Research Collaborations Between Historians of Science and University Museums

Object Lessons and Nature Tables: Research Collaborations Between Historians of Science and University Museums

University of Reading, 23 September 2016, 9:45 to 17:00

Venue: Special Collections and Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5EX, UK

FULL FINAL PROGRAMME HERE !

With the ‘material turn’ in the humanities, historians of science are paying greater and greater attention to collections of all kinds, and to their complex structures and histories. University museum collections in the UK and across Europe form a singular meeting point in humanities discourses for which history of science is highly significant — such as environmental history, histories of colonialism, and information histories.

What exactly does this new landscape of university researchers and their science collections look like now? How do we approach the material culture of science? What are the research projects taking place in this arena, and what is its future potential? How do collaborations between curators and historians of science function — especially inside university contexts? What are the examples of innovative research conjoining university collections and historians of science? When do teaching and research in history of science come together in collections contexts? What public histories of science are being co-produced in university- based science museums? These epistemological and practice-based questions will be the focus of this one-day conference co-sponsored by the Centre for Collections Based Research and the Department of History of the University of Reading, and supported by the British Society for the History of Science.

This conference hopes to attract historians of science of all fields and career levels, from doctoral students including CDAs through to early career researchers and senior figures, as well as curators, archivists, collections managers and research funders. The conference addresses both methods and findings, and will therefore have both formal papers in panel structures and presentations of actual collections objects.

Object animations will involve the presentation of actual collection objects, demonstrating just what incisive and relevant work can be done with material culture investigations in the history of science.

Papers and object animations will address

  • practices and methods of material culture in history of science
  • history of science research projects in university collections: practices, processes, experiences and outcomes
  • university scientific museums as arenas for the public history of science and for history of science impact
  • joint appointments, curatorships and embedded research in history of science and university museum collections
  • Collaborative Doctoral Awards in history of science and collections
  • university museums as training grounds for new practices in history of science

THIS CONFERENCE IS GENEROUSLY SUPPORTED BY THE BRITISH SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE, IN COLLABORATION WITH THE CENTRE FOR COLLECTIONS BASED RESEARCH AND THE DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF READING.

Co-Convenors:

Dr Martha Fleming, Programme Director, Centre for Collections-Based Research, University of Reading: m.fleming@reading.ac.uk

Dr Rohan Deb Roy, Lecturer in South Asian History, Department of History, University of Reading: r.debroy@reading.ac.uk

Thanks to the generosity of the British Society for the History of Science, a number of stipends will be available to enable students to attend the conference.

University of Reading    Centre for Collections Based Research    BSHS Logo


Please note that this conference will take place the day after the University Museums Group 2016 Conference, also taking place at University of Reading.  For more information: UMG Conference 2016 ‘Better Together?’  There will be opportunities for synergy between the two conferences, including cross-over participation and a joint reception event on the evening of 22 September!

If you are attending both conferences, or if you require accommodation the night before the Object Lessons and Nature Tables conference, the closest hotel to the conference venue is the Hillingdon Prince Hotel.

header image: Cole Museum of Zoology, University of Reading (Claire Smith)

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