International Conference: ‘Notions of Universality in Universal Museums’

15-16th June 2018. Free entry (subject to availability of places).

Musée des Arts et Métiers
60 rue Réamur
75003 Paris

Métro:
Lines 3 and 11: Station Arts-et-Métiers
Line 4: Station Réaumur-Sébastopol

Hervé Inglebert: herve.inglebert@parisnanterre.fr
Sandra Kemp: sandra.kemp@lancaster.ac.uk

Programme

Friday 15 June: The universalities of Western museums

Matinée (chaired by Sandra Kemp, Lancaster University)
10.00 Welcome: Yves Winkin (Director of the Musée des Arts et Métiers)
Introduction
10.15 Hervé Inglebert (Paris Nanterre University): Global history and universal contemporary museums
10.45 Kate Hill (University of Lincoln): Ourselves and others: universalities and museum hierarchies
Questions
11.15 François Mairesse (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3): The origins of the universal museum
11.45 Mark O’Neill (University of Glasgow): The Primitivism of the Universal Museum
12.15 Mirjam Shatanawi (Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam): The place of islamic objects in Western collections (Metropolitan, Louvre, Tropenmuseum)
12.45 Discussion
13.00 Lunch
Afternoon (chaired by François Mairesse, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3)
Traditional museum universalities
14.00 Marie-Sophie Corcy (Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers): The galleries of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers’: from the universality of technology to the global museum
14.30 Françoise Mardrus (Musée du Louvre): The universalities of the Louvre des Lumières: between fiction and reality
15.00 Pascal Griener (Université de Neuchâtel): The Universal Museum in the XIXth century – and its shadow
15.30 Discussion and break
The universality of anthropology
16.15 Nélia Dias (Instituto Universitário de Lisboa): A Science in the Marking? ‘The Museum of Monuments of non-Western Peoples’ and the Methods of Comparison in early Nineteenth-Century France
16.45 Sophie Hopmeier (University of St Andrews, Edinburgh): The disjunction between evolutionary and universal temporalities in films of the Musée de l’Homme
17.15 Discussion

 

Saturday 16 June: Modern museum universalities

Matinée (chaired by André Delpuech, Musée de l’Homme)
The question of global art
10.00 Michael Falser (Heidelberg Universität): From colonialism to universalism, from world art to global art history: The Plaster Casts of Angkor in a transcultural perspective on museum collections
10.30 Eva-Maria Troelenberg (Utrecht University): Permission to Represent? Contemporary Artistic Practice in Palestine and the Paradigm of “Global Art”
11.00 Thierry Dufrêne (Paris Nanterre University): Contemporary art, the only universal art?
11.30 Discussion
12.00 Lunch
Afternoon (chaired by Mark O’Neill, University of Glasgow)
New projects on the universalities of Western museums
13.30 Christian Schicklgruber (Weltmuseum, Wien): The Weltmuseum Wien is not a universal museum – or is it?
14.00 André Delpuech (Musée de l’Homme): The new universality of the Musée de l’Homme
14.30 Annette Loeseke (New York University in Berlin): The Humboldt Forum in Berlin
15.00 Discussion
15.30 Coffee break
The question of universality in museums across the globe
15.45 Jean-François Charnier (Louvre Abu Dhabi): Figures of the universal at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
16.15 Elizabeth Lawrence (Ball State University): Toward a History of Vernacular Museums in China for an Age of Multiple Universalisms
16.45 Discussion
Conclusions
17.15 Sandra Kemp (Lancaster University, Victoria and Albert Museum)

Link to participants’ biographies

 

Abstracts

Hervé Inglebert

Global history and universal contemporary museums
[Coming soon]

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Kate Hill

Ourselves and others: universalities and museum hierarchies
If the Enlightenment was about understanding the whole world by gathering it in the universal museum, then in UK museums by the end of the nineteenth century there was a growing movement to understand ‘ourselves’, to commemorate and memorialise roots, and to create historically-based identities. Such an impulse may be traced through the twentieth century with the growth of ‘folk’ museums and the rise of social history in museums, which has recently been argued to be an important part of the expansion of History education to a mass audience. This paper will examine this growth and ask how far such a trend ever eclipsed the large national universal museums produced by the Enlightenment and how far merely supplemented them at a local, small-scale level; and it will also ask what the forces acting on museums of communal identity are in a new global environment where the ‘universal’ continues to represent the pinnacle of a hierarchy, but where tourism often values the unique and particular.

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François Mairesse

The origins of the universal museum
If the logic of the universal museum is partially congruent with its origin (one thinks among others of the Mouseion of Alexandria), the use of the word is definitely more recent. Its use, as part of the Declaration on the Importance and Value of Universal Museums in 2002, put the term back on the agenda. But when does it really emerge? What does it mean and what is its scope? This presentation will examine the origins of these two words and their uses during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It will deploy a brief survey to re-situate the underlying issues of the universal museum, in the wake of the great institutions, which will allow the term to re-emerge at the beginning of the twenty-first century, in a context marked by post-colonial studies and requests for restitution.

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Mark O’Neill

The Primitivism of the Universal Museum
The 2002 declaration by some of the world’s major museums that they were ‘universal’ revived and redefined the concept of the universal museum. The signatories and later supporters argue that the presentation of collections which are encyclopaedic in scope enables them, in the words of Neil MacGregor, formerly Director of the British Museum and now Artistic Director of the Humboldt Forum to ‘show the world as one’. Far from being the ideological instruments of oppression represented by post-modern relativism and Critical Theory, the universal museum is the embodiment of Enlightenment, liberal ideals of objective scientific truth, cultural internationalism and individual freedom. The displays of universal museums thus promote critical reflection and tolerance. I will argue that these arguments are compromised because their chief purpose is to protect museums against repatriation claims. This is not because the repatriation claims are inherently justifiable, but because the defence against them leads museums to devise contorted genealogies of their institutions, to misrepresent the histories of their collections, to make illegal collecting decisions and to make claims for the impact of their displays which are not empirically justified. The new ‘universal museums’ have thus developed an identity which, in its lack of awareness of its mythopoetic distortions, is profoundly primitive. I will conclude with examples of museums which, despite not being encyclopaedic, can make a more justifiable claim to being universal.

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Mirjam Shatanawi

The place of islamic objects in Western collections (Metropolitan, Louvre, Tropenmuseum)
The point of departure of this paper is the idea of different types of museums, including the so-called universal museum, as a discursive chain. In other words: what goes in the glass case in one museum, goes out in another. In the 19th century, when museums in Europe transformed from multidisciplinary cabinets of curiosity into institutions that became more and more specialized, processes of inclusion and exclusion started to unfold. In the course of this development, western and non-western objects that once were exhibited together now became separated. Museums for western culture, among them museums of European art or antiquities, and museums for non-western cultures, like Asian art museums and museums of ethnology, started to function as communicating vessels.

This paper will examine this development and what it means for museums today. The main emphasis will be on Middle Eastern and Islamic collections. Made up of objects from ‘in-between’ regions, the destiny of these collections have illuminating stories to tell on how identity and culture are defined and negotiated. I will argue that undoing the dichotomous exhibitionary frameworks that underpin the presentation of these collections is necessary to make museums more relevant, given the complex representational challenges they face today.

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Marie-Sophie Corcy

The galleries of the Musée des Arts et Métiers-Cnam: from the universality of technology to the global museum
Do the galleries of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers constitute a ‘universal museum”? The Conservatory is not a museum, but an institution created to support national industry. Its galleries were formed as a museum only very recently considering the time since the founding of the institution in 1794. It was indeed only in 1963 that they take the name “National Museum of Technology”.

The bicentennial of the Conservatory of Arts and Crafts has initiated major historical research on understanding this institution. As part of this dynamic, the renovation of the museum in the 1990s has allowed us to rediscover the collections and renew this historiographical field. The history of collections and management practices has become the thread of new research and new questions regarding institutional identity.

This work allows us to understand the question of universality about the Museum of Arts and Crafts today. We propose to study the paradigm shift that this institution is experiencing in its history: the place of the universality of technique; a place where a universal history of techniques is built; a global museum.

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Françoise Mardrus

The universalities of the Louvre des Lumières: between fiction and reality
This presentation focuses on the question of the identity of the universal model embodied by the Louvre Museum since its creation in the 18th century. It will consider the different approaches which, over time, have led to the (re)writing of its history. Do the ways of writing this story reflect issues relating to politics and the state that contribute to its uniqueness? Thus Simon Knell (National Galleries, Routledge, London, 2016) questioned the influence of nation-states of states in the development of the museum. But would contemporary epistemology go deconstruct such a narrative? Could the history of the Louvre be recast in a “transnational” dimension, in particular through the role assigned to museology and the place of collections in the institution of the museum? In addition, the question of the status of the museum object in our post-colonial Western societies (Nicholas Thomas, The Return of Curiosity, London, 2016) also questions the paradigm of the universal in the case of the Louvre.

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Pascal Griener

The Universal Museum in the XIXth century – and its shadow
During the nineteenth century, the universal museum became a key feature in all the great empires which were fighting for supremacy in Europe. These institutions were founded upon historiographical principles which are loaded with ideology. Since the publication of Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe, it has now become much easier to analyze these ideological remains of the past. I shall try to show how even today, our duty is to deconstruct this form of the museum in the greatest detail.

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Nélia Dias

A Science in the Making? ‘The Museum of Monuments of non-Western Peoples’ and the Methods of Comparison in early Nineteenth-Century France
The presentation seeks to underline the role of museums in early nineteenth-century France as spaces where ethnography, art, and antiquarian studies shared epistemic values and practices based on the study and interpretation of material objects. How the study of non-European objects enabled art historians and antiquaries to ask questions that were crucial and how the methods and techniques they developed provided an epistemological framework for analysing significant connections between ancient and living civilizations? To what extent did the study of material objects contribute to reveal the deep commonalities between ethnography, art, and antiquarianism? What was the exact role of museums as providers of ample material for comparisons among different cultures and periods?

Focused on baron de Férussac’s proposal of a Museum of Monuments of non-Western Peoples (1826) at the Louvre Museum, the presentation analyzes on the one hand the epistemological implications of transposing the notion of monuments to non-Western artefacts. Why was this Museum envisioned as a complement, in geographical as well as in chronological terms, to the Louvre Museum? On the other hand, the presentation explores the specificities of the comparative method underlying the study of monuments belonging to distant times and different geographical locations. It seeks also to point out, in the wake of Arnaldo Momigliano’s precious insights, the ways in which antiquarian studies shaped the development of nineteenth-century ethnography, its methods as well as its objects of inquiry.

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By Tomás Fano (New York. Metropolitan Museum of Art) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Sophie Hopmeier

The disjunction between evolutionary and universal temporalities in the films of the Musée de l’Homme
Following Paul Rivet’s merging of osteological and material culture collections with the intent of analysing and proselytising the notion of the ‘indivisibility of humanity across space and time’, this paper will consider how film, as a temporal medium, has been used to navigate this universalist approach. I will look at the function of the visual trope of Asmat skulls in Pierre-Dominique Gaisseau’s film Le ciel et la boue (1961) to reflect the ways in which hierarchies of technology have been used to organise narratives about humanity, specifically in ethnographic museums, and the way in which a particular class of artefacts have been used, as subjects of film, to identify and/or bridge the cultural and temporal gaps between people.

This presentation is part of a larger thesis about technologies of mediation in the collections and cinematic research methods of the Musée de l’Homme. What I am calling ‘technologies of mediation’ (Masks and other tools for spiritual, and cultural communication such as Asmat skulls) form an over-determined and ambivalent topic in the films made for the Museum. These objects, often used for purposes of communication in their autochthonous context, were ambivalent because they evoked both ‘otherness’ and ‘familiarity’ for a western observer. For filmmakers, these objects became efficient symbols, or externalisations of cultural difference. However, there was also a degree of recognition for these filmmakers, who were still trying to come to grips with the properties of cinema, as a new technology of mediation, and its potential to communicate across cultural boundaries and promote understanding of peoples – as well as a more mysterious notion that these technologies could, perhaps, transcend bigger boundaries, such as that between life and death.

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Michael Falser

From colonialism to universalism, from world art to global art history: The Plaster Casts of Angkor in a transcultural perspective on museum collections
Besides the commodification of original artefacts from the Orient as museum objects of Occidental curiosity, the transfer and display of Asian monumental architecture was a powerful means to appropriate the built cultural heritage of the colonies for the European Métropole. Addressing a scientific desideratum in architectural museum research until today from the viewpoint of “Global Art History”, this paper investigates the medium of plaster casts as an early colonial strategy of the transfer and substitution of Oriental architecture for newly invented museum spaces in Europe. With the focus on the architectural plaster casts of the Cambodian temple of Angkor Wat in the recently rediscovered (c. 1880-1930) musée Indo-chinois in Paris  and the collections in Berlin’s Ethnological Museum, this contribution develops a transcultural perspective on (pre-)colonial architectural museum spaces of the 19th century and asks how those displays helped to develop a “universal” notion of art and architecture. Finally, it investigates the recent museological tendencies to reconceptualise the value of those casts from originally secondary sources of art and architecture to primary sources of a “global” history of museum collections.

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Eva-Maria Troelenberg

Permission to Represent? Contemporary Artistic Practice in Palestine and the Paradigm of “Global Art“
This paper seeks to challenge the notion of the museum as an affirmatively ‚global‘ institution, a paradigmatic space for the production and representation of exchange processes and mobilities: If we understand the museum as a reference frame which in itself generates meaning, both in historical and contemporary perspective, we are inevitably confronted with a very fundamental question: What if the universalist claim of the museum is actually the result of a long-standing circular argument?

Over the last decade, artists and art institutions in Palestine have developed activities and interventions which delve into such questions. This paper will focus exemplarily on Khaled Hourani’s initiative “Picasso in Palestine” and Khalil Rabah’s “Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind”. Both examples interrelate specific geo-political factors with the epistemic effects of the museum. While operating within the matrix of a ‘global‘ art and exhibition network, they reveal possible ‘traps‘ of universalist thinking.

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Thierry Dufrêne

Contemporary art, the only universal art?
Contemporary art today allows the creation of what I call “third museums” which generate dialogue about diverse museographic traditions (museums of art, history, anthropology, etc.), and educate communities about multi-perspectivist approaches. The concept of “intermuseality”, based on that of intertextuality (for literary texts), is rooted in its practices.

I believe this notion to be very useful for describing the change pressed on contemporary art and the digital revolution, which forces today’s museums to reestablish (for the better) the notion of the universal museum, whose universality is still greatly prominent and traditional.

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Christian Schicklgruber

The Weltmuseum Wien is not a universal museum – or is it?
After years of a closedown because of the recreation of its permanent exhibition the Weltmuseum Wien reopened last fall. Fourteen galleries tell about cultural diversity and about relations between cultures – and perhaps causing its visitors to question their view of themselves. The Weltmuseum Wien strives to have its visitors leave the Museum with the experience of human universality.

The Weltmuseum has said goodbye to initial positions of its demand. The entire world cannot be simulated with encyclopaedic aspirations in a museum, as one perhaps believed earlier. For this reason, the old systems of categorisation in ethnological museums, such as “Africa”, “China”, or “Islam” do not work anymore. Rather, short stories are narrated and scenes created with objects, and in these stories the “Other” emerges. We cannot do more than open such windows, only a limited number of topics framed by such a window can appear. A sequence of such stories leads to a picture of the diversity of cultural expressions.

Other theoretical insights unmasked the position of the museum as an authoritative institution with a single and unique perspective as a construct when it comes to talk about the “Other”. The museum as an enunciator of consistent statements does not speak. The museum has split up into a plurality of individual narrators. This is much more honest than any simulated objectivity and any claim to truth. This honesty brings with it the risk that the visitor is disappointed not to be presented with a simple – and authoritative – explanation of the world, which they may understand, unquestioned, as “true”.

Following these underlying considerations the presentation will introduce the new permanent exhibition of the Weltmuseum Wien.

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André Delpuech

The new universality of the Musée de l’Homme
From the 2000s and the removal of its African, Oceanic, Asian and American collections to the Musée du quai Branly, the new Musée de l’Homme, has undergone a complete transformation. Since the end of 2015 it has displayed its collections as deliberately anchored in modernity. and in the actuality of human history: from our distant origins to the scenarios of tomorrow. The Museum thus declares the prodigious history of our Homo sapiens species on planet Earth, in three key questions that punctuate his career: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Transcending temporalities and disciplinary boundaries, in a new form of universality, the Musée de l’Homme at the beginning of the twenty-first century illuminates the complexity of human societies to address the pressing issues of our contemporary world.

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Annette Loeseke

The Humboldt Forum in Berlin
Due to open in 2019, the Humboldt Forum in Berlin’s reconstructed palace building will house the collections of the former Ethnological Museum and Asian Art Museum of the National Museums in Berlin, alongside selected objects from the collections of Humboldt University in Berlin and the city museum. Together with the collections of the National Museums on Berlin’s Museum Island, such as the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum or the Pergamon Museum, the Humboldt Forum is set to become, as the forum’s website has it, a “centre of world culture”. By tracing the shifting concepts of the Humboldt Forum through brochures, website material, newspaper articles and other published articles, I shall examine how the forum’s idea of a “universal museum for the 21st century” builds on concepts such as the historical cabinet of curiosities (Wunderkammer), Alexander von Humboldt’s “kosmos”, and the museum as a “participatory laboratory” to produce and share knowledge and “grasp the world”. Discussing the historical and urban contexts of the Humboldt Forum and its collections, and drawing on recent controversies about provenance and acquisition practice, restitution and repatriation, and eurocentric vs post-colonial or post-imperialist perspectives, I shall also explore questions about universality that have so far been under-addressed in the Berlin debate. I will argue that, apart from provenance research, museums need to address how (historical) notions of universality have shaped collections, narratives and displays. How has the Humboldt Forum built on (historical) notions of universality to consider its collections as “shared” (rather than contested) heritage? What is the connection between notions of universality, research and knowledge that museums and academia have established? How could museums challenge their own narratives about discovering cultures and preserving artefacts, and instead address their role in producing cultural heritage?

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Jean-François Charnier

Figures of the universal at the Louvre Abu Dhabi
The Louvre Abu Dhabi has strived to be a universal museum from the start. This initial goal, the significant development of which I shall recall in this presentation, was a real challenge. I must say that we did not know what this term really meant, seeing as no museum really was “encyclopaedic”. We also had to accept that the term ‘universal’ is currently badly misunderstood and heavily tainted by ethnocentrism. It has long been associated with a desire for societies of the world to converge by taking on values spread by so-called “modern” Europe. In France, the term is still associated with a certain neocolonial guilt. The proof is in the difficulty, and even the embarrassment, in thinking that we can attempt to talk about a global vision after sixty years of decolonisation and as many decades questioning such narratives.

At the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the term could only be addressed in the sense that it takes in the museum context, laid down by two figures of universalism des Lumières: “the universalism of the museum” with its encyclopaedic ambition, and the notion of the “universal museum”, which relates more to humanistic values. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is indeed open to all but, in light of its space and limited number of works, and especially its philosophical ambition, it is fundamentally driven by the values of humanism. The universal museum can no longer claim universality and ought to offer a pooling of intelligence, a narrative one might say, of accumulated knowledge.

Building on these methodological beginnings, the team underwent committed reflection in order to develop a narrative so that this notion of the “universal museum” and cultural dialogue was more than just rhetoric. In our vision for the Louvre Abu Dhabi, we sought to retrace global history from prehistoric times to the modern era across every continent. Within this process, intercultural dialogue materialised through the joining-up of historical museum departments and an openness towards discussing their collections. Face-to-face meetings resulting from such activity prompt a conceptual unlocking of the history of civilisation, as part of a global vision that the monographic and departmentally-divided tend to avoid. In that context, changing views and re-evaluating terminologies were important issues to tackle.

Ultimately, for the United Arab Emirates, this proposition is likely to influence their own identity construction as a young and ever-evolving country. The issue of identity is often seen with the same limited perspective it gives rise to. Through bringing together works from different cultures, the Louvre Abu Dhabi’s borderless museography aims to produce a collective identity, not thought of as distinguishing or reinforcing of differences but, more productively and rationally, uniting them. The universal museum is an invitation to consider identity construction in plurality. Here, in this first universal museum outside of the Western world, one of these key features is undoubtedly expressed: an invitation to open one’s eyes to the humanistic values of the universal identity in favour of a country rich in the transnational nature of its population.

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Elizabeth Lawrence

Toward a History of Vernacular Museums in China for an Age of Multiple Universalisms
As China has increased in economic power and international influence in recent decades, Chinese and international scholars have initiated a lively debate over indigenous Chinese worldviews and universalisms and how they might contribute to a new global vision. Could a purportedly Chinese ideal of an all-encompassing moral universe glossed as tianxia, or all under heaven, provide an alternative to an unsustainable nation-state system? That we can even ask such a question suggests that the hegemony of a Western-derived world order is in abeyance.

Even if an ideal of “all under heaven,” or any other Chinese universalism, is hardly poised to remake the world order in the short-term, China’s growing international power nevertheless raises questions about how China’s alternative universalisms might impact cultural venues, including the museum, in the long-term. It would be easy to conclude that China has no alternative museum model to offer the world and that it remains, instead, eager to adopt Western museum models in a quest to signify national strength and global influence. This continued imitative drive is evident in the recent establishment of the Beijing World Art Museum on an encyclopedic world art model. But in addition to such derivative museums, China has a long history of vernacular museological practices and institutions that have garnered scant scholarly attention but merit further study, particularly in the context of a shifting global balance of power. This paper examines one such institution, the Xiling Seal Society (founded 1904) and argues that it anticipated characteristics of twenty-first-century museums, including an emphasis on intangible heritage and a blending of preservationism and commodification.

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Biographies

Hervé Inglebert is a professor of roman history at Paris Nanterre University. He is the French Principal Investigator on the UHUM research.

Kate Hill teaches history at the University of Lincoln, and has researched and published extensively on local and regional museums, collecting, and attitudes to the past in Britain in the later nineteenth century. Her books include Culture and Class in English Public Museums 1850-1914 (Ashgate, 2005), Museums and Biographies (Boydell and Brewer, 2012), and Women and Museums 1850-1914… (Manchester University Press 2016). She is co-editor of the Museums History Journal and Chair of the Museums and Galleries History Group.

François Mairesse is a professor of museology at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3.

Mark O’Neill is Chair of Jury for the European Museum of the Year Award, an associate professor at Glasgow University’s College of Arts, and a consultant for Event Communications, London. Former Head of Glasgow Museums, Mark was Director of Policy & Research for Glasgow Life, the charity which delivers arts, museums, libraries and sports services for the City of Glasgow, from 2009-2016. As a senior curator and then Head of Glasgow Museums from 1990-2009, he led the teams which established the only museum of world religions in the UK, founded the Open Museum (an award-winning outreach service), refurbished Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum and created the Zaha Hadid-designed Riverside Museum (European Museum of the Year 2013). He is interested in the history and social purposes of museums and in the health benefits of cultural participation.

Mirjam Shatanawi is a curator for the Middle Eastern and North African collections at the National Museum of World Cultures, The Netherlands. Among the exhibitions she co-curated are The Sixties: A worldwide happening (2015), Sacred Places (2014), Escher meets Islamic Art (2013), Palestina 1948 (2008-2010), and Urban Islam (2003-2006). Her current research interests include the representation of Islam and Middle Eastern art and cultures in European museums. Her book Islam at the Tropenmuseum (Arnhem: LM Publishers, 2014), provides a historical analysis of 150 years of collecting Islamic artefacts at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam.

Marie-Sophie Corcy is a historian and Head of Collections at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers, Paris.

Françoise Mardrus is Head of the Centre Dominique-Vivant Denon at the Louvre Museum (in research and collections). Created in 2016, the centre is a place of study and research dedicated to museum professionals, researchers and everyone else interested in the history of the Louvre and museums. Previously, she led the coordination of large Louvre Museum projects as project leader reporting to the museum’s General Directorate, after her time at the École nationale du Patrimoine (1989 – 2013). Mardrus has also contributed to research on major developments of the museum as an institution over the past thirty years through her teaching at the École du Louvre and partner institutions (she has a Masters in Museum Studies from Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi).

Pascal Griener is: a former student of the École des Hautes Études and École du Louvre in Paris; a doctor of Oxford University, where he worked under the direction of Francis Haskell; a Professor of History of Art and Museology at the University of Neuchâtel (Switzerland) since 1995; and, in 2018, the named Slade Professor of the History of Art, University of Cambridge, for the academic year 2023 – 2024. His recent book is entitled Pour une histoire du regard: L’expérience du musée au XIXe siècle (Hazan: Paris, 2017) [La Chaire du Louvre].

Nélia Dias is a professor at the Department of Anthropology, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), CRIA, Lisboa, Portugal. Her research concerns the history of French anthropology, ethnographic museums and collecting practices, and cultural history. She is the author of Le Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro (1878-1908). Anthropologie et Muséologie en France (CNRS, 1991) and La Mesure des Sens. Les Anthropologues et le corps humain (Aubier, 2004), the co-editor of Endangerment, Biodiversity and Culture (Routledge, 2016) and of Collecting, Ordering, Governing: Anthropology, Museums and Liberal Government (Duke University Press, 2017). Her current research focuses on the affinities between antiquarian studies and ethnographic inquiry in early nineteenth-century France.

Sophie Hopmeier is a PhD candidate in the department of Film Studies at the University of St Andrews. She researches technologies of mediation in the collections and cinematic research methods of the Musée de l’Homme. She is a current Editor-in-Chief of Frames Cinema Journal. She has prior degrees in Art History and Film Studies from the University of Sydney, Australia (2009) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National Art School, Australia (2012). She is the recipient of the Film Studies Departmental Full Scholarship and the St Leonards Scholarship from the University of St Andrews, and has recently returned from a Russell Trust Postgraduate Award funded research trip to the Asmat region of Papua, Indonesia.

Michael Falser is a trained architect and art historian from Vienna. Between 2009 and 2017, he worked as a project leader at the Chair of Global Art History, Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context: The Dynamics of Transculturality”, Heidelberg University. In 2014, he received his Habilitation (HDR) with a study of the transcultural study about the temple of Angkor Wat/Cambodia and since 2018 he has been a qualified professor in contemporary art and architectural history (22nd section of the CNU). After engagements at the universities of Vienna, Kyoto and Bordeaux-Montaigne, he is currently a visiting professor at the Department of Art and Archaeology of Sorbonne University; with teaching courses at the Centre de Recherche sur l’Extrême Orient (CREOPS) and the Centre André Chastel for Art History in global architectural history and cultural heritage studies in the Euro-Asian arena, his focus is on colonial archaeology, museum studies and historic preservation in the entangled field of France-Indochina. His 2-volume monograph Angkor Wat: A Transcultural History of Heritage will be published in October 2018 (De Gruyter: Berlin).

Eva-Maria Troelenberg is a professor and Chair for Modern and Contemporary Art History at Utrecht University. From 2011 to 2018, she was head of the Max Planck Research Group “Objects in the Contact Zone – The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things“ at Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz (Max-Planck-Institut). Her research focuses on cross-cultural exchange processes from 1800 to present, particularly between the Arab world and Europe. She is the editor of Images of the Art Museum: Connecting Gaze and Discourse in the History of Museology (with M. Savino) and author of the monograph Mshatta in Berlin: Keystones of Islamic Art.

Thierry Dufrêne is currently a professor of contemporary art history at Paris Nanterre University. He recently published Salvador Dali: double image, double vie (Hazan: Paris, 2012) and La poupée sublimée: Quand Niki de Saint Phalle et les artistes contemporains font des poupées (Skira: Paris, 2014). He has been the co-curator of multiple exhibitions such as Salvador Dali at Paris’ Museum of Modern Art (MNAM) (November 2012 – April 2013) and Persona: Étrangement humain at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris (January – October 2016) for which he co-directed catalogue publication. He is curating the exhibition L’Invention de Morel d’Adolfo Bioy Casarès et l’art contemporain, at the Maison de l’Amérique latine in Paris (February – July 2018) and the National Library of the Argentine Republic in Buenos Aires (Autumn – Winter 2018-19), and is working on a book about contemporary sculpture.

Christian Schicklgruber has been Director of the Weltmuseum Wien since 1st January 2018. For the last 25 years, he was the head of its South-, Southeast-Asian and Himalayan collections. He graduated from the departments of Social and Cultural Anthropology and Tibetan and Buddhist studies at the University of Vienna. Over recent decades he has turned his experiences and insights gained during extensive ethnological fieldwork in the Himalayas and Southeast Asia into various exhibitions.

André Delpuech is Director of the Musée de l’Homme. Previously he was Head of Collections and Americas at the Musée du quai Branly.

Annette Loeseke works as a lecturer in Museum Studies at New York University Berlin and as a visiting lecturer in visitor studies at Amsterdam University of the Arts’ Reinwardt Academy. She studied history of art and cultural management at universities in Freiburg, Munich, Paris and London. She holds a PhD (Dr. phil.) in History of Art from the University of Bonn, Germany.

Jean-François Charnier has been Scientific Director of Agence France-Museums since 2013. He joined in January 2008 as their Curator, in charge of archaeology, and studied art history and archaeology at the École du Louvre as well as anthropology at Paris Nanterre University.

Elizabeth Lawrence is an assistant professor of History at Ball State University, Indiana, USA. Before joining the Ball State History Department in 2014, she completed her PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia University. She specializes in the history of modern China and her research interests include material and visual culture, heritage and museums, and the history of calligraphically-inscribed seals and antiquarianism in China. Her presentation today relates to her current book project.

Sandra Kemp is a Senior Research Fellow at the V&A and ICL, and Principal Investigator on the ‘Universal Histories and Universal Museums’ project.

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