Renata Peters gave a talk at The Guardian last week, as part of the UCL Lunch Hour Lectures on Tour. She talked about investigative investigative conservation done on objects excavated from Western Front trenches. The focus was on daily life in WW1 trenches but the work also helped the identification of a few of the soldiers with whom some of the material was associated. Take a look at the video if you want to know more about investigative conservation.
Ellen van Bork (University of Amsterdam, UvA) ran an excellent workshop on conservation of ethnographic collections in Amsterdam last week. Teaching was done by various conservators such as Martijn de Ruiter (Tropenmuseum), Renata Peters (UCL Institute of Archaeology), Steph Scholten (UvA), Menno Fitski (Rijksmuseum), Hans Piena (Openlucht Museum) and Helene Tello (Ethnologischens Museum, Berlin). Some of the classes were taught at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam, where Martijn de Ruiter provided a wonderful tour and showed both the challenges posed by the collection and the innovative responses they have found. If you haven’t been to the Tropenmuseum you should definitely put it on your list next time you visit Amsterdam!
The Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies (JCMS) has just released 'Conservation in museums and inclusion of the non-professional' by Jill Saunders, an article based on her UCL MA Principles of Conservation dissertation.
Abstract: Just as object meanings are defined by people, so too can identities of individuals, groups and communities be implicit in their relationships with particular objects. The transformative quality of the museum environment and display formats, with regard to objects and object relationships, is fundamental to the socio-cultural responsibilities of these institutions and their ability to affect social issues. To understand the potential utility of heritage conservation in this respect, it is necessary to explore the complexity of the relationships that can form between objects and people and so establish some key issues and implications of conservation activities. This paper first addresses the role of materiality and material interactions in the construction and communication of identity aspects, and considers professional conservation with regard to these relationships. It will be shown that material interactions can have great significance concerning identity and that the subjectivity of object values is a key issue in the conservation of material heritage. It will be seen that though the management of heritage can be problematic, the resonance of heritage status gives museums a unique capacity for addressing both intangible and tangible social needs. See the whole article here
Renata Peters (UCL Institute of Archaeology) will give one of the UCL Lunch Hour Lectures On Tour this year, taking place at The Guardian on 19th June (between 13.00 and 14.00). She will talk about investigative conservation done on objects excavated from Western Front trenches. Some of these objects were associated with unidentified human remains thought to be of soldiers killed in battles between 1914 and 1918, and provided important information for their identification. Others provided more questions than answers, but also shed light on the reality of life and death in the trenches.
Kayapó chiefs Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txukaramae (part of the Amazonian indigenous movement in Brazil) will participate in a special event at the Institute of Archaeology on 10 June.
Kayapó chiefs Raoni Metuktire and Megaron Txukaramae are iconic leaders of the Amazonian indigenous movement in Brazil. Raoni played a prominent role in the 1992 Rio Earth summit, which heralded the recognition of indigenous lands, national forests, extractive reserves, and other protected-status areas in Brazil.
Unfortunately the tide in Brazil has turned in recent years and Brazilian indigenous peoples face the abolishment of hard-fought indigenist provisions in the country’s constitution, threats to their ancestral and inhabited territories (among others by plans to build hundreds of hydroelectric dams), and the toxic environmental and human rights legacy of mining, cattle ranching, and industrial–scale agricultural activity.
Invited by the developing Centre for Amazonian Studies, the UCL Institute of Archaeology, the UCL Department of Geography, and the UCL Biodiversity Forum, the Kayapó chiefs will speak about the threats currently faced by Amazonian indigenous peoples and the importance of indigenous stewardship over the landscape of Amazonia.