New publication on museums and identity

As part of the EC-funded project European Museums in an Age of Migrations (MeLa), Chris Whitehead and the ICCHS MeLa team (Rhiannon Mason, Susannah Eckersley and Kat Lloyd) have recently produced a policy brief for the European Commission. This brief, ‘Museums & Identity in History and Contemporaneity’, explores the roles that museums can play in representing migration, migrants and diversity in order to develop egalitarian social relations. The brief is intended to guide cultural policy and museum practice in the EU.

Download the publication: Museums & Identity in History and Contemporaneity



Digital Debate: Do-It-Yourself technologies

Bridging digital and material in cultural heritage settings

Tuesday 3 June 2014, 5-7 pm, Newcastle Business School

Guest speaker: Dr Luigina Ciolfi, from the Communication and Computing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University.


Interactive digital technology has been employed in cultural heritage settings for several decades. However, while providing visitors and staff with novel opportunities for engagement and interpretation, such technologies have also created a divide between digital information and material heritage holdings, and between those institutions who can afford to experiment and innovate in their use of technology and those who have limited resources and other constraints in place.

In recent years, emerging movements such as Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and digital fabrication have created new opportunities to engage with novel technologies, and are increasingly affecting the way in which heritage technologies are ideated, designed and maintained.

In this talk, current developments of the DIY approach to cultural heritage technologies will be presented and discussed, as well as some open questions regarding the new challenges surrounding ownership, control and community participation in heritage DIY initiatives. Particular focus will be on the EU research project “meSch – Material Encounters in Digital Cultural Heritage“, which is working towards the release of an open DIY platform for the design and implementation of tangible interactive artefacts in cultural heritage exhibits, and the establishment of a related community of interest around this technology.

This event is co-hosted by ICCHS and Newcastle University Business School, with support from Newcastle Institute for Creative Arts Practice (NICAP). This is a free event but advance registration is required.

Research Seminar: Cultural profiling – a new approach

ICCHS Research Seminar,  Wednesday 30th April, 1-2pm, Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace

Visiting speaker: Laurie Hanquinet, Lecturer, Dept. of Sociology, University of York

Cultural profiling: a new approach to exploring museum visitors’ relationships to art

The existing literature suggests that a fractioning of the audience inside art museums is taking place. This may not be immediately visible through the prism of socio-demographic indicators but Laurie Hanquinet argues that it becomes obvious when attention is paid to the diversity of peoples’ cultural ‘profiles’. Using qualitative and quantitative data about the audience of the six main museums of modern and contemporary art in Belgium, Hanquinet demonstrates that people characterized by similar cultural tastes and practices use similar strategies to interpret their relationship to culture, art and museums. People with a comparable cultural profile belong to the same ‘interpretive community’ (Fish; Hooper-Greenhill) and can be associated to specific places of residence that are coherent with their vision of art. In this presentation Hanquinet will propose a comprehensive framework to understand visitors’ attitudes towards art museums and cultural artefacts in general.

Laurie Hanquinet is a social scientist with particular interests in the sociology of culture and art, and in research methodologies. Her recent publications include:

Hanquinet, L. (2013), Visitors to modern and contemporary art museums: towards a new sociology of ‘cultural profiles’. The Sociological Review, 61: 790–813. 

Hanquinet L., Roose H. & Savage M. (2013) The Eyes of the Beholder: Aesthetic Preferences and the Remaking of Cultural Capital.’ Sociology, 48: 111-132.

Hanquinet L. (2013) ‘Mondrian as kitchen tiles? Artistic and cultural conceptions of art museum visitors in Belgium’, Cultural Trends, 22 (1), 14-29

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

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 30 April 2014


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