Trip to the AHRC Care for the Future/Labex Pasts in the Present Joint Workshop, January 16th and 17th, 2015

In January I was lucky enough to talk about ‘Who Cares?’ at the 1st Franco-British Research Workshop. The theme of this two day workshop was ‘Delving Back into the Past to look into the Present and Future’ and was the result of The Cluster of Excellence LABEX in France working with the AHRC’s Care for the Future theme to identify topics of mutual interest.

Care for the Future/ Labex Pasts

The workshop was held in the beautiful Royaumont Foundation, Val d’Oise, France an institute with a long history of supporting the arts and perfect surroundings for conversations about our relationship with the past. Also the most amazing conference food I’ve ever had- five desserts and a cheese course!

During the workshop we heard from a range of speakers in French and English who covered topics that ranged from film, archives, museums, oral history, family history, trauma, community and the environment. The theme of memory, how we researched, conceptualised and recorded it stood out for me over the two days. I thought about how memory, institutional and individual, runs through museum collections and how we might reflect the emotions connected with the act of recollection.

Care for the Future/ Labex Pasts

The response to our paper was very helpful. I learnt about French local history museums with collections of ‘unloved’ objects and the familiar discussions about neglect, care and passion taking place within these organisations. I was also encouraged to think about how we might frame our ‘unloved’ collections within the debates surrounding cultural value. Altogether, an exhausting and thought provoking experience.

– Alison Hess, Science Museum

Our first Advisory Group meeting (March 2015)

We had our first Advisory Group meeting in the wonderful Science Museum at the beginning of March. It was great to finally sit down with some of the people who will be contributing to the thinking and doing of this project. We had curatorial staff from Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, the Museum of English Rural Life and of course the Science Museum there. A lot of the discussion concerned our upcoming Concept Generation Workshop at the University of Reading in April. We want the project to embrace unusual approaches to collaboration so we decided to go with an Open Space format.

While we were there our lovely mentor and meeting chairperson Dr Hilary Geoghegan got a snap of us posing against a wonderful backdrop on the Science Museum’s balcony. From here on in it’ll probably be photos of us crawling around in stores.

Science Museum Science Museum