‘Curators in Residence’: Hidden archaeological sites and ‘virtual curating’
Since October I’ve been away on research leave working mainly on my “‘Curators in Residence’: Hidden archaeological sites and ‘virtual curating'” project in Veria, Greece. This project focuses on archaeological sites that exist ‘out of sight’, beneath modern developments (usually blocks of flats). These archaeological remains are found during construction processes and due to their archaeological significance they are preserved in situ, usually in basements of new buildings. The local Archaeological Department (‘Ephoreia’) of the Ministry of Culture is responsible for safeguarding, preserving and monitoring the remains, which are usually not accessible to the public. The archaeological sites are often also ‘invisible’ inasmuch they are not presented in guidebooks, museum exhibitions, etc. At the same time, they have a particular type of ‘public’: namely, the building’s residents, who share their domestic or work space with the archaeological remains.
Last year, with the support and assistance of the local Archaeological Ephoreia, I did an urban archaeological survey and identified 22 archaeological sites or remains preserved in the basements of blocks of flats and shops. The survey was the first stage of the research. The second stage has been an investigation into how residents and owners of those modern buildings relate to and interpret the archaeological sites they live with. This is what I have been doing the last couple of months through a series of interviews and focus groups. The third stage that will follow aims to engage residents of buildings with the interpretation and presentation of antiquities preserved under modern buildings via the use of digital media. Through the active involvement of residents and the application of digital technologies, the project aims to develop a decentralised network of volunteer ‘virtual curators’ that would contribute towards a collaborative, localised and personalised presentation of the ‘hidden’ archaeological sites.
Although away, I have been following the 4 exhibitions that this year’s MA Art Gallery and Museum Studies set up last semester: The Lost Stage, The Multi-Story City , Unveiling Voices and Your Manchester. Well done to all of you and extra congratulations to the last group, whose exhibition ‘Your Manchester’ has been voted to remain on display for the remainder of the academic year 2009/10.
On other news, The Centre for Museology is offering post-graduate funding at both MA and PhD level, including bursaries and AHRC scholarships. See our funding pages and please note that the deadline for applying is March 15th 2010 (but MA applicants are advised to submit their admission application before 1st March to ensure that their application is received by the school office well in advance of the deadline).
Have a look also at the Spring Series of research seminars at the Centre for Museology, that include:
– Monday 8th February, Frances Larson, Honorary Research Fellow in Anthropology, Durham University, on The ‘bric-a-bracquers’: An exploration into the demographics of collecting in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century
– Monday 22nd Feburary, Bernadette Lynch, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Manchester, on Museums and civil society: Resistance, activism and social change
– Monday 1st March, Julie Sheldon, Reader in Art History, Liverpool John Moores University, on ‘Enthusiasm and Unwearied Diligence’: Lady Eastlake at the National Gallery
All seminars are at 5pm, Mansfield Cooper 4.10 and everyone is welcome! For more info, email firstname.lastname@example.org