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Call for contributions: SHCG Conference 2012

Call for Contributions

Annual Conference
Cardiff (Cardiff Story) and Bristol (MShed)
12th & 13th July 2012

Do We Always Get it Right? Interpreting our Social History Collections

Over the years SHCG, and its membership, has led the way in pioneering and advocating new approaches to interpreting Social history collections for our audiences. We hear a lot about innovation in interpretation and one of the current buzz words is Co-creation, an approach in which audience groups are integral to the interpretation of content and developing displays.

But, do we always get it right? Conference 2012 intends to explore what does make for successful interpretation and what are the approaches that work best with our visitors? We are aiming for an honest and open examination of what works and what doesn’t; mistakes, pitfalls, highlights and eureka moments of interpretation projects past and present.

SHCG is pleased to invite proposals from across the museum sector that reflect on one or more of the following core themes:

• How can we be truly innovative?
• When does experimenting with new ideas work and when doesn’t it work?
• What do we wish we had done differently?
• How do we know that our interpretation has successfully engaged visitors with objects?
• How do we strike a balance between the authoritative, curatorial voice and the personal contributions of an audience?
• What are the key methods of interpretation we should be taking into future projects?

SHCG Annual conference will aim to cover these themes in a variety of formats, including presentations, debate, workshops, discussion groups and CPD sessions.


Are you enthusiastic about sharing an element of your work with others? We are looking for interesting case studies, thoughts and reflections on one or more of the core themes to be presented in a 20 minute paper (excluding questions). Proposals should include a 200 word summary of the presentation, contact details and institutional affiliation (if any).


Fancy testing your powers of logic and reason? We need lively individuals to take part in a witty, tongue in cheek but nevertheless thought-provoking debate. Debaters will work in pairs to either propose or oppose the motion (yet to be confirmed).

Workshop / Facilitating Discussion groups

Developing and leading a workshop could be an ideal CPD opportunity for you and for others. Workshops would ideally involve elements of discussion, group work and some kind of tangible output, exploring in depth one of the core themes.

If you lack the confidence to lead a full session but would like to improve your facilitation skills, prompting discussion within smaller groups we would also welcome nominations for discussion group facilitators.

Please email expressions of interest and proposals for contributions to Karen Oliver-Spry ( by Friday 13th January 2012

Speakers’ travel costs can be reimbursed (travel reimbursed at standard fare rate – please book in advance if possible) and there will be no attendance fee on the day of speaking. Unfortunately we are unable to provide additional fees, subsistence costs or accommodation.

The Social History Curators Group was formed to improve the status and provision of social history in museums and the standards of collections, research, display and interpretation. The group acts as a forum for sharing ideas and practical experience with others involved in social and local history in museums.