Call for Papers | Curating History

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on December 1, 2016


Kunstkammer, Landesmuseum Württemberg (Württemberg State Museum), Stuttgart (Photo by Bernd Gross, Wikimedia Commons, June 2016).

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From the workshop website:

Curating History Workshop
European University Institute, Florence, 10–13 October 201

Proposals due by 15 January 2017

Museums display objects constructed in historical complexity that cannot be explained by a single narrative. This complexity constitutes an obstacle for museum actors, who are assigned the task of providing an interpretation that can never embrace the entirety of the narratives contained in one object. Additionally, this difficulty expands when objects have to be placed in the narrative of permanent exhibitions, which present certain specific constraints.

Permanent exhibitions are at the core of the work of most museums. Even if ‘permanent’ does not mean eternal, these exhibitions are the public expression of the museum’s collections and mission. Thus, considering the limitations in both presenting the historical complexity of objects and taking into account the constraint of choosing a narrative for permanent exhibitions, we wish to look out for ways in which the museum can be turned into a place of convergence where curators, researchers, and audiences can think historically about objects. Are there new and old ways of curating history in permanent exhibitions? How is it possible to bring together museums, academia, and the public? In organising this workshop, we would like to offer a place for discussion where curators and scholars from a broad variety of institutions (museums, universities, research institutes, etc.) elaborate a joint reflection in both theoretical and practical terms, structured around four sessions: History, Responsibility, Mediation, and Communication (between Curators and Scholars).

Confirmed Speakers
Kim Sloan, The British Museum
Marta Lourenço, Museums of the University of Lisbon
Sébastien Soubiran, University of Strasbourg

The European University Institute, in Florence, the Global History & Culture Centre at the University of Warwick, and the CHAM – Centro de Humanidades, in Lisbon, in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art in London, welcome papers for the workshop Curating History, which will take place in Florence from the 10th to the 13th of October 2017. You are invited to send proposals (maximum of 250 words, in a PDF file, to curating.history@gmail.com) for a 4000-word paper of a case study or a theoretical discussion that fits one of the four sessions: History, Responsibility, Mediation, or Communication (between Curators and Scholars). The paper will be the basis for a 15-minute presentation at the workshop. Please ensure that you indicate your name, academic/professional affiliation, and which session you are writing your paper for (depending on the number of papers received, the organising committee may have to decide to allocate papers to a different session). Deadline for submitting abstracts is the 15th January 2017. Selection of abstracts will take place during the following two weeks. Once selected, participants will be invited to write their papers and submit them to the organising committee by the 1st September 2017. Papers will be made available so that participants can prepare for the discussion. The organising committee is applying for funding to help covering travel expenses or accommodation in Florence; at this stage, however, grants for participants cannot be guaranteed.

Email for abstract submission: curating.history@gmail.com

European University Institute
Charlotte Bellamy
Deborah Dubald
Bruno A. Martinho

CHAM – Centro de Humanidades
Carla Alferes Pinto
Sofia Lapa

Global History and Culture Centre, University of Warwick
Holly Winter
Josephine Tierney

V&A Museum / Royal College of Art
Matthew Wells





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