You are most cordially invited to submit papers to the next meeting of
the Artefacts consortium which will be held at the Deutsches Museum in
Munich on 26-28 October.
Call for Proposals for the conference
ARTEFACTS XIX "Environing Exhibits: Science, Technology, and Museums in
ARTEFACTS is an international network of academic and museum-based
scholars interested in promoting the use of objects in studies of the
history of science and technology. The network was established in 1996
and since then has held annual conferences and published several books
examining the various ways that this can be accomplished.
The next conference will be held at the Deutsches Museum in Munich,
Germany, 26-28 October 2014. The conference is co-sponsored by the
Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, a joint center of the
Deutsches Museum and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich.
In 2000, the fifth ARTEFACTS conference discussed the topic of
"Artefacts and the Environment." In the very same year the atmospheric
chemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen jointly with the ecologist
Eugene F. Stoermer proposed the new geological epoch of the Anthropocene
that is shaped by the deep impact of humankind on the environment at a
Since that, with climate change and global warming gaining ever more
momentum, the concept of the Anthropocene has found ever more followers
not only in the natural sciences but also in the cultural sciences and
the humanities. The idea of the Anthropocene has developed into a
vibrant field of studies which examine the inextricable interrelations
between nature and culture, environment and society. This year's
Artefacts conference will embark on this inspiring agenda. It aims to
discuss the material culture-dimensions of the Anthropocene.
Topics could cover questions such as:
* Technologies and techno-scientific knowledge are both driving
forces of the environmental problems that we are faced with in the
Anthropocene and an indispensable source of finding solutions to
overcome these problems. How do we cope with this dual character of
technology/science in museum exhibitions and what sorts of artefacts are
suitable to reflect this duality?
* How have certain features of material objects, especially
instruments that may have been designed for some other purpose, led us
to a better understanding of environmental change?
* How have certain artefacts become symbols of the human impact on
the environment ("natural" phenomena like the ozone hole and the
"calving" of glaciers, or "artificial" devices like plastic waste and
* Museums of science and technology have acquired an impressive
record of displaying environmentally related issues such as climate
change, changing energy regimes or nuclear disasters. Likewise, museums
of natural history have held exhibits on changes in the biosphere, loss
of biodiversity or ecological change. Is the Anthropocene asking for a
merger of these two discrete types of museums or/and for a
reinterpretation of the science and technology museum in the 21st
* Internet, television, smart phone - our present media-speeded-up
world is filled with fast communication media. Museums, collections, and
exhibitions are the opposite: slow media that allow for long-term
thinking and balanced reflection. How can we benefit from the slowness
of museums in the Anthropocene as an era of speed and acceleration?
* Workshop session on how these various topics can be effectively
treated-through objects-in museum exhibits. Note this would be an
opportunity for participants who don't have enough material to develop a
formal presentation, but who have good ideas, to express themselves. It
might also be a forum for non-historians (geologists, biologist,
architects, civil engineers) to describe problems and/or solutions that
might be worth describing in exhibits.
ARTEFACTS conferences are friendly and informal meetings with the
character of workshops. There is plenty of time for open discussion and
networking. Each contributor is allocated a 20 minutes slot for her or
his talk plus ample of time for questions and discussion. Please send
you proposal for sessions or individual papers (500-700 words) along
with a brief CV to Helmuth Trischler ([log in to unmask])
no later than Friday, 4 July 2014. Please remember that the focus of
presentations should be on artefacts.
Prof. Dr. Helmuth Trischler
Head of Research, Deutsches Museum
Director, Rachel Carson Center
e-mail h. [log in to unmask]
Dr Robert Bud
Keeper of Science and Medicine
The Science Museum, London
+44 207 942 4200
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