Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Museum Narratives event report

Gonul Bozoglu, a PhD student in the sociology department reflects on the ‘Museum Narratives’ event held on 7th March.

There were two key speakers Dr. Sheila Watson from the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester and Dr. Geoff Cubitt from the Department of History at the University of York. Both of them brought different perspectives to bear on the question of how museums create narratives about history. 

Dr. Watson talked about how museums in different countries create stories about national origins. She focused on a number of case studies drawn from the Eunamus research programme (http://www.ep.liu.se/eunamus/), for example the Harbiye Military Museum in Istanbul. Dr Watson explained how museums create implicit narratives that relate to contemporary identities: ethnic, political and historical, and how this plays into questions of global politics. Dr. Cubitt discussed his work on the Bi-centenary of the Abolition of Slavery in Britain and showed how the abolition and slavery itself was turned into narrative through techniques of museum display.
In the discussion afterwards, in response to questions, the speakers reflected on some of the histories that they explored, and reflected on the ways in which ‘narrative’ works as an analytical framework for understanding the ways in which museums represent history and identity.

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