- Posted on behalf of School Manager, Barbara Lloyd:
Call me a sentimental old fool if you will, but I was quite sad to be attending my last ever Museums Association conference on the 9th and 10th October in the lovely, if wet, Cardiff. We have been attending the exhibition alongside the conference for many years now and it is always great to see so many of our graduates now well into their professional careers, and our current students eagerly attending the conference as they begin their careers. This year the School fielded an especially strong contingent of staff and students. Richard Sandell was first up (literally) with the networking breakfast for first time delegates which he attended and spoke at as a Museums Association Board member. It was a 7.30 start on an especially blustery morning in the bay and although bacon rolls were on offer, unfortunately Richard is a vegetarian so he had to miss out! (I think he managed a Danish!) Next up was Laura Crossley, one of our PhD students. She was facilitating a very interesting Perceptions and Prejudice session about understanding visitors which was very well received. Next came Jocelyn Dodd and Janet Marstine in the panel session on Ethics –a very popular session which I heard lots of great feedback on. Ross also gave a great session entitled Digital Equality: the Jodi Mattes Trust.
Two more of our PhD students, Cintia Velazquez and Mercy Trent, were attending the conference in preparation for their forthcoming participation in a research-led exchange project between Leicester and partners in Brazil. They found it especially valuable to spend time talking with the keynote speaker from Rio’s fantastic Museu de Mare, Antonio Vieira. They are now in Brazil and undertaking research there with our Brazilian partners, UNIRIO and the British Council.
One of the main events of the conference was the keynote performance by Mat Fraser of Cabinet of Curiosities: how disability was kept in a box. Critically acclaimed actor and performance artist Mat Fraser was commissioned by the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries at the University of Leicester (Jocelyn Dodd and Richard Sandell) to create a new artistic work, shaped out of a collaborative engagement with museum collections, research and expertise in medical history, museums and disability. This was a key part of the Stories of a Different Kind project (July 2012 – Feb 2014). CABINET OF CURIOSITIES – how Disability was kept in a box reassessed the ways in which disability and disabled people are portrayed in museums. The performance was stunning and was given a standing ovation by the conference audience and hailed by many delegates as the best keynote ever so we were all enormously proud!
But not resting on their laurels, Jocelyn, Richard and Mat then chaired and presented the session entitled Stories of a Different Kind, with curators from St Fagans (the fabulous Elen and Sioned) exploring how museum collections can be used in a socially purposeful way. Another complete sell out – standing room only by all accounts!
It was, I think, one of the best conferences I have attended and I was very proud in Cardiff to be associated with the School. I was also very proud that for two whole days I manned the stand in high heels, no mean feat at my age!
Posted on behalf of School Manager, Barbara Lloyd