University of Reading
23 September 2016
9:45 – 17:00
Venue: Special Collections and Museum of English Rural Life, University of Reading, Redlands Road, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 5EX, UK
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.
The morning sessions of the conference are devoted to ‘object animations’, where actual collections objects and their research potential will be explored by speakers who will also be demonstrating their methods and techniques. We have an expert panel with Professor Simon Schaffer and Professor David Gaimster, who will be sharing collaborative research methodologies. The afternoon sessions of 20 minute papers will further deepen our understanding of how to work across collecting institutions and the academy by exploring institutional initiatives, museums as catalysts for sustained interdisciplinarity, and epistemic techniques. Registration is now open on the conference website!