The biennial University Museums in Scotland conference will be taking place at my old school, the University of Aberdeen in November:
The 6th biennial University Museums in Scotland conference Museums have become increasingly contentious places, engaging with debates on issues such as repatriation, genocide, slavery, censorship, power and the treatment of human remains. This conference will discuss how responding to such challenges can enable museums to depart from tradition and embrace different ways of thinking, working and developing new audiences. One session will focus on challenges to the display and curation of human remains, which will contribute to the development of the ‘Guidelines for the Care of Human Remains in Scottish Museum Collections’ as well as wider thinking and practice. The legacy of empire and slavery will include a focus on an assessment of museum presentations celebrating the bicentenary of the 1807 abolition of the slave trade alongside similar issues relating to empire and racism. The second day will consider how the often conflicting demands of different interests affect museum practice with a focus on current negotiations with relevant communities and the legacy of previous practices that continue to be contentious. Four keynote papers will give further depth to these themes, while there will also be poster presentations to expand on some of the issues raised by speakers and by others who have already expressed an interest in the conference. A discussion panel towards the end of the conference will debate whether museums should aim to be contentious and what the impacts are of doing so. Selected papers are to be published in a special issue of Museum Management and Curatorship. ‘the international forum for museum professionals’, edited by Robert Janes and published by Taylor and Francis. ‘The Contentious Museum’ conference is the sixth biennial University Museums in Scotland conference, drawing together a variety of people with professional, academic and community interests in museums in Scotland and elsewhere.