Lab | Concept Work

Key Concepts: Material Culture Studies in the Museum

This series will explore the material turn in the social sciences and the humanities as a starting point for rethinking museum practice and collections-based research.

We are pleased to announce a new seminar series in 2018 that will bring to the RCMC international scholars from key fields that have helped constitute the diverse field of material culture studies. Each speaker will introduce a topic that critically explores a key concept for museum work from 'object-centered' perspectives provided by Actor-Network-Theory (ANT), New Materialism, Object Oriented Ontology, and others.

In the first part of the year, discussions examined how concepts of refugee, affordance, hoarding, and digitality might be taken up in different and critical ways within museum work, and also how the particular histories of ethnographic, colonial, and world culture collections might help attune material culture studies approaches to certain sensitive issues such as citizenship, belonging, responsibility and repair.

The seminar will continue in the fall of 2018. Please check back for updates.

Research Theme: Concept Work

Schedule and Information
  • 15 February – Dan Hicks (Oxford) on Refugees
  • 02 March –  Paul Basu (SOAS) on Objects Affordances
  • 15 March – Fabio Gygi (SOAS) on Hoarding
  • 19 April –  Haidy Geismar (UCL) on Digitality

The seminars are open to all students and researchers and classes will be capped at 30 people. NMVW research and curatorial staff will be given priority.

Time & Location: RCMC, Nooterzaal in Leiden from 2-5pm.

Registration is required. Please register for individual seminars via the event pages.

Key Concepts Seminar | 15 feb | RCMC
Key Concepts Seminar | 2 March | RCMC
Key Concepts Seminar | 15 March | RCMC
Key Concepts Seminar | 19 April | RCMC


Wayne Modest
Head Research Center for Material Culture
Juliette Huijgen
Communications & Production Manager
Annemieke Dannenberg