New seminar for 11th March: The Visual Heritage of the Losing Side: Orphaned Souvenirs of the First World War

Please join us for another in our series of research seminars:

The Visual Heritage of the Losing Side: Orphaned Souvenirs of the First World War
Speaker: Prof Mike Robinson, University of Birmingham

Wednesday 11 March
1 – 2pm
Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace
All welcome

mike R pic

Within the context of revived public interest in the First World War as part of the on-going centennial of the event there is much co-remembrance being performed in the collective realm. The memorials and cemeteries of the dead provide the material prompts and emotional signposts for commemoration. In addition there are countless personal objects – medals, letters etc. – that now help construct the narratives of the Great War Event. Drawing from a collection of vernacular photographs, this presentation examines images and objects from German soldiers and problematises them as dis-connected heritage of the First World War; objects with historical meaning but that exist outside of collective memory or at least a different conception of collective memory.

Short Biography – Professor Mike Robinson

Mike Robinson is Professor of Cultural Heritage at the University of Birmingham UK. He is also Director of the Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage and Trustee of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust and World Heritage Site. For the past 25 years Mike’s work has spanned the broad fields of heritage and tourism and he has published numerous books, articles and chapters on the various ways in which the realms of heritage and tourism collide. Recent books include Tourism and Emotion with David Picard (Ashgate), Encounters with Popular Pasts with Helaine Silverman (Springer) and World Heritage, Tourism and Identity (Ashgate). Mike has worked with UNESCO at national and international level relating to the agendas of World Heritage, tourism and sustainable development and cultural diversity. He is a former member of the Culture Committee of the UK National Commission for UNESCO and regularly advises on policy issues. He was a Government appointed member of the UK’s Expert Panel to determine the UK’s Tentative List for World Heritage and part of the UNESCO Expert Panel to assist with the development of a Programme in World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism. He is a former Visiting Professor at the Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia, Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy and is Visiting Professor at National Taiwan University and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Illinois. Mike has undertaken work on heritage and tourism in over 30 countries.

New Seminar on 4th March: Rasmus Kjærboe, A Museum of Modern Art for the Middle Class

Please join us for our next research seminar:
Rasmus Kjærboe, Aarhus University, Denmark
Wednesday 4th March
Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace
1 – 2pm


A museum of modern art for the middle class: Two seminal cases from Denmark
Why build your own museum? My talk presents two seminal Danish museums that combine nature, architecture, art and domesticity in a total package. Both Ordrupgaard (1918) and the more well-known Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (1958) arose from private initiative, and their particular idiom of informal leisure in a museum setting has since become strongly influential. As deliberate societal interventions, the two were in opposition to the oppressive public museums of their time. Instead, they aimed at shaping and educating an emerging middle class to the art of modernity through popular appeal. This meant a new focus on bodily participation and a new convergence between exhibitions, surroundings and the phenomenology of pleasurable experience.

Rasmus Kjærboe is currently a PhD Fellow at Aarhus University, Denmark. His project on the collection museum of modern art takes Ordrupgaard, today a state-sponsored museum of French 19th century art and post-impressionism, as its central case. Coming from art history, Rasmus has published on topics of museum studies, sculpture and public memorials and held a position as lecturer in theories of art and museology at Copenhagen University for several years. Rasmus is the Vice-President of the Danish Association of Art Historians and editor of Kunsthistorisk Bogliste, the Danish art historical book review.

New Seminar: Walkthrough Research, Wednesday 25 February

We have an exciting seminar coming up on 25th February from 1 – 2pm.

Jakob Bak is coming to ICCHS from Denmark to speak to us about ‘walkthrough research’ techniques. More information below.

Jakob has offered to bring some of the specially designed glasses along, and will run a hands-on session after the seminar. Please let me know if you are interested in taking part in this extra session by sending an email to

Hope to see you there.

Jakob Bak, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID)


Wednesday 25th February 1 – 2pm

Walkthrough Research

Throughout the European research project “MeLa* – Museums in an Age of Migration” Chris Whitehead (ICCHS) and Jakob Bak from Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) have been developing a new method for gathering experiential accounts from museum visitors that combine video-based observational techniques with prompted reflection and guided interviewing. Applying the method in both fine arts and social history settings, CIID and ICCHS have through the project examined the possibilities and limitations of such methodology. At this lecture, Jakob will give an introduction to how this can be used in everyday cultural research practice.

Jakob Bak is Research Manager at CIID, coordinating the team’s efforts across European research projects and other activities. With a M.Sc.Eng in Design & Innovation from the Danish Technical University (DTU) as well as involvement in Copenhagen based Art and Technology collective Science Friction, Jakob’s interests spans science studies, haptics, design theory, critical making, sound synthesis and artistic practice. When out of the office Jakob conducts workshops on synthesis, design or prototyping, makes electronic music or generally tries to get a better understanding of interactions between people and systems.

‘Young, Religious and Judged’: Challenging prejudice through Co-Curating Muslim heritage in North East of England

At a time when tensions in Europe around the role of Islam in society are high, many British Muslims are working hard to counter the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the media through collaborations with museums, libraries, archives and galleries, as well as community-led heritage initiatives. Traditional approaches to Muslim communities within the heritage sector have tended to adopt an ‘outreach’ model of community participation, whereby community groups are ‘invited in’ to the museum or archive to contribute to an exhibition or project determined by the organisation. Such approaches have been criticised for failing to address questions of who is doing the including and under what terms? What happens then, if heritage organisations and universities act as facilitators for community-led research, rather than as gatekeepers?

To find out more about how universities and heritage organisations can support the needs of Muslim communities ICCHS Research Associate Katherine Lloyd and Doctorial Researcher Ilmam Tharazi both attended the Everyday Muslim Symposium on Saturday 31st January at the Bishopgate Institute in London. The symposium brought together people from a range of sectors and backgrounds who share an interest in documenting and sharing Muslim heritage. The aim of the event was to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between individuals, groups and institutions working in the field of Muslim heritage.


Inspiring the audience (including some proud parents) at the Everyday Muslim Symposium

Katherine co-presented a paper with the West End Young Digital Artists, a group of 12-17 year olds from Newcastle who want to challenge prejudice and encourage respect between people from different cultures and religions in the West End of Newcastle as part of their documentary project ‘Young, Religious and Judged’. Katherine has been supporting the group to undertake historical research at Discovery Museum and the West Newcastle Picture History Collection as part of her work on Co-Curate North East, a knowledge exchange project led by Newcastle University that supports communities to document and share their heritage online. The young people showcased their documentary and received a very positive response, with conference participants asking for advice about how they could support young people to undertake similar projects. They also connected with academic researchers who were able to provide them with more information about the history of Muslims in the UK, such as the Yemini community in South Shields. The group are now working on an exhibition of their work that will go in display in Destination Tyneside at Discovery Museum in March. We can’t wait to find out more about their research!

Researching the history of the Yemini community at Destination Tyneside, Discovery Museum

Researching the history of the Yemini community at Destination Tyneside, Discovery Museum

For more information:

WEYDA: Crowdfunding video:

Co-Curate North East: 

Everyday Muslim:

New Seminar for February

Please join us on 18th February for the next in our series of research seminars.

Sustaining intangible cultural heritage through the vehicle of tourism: choices and challenges
Professor Alison McCleery, Edinburgh Napier University Business School

Wednesday, 18th February 1 – 2pm
Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace
All Welcome- feel free to bring a sandwich

This presentation will explore aspects of the input of tourism to regional development policies. Specifically, the possibility is explored that there can be a realistic role for sustainable tourism premissed upon the conversion of intangible cultural heritage (ICH or ‘living culture’) from an inward-facing phenomenon practiced by indigenous communities to an outward-facing phenomenon offered to visiting tourists. The challenge is to introduce that living culture to external paying audiences in a sensitive way such that it does not place very special, extremely delicate and sometimes sacred non-material heritage at risk of damage, dilution or destruction. Key ICH issues will be examined in the geographical context of contrasting case study sites across Scotland and in the conceptual contexts of identity, authenticity and inclusion. The objective of doing so is to assist in identifying common aspects of endeavouring to sustain living culture through tourism with a view to enabling a model of best practice, applicable across cultures, to be developed and tested with a view to wider dissemination and application – and to delivering impact.

Professor Alison McCleery: Short Biography

Alison McCleery is Professor of Economic and Cultural Geography at Edinburgh Napier University. She holds a 1st Class Honours Degree in Geography from St Andrews and a PhD from Glasgow on the topic of regional development policy. She has since published widely on North Atlantic peripheral rural areas, including on France where she both lived and worked briefly. More recently Alison’s work has evolved to embrace Intangible Cultural Heritage, the formal term used by UNESCO to denote what is often referred to as ‘living culture’. In 2013 she was both an invited speaker at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and a keynote presenter at celebrations in Venice to mark the 10th Anniversary of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Committed to the capacity building of early career researchers, Alison sits on the boards of both the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre and the AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership for Scotland.

New ‘Heritage Matters’ book published

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ICCHS is thrilled to announce the publication of ‘Displaced Heritage: Responses to Disaster, Trauma, and Loss’, the 16th volume in its ‘Heritage Matters’ book series. The publication has a strong ICCHS presence with Peter Davis and Gerard Corsane co-editing it Ian Convery. In addition, there are papers by ICCHS staff Gerard Corsane, Susannah Eckersley and Aron Mazel and by former ICCHS PhD students Sarah Elliott, Bryony Onciul and Diana Walters.


Displaced Heritage (Edited by Ian ConveryEdited by Gerard CorsaneEdited by Peter Davis) 9781843839637 – Boydell & Brewer.

The essays in this volume address the displacement of natural and cultural heritage caused by disasters, whether they be dramatic natural impacts or terrible events unleashed by humankind, including holocaust and genocide. Disasters can be natural or human-made, rapid or slow, great or small, yet the impact is effectively the same; nature, people and cultural heritage are displaced or lost. Yet while heritage and place are at risk from disasters, in time, sites of suffering are sometimes reframed as sites of memory; through this different lens these “difficult” places become heritage sites that attract tourists. Ranging widely chronologically and geographically, the contributors explore the impact of disasters, trauma and suffering on heritage and sense of place, in both theory and practice.

Contributors: Kai Erikson, Catherine Roberts, Philip R. Stone, Stephen Miles, Susannah Eckersley, Gerard Corsane, Graeme Were, Jo Besley, Tim Padley, Chia-Li Chen, Jonathan Skinner, Diana Walters, Shalini Sharma, Ellie Land, Rob Morley, Ian Convery, John Welshman, Aron Mazel, Andrew Law, Bryony Onciul, Sarah Elliott, Rebecca Whittle, Will Medd, Maggie Mort, Hugh Deeming, Marion Walker, Clare Twigger-Ross, Gordon Walker, Nigel Watson, Richard Johnson, Esther Edwards, James Gardner, Brij Mohan, Josephine Baxter, Takashi Harada, Arthur McIvor, Rupert Ashmore, Peter Lurz, Marc Ancrenaz, Isabelle Lackman, Özgün Emre Can, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir, Mark Wilson, Pat Caplan, Billy Sinclar, Phil O’Keefe

New Research Seminar for January

Happy New Year! Things have been quiet here over the last few weeks, but we have some interesting plans shaping up for 2015’s seminars. I will post more information once we have confirmed the details of seminars for February and March. In the meantime, please join us in January for this seminar:

The museum as a space of social care: rethinking models of participation

Visiting speaker: Dr. Nuala Morse, Durham University

Wednesday, 21st January 1 – 2pm
Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace
All Welcome- feel free to bring a sandwich

Participation and community engagement are a key focus of UK museum policy and practice, increasingly used as a strategy for securing the museum’s continued relevance and purpose in contemporary society. Over the years the dynamics of participatory practice have been interrogated in critical ways to highlight the complex issues arising from collaborative work.

This paper argues that so far, certain models of participation have dominated both theory and practice. Established models tend to prioritise institutionally-bound forms of engagement which benefit the museum first and where participation is imagined through certain codes, languages and knowledges that are expected as valid and valuable forms of contribution. Because participation is instigated and contained within the institution, despite its transformative rhetoric, such models ultimately maintain the museum institution as it is. The limits of such a model encourage us to explore other models that reconfigure the relationships between museums, culture and communities.

Drawing on ethnographic research at Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, this paper puts forward the notion of care to develop a conceptual reconfiguration of community engagement in museums. The paper introduces the geographies of care literature as a starting point to examine the practices and ethics of care already existing in museum engagement work, and argues that considering museums as spaces of social care can help to shape new models of community engagement in and with museums. Care opens up a critical politics that reverses the terms of participation to benefit communities first, and has the capacity to reposition the museum within more distributed networks of engagement with communities.


Dr. Nuala Morse is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in cultural geography and museum studies, and specializes in participatory research and practice. She recently completed a doctorate at Durham University in collaboration with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, which examined the cultures of participation in museums – in particular, how museum professionals across different teams understand, practice and perform ideas of participation, as well as the organisational challenges for embedding participatory practice and democratising museums. Nuala’s research also focuses on the role of the museum as a space of social care, and the links between museums and wellbeing. She is also interested in the co-production of museum knowledge and exhibits and the distinctive nature of professional museum work.