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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Accessing the Past: evidence of artefacts (Conference)

Learning Centre, Palace Green Library, Dr Mary Brooks

This conference, scheduled for 18 and 19 March 2016, draws together different innovative approaches to establishing and interrogating evidence from objects in order to foster multi and interdisciplinary debate and share knowledge of the cutting-edge approaches to interrogating artefacts practised within the University. It will be of interest to anyone concerned with objects, their significance and values, interpretation, degradation and care.

The conference will open with the rare opportunity to inspect medieval manuscripts and see a demonstration of pigment analysis with Durham University’s Professor Andrew Beeby, (Chemistry) and Professor Richard Gameson (History). Other speakers include:

  • Professor John Chapman, Durham University (Archaeology) Towards an integrated theory of fragmentation: the fragmentation of place
  • Dinah Eastop, PhD, MA, FIIC, ACR Consultant in Conservation and Material Culture Concealed garments and their biographies
  • Dr Sarah Semple, Durham University (Archaeology) Narratives in Stone: Reworked Roman Stone in Early Medieval Contexts
  • Deborah Cane, Hoard Conservation Project, The Staffordshire Hoard, Birmingham Museums The Staffordshire Hoard
  • Dr Stefano Cracolici, Durham University (Italian, School of Modern Languages and Cultures) Travelling Canvases: Sacred Art from Rome to the British Isles in the Nineteenth Century
  • Gary Bankhead, Durham University ( Archaeology) Analysing evidence from the bed of the River Elvet
  • Dr Craig Barclay, Durham University, Curator, The Oriental Museum Communicating evidence in the museum

The programme consists of short presentations arranged around the following themes:

  • Evidence & the Biography of Artefacts - Creation, Use & Abuse, Discarding & Recycling, Present Day Cultural Values
  • Evidence Types: Analytical, Recovery Context, Cultural Associations
  • Evidence & Degradation: Making Meaning from Damage and Decay
  • Making and Communicating Meaning from Evidence

The presentations will be interspersed with mediated roundtables to debate the evidence obtained through different strategies including technical analysis, aesthetic and intellectual analysis and how such evidence is evaluated and communicated.
The conference is open to academics and students from Durham and other universities and to members of the public.

Contact mary.brooks@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.