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Call for papers: SHCG Conference 2013

Annual conference
27–28 June 2013
Ulster Museum, Belfast
and Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra, Belfast

Local stories, global identities

In a globalised society, how should museums define ‘local’ history? Should social history museums try to tell national or even global stories or is the primary duty of social history curators to serve the local communities where we are based? What exactly does ‘community’ mean and how does the definition of this term impact on what we collect and who we work with?

This year’s conference will examine the interplay between the global and the local in our museums, exploring how these concepts shape our visitors, our services and our practice.

SHCG would like to invite proposals from across the museum and cultural sector that reflect the conference theme. Suggestions for papers include but are not limited to the following areas:

• How are museums working with local partners in order to develop new ways of delivering services?

• How are social history curators using digital media and social networking to engage local as well as global audiences?

• How should museums approach contemporary collecting and interpret industrial history when mass manufacturing by global brands have replaced local made products and services?

• How is pressure from funding bodies to demonstrate impact and value within local communities affecting the way we deliver museum services?

• How do local history museums help to create a sense of place and belonging for new audiences?

• Can local history and local collections be the subject for blockbuster exhibitions with global appeal?

• How can museums interpret and create a shared perception of local, histories where diverse communities hold alternative beliefs or values?

• Can museums, galleries and cultural centre’s be civic hubs where groups and individuals participate and take ownership for their culture and heritage?

SHCG Annual conference will aim to cover these themes in a variety of formats, including presentations, debate, and skills development 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 (plus 10 mins questions).

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 on the interplay between global and local perspectives in museums. Debaters will work in pairs to either propose or oppose the motion (yet to be confirmed).

Workshop /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 i.e. the development of new skills. 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 to Jude Holland and Ciara Canning by 28th January 2013,

Proposals should include a 200 word summary of the presentation or workshop idea, contact details and institutional affiliation (if any).

Speakers’ travel costs can be reimbursed (travel reimbursed at standard fare rate – booked by a cut off date specified by the committee) 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.