Archive | Conference and Event Reports

Materiality Matters at the Association of Internet Researchers Conference

In October I attended the 13th annual Association of Internet Researchers conference (AoIR or IR13) which was held in Salford, England at the University of Salford in the heart of the new home of the BBC, Media City UK. As a conference, AoIR has always been at the cutting edge scholarship on internet research and digital cultures. This year, the presence of Conference Chair Lori Kendall — author of Hanging Out in a Virtual Pub, one of the very first ethnographies of online communities — significantly shaped conversation by productively highlighting issues of gender and the changing relationship between various dichotomies (real/virtual, online/offline) emerging in everyday practice.

While I was not able to attend all of the sessions (there were up to seven simultaneous tracks on October 19th and 20th!!…

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The Lives of Property

Amy Hinterberger, Research Fellow, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS), School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford
Convened by the BioProperty Research Programme, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, 20 & 21 September 2012

Objects of property have many lives. This international conference explored the paths that scientific and technological objects travel as they acquire or lose their status as property. Researchers from Europe, North American and Australia gathered at the Ship Street Centre in Oxford to discuss the many lives or property, from art and artefacts to the material travels of waste. The eclectic group of papers were grouped around four central themes: ‘Value, waste and material transitions’, ‘Advocacy and collective ownership’, ‘Artefacts in action’, and ‘Traveling property and the politics of place’.…

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Second hand clothing

Lucy Norris

‘Trade and Transformations of Secondhand Clothing’ has just been published as the 10th anniversary issue of Textile: the Journal of Cloth and Culture.

This edition includes papers presented at the ‘Recycling Textile Technologies’ conference held at UCL in July 2010 (see earlier postings here), and is one of the publications arising from the UCL contribution to the Waste of the World project, dealing with discarded clothing and textile waste.

Ever wondered what happens to your clothes beyond the charity bag?

Edited by anthropologists Lucy Norris and Julie Botticello, this special issue of Textile reveals the enormous scale, value and impact of the international secondhand clothes trade, a global economy that most know very little about.

The topic is approached from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including historical insights into the expansion of the trade, ethical considerations of charity clothing practices, and economic analysis of how value is added to clothes and profitable relationships maintained.…

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After The Return

Kim Christen, Washington State University/Mukurtu
On January 19, 2012, twenty-eight participants convened at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC for the “After the Return: Digital Repatriation and the Circulation of Indigenous Knowledge” workshop, organized by Kimberly Christen, Joshua Bell and Mark Turin.
The workshop began with a lively keynote by Jim Enote, Director of the A:shiwi A:wan Museum and Heritage Center at Zuni, New Mexico. Enote’s talk set the tone for the two and a half days of discussion that brought together scholars from diverse fields of anthropology, indigenous communities, and collecting institutions to document best practices and case studies in digital repatriation.
Over the course of the workshop, participants explored and shared experiences of digital return projects focused on linguistic revitalization of endangered languages, cultural revitalization of traditional practices and the creation of new knowledge stemming from the return of digitized material culture from the Arctic to Arizona.…

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CFP: “Rags and Riches”

We are pleased to announce that the call for papers is open for the one day interdisciplinary conference “Rags and Riches: dress and dress accessories in social context”, to be held at the University of Reading on the 21st April 2012. This conference aims to bring together archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and others from related disciplines to discuss current issues of methodology, theory and interpretation of dress and dress accessories, from prehistory to the present day.
Details about the call for papers can be found at
We are requesting 300 word abstracts for 20 minute papers on themes relating to the social context of dress from all periods and regions, which should be sent to The deadline for submissions is the 17th February 2012.…

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Courtesy of Canada Conservation Institute
Conference review:
Symposium 2011 – Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation: Research and Applications
National Library and Archives of Canada, and the Canadian Conservation Institute, Ottawa
October 17–21, 2011
When it comes to the conservation of cultural property, the simple act of joining or holding things together is not a simple matter at all. Adhesives and consolidants may discolour, bonds may fail, and worse, it may be impossible to remove failed adhesive without damaging precious original material. These considerations are complicated by the diversity of objects which conservators are required to treat – from gut skin parkas to a silk Medici infant’s garment, from medical models of painted wax to the caves of Mumbai. Conservators’ “life” expectancy (that is, the life expectancy of their treatments!) should exceed the conservator’s life expectancy – more than 100 years, or indefinitely would be nice – all this in a world of one-month warranties and buildings with an expected lifespan of 50 years.…

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CfP Things in Culture, Culture in Things

Call for Papers: IV Autumn Conference of the CECT
University of Tartu, Estonia
October 20–22, 2011
Things in culture, cultures in things and lest we forget, all that stuff in between. Objects, artefacts and matter, even sometimes the immaterial, have been comprehensively theorised and contextualised through a number of intriguing case studies. Since the groundbreaking publication of The Social Life of Things in 1986 to the launch of the Journal of Material Culture ten years later, the material world in its cross-cultural, multi-temporal and interdisciplinary study could never quite be the same again. Indeed, the very concern for the effects and affects of the ways in which materiality changes over time is the one that this interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) seeks to address.…

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Conversations Across Time

Maureen Ragalie, NYU Museum Studies
Reed, Michael; Karen Stevenson. Conversations Across Time/Whakawhiti Korero. Christchurch: Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, 2009.
Maureen Lander’s installation
The exhibition Conversations Across Time/Whakawhiti Korero at the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand is part of a larger trend in the museum world. Many ethnographic museums have started hosting exhibitions in which indigenous artists are given access to the museum’s collections. After exploring the collections, the artists then create works that respond to their experiences of working with artifacts from their own cultures. The artists and the museums then collaborate to create an exhibition of these works in conjunction with their “referent” artifacts. These exhibitions allow the indigenous artists an opportunity to express an artistic, intellectual, personal and spiritual claiming of the artifacts in the collection.…

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Digital Anthropology: An EASA Workshop

Heather Horst (University of California, Irvine) and Daniel Miller (UCL)
On August 25th, we held the very first “Digital Anthropology” workshop in Maynooth, Ireland. When we sent out the Call for Proposals last spring, we were uncertain as to the extent of interest and the potential response to the call. We were pleased to receive a large pool (more than expected!) of submissions; a sign that we believe represents a strong indication of the increasing interest in this domain. Indeed, we saw this point was reinforced by the vast number of media and technology-focused papers interspersed throughout the EASA conference – never before have we attended an anthropology conference with so many media papers to choose from, or have to miss to attend our own workshop(s)!…

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Report on “Materiality and Cultural Translation”

Colloquium on
Materiality and Cultural Translation: An Interdisciplinary Exploration
Held at Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, May 3-4, 2010
A Report and Discussion
By Ruth B. Phillips (convener; Art History, Carleton University)
and Aaron Glass (participant; Anthropology, Bard Graduate Center)
Fourteen scholars whose disciplines include history, art history, anthropology, archaeology and literary translation studies engaged in two days of discussion on the topic of “Materiality and Cultural Translation.” They were joined by a small invited audience of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and Harvard faculty and museum curators. The participants had been invited to present case studies taken from past or current work and to reflect on them in relation to the role of material and visual culture and the ways that translation processes have intervened in transmitting meaning for different publics—past and present.…

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