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Exhibiting Concepts Experiencing Meanings

Exhibiting Concepts, Experiencing Meanings

15-17 May 2014

An international symposium to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas.

SRU 25th Anniversary symposium

Convenors: Aristoteles Barcelos Neto and Steven Hooper

This international symposium celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Sainsbury Research Unit for the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas. It will bring together curators and specialists from within and beyond all three regions to discuss current practice in exhibition curatorship and to map out future collaborative possibilities. Besides a series of papers, there will be ample opportunity for discussion and debate. Participants will be invited to reflect on exhibitions and displays as loci for social relations, and on curatorship as involving processes of inter-cultural mediation and conceptual imagination.

Exhibitions involve person-object-person relations in a controlled spatio-temporal context. Recent modes of display have helped create new symbolic meanings in exhibitions, not just because of their intrinsic relational nature, but also because of shifting conceptual frontiers. Some curatorial and museological practices today challenge long-established anthropological and archaeological concepts. These practices, in turn, are challenged by ‘native' concepts, many of them objectified through theoretical analysis. But how can concepts such as ashe, mana and pacha, theological complexities such as grace, virtue and echad, and inter-semiotic relations such as songs woven in baskets be made visible? No less problematic is the display of objects with little or no provenance information. How can these obscure objects be made relational in an exhibition setting?

These and other issues, focusing primarily on exhibitions as intellectual projects with significant cross-cultural implications, will be addressed in this three-day symposium (11am Thursday 15 May to early afternoon Saturday 17 May). Academics and curators with responsibility for, or interest in, anthropological, archaeological and art collections from Africa, Oceania and the Americas are encouraged to attend. Students are especially welcome.

Speakers: Cristiana Barreto (University of São Paulo), Joe Horse Capture (NMAI, Washington DC), Gaye Sculthorpe (British Museum), Adrienne Kaeppler (NMNH, Washington DC), Sean Mallon ( Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), Allen Roberts (UCLA), Christian Kaufmann (SRU), Philippe Peltier (Musée du quai Branly, Paris), Emmanuel Kasarherou (Musée du quai Branly), Polly Nooter Roberts (UCLA/LACMA), Kwame Labi (University of Ghana), Atta Kwami (Artist/curator, Ghana/UK), Steve Bourget (MEG, Geneva), Kiprop Lagat (National Museums of Kenya), Karen Kramer (PEM, Salem), Noelle Kahanu (University of Hawaii, Honolulu), Anita Herle (MAA, Cambridge), Colin McEwan (Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC), Chris Wingfield (MAA, Cambridge), Markus Schindlbeck (Ethnological Museum, Berlin), SRU/ART faculty

For more information, registration forms and the symposium programme go to the SRU Symposium web page

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