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


Seminar: Exhibiting Apartheid, 18 June

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

Speaker: Aron Mazel

Exhibiting Apartheid: the first displays of the South African Cultural History Museum

Display from the 1960s at the South African Cultural History Museum.

Display from the 1960s at the South African Cultural History Museum.

The South African Cultural History Museum (SACHM) was opened in Cape Town on 6 April 1966. Then known as Van Riebeeck’s Day, this date carried deep symbolic significance in the Afrikaner psyche wherein Van Riebeeck, who was the first colonial governor of the Dutch settlement at the Cape, was seen as the founding father of the white South African nation. It has already been argued that during the 1950s and 1960s the National Party and Afrikaner Broederbond supporting ideologues increasingly dominated the South African Museum (SAM) Board that enabled and led to the creation of the SACHM as an offshoot of the SAM (Mazel 2013). Furthermore, it is believed that their aspirations changed from initially the display of cultural history material, within the auspices of the SAM, into the establishment an independent museum committed to the presentation and housing of white South African and European material and history. Acknowledging these perspectives, this seminar paper will investigate (i) the messages conveyed by the SACHM exhibits when it was opened to the public on Van Riebeeck’s Day in 1966 and (ii) the processes leading to the creation of the displays.

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

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 18 June 2014

Seminar: Heritage as Process, 21 May

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

Speaker: Susan Ashley, Senior Lecturer, Cultural Management, Northumbria University

Heritage as Process

Photo of the Chattri Memorial

In this seminar Susan Ashley, cultural studies scholar and cultural management lecturer at Northumbria University, will offer some personal thoughts about the ‘value’ of heritage. Starting from her experiences as a front-line interpreter, planner, consultant, and now academic in the field of heritage, Susan examines heritage as a ‘structure of feeling’: a sensibility or consciousness or process of understanding our relation to the past. Heritage-as-process is about our thoughts and experiences in the present, a social experience actively lived and felt. In her paper for ICCHS Susan will weave these ideas into stories of work and research experiences over the years with ‘Other’ sites of heritage-making, from Algonquian rock art to Black history to her current work with the Chattri memorial group in Brighton.

Image: The Chattri Memorial and annual service, on the Downs near Brighton, dedicated to the Indian soldiers who fought on the Western Front during the First World War. (Photo: Bert Williams.)

Susan Ashley‘s work explores the ‘public’ nature of heritage knowledge production, and issues around heritage representation and management. Her research interests draw on a long professional practice working in the media and heritage organisations across Canada.

Susan’s recent edited book ‘Diverse Spaces:Identity, Heritage and Community in Canadian Public Culture’ is published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013. 

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

POSTER_ICCHS Research Seminar 21 May 2014

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

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.