UMAC’s 8th International Conference, 16-20 September 2008, University of Manchester, UK
The theme of the conference is ‘University Museums and the Community’.
For much of their history, universities were elite learning environments, sheltered from the outside world by their ‘ivory towers’, and taking their model from the monastery. Since at least the 1960s, though, universities have been playing an increasingly important role in their local and regional communities. One of their early roles was to form extra-mural departments which offered courses to members of the public. More recently, universities have begun to recognize their cultural, economic and social role within their communities.
Universities are often major employers; some historic universities play a major role in the tourist economy; and some make a significant contribution through spin-off companies formed as a way of bringing commercial applications to university research.
In addition, one of the major ways in which universities make a contribution to their communities is through their cultural provision.
Many universities operate theatres, concert venues, parks, botanic gardens, and museums and galleries. Increasingly, university museums and galleries have become a vital link between universities and their communities. They are important sources of learning outside the classroom for schools and colleges, as well as places of informal learning for visitors of all kinds; they are vehicles for public engagement with academic research; and increasingly they are becoming places where the university can listen to the community and its views on the issues studied by academics.
The theme of UMAC’s 8th International Conference therefore focuses on one of the most pressing issues today for university museums across the globe, which is how they can best act as two-way bridges between the world of the university and the many and varied communities, outside the university, within it in the form of students and staff using the museums in their leisure time, and the global ‘virtual’ community of the Internet.
UMAC members encompass museums of all academic disciplines; each of them will be affected by these transitions in a different way and each will choose a different approach and strategy to secure the museum’s mission.
UMAC’s Conference Board 2008 invites participants to report on how they – each in their specific and therefore unique situation – respond to these challenges and to share experiences and best practices.
CALL FOR PAPERS
Proposals are invited for contributions to the conference, which will be divided into the following five themes, each to be covered in half a day:
1 Public engagement with academic research
2 University museums and the internet community
3 The role of the university museum in community development (outreach, tourism, economic development, attracting diverse audiences etc)
4 The role of the university museum in formal and informal learning (i.e. schools, families)
5 Marketing to the university audience as leisure users (i.e. attracting academics and students visiting outside formal teaching and research programmes)
Format of contributions
We would like to ensure that the conference has a variety of formats. We suggest that we have a keynote speaker on the morning of each day. The five conference themes might then be dealt with in the following ways:
· A series of conventional papers of 10-15 minutes, in the main hall
· Workshop sessions with main speaker (10 mins) and roundtable of 8 people speaking for 5 minutes each, with facilitator managing the discussion.
· Panel debate in the main hall: up to six people talking for five minutes each on a topic (e.g. how to market to the internal audience), with a facilitator who then extends the discussion to the whole audience.
PLEASE NOTE: There will only be a small number of conventional papers, and a larger number of workshop sessions and panel debates. Please bear this in mind when submitting your proposal.
How to submit a proposal
Please submit your proposal electronically to the Chair of the Academic Board, Sally MacDonald, at:
Your proposal should include the following:
· Your name, your title, your organisation and your contact details (email, telephone, address)
· Title of your intervention
· Which of the five themes your intervention relates to
· Abstract (up to 200 words) giving details of what you wish to say
· Indication of whether you prefer it to be a conventional paper, part of a roundtable workshop, part of a panel debate, or whether you do not mind.
PLEASE NOTE: We very much encourage participants to work up co-ordinated proposals involving several people.
PLEASE ALSO NOTE: We do not intend to have posters at this conference. Instead we encourage participation in workshop and panel discussions.
The call for papers closes on 31 March 2008, when they will be reviewed by the Academic Board. The Board intends to let proposers know their decision within six weeks.
Please address further enquiries to Sally MacDonald at the email address above.