Workshop: collections, knowledge, and time

The beginning…
In 1907 a collecting fever spread among Danish doctors. They began collecting medical objects to bear witness to the past of medical practice and its development. Together with “retired” scientific collections from medical research and teaching these objects form the backbone of the collection of medical science we have today at Medical Museion.

Old material – new questions
While our collection yields a ‘frozen’ past, it also evolves in time: We preserve objects to gain insights, yet not merely their meanings and cultural significance change over time, but their very materiality transforms. Both literally and metaphorically, objects live and die in collections. They may suddenly crop up from oblivion providing a new fertile soil for knowledge production or they may decay in silence. In the workshop, we wish to address the relationship between collections, knowledge and time both inside and outside museums; in collections of science and culture; and in mixing old material with new questions.

The workshop will take place November 8-9 2019 over one and a half day at Medical Museion in Copenhagen.

Rethink collections
Within this setting, a plethora of themes unfolds concerning the temporalities of collections, their lifespan, differences between collections of natural and cultural objects, and differences between ways of knowing. To grapple with these themes, we bring together multiple disciplinary, inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary contributions. By bringing together such multi-facetted perspectives, we wish to (re-)think collections within the nexus time/knowledge and discuss the future connections between knowledge and collections.

Practical information
We are aiming to keep the paper presentations at the workshop relatively short and instead pre-circulate drafts of the papers to open for more in depth discussion. The paper-sessions will be punctuated by other events such as an object-session looking at material from the collections and exhibition tours.

Premiminary programme
8-9 November 2019

Friday November 8
8:30: Open
9:00-9:15: Welcome (Ken Arnold)
9:15-10:30: Public talk. Nicholas Thomas: Such stuff as dreams are made on
10:30-11:00: Coffee, snacks

Session I.
11:00-12:30: Museum Collections and Conversations (Moderator: Karin Tybjerg)
– Nathalia Brichet: ‘Messages in a bottle’
– Robert Bud: ‘Learning about trust from users’ engagement with museum objects’
– Tal Adler: ‘Artistic Engagements with Contentious Collections’
12:30-13:30:   Lunch, provocation

Session II.
13:30-15:00: Metabolic Collections (Moderator: Martin Grünfeld)
– Jenny Bangham: ‘Living Collections: the care, affect and curation of laboratory Drosophilia’
– Tune Pers/Louise Whiteley: ‘Separate and classify: Making cell atlases in contemporary metabolic research’
– Adam Bencard: ‘Time in bodies, bodies in time(s)’

15:00-16:15:   Tours to collections
16:15-16:45:   Coffee, snacks
16:45-17:45: Conversation on Collections (Martha Fleming, George Loudon, Ken Arnold)
18:00: Conference dinner, provocation

Saturday November 9
9:00-9:30: Coffee, snacks, provocation

Session III.
9:30-11:00: History and Timelessness in Scientific Collections (Moderator: Adam Bencard)
– Staffan Müller-Wille: ‘Legacies of a Bean Counter’
– Karin Tybjerg: ‘The Anamnesis of Medical Collections’
– Adrian Van Allen: ‘Entangled Timelines’

11:00-12:30: Tours to exhibitions
12:30-13:30: Lunch, provocation

Session IV.
13:30-15:00: Futures (Moderator: Louise Whiteley)
– Jean-Paul Martinon: ‘Saved! The Future of Museums’
– Tiziana Nicoletta Beltrame: ‘The Ageing of the Ethnographic Objects’
– Martin Grünfeld: ‘Collections, Potentialities and the Future’

15:00: Closing remarks and goodbye

Confirmed speakers
Tal Adler, Tiziana Nicoletta Beltrame, Robert Bud, George Loudon, Jean-Paul Martinon, Staffan Muller-Wille, Tune Pers, Nicholas Thomas, Adrian Van Allen, Jenny Bangham, Martha Fleming.

For more information contact
Karin Tybjerg
Martin Grünfeld

Open for everyone (SOLD OUT)
The workshop is open for everyone but active participation in discussions and preliminary reading of papers is expected.

Please note
There is no registration fee for attending the conference, but if you would like to attend the conference dinner on Friday evening there is a fee and you must choose registration with dinner (sold out).
Registration here