Collectors and Collecting Conference at the Univer...

Collectors and Collecting Conference at the University of Portsmouth

For the last few months or so the act of collecting and the role of the collector (or curator) has been something we’ve been talking about a lot, particularly in reference to the current main exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum: A Hard Choice. The exhibition is personally curated by the city’s Collections Manager Rosalinda Hardiman and it puts a focus on how important collections and curation can be.

On Friday 5th June 2015 the University of Portsmouth are holding a one day conference entitled Collectors and Collecting which will focus on collecting. For centuries humans have conceptualised their identities through the activity of collecting. The practice of defining culture, space and time through interactions and relationships with objects appears to be a recurring feature of human history and has led to a long tradition of memorialising the past in libraries, museums, archives and personal collections. Since civilisation began, there has been an ever-increasing trend for collecting objects, from exotic souvenirs of antiquity to photograph albums, objets d’art to folk tales and songs, literary mementoes to governmental archives. In recent years, this has led to the meaningful object being explored and theorised in many disciplines, including literature, art and museums studies, to name but a few.

The conference aims to look at all aspects of collecting from early modern collections of souvenirs to Victorian forms of control through categorisation and the nostalgic renewal of past forms; from the eclectic juxtapositions of Modernism all the way through to today with modern creative uses of the archive, fandom and cult collectors.

The conference will host keynote speaker Professor Susan Pearce, currently Professor Emeritus of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester, who has written extensively on the meaningful object, and the interrelations between individuals and artefacts. The programme also includes another 15 talks from a variety of experts in the field covering many different related subjects:

  • – Collectors and collections from the perspective of literary, film and art history disciplines
  • – The representation of collections and collectors in literature and film
  • – Collections in Museums, archives, libraries and galleries
  • – Literary collections and literary collectors
  • – Fandom and cult collecting
  • – The Imperial Archive and postcolonialism
  • – Expanded definitions of the collection – countries, people, memories
  • – The psychology of collecting and habits of collecting
  • – The history of collecting; the relations of collecting to history
  • – Collections of: photography, manuscripts, souvenirs, postcards, stamps, naturalists’ collections (insects etc.), books, music, stories, autographs, magazines, albums and scrapbooks, letters, life-writing etc.
  • – Theories of the collection including thing theory, archive theory, object theory, museum theory and cultural memory theory
  • – Subjectivity and objectivity in the collection
  • – Experiences of researching the collection and fictional researchers

You can see the full programme HERE (PDF).

Tickets for the day are only £35 including lunch and can be booked online:


You can find out more about the conference by emailing cslpgconf@port.ac.uk or visit the Collectors and Collecting conference blog.

Collectors and Collecting Conference at the University of Portsmouth


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