The imperatives surrounding the museum representation of place have shifted from the late eighteenth century to today. This is in part because the political significance of place itself has changed and continues to change at all scales, from local, civic, regional to national and supranational. At the same time, recognition of changes in population flows, migration patterns and demographic movement  now underscore both cultural and political practice, be it in the accommodation of ‘diversity’ in cultural and social policy, scholarly explorations of hybridity or in state immigration controls. These issues, taken historically, have particular significance for contemporary understandings of the role of place in individual, collective and state notions of society in the EU, in member states and in other European countries. How do European museums present societies as bound to, or enabled by, place and places? Or as having roots in places and/or taking routes from, to and through places?
What cartographical groupings, borders, knowledges (e.g. archaeological, ethnographic etc.) and traversals order and organise populations into societies in the museum? What is the metaphorical ‘place’ of place in European museums now, what does this say about identities?

To invert these questions, we might ask what happens or what can happen, when the ‘peoples’ and ‘places’ implicated in, and at least to some extent constructed in, museum representation shift, change, multiply, fragment and/or move? What happens when the museum desire for fixity is disrupted by new sensibilities towards population flows, multiple heritages and the shifting territories of geopolitical places? Should museums’ representational practices change? If so how? What are the new dimensions of identity construction and production in museums whose physical place is fixed, but whose audiences, with their changing heritages and cultures, are not?

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Peter Aronsson, Professor, Uses of the Past and Cultural Heritage, Tema Q, Culture Studies,  Linköpings University, Sweden; Ullrich Kockel, Professor of Ethnology and Folk Life, University of Ulster; Annemarie de Wildt, Curator, Amsterdam Museum.

Submissions are invited in the following areas:

   * Theoretical approaches to the study of museums and place
   * Representation of migration and mobility in European Museums
   * European and EU political contexts for place-people-culture relations
   * Place identities in museums: European, national, local and hybridised
   * Relationships between place and ethnicity in European museum representations
   * Visitor experiences of place representations in European museums
   *Belonging and alienation in European museums

Submissions are invited for individual papers and for thematic sessions comprising 3-4 papers.

Instructions for submission

Abstracts of maximum 300 words for individual papers should be submitted to Victoria Patton ( by 30th April 2012.

Session proposals should include abstracts for all papers plus a 300-word introductory text, to be submitted to Victoria Patton ( by 30th April 2012.

The abstracts should include the following information:

   * Title of paper
   * Author name(s)
   * Affiliation and position
   * Email address
   * Abstract

•         Keywords (maximum 5)

Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their proposals in May. Accepted speakers will be required to submit a 2000-5000-word full paper in advance of the conference (to Victoria Patton by 2nd July 2012). These full papers will be included on a CD in the delegate packs provided during the conference.  Paper presentations at the conference will be limited to 20 minutes in duration and should therefore summarise the key arguments and findings of the full paper.

There is no registration fee for the conference and lunch is included on both days.

MeLA Research Field 01 Conference organising committee
International Centre for Cultural & Heritage Studies, Newcastle University:
Professor Chris Whitehead (Research Field 01 leader)
Dr Rhiannon Mason (Co-investigator)
Dr Susannah Eckersley (Research Associate)
Dr Victoria Patton (Research Secretary)
Victoria Patton
FP7 Project Research Secretary
ICCHS, School of Arts and Cultures
Newcastle University
+44 (0) 191 222 8321