Monthly Archives: November 2011

Inside 17thC Dutch homes

Explore the intimate beauty of Vermeer’s exquisite scenes of Dutch 17th-century women in their homes in this stunning exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum. At its heart is Vermeer’s extraordinary painting The Lacemaker (c.1669-70), on loan from the Musée du Louvre to the UK for the first time.

The painting is complemented by three key works by Vermeer representing the pinnacle of his mature career, A lady at the virginals with a gentleman ‘The Music Lesson’ (c.1662-5) on loan from The Royal Collection; A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (c.1670) from the National Gallery, London; and Young Woman Seated at a Virginal (private collection, New York).

Joining these are 28 masterpieces of genre painting from the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ evoking the private realms inhabited almost exclusively by women who we glimpse engaged in domestic tasks, at their toilette or immersed in pleasurable pastimes such as music making, reading or writing letters.

If you are unable to make it to Cambridge, you can see some of the highlights of the exhibition in this introduction by Curator Betsy Wieseman.

5 October 2011 – 15 January 2012

Fitzwilliam Museu, Cambridge, Mellon Gallery (13)

Free Admission


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International Conference on House Museums

The DEMHIST Annual Conference, House Museums. The Owners and their art collections. Comparing experiences about the creation, the evolution and current issues related to house museums will take place in Perugia, Italy on 18 – 20 April 2012.

The Conference will be organised around the following themes:

  • From the art collections of aristocratic family owners to the creation of House Museums: a general perspective (Wednesday 18th April)

Brief papers of a general nature should provide a historical profile of national and international house museums of various types

  • House museums and household owners (Thursday 19th April)

Case studies on House Museums originating from the household owners of the house where the museum was established should analyze the relationship between the owners, the collections, the opening to the public and the museum display.

  • Managing house museums (Friday 20th April)

The session will examine current issues of House Museums management, the relationship with the public, the coexistence of the permanent collection with temporary exhibitions, issues concerning the preservation of house museums according to the legislations of the countries where they are located.

Further information, including Conference programme and booking information will be available from the DEMHIST website .


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Call for Papers: Spaces of Work 1770-1830

Spaces of Work 1770‐1830 will address the relationships between workers and spaces in Britain. We aim to showcase current research and are particularly interested in interrogating under‐analyzed types of work and space. For example, we hope to develop the theorization of types of work that critics have not conventionally understood as ‘work’ (the performance of music as practical activity, for instance). We also aim to bring attention to under‐analysed spaces. For example, due to Romanticism’s traditionally rural focus, literary critics of this period have only recently begun to interrogate urban spaces; interdisciplinary discussion of urbanism in this period would therefore be particularly valuable. We aim to analyze the interfacing of work and space as two factors that fundamentally shape everyday life in order to gain a greater understanding of material life in the period. To these ends, 500 word abstracts are invited which attempt to answer questions such as the following:

  • How do workers and their work uniquely shape space?
  • How does space facilitate or hinder workers and their work?
  • How does the social relationship among workers and between them and their supervisors/masters alter according to the work they are doing and the spaces in which they perform it?
  • How does gender, race, and/or class inform workers’ relationship to each other in different contexts of space and work?

Possible approaches could include, but are not limited to: genteel work and the city; work in spaces of ‘leisure’; work and (sub)urban domestic spaces; men’s work in the home; space and female accomplishment; work and emergent manufacturing/industrial spaces. Please send submissions by 1st December 2011 to the conference organizers, Kate Scarth and Joseph Morrissey, at

Papers at the conference will be 30 minutes in length, with a generous allocation for questions.

Location: University of Warwick

Date: Saturday 28th April 2012

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Museums and Libraries in/of the Age of Migration

The EU-funded project MeLA (Museums and Libraries in/of the Age of Migration, is developing multi-disciplinary resources for investigating major European public museums, supporting their collaboration with libraries and other cultural institutions, and helping them to address contemporary challenges of globalization, European integration, and new media. The MeLA team wishes to find out experiences of collaborative projects between transnational museums, libraries and other cultural institutions, focusing on multiculturalism, migration and the use of new media. The geographic focus at this stage is on transnational and/or national partnerships within Europe and/or at extra-European level.

An online survey is available here . The results of this survey will contribute to the investigation on innovative coordination strategies between museums and other cultural institutions, which will be presented to the European Commission.

MeLA will give away three Amazon €50 gift vouchers to those who complete this MeLA project survey.

For questions about this survey or other remarks, please contact Perla Innocenti, University of Glasgow and leader of MeLA   (

For the SSN’s work on multiculturalism and migration, see the abstracts from our Multiple Belongings: Diaspora and Transnational Homes Conference (21/5/2010).

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The restoration of the Queen Anne State Bed

From 8th December visitors to Temple Newsam House will be able to see the newly restored Queen Anne State bed in its full crimson velvet and gold lace splendour.

The bed was commissioned in 1711 by John, 1stEarl Poulett for Hinton House in Somerset but by the time it was acquired for Temple Newsam 30 years ago in 1981, it was in a severely rotten state. The bed canopy was nearing collapse and the bed posts were significantly unstable. Marking its 300th birthday the bed has had a glorious makeover. Described as “the most radical restoration of a state bed ever”, it is the culmination of two years’ work by conservators, weavers, carvers, upholsterers, engineers, blacksmiths and curators. Find out more about the restoration project here.

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In order to mark this extraordinary restoration, Temple Newsam is holding a year-long exhibition exploring beds and bedrooms called Bedtime Stories.

  • Chapter One: The Restoration of the Queen Anne State bed: A celebratory tale of a dilapidated bed returned to glory  (8th December 2011- 1st May 2012) The exhibition looks at the restoration of the bed in depth detailing the behind-the-scenes work by skilled craftsmen to restore the bed.
  • Chapter Two: Beds and Bedding in Britain 1650-1850 (Opens 15th May 2012) The story of beds and bedrooms. What did people wear to bed? How did they make a bed? And just what did they get up to in the bedroom? Raunchy prints, grand beds and glamorous nightwear tell the bed time stories of Britain between 1650 and 1850.

A series of special events accompanies Chapter One of Bedtime Stories including Lunch with the Curator (£20, Saturday 28th January 2012), a specialist demonstration of cleaning the bed (Thursday 23rd February 2012) and a talk on the engineering of the Queen Anne State bed (£20, Wednesday 14th March 2012). Download the events leaflet to find out more about these and other events here: Bedtime Stories special events.

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Call for papers: Home Unmaking Session

Call for Papers: Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Annual Conference, Edinburgh, 3-5 July 2012
Recent months have been dominated by news stories and visual images of home and its “unmaking”. From the state-enforced violent eviction of travellers living at Dale Farm in the United Kingdom to the signalling of regime change through the ransacking of Gaddafi family mansions in Libya, home is not separated from public and political worlds but is constituted, threatened or dissolved, through them. These events follow a series of years in which home has met the hard edge of the global economy with house repossession, resulting from Western debt over-reach, again pointing to the fragility of dwelling. Moving beyond the once celebratory hailing of home as an apolitical, “inward-looking” and secure space, this session approaches home as a physical, immaterial and symbolic site that is “outward-looking”, insecure, and subject to deliberate or unintentional disruption and destruction. Aiming to develop the now established literature on home making practices, it seeks to uncover new theoretical and empirical work on the politics, processes and everyday experiences of home unmaking at different spatial scales. It also encourages work that offers imaginative and practical engagements and guidelines for “doing” something to address these domestic injustices.
Themes could include, but are not limited to, home unmaking and:
  • Eviction and repossession
  • Demolition
  • Dereliction
  • War and conflict
  • Disasters and climate change
  • Mobility
  • Marital breakdown
  • Lifecourse transitions
  • Divestment
  • Domicide
  • Homelessness
  • Activism
  • Art and artistic practice
  • Policy
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Richard Baxter ( by 23 December 2011. A special issue in the journal Home Cultures is planned. Please indicate in your email if you would potentially like to be part of this.
Organisers: Katherine Brickell (Royal Holloway University of London) and Richard Baxter (Queen Mary University of London)

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Call for Papers: Material Culture National Conference

The Material Culture Area of PCA/ACA (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association) is pleased to announce the Call for Proposals for the

2011 National Conference, to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, 11–14 April 2012.

You are invited to submit proposals now through Thursday, December 15, 2011.

The study of material culture offers an exciting area for interdisciplinary research and conversation, as it brings together those engaged in scholarly inquiry in areas as diverse as history, art history, architecture as object, design, decorative arts, cultural studies, literature, communications, anthropology, and sociology. If your work touches on the study of designed objects and consumer goods, we would love to learn more about it at this year’s conference in Boston. Academics, practitioners, graduate students, museum professionals, and public historians are welcome.

Past presentations in this area have focused on decorative arts and the construction of literary characters, the material culture of poverty, commemorative items, historic and modern furnishings and fashion, branding and marketing trends, and a wide range of associated topics.

Selected works will be considered for publication in an edited volume after presentation.

Submission Guidelines:
If you are interested in presenting, or have any questions, please the Proposing a Presentation pages before Thursday, December 15, 2011 to submit an abstract of between 100 and 250 words. Please be sure to select Material Culture as the area to which you submit your abstract.

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