiting ‘Destination Tyneside’ while wearing video glasses (you can see what they look like here), and then being interviewed by researchers afterwards while watching footage of the visit. The whole time commitment for each participant should be no more than one hour. As the research involves wearing video glasses unfortunately we can’t recruit participants who normally wear glasses of their own (however, contact-lens wearers are welcome). Finally, it would be really good if some of the participants were originally from overseas, even if they are long-term residents in the UK.

If you or an acquaintance are interested in taking part in this research, which is intended to contribute to the development of cutting-edge visitor studies methods and to European Union policy on museums, please email Katie Cooper - - giving your name, nationality and availability on the 10th and 11th March, and stating whether you are interested in visiting on your own or as part of a pair.

Many thanks!

Research seminar: Ethics in visitor-generated content, 26 February

ICCHS Research Seminar,  1-2pm, Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace

Visiting speaker: Janet Marstine

The Value of ‘Ordinary’ Ethics in Visitor Generated Content: Developing Shared Authority in Museum Policy and Practice.

Ordinary ethics, defined by anthropologist Michael Lambek as the judgments we all make every day through our speech and actions, is embedded in museums’ visitor-generated content. Janet Marstine’s talk will argue that museums might better recognise the value of ordinary ethics as embodied by visitor-generated content and utilise this discourse to help shape ethics policy and practice. Analysing the case study of Ansuman Biswas’ 2009 ‘Manchester Hermit’ project, Janet will demonstrate that ordinary ethics, captured through visitor-generated content, has the capacity to create shared authority between museums and communities in negotiating difficult ethical issues.

Dr. Janet Marstine is Programme Director in Art Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of Leicester and is a specialist in museum ethics. Janet is currently developing a new book for the Routledge Museum Meanings series, Critical Practice: Artists, museums, ethics, which investigates the museological implications of artists’ interventions. Her previous publications of museum ethics include: 

Marstine, Janet, Bauer, Alexander and Haines, Chelsea. (eds.). 2013. New Directions in Museum Ethics. London and New York: Routledge.

Marstine, Janet. (ed.) (2011). Routledge Companion to Museum Ethics: Redefining Ethics for the Twenty-First Century Museum. London and New York. Routledge.

No need to book. Please just come along!

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 26 Feb 2014