‘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.

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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: https://co-curate.ncl.ac.uk/resources/view/34950

Co-Curate North East: co-curate.ncl.ac.uk 

Everyday Muslim: everydaymuslim.org

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ICCHS Research Seminar Series 2014-15: opens with a session by Janet Marstine

Janet Marstine, from the University of Leicester is the first visiting speaker in our 2014-15 series of ICCHS Research Seminars.

ICCHS Research Seminar,  Wednesday 29 October, 1-2pm, Room 1.06, 18 Windsor Terrace

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.

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

Keep visiting this blog for details of future events in the Research Seminar Series – to be announced soon.

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 29 Oct 2014

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

First CARE project focus group held

At the end of June the “Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art” project held its first focus group for rock art enthusiasts.

The event involved 16 rock art enthusiasts who, along with the project team, visited the rock art at Lordenshaw so that they could test out the draft tool kit, which is one of the key deliverables of the project. A discussion was then held in Rothbury to gain feedback on possible improvements and changes to the tool kit.

There was a significant interest in the event, which was oversubscribed. Participants’ feedback suggested that they all really enjoyed the day and indeed one sent a letter afterwards suggesting “the event was a five star rating”!

the focus group tests out the draft tool kit on Lordenshaw main rock

the focus group tests out the draft tool kit on Lordenshaw main rock

discussion on improvements to the tool kit in Rothbury

discussion on improvements to the tool kit in Rothbury

The feedback on the tool kit is vital as part of project aim to co-produce its resources with the assistance of rock art enthusiasts, heritage professionals, non-specialists and end-users. The end product will help protect open-air rock art by creating a means for anyone to quickly evaluate the condition of rock art based on scientific research into potential risks to the stone.

Heritage and Science: Working Together in the CARE of Rock Art

ICCHS has begun an exciting new project focussing on developing materials and research that will aid in the protection of delicate rock art in Northumberland and beyond.

Open air rock art is an iconic part of the UK’s prehistoric heritage, with 3500 panels still in existence that date from between 6000 and 3800 years ago. It is a common misconception that as this work has existing for so long it does not require conservation approaches.

Scientific appraisal of rock art in Northumberland has highlighted that due to factors such as climate change and local environmental conditions rock art has deteriorated at a faster rate in the last 50 years than in any of the preceding 6000. Further research will be undertaken through this project in order to add to this scientific understanding.

It is vital that a joint approach between heritage and science be undertaken in order to ensure rock art is not lost. CARE aims to co-produce a user-friendly tool kit for the use of specialists and non specialists alike to gather information essential for the long term preservation of open air rock art. This will be achieved through disseminating the results through publications and as well as creating a “how to guide” for individuals who have panel care responsibilities. This work will be a co-production with these stakeholders through utilising focus groups and pilot studies.

This project is collaboration between ICCHS and the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences from Newcastle University and the School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast. The project will be managed by Myra Giesen, with Peter Lewis joining her as a Research Assistant. Peter graduated from ICCHS in 2009 with an MA in Heritage Management and has since worked as a Project Manager on a variety of community based projects.

Reminder- Work in progress seminar today

Just a reminder that today (10 April) we will be holding a work-in-progress seminar from 1 – 2pm on the theme of  ‘cultural heritage, participation and coproduction’. Speakers include: Myra Giesen, Rhiannon Mason and Aron Mazel  from ICCHS. For more information on the seminar, please see our earlier post.

All are welcome! Hope to see you later.

10 April Seminar: Cultural Heritage, participation and coproduction

This year we are introducing a new format for our ICCHS work-in-progress events. As our research has developed over recent years a number of common themes and clusters have started to emerge, particularly around questions of: a) cultural heritage, health and wellbeing and b) cultural heritage, participation and coproduction. This reflects wider trends in the field, both towards larger-scale, collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects generally and also specifically around these topics.

In recognition of this we have organised panel discussions along these themes where researchers (both staff and doctoral) working on these themes will each speak for around 10 minutes in the aim of generating wider cross-project insights and exchanges. As the name suggests these sessions present research work as it is happening and developing so audience feedback is welcome. These events are open to all and suggestions for future themed panels are also welcome as are individual work-in-progress presentations.

Join us on 10 April from 1 – 2pm for our ‘work-in-progress’ seminar on the theme of ‘cultural heritage, participation and coproduction’. Speakers include: Myra Giesen, Rhiannon Mason, Aron Mazel and Andrew Newman from ICCHS.

All are welcome and there’s no need to book. We’ll be in Room 1.06- more information on location can be found in the column on the right.