Search results for: museum-materialities

Museum Materialities

Author : Sandra Dudley
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This is an innovative interdisciplinary book about objects and people within museums and galleries. It addresses fundamental issues of human sensory, emotional and aesthetic experience of objects. The chapters explore ways and contexts in which things and people mutually interact, and raise questions about how objects carry meaning and feeling, the distinctions between objects and persons, particular qualities of the museum as context for person-object engagements, and the active and embodied role of the museum visitor. Museum Materialities is divided into three sections – Objects, Engagements and Interpretations – and includes a foreword by Susan Pearce and an afterword by Howard Morphy. It examines materiality and other perceptual and ontological qualities of objects themselves; embodied sensory and cognitive engagements – both personal and across a wider audience spread – with particular objects or object types in a museum or gallery setting; notions of aesthetics, affect and wellbeing in museum contexts; and creative and innovative artistic and museum practices that seek to illuminate or critique museum objects and interpretations. Phenomenological and other approaches to embodied experience in an emphatically material world are current in a number of academic areas, most particularly strands of material culture studies within anthropology and cognate disciplines. Thus far, however, there has been no concerted application of this kind of approach to museum collections and interactions with them by museum visitors, curators, artists and researchers. Bringing together essays by scholars and practitioners from a wide disciplinary and international base, Museum Materialities seeks to make just such a contribution. In so doing it makes a valuable and original addition to the literature of both material culture studies and museum studies.

A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage

Author : Sheila Watson
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Heritage’s revival as a respected academic subject has, in part, resulted from an increased awareness and understanding of indigenous rights and non-Western philosophies and practices, and a growing respect for the intangible. Heritage has, thus far, focused on management, tourism and the traditionally ‘heritage-minded’ disciplines, such as archaeology, geography, and social and cultural theory. Widening the scope of international heritage studies, A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage explores heritage through new areas of knowledge, including emotion and affect, the politics of dissent, migration, and intercultural and participatory dimensions of heritage. Drawing on a range of disciplines and the best from established sources, the book includes writing not typically recognised as 'heritage', but which, nevertheless, makes a valuable contribution to the debate about what heritage is, what it can do, and how it works and for whom. Including heritage perspectives from beyond the professional sphere, the book serves as a reminder that heritage is not just an academic concern, but a deeply felt and keenly valued public and private practice. This blending of traditional topics and emerging trends, established theory and concepts from other disciplines offers readers international views of the past and future of this growing field. A Museum Studies Approach to Heritage offers a wider, more current and more inclusive overview of issues and practices in heritage and its intersection with museums. As such, the book will be essential reading for postgraduate students of heritage and museum studies. It will also be of great interest to academics, practitioners and anyone else who is interested in how we conceptualise and use the past.

Research Informing the Practice of Museum Educators

Author : David Anderson
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Museums are institutions of both education and learning in service of society, that is, they are sites where educational experiences are designed and facilitated, and also places where visitors learn in broad and diverse ways. As such, the role of public education in museums today is highly important, if not at the centre of museum activity. As museums contemplate the growing significance of their educational roles and mandate within a changing society, so too they are increasingly in need of information about the audiences they serve and their own professional practice as they strive to achieve their educational missions in service to the communities in which they are embedded. Accordingly, this edited book focuses on informing, broadening and enhancing the pedagogy of museum education and the practices of museum educators. The chapters in this book report independent research studies conducted by the authors who have explored and investigated a variety of issues affecting museum education practice, contextualized across a range of institutions, including art galleries, natural and social history museums, anthropology museums, science centres, and gardens. These studies address a cross-section of contemporary issues confronting the field of museum education including studies of diverse audiences and their needs, the mediation of challenging topics, professional training, teaching and learning in informal settings, and reflective practice and praxis. Together these themes represent a set of topical issues germane to informing, broadening and enhancing educational practices in diverse museum settings, and will be of considerable interest to a broad spectrum of the museum and non-formal education fields.

The Memorial Ethics of Libeskind s Berlin Jewish Museum

Author : Arleen Ionescu
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This book is a detailed critical study of Libeskind’s Berlin Jewish Museum in its historical, architectural and philosophical context. Emphasizing how the Holocaust changed our perception of history, memory, witnessing and representation, it develops the notion of ‘memorial ethics’ to explore the Museum’s difference from more conventional post-World War Two commemorative sites. The main focus is on the Museum as an experience of the materiality of trauma which engages the visitor in a performative duty to remember. Arleen Ionescu builds on Levinas’s idea of ‘ethics as optics’ to show how Libeskind’s Museum becomes a testimony to the unpresentable Other. Ionescu also extends the Museum’s experiential dimension by proposing her own subjective walk through Libeskind’s space reimagined as a ‘literary museum’. Featuring reflections on texts by Beckett, Celan, Derrida, Kafka, Blanchot, Wiesel and Selma Meerbaum-Eisinger (Celan’s cousin), this virtual tour concludes with a brief account of Libeskind’s analogous ‘healing project’ for Ground Zero.

Revealing Meanings through Multi Sensory Experience

Author : Margaret Choi Kwan Lam
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Essay from the year 2012 in the subject Art - Miscellaneous, grade: Merit, Kingston University London (Kingston University London, in Partnership with the Design Museum, London, U.K.), course: MA Curating Contemporary Design, language: English, abstract: Displaying art objects in exhibition is not only an artistic expression in the heart of curating, but it is also an essential interface for curators to present stories and convey meanings. How to engage people beyond purely-visual-appeals is always a top-of-mind-question embedded in curators’ mind, and the discourse has become a major concern among pioneers in recent times. Over the decade, frontier exhibitioners were attempting to breakthrough from a purely vision-dominated museum culture. Some exhibition experiments were successful, and the movement has fundamentally changed the way curators think about exhibition-making, including the ultimate purpose of displaying objects. The paradigm shift actually rings the bells and requires contemporary curators to pay attention to. It is crucial to realize that the recent success was not only about the artistic sense of the artists, but it is also the revolutionary belief of the frontier curators that has made it happen. This essay aims to uncover the distinctive differences in the core beliefs of multi sensory approaches, in order to find out dynamic answers to new display strategies. Cases include: Partners (Haus DerHunst, Munich, 2003), Rain Room (Barbican Centre, London, 2010), and HeinerGoebbels-Stifter’s Dinge (Ambica P3, London, 2012).

Unwrapping Ancient Egypt

Author : Christina Riggs
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First runner-up for the British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies 2015. In ancient Egypt, wrapping sacred objects, including mummified bodies, in layers of cloth was a ritual that lay at the core of Egyptian society. Yet in the modern world, attention has focused instead on unwrapping all the careful arrangements of linen textiles the Egyptians had put in place. This book breaks new ground by looking at the significance of textile wrappings in ancient Egypt, and at how their unwrapping has shaped the way we think about the Egyptian past. Wrapping mummified bodies and divine statues in linen reflected the cultural values attached to this textile, with implications for understanding gender, materiality and hierarchy in Egyptian society. Unwrapping mummies and statues similarly reflects the values attached to Egyptian antiquities in the West, where the colonial legacies of archaeology, Egyptology and racial science still influence how Egypt appears in museums and the press. From the tomb of Tutankhamun to the Arab Spring, Unwrapping Ancient Egypt raises critical questions about the deep-seated fascination with this culture – and what that fascination says about our own.

The Thing about Museums

Author : Sandra Dudley
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The Things about Museums constitutes a unique, highly diverse collection of essays unprecedented in existing books in either museum and heritage studies or material culture studies. Taking varied perspectives and presenting a range of case studies, the chapters all address objects in the context of museums, galleries and/or the heritage sector more broadly. Specifically, the book deals with how objects are constructed in museums, the ways in which visitors may directly experience those objects, how objects are utilised within particular representational strategies and forms, and the challenges and opportunities presented by using objects to communicate difficult and contested matters. Topics and approaches examined in the book are diverse, but include the objectification of natural history specimens and museum registers; materiality, immateriality, transience and absence; subject/object boundaries; sensory, phenomenological perspectives; the museumisation of objects and collections; and the dangers inherent in assuming that objects, interpretation and heritage are ‘good’ for us.

Can the Subaltern Speak

Author : Rosalind Morris
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Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's original essay "Can the Subaltern Speak?" transformed the analysis of colonialism through an eloquent and uncompromising argument that affirmed the contemporary relevance of Marxism while using deconstructionist methods to explore the international division of labor and capitalism's "worlding" of the world. Spivak's essay hones in on the historical and ideological factors that obstruct the possibility of being heard for those who inhabit the periphery. It is a probing interrogation of what it means to have political subjectivity, to be able to access the state, and to suffer the burden of difference in a capitalist system that promises equality yet withholds it at every turn. Since its publication, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" has been cited, invoked, imitated, and critiqued. In these phenomenal essays, eight scholars take stock of the effects and response to Spivak's work. They begin by contextualizing the piece within the development of subaltern and postcolonial studies and the quest for human rights. Then, through the lens of Spivak's essay, they rethink historical problems of subalternity, voicing, and death. A final section situates "Can the Subaltern Speak?" within contemporary issues, particularly new international divisions of labor and the politics of silence among indigenous women of Guatemala and Mexico. In an afterword, Spivak herself considers her essay's past interpretations and future incarnations and the questions and histories that remain secreted in the original and revised versions of "Can the Subaltern Speak?" both of which are reprinted in this book.

Mosaic

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Materialities of Care

Author : Christina Buse
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Materialities of Care addresses the role of material culture within health and social care encounters, including everyday objects, dress, furniture and architecture. Makes visible the mundane and often unnoticed aspects of material culture and attends to interrelations between materials and care in practice Examines material practice across a range of clinical and non-clinical spaces including hospitals, hospices, care homes, museums, domestic spaces and community spaces such as shops and tenement stairwells Addresses fleeting moments of care, as well as choreographed routines that order bodies and materials Focuses on practice and relations between materials and care as ongoing, emergent and processual International contributions from leading scholars draw attention to methodological approaches for capturing the material and sensory aspects of health and social care encounters

Interpreting Art in Museums and Galleries

Author : Christopher Whitehead
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In this pioneering book, Christopher Whitehead provides an overview and critique of art interpretation practices in museums and galleries. Covering the philosophy and sociology of art, traditions in art history and art display, the psychology of the aesthetic experience and ideas about learning and communication, Whitehead advances major theoretical frameworks for understanding interpretation from curators’ and visitors’ perspectives. Although not a manual, the book is deeply practical. It presents extensively researched European and North American case studies involving interviews with professionals engaged in significant cutting-edge interpretation projects. Finally, it sets out the ethical and political responsibilities of institutions and professionals engaged in art interpretation. Exploring the theoretical and practical dimensions of art interpretation in accessible language, this book covers: The construction of art by museums and galleries, in the form of collections, displays, exhibition and discourse; The historical and political dimensions of art interpretation; The functioning of narrative, categories and chronologies in art displays; Practices, discourses and problems surrounding the interpretation of historical and contemporary art; Visitor experiences and questions of authorship and accessibility; The role of exhibition texts, new interpretive technologies and live interpretation in art museum and gallery contexts. Thoroughly researched with immediately practical applications, Interpreting Art in Museums and Galleries will inform the practices of art curators and those studying the subject.

Climate Change and Museum Futures

Author : Fiona Cameron
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Climate change is a complex and dynamic environmental, cultural and political phenomenon that is reshaping our relationship to nature. Climate change is a global force, with global impacts. Viable solutions on what to do must involve dialogues and decision-making with many agencies, stakeholder groups and communities crossing all sectors and scales. Current policy approaches are inadequate and finding a consensus on how to reduce levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through international protocols has proven difficult. Gaps between science and society limit government and industry capacity to engage with communities to broker innovative solutions to climate change. Drawing on leading-edge research and creative programming initiatives, this collection details the important roles and agencies that cultural institutions (in particular, natural history and science museums and science centres) can play within these gaps as resources, catalysts and change agents in climate change debates and decision-making processes; as unique public and trans-national spaces where diverse stakeholders, government and communities can meet; where knowledge can be mediated, competing discourses and agendas tabled and debated; and where both individual and collective action might be activated.

Changing Materialities at atalh y k

Author : Ian Hodder
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Accompanying CD-Rom contains supplementary text, figures and tables for various chapters.

The Postcolonial Museum

Author : Dr Alessandra De Angelis
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This book examines how we can conceive of a ‘postcolonial museum’ in the contemporary epoch of mass migrations, the internet and digital technologies. The authors consider the museum space, practices and institutions in the light of repressed histories, sounds, voices, images, memories, bodies, expression and cultures. Focusing on the transformation of museums as cultural spaces, rather than physical places, is to propose a living archive formed through creation, participation, production and innovation. The aim is to propose a critical assessment of the museum in the light of those transcultural and global migratory movements that challenge the historical and traditional frames of Occidental thought. This involves a search for new strategies and critical approaches in the fields of museum and heritage studies which will renew and extend understandings of European citizenship and result in an inevitable re-evaluation of the concept of ‘modernity’ in a so-called globalised and multicultural world.

Narrating Objects Collecting Stories

Author : Sandra H. Dudley
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Narrating Objects, Collecting Stories is a wide-ranging collection of essays exploring the stories that can be told by and about objects and those who choose to collect them. Examining objects and collecting in different historical, social and institutional contexts, an international, interdisciplinary group of authors consider the meanings and values with which objects are imputed and the processes and implications of collecting. This includes considering the entanglement of objects and collectors in webs of social relations, value and change, object biographies and the sometimes conflicting stories that things come to represent, and the strategies used to reconstruct and retell the narratives of objects. The book includes considerations of individual and groups of objects, such as domestic interiors, novelty tea-pots, Scottish stone monuments, African ironworking, a postcolonial painting and memorials to those killed on the roads in Australia. It also contains chapters dealing with particular collectors – including Charles Bell and Beatrix Potter – and representational techniques.

Transcultural Montage

Author : Christian Suhr
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The disruptive power of montage has often been regarded as a threat to scholarly representations of the social world. This volume asserts the opposite: that the destabilization of commonsense perception is the very precondition for transcending social and cultural categories. The contributors—anthropologists, filmmakers, photographers, and curators—explore the use of montage as a heuristic tool for comparative analysis in anthropological writing, film, and exhibition making. Exploring phenomena such as human perception, memory, visuality, ritual, time, and globalization, they apply montage to restructure our basic understanding of social reality. Furthermore, as George E. Marcus suggests in the afterword, the power of montage that this volume exposes lies in its ability to open the very “combustion chamber” of social theory by juxtaposing one’s claims to knowledge with the path undertaken to arrive at those claims.

Displaced Things

Author : Sandra H. Dudley
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Displaced Things explores the movements of material things from the starting point and perspective of the object. It does so through the lens of displacement, drawing on earlier work on forced migration and conceptualising displacement in relation to anthropological ritual theory. It aims not only to augment understandings of the significance of things and the complexities of their relationships with human beings, but also to problematize notions of the settings through which objects move – including those of museum and 'heritage', definable as they are by their particular approaches to the re-contextualisations of things. Furthermore, the book contends that displaced things are no more 'lost' or rendered somehow inauthentic or useless, than are displaced people; rather, the series of shifts by which contexts, meanings, values and even material attributes may alter over time are part of a continual process of change – sometimes gradual, sometimes abrupt – and each moment and state along the way has its own validity and opportunity. In this perspective, the book suggests, an object-centred view has profound implications for envisioning the possibilities of things. The book develops its arguments through discussion of an array of displaced objects, including the forcibly migrated, the collected, the institutionalised, and the bereaved. It draws particularly but not solely on examples from the author's anthropological field research in Thailand and Burma (Myanmar) and brings in too cases from elsewhere, considering artefacts that have been dislocated or exiled from their original or principal geographical, historical, cultural, intellectual and personal contexts. The book is structured by the stages of the ritual process used to theorise displacement, passing in three parts from the crossing of the boundary, through liminality, to incorporation. The first part examines some of the ways in which things translocate from one setting to another, the importance of thresholds and what it means to become displaced. It opens up a view in which narratives of the materiality of human forced migration and of object acquisition and movement illuminate both each other and the spatiotemporal phenomenon of displacement itself. The book then moves on in its second part to explore issues of representation, metaphor and the re-ordering of categories, structures and values in the place of exile – be it a refugee camp, museum or elsewhere. It looks in detail too at continued relationships, real and imagined – and the many forms they take – with the pre-displacement past, embodied by and enacted through objects. And finally the volume explores the ways in which the objects are experienced in their present, displaced settings, and the implications and potentialities they carry.

Emerging Geographies of Belief

Author : Catherine Brace
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This interdisciplinary book presents new research from international scholars that explores questions of belief, faith, and religion. Focusing on theoretically informed cultural, geographical and historical analyses of faith, belief, religion, society and space, the book presents new and revised theoretical approaches and methodologies, grounded in rigorous empirical research both contemporary and historical. The volume takes a deliberately eclectic approach, reflecting the complex interactions of the political and poetic dimensions of sacredness in contemporary societies. Taking this research agenda forward, this book explores how religious beliefs inform and construct social identities, public knowledge and modes of governance. In particular, the book meets an urgent need for a critical understanding of how terms such as “religion,” “faith,” “fundamentalism” and “secularism,” for example, inform public debates and foster constructive engagements both between faith groups and between people of faith and people of no faith. The essays in Emerging Geographies of Belief also show that religion cannot be mapped neatly onto faith or belief. We attempt to tease out the different circumstances in which—for example—belief can operate without religious adherence or faith can inspire social action in geographies of hope. The geography of the title relates to an overarching concern with space and spatiality rather than describing a single disciplinary approach. Our concern with belief, faith and religion operates at different temporal and spatial scales in different localities, from the contemporary appeal to a more global sense of responsibility to a historically situated account of faith-led educational practices. This reflects, more generally, the so-called spatial turn in the social sciences and humanities. But despite this wide historical and geographical sweep, the authors share some key concerns. This collection is unique in combining theoretical, conceptual and discursive approaches to the emerging geographies of belief with substantive examples of the intersection of belief, faith and religion with aspects of everyday life. Discussions of the potential subversive and prophetic capacities of faith, belief and religion sit alongside consideration of how these have become implicated in the spaces and performances of hope. It provides a critique of the situationist and substantive approaches to religion along with insights into the role of faith in education, community and social work. It considers the practices of remembrance, representation and pilgrimage and the place of religion in contemporary identity politics. In sum, the book problematises the seemingly simple categories of faith, religion, and belief, calling attention to how these are mobilised and implicated differently in different circumstances. In addressing these themes, the book provides a key theoretical resource, but crucially, goes on to show how multiple perspectives on belief, however defined, can be applied in practice. Whilst there has been much contemporary work on the individual areas covered by the book, they have not been bought together before to provide a dynamic insight into issues of the most pressing relevance.

Encounters Materialities Confrontations

Author : Per Cornell
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This collection of texts is a first step towards providing a theoretical and methodological platform for the study of social encounters. The social encounter is a particular sort of concept, focusing on confusion, tension, trauma, and possibly social change that may emerge in situations of contact when people and things interact. A social encounter is, however, not only about negotiation or contemplating existence, but is rather about what happens when people interact actively, when they involve themselves with people and materialities, when they move around, fetch things, use things, leave things etc. The repeated social encounter is often a confrontation with something, such as an opinion, a performance, or with materialities and the effects are often unpredictable. Encounters may reproduce a social pattern, but also contain potential for transformation and change. Such varied responses to encounters will certainly have effects on the archaeological record. The primary focus of the volume is the effects and processes involved in intra- and inter-societal encounters. The collection hence fills a theoretical and methodological gap in the study of the encounter in archaeology. There is a need for elaborating aspects of postcolonial theory in order to develop new ways of approaching the archaeological record. The articles of this volume include examples from various regions and time periods. They range from Scandinavian Stone Age, through Buddhist social practices of the first millennium AD, Maya warfare and ideology, to Aboriginal-European encounters in 20th century Australia. Per Cornell (PhD, Ass. Prof.) is currently lecturer at the Department of archaeology, University of Gothenburg. Cornell has been involved in extensive field-work in Latin America and current research topics include settlement archaeology, formation processes and social theory. Among his recent books are Local, Regional, Global, co-edited with Per Stenborg (Gotarc, 2004).

Materialities of Passing

Author : Peter Bjerregaard
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‘Passing’ is a common euphemism for the death of a person, as he or she is said to ‘pass away’ or ‘pass on’. This open-ended saying has at its heart a notion of transformation from one state to another, which in turn grants the possibility of grasping or approximating the passage of time and the materiality of death and decay. This book begins with the idea that since all material things - whether animals, human beings, objects or buildings - undergo some form of passing, then the specific transformation in these passages and the materiality actively given to it can offer us a grasp of otherwise precarious temporalities. It examines how human beings strive to relate to the temporal dimension of death and decay, by giving new shape and direction to being and by examining its natural transformations. Focusing on the materiality of passing, and thereby the relationship between embodiment, temporality and death, Materialities of Passing offers rich case studies from Europe, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and the Russian Far East for exploring the material, spatial and directional aspects of the very interface between life and death. As such, it will appeal to scholars of anthropology, death studies, archaeology, philosophy and cultural studies.