CONF: Objects in Motion: Material Culture in Transition

Objects in Motion: Material Culture in Transition

Interdisciplinary conference at CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 18-20 June 2015

Registration & provisional program:

Convened by Dr. Alexi Baker:

Twitter and hashtag:   @Objects2015   #objects2015

Objects in Motion brings together scholars, curators and artists from around the world to dialogue about material objects in transition – cultural, temporal and geographical.

All material objects are produced within specific contexts – whether they are ancient Greek tombstones, century-old Inuit clothing, or modern video games. How are differences in use and meaning negotiated when these objects transition into other contexts? What continuities remain, and what is reinterpreted and refashioned? How does this affect the meanings and knowledge embodied in, or found with, such objects?

The subjects discussed will range in time from antiquity to the present day, and in geography across different continents. The individual disciplines encompassed include history, history of science and medicine, anthropology, social anthropology, archaeology, ethnology, art and performance, history of art, geography, digital humanities, museums, and cultural heritage.

This breadth of speakers and topics will facilitate a fruitful exploration of material culture dynamics which are central to the human experience even in an era of multinational corporations, global communication, and increasing standardisation. It will also foster discussion of the different disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to studying and communicating about these themes.

Twenty-one panel speakers are joined by three keynotes:

  • Simon Schaffer, Professor of History of Science at the University of Cambridge
  • Nicholas Thomas, Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology [MAA]
  • Tim Knox, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum

There will also be a short documentary film shown, visual art by Jane Watt and ceramic arts by Chris McHugh displayed, and Ms. Watt’s mobile art studio onsite for the first two days. There will be a reception at the MAA on the first evening, a reception and viewing of the superb exhibition Treasured Possessions at the Fitzwilliam on the second evening, and optional visits to other local museums on the final afternoon.

The registration fee is £75 or £40 for students and includes all of the scheduled lunches, refreshments, and receptions.

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(Cfp) Dialogue with Johanne Lamoureux : What remains of the notion of Heritage and what challenges is it facing in the 21st century?

Johanne Lamoureux, the head of research and studies at the Institut  national d’histoire de l’art in Paris (INHA), will be in dialogue in an upcoming Symposium organized by the Borel House Foundation. The subject is the question of Heritage in the 21st century and the below call for papers addresses doctoral students registered at Swiss, German or French Universities. As we had a number of international delegates at In(ter)ventions, we thought this might be of interest:

The Symposia organized by the Borel House Foundation seek to encourage
and advance exchanges of ideas and of viewpoints on all methods used in
the humanities and the social sciences. The debates are directed by a
guest scholar – an art historian, a cultural historian, a sociologist,
a historian or a museologist – and include the presentation of several
papers. The theme selected for the symposium is meant to be the object
of a critical approach; it should open up new methodical perspectives,
for the benefit of all the participants.

For the 2015 symposium, to be held on September 10, we are delighted to
be able to welcome Professor Johanne Lamoureux, from the University of
Montréal, who is presently head of research and studies at the Institut
national d’histoire de l’art in Paris (INHA). Her field of research
covers not only contemporary art, but the locus of art works, the
beginnings of modernity, and the reading and interpretation of art
works. She very much values historical as well as pluridisciplinary
approaches to the history of art. She has been a guest curator of major
exhibitions. She now works on new ways of valorizing public collections.

The call for papers is addressed to doctoral students who are
registered in a Swiss, German or French University. Their thesis topic
should pertain to the humanities (history of art, museology, history,
ethnology, literature…) or to the social sciences; subjects on all
periods are welcome. Each paper should explore how different methods
may contribute to the general theme of the symposium, the question of
Heritage and of its specificity in the 21st century.

If you should like to present a paper, please send your proposal to:, with the mention « Symposium Fondation Maison
Borel 2015 ». You should include:
•    1 curriculum vitae with full address and email address ;
•    1 proposal for a paper in French or in English with a title (2’000
signs maximum, footnotes and spaces included, PDF format).

Deadline : June 15, 2015.

Further inquiries may be directed to: Ketty Villemin, administrator,
Institute for art history and Museology. By mail :, or by telephone, on Tuesdays or Thursdays :
+41 32 718 19 30.
Organisation :
Prof. Pascal Griener
Melissa Rérat (
Ketty Villemin ( for art history and
museology, University of Neuchâtel

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Talk: Elizabeth Inchbald’s pocket diaries, 11 May, London

In(ter)ventions has also had our attention drawn to this talk by Dr Laura Engel on the eighteenth-century actress, playwright, and novelist Elizabeth Inchbald’s pocket diaries as embodied archive, happening tonight, 5.30pm-8pm at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.

Engel writes that: “The pocket diary can be seen as a prop left over from the scenes of Inchbald’s daily performances, and it can also be understood as an ongoing chronicle of the processes of her embodied actions…I argue that the pocket diary falls some place in between the stability of a permanent record and the ephemerality of performance”.

For more information and to book a last-minute ticket (free!), see the RCSSD’s website.

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Cfp: Ways of Seeing conference, Greenwich, July 2015

In(ter)ventions is a bit late to this cfp from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, but the theme is fantastic so we thought we’d mention it anyway.  Deadline for abstracts is 15 May.  From the cfp:

Ways of Seeing, 17 July 2015, Royal Museums Greenwich

‘The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled’
John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972)

Greenwich has long been a site intimately connected with processes of looking. From court pageantry to astronomical observation, perfection of a maritime art genre to the training of boys for naval duties, its buildings have developed around concerns for presentation and representation, seeing and being seen.

For the 2015 Queen’s House conference, we take our current contemporary art exhibition as inspiration to think about processes of looking and recording.  Building on the themes and characters of the exhibition, proposals are invited for a one-day conference to bring an interdisciplinary perspective to bear on ways of seeing. All proposals are welcome, but those which take an innovative and interdisciplinary approach are particularly encouraged.

Topics might include:

-Processes of drawing and illustration within the study of astronomy, medicine and law
-Technologies of drawing, printing and film-making
-Ideas of eye-witnessing, close looking and surveillance
-Metaphors of looking and seeing
-The historiography of these ideas in different historical fields

An abstract of 250 words and a short biography should be sent to by 15 May. Enquiries can be sent to Dr Katy Barrett

For further information, see the conference’s webpage.

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Courtauld Postgraduate Symposium 5-6 March

For those who might be interested, there will be a panel on ‘Objects Repurposed’ in the upcoming Courtauld Postgraduate Symposium: Showcasing New Research. I will be giving a paper about playing cards on a panel with Rosamund Garrett, who will be speaking about tapestry cartoons and Laura Llewellyn, who will be speaking about recycled altarpieces.

The symposium, featuring papers by all current 3rd doctoral students at the institute, is open to all and admission is free.

The full programme is below and available online here. 


Thursday 5 March (DAY 1)

11.00 – 11.05 Welcome and Introductory Remarks: Dr Alixe Bovey

11.05 – 12.00 SESSION 1: Experiencing War (Chair: Samuel Raybone)

Lily Foster: ‘This Mighty Machine War’: Vuillard’s War Factory Panels

Lucy Moyse: Fragmentation in Fashion, 1919-1939 12.00 – 13.00

BREAK FOR LUNCH (not provided)

13.00 – 13.55 SESSION 2: Marketing Nationality (Chair: Svitlana Biedarieva)

Marko Ilić: ’What is the Alternative?’: Ljubljana’s SKUC (Student Culture & Art Centre)

Elizabeth Kutesko: Fashioning ‘Brasilidade’: the Representation of Brazilian Dress in National Geographic Brasil, 2000-2010

13.55 – 14.50 SESSION 3: Sacred Spaces (Chair: Naomi Speakman)

Maria Alessia Rossi: Questioning the Importance of Names: Artists and Patrons in the Fourteenth-century Serbian Kingdom

Sophie Dentzer: Something Old, Something New: The Facades of English Medieval Great Churches

14.50 – 15.10 TEA/COFFEE BREAK (provided in the Lecture Theatre)

15.10 – 16.35 SESSION 4: Objects Repurposed (Chair: Bryony Bartlett-Rawlings)

Laura Llewellyn: A New Audience: Recycled Altarpieces in the Female Monastic Context

Rosamund Garrett: Draft, Adapt, Reuse: The Design of the Life of Christ and the Virgin Tapestries (c. 1511)

Naomi Lebens: Changing Hands: Jean Desmarets, Stefano Della Bella and the Jeux de Cartes 1644-1700

16.35 – 17.00 Comfort break

17.00 – 18.00 KEYNOTE: Professor Paul Crossley

18.00 RECEPTION (Front Hall)

Friday 6 March (DAY 2)

12.00 – 12.55 SESSION 1: Documenting History (Chair: Levi Prombaum)

Eva Bezverkhny: Objectivity and Faktura in Esfir Shub’s Early Documentary Films

Jessica Eisenthal: Testimony Re-Enacted: Representations of Rabin’s Assassination in Israeli Video Art

12.55 – 13.50 SESSION 2: Russia Re-contextualised (Chair: Natalie Hume)

Nicholas Bueno de Mesquita: Soviet Russia and the ‘International front of Contemporary Architects’. The case of Peter Behrens and Russia

Katarina Lichvarova: The Total Alienation of Sentimentality, Representation and Exceptionality. Moscow Conceptualism?

13.50 – 14.10 TEA/COFFEE BREAK (provided in the Lecture Theatre)

14.10 – 15.05 SESSION 3: Outside Influences (Chair: Jenna Lundin)

Philippa Potts: Henry Bennet, the Earl of Arlington at Goring House and Euston Hall: tracing the influence of a Spanish posting in the gardens of a mid-17th-century ambassador

Lucy Watling: Dangerous Rivals: Émigré Art Dealers in Britain, 1933-1945 15.05 – 15.25 Comfort break

15.25 – 16.20 SESSION 4: Material Insights (Chair: Camilla Pietrabissa)

Jenny Saunt: Drawing in Lime and Haire

Caroline Rae: A Secret History: Sir Robert Cecil, a Venetian mosaic, and the discovery of a lost portrait by John de Critz the Elder

16.20 – 17.15 SESSION 5: Visualizing Hierarchies (Chair: Emma Capron)

Joost Joustra: Saints and Structure in Fra Filippo Lippi’s Landscape Adoration

Lara Frentrop: Food and Power: The Art of Dining in Byzantium

17.15 – 17.30 Closing Remarks: Professor Deborah Swallow

17.30 RECEPTION (Front Hall)

Open to all, free admission

Organised by the Research Forum Postgraduate Advisory Group and doctoral students Eva Bezverkhny, Maria Alessia Rossi and Naomi Lebens

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Cfp: Matter and Materiality in the Early Modern World

12 June 2015

CRASSH, University of Cambridge

We are pleased to announce the one-day conference, *Matter and Materiality
in the Early Modern World*, in collaboration with the CRASSH graduate
group Things That Matter>seminar series.

The conference is funded by the School of Arts and Humanities and supported
by the Centre for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). It
will be held in the Alison Richard Building, the home of CRASSH.

The conference will be centered around the theme of ?materiality? in order
to acknowledge the current ?material turn? in scholarship. A deeper
awareness of matter will allow speakers to emphasise how the economic,
cultural, and physical attributes of certain materials contributed to
understanding the value and connotations of objects in their original
contexts. We welcome paper proposals from postgraduates and early career
researchers from fields including (but not restricted to) Literature, Asian
and Middle Eastern Studies, Art History, History, History and Philosophy of
Science, Modern and Medieval Languages, Anthropology, Archaeology, Material
Culture Studies, Music and Philosophy.

*Dr Helen Smith* (Department of English and Related Literature, University
of York) will offer a keynote paper. Dr Smith is a historian of the early
modern book, social and religious history. Her current research explores
theories of matter in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and how the
materiality of books and more ephemeral paper objects, such as wastepaper,
contributed to these theories.

In order to encourage a thought-provoking and innovative conference
atmosphere, we will organise a variety of panels. In addition to a set of
traditional panels with three twenty-minute papers, we will also organise
two ?lightening round? panels composed of five ten-minute papers each,
which will offer some presenters the option of presenting brief case
studies. Please indicate if you have a strong preference for the 20- or 10-
minute panel format.

We encourage proposals from the following topics:

–  concepts and theories of matter and materiality
–  materiality of devotion
–  the material text/textual materials
–  materiality of ephemeral things, such as food and cosmetics
–  materials in scientific experimentation
–  materiality of clothes/the body
–  close investigations of the materials used to make objects (silver,
wood, tin, porcelain, etc)

*Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words and a short biography of
100 words* to Katie Tycz and Sophie Pitman at *by
1 March 2015.*
More information will be available soon on the CRASSH’s event page or the conference website 

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These posters were produced by delegates at the In(ter)ventions workshop at the British Museum (more to come) …

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