Call for Posters: Museum Networks and Museum History

 MGHG Online Conference 14-16 July 2021

Networks have become an increasingly important part of the analytical toolkit used by historians of museums and collections. As scholars have moved away from narrative institutional histories, they have embraced the study of social and material networks as approaches which expand understandings of museums. In Chris Gosden and Frances Larson’s words, museums can then be seen as ‘innumerable sets of connections between people and objects …[which] extend over time and through space’. Such approaches have themselves been fuelled by the growth of similar ideas such as Actor Network Theory and object biographies. 

These new approaches have been especially useful in recovering forms of agency beyond those of powerful institutional actors, especially curators, and have highlighted the contributions of, for example, object creators and mediators, informants and collecting assistants, as well as, sometimes, of objects themselves. They have drawn attention to the formation of new social identities and forms of expertise; have shown the extent of material flows around the world in relation to museums; revealed the role of affect and the relational in museum history; and encouraged closer attention to the different physical properties of things. There have, though, been some differences of emphasis on whether networks in museum history are a useful metaphor, a set of statistical analyses, or a theoretical model.

We are now seeking contributions for a poster session for the conference. Posters will be hosted in a participants-only section of the website, with the option to submit an audio description of up to 2 minutes. Posters should be optimised for on-screen viewing and landscape oriented. Posters should respond to the theme of networks in museum history.

In order to take part in the session, please email outlining your poster proposal in 240 characters by Monday 12 April 2021. Posters will need to be submitted by 1 July 2021, and poster authors will be expected to register for the conference.