CFPs: Remaking the Museum

The Aarhus University Centre for Environmental Humanities is excited to
invite proposals for contributions to an interdisciplinary conference on
"Remaking the Museum: Curation, Conservation, and Care in Times of
Ecological Upheaval." Bringing together leading scholars and practitioners
from across the environmental humanities and beyond, the conference will
take place at Denmark's Moesgaard Museum on December 6th and 7th, 2017.

Please send abstracts (200 words) or enquiries to Michael Vine (
mdv27@cam.ac.uk) by November 1, 2017.

CFPs: Remaking the Museum

In this time of entangled social and environmental crisis, the need to not
only reimagine but remake the museum has acquired new urgency. In response,
this two-day conference will bring together leading scholars and
practitioners to investigate the opportunities, challenges, and limits of
the museum as a catalyst for social change in this geological epoch of our
making: the Anthropocene. From the museum’s early modern origins to the
development of today’s highly heritage saturated public culture, the
capacity of museums and their objects to perform particular relationships
between nature, culture, and history has always been important—inviting
critique from a variety of political and theoretical vantage points. The
emergence of the Anthropocene as both a contested concept and concrete
reality adds new layers of complexity and intensity to this story.



What modes of collecting, classifying, conserving, and curating are called
for amidst this moment of unfolding change? How to actively reshape our
relations with contemporary ecologies of loss, profusion, and
transformation in a way that is both more affirmative and more just? What
alternative practices of curation and care flourish in the margins of
official heritage projects? How can we differently actualize what Tony
Bennett long ago called “the exhibitionary complex” in light of
contemporary issues? And finally: Given the museum’s problematic history,
can it be salvaged as the vector of its own remediation? Working across a
wide range of historical, geographical, and disciplinary contexts, scholars
and practitioners will come together in Denmark’s Moesgaard Museum to
consider these important questions. Our aim for the conference is not only
to critique and deconstruct—important tasks in their own right—but also
chart a path forward for the museum as a powerful force for world-making.



The conference organizers invite proposals for papers that address the
following or any related themes from across the environmental humanities
and beyond:


Hacking the museum: Inspired by the hands-on, experimental approach of the
makers movement, we invite papers that chart past cases or future potential
with regards to the practical transformation of museum spaces and
approaches. In what ways are the institutional, political, and physical
boundaries of the museum being punctured and rearticulated in this time of
social and ecological upheaval?


Ontological frictions: How are are the different ontological commitments
and epistemic demands of art, science, and history museums being recombined
in light of the notion of the Anthropocene? How are the museum’s
traditional divisions between nature, culture, human, nonhuman, life, and
death being muddled—whether intentionally or not—and with what consequences?


Curating change: What alternative and experimental curatorial practices are
taking shape in response to the entangled social and environmental crises
of the present? How do these move through and beyond the museum? And how
are contemporary museum imaginaries making space for today’s temporalities
of loss, profusion, and transformation within their approaches?


Contestations: In what ways do museums materialize questions of
environmental in/justice and drive forward projects of social change? How
does the emergence of the notion of the Anthropocene reflect, refract, or
otherwise rechannel these questions and projects?


Please send abstracts (200 words) or enquiries to Michael Vine (
mdv27@cam.ac.uk) by November 1, 2017.


Best wishes,

Michael Vine


PhD Candidate

Social Anthropology

University of Cambridge


Researcher in Residence

Center for Environmental Humanities

Aarhus University