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Conference run by the doctoral programme Ancient Objects and Visual Studies
22–24 November 2018, Berlin

Image studies and museum practice: the image as the focal point of research versus the image as exhibited object

‘Image’ is used with a wide range of meanings in archaeology. Differences exist not only between, for example, Classical and Islamic Archaeology or Egyptology, but also within each research area. Interpretations vary too depending on how each field is situated within ‘image studies’ or ‘visual studies’. The conference will discuss not only the varying concepts of the image and the treatment of images in different archaeological and related disciplines, but also the impact of these on museum displays.

One starting point is the relation between the image and its medium. Is the image autonomous or should the medium be the focus of research? This is critical for the scholarly handling of the image, its museum display and its reception. The topic is further related to the question of whether the aesthetic or the didactic should take priority in museums, as well as to newer ideas of museum interpretation and the influence of these on the development of new concepts of the image.

This interdisciplinary conference will deepen the dialogue between archaeological research areas dealing with image studies and museum practice. It will be of interest to both scholars in universities and curators and educators in museums and collections. In addition to the separate papers (each 20 minutes in length), there will be forums to discuss the various topics in detail.


Abstracts are requested on the following topics:

  • The definition and treatment of the image and the concept of the image in different archaeological research areas
  • The dependence or otherwise of the image on the medium
  • What role does the aura of the object/image play and how does the object/image function as a source for the analysis of cultural-historical phenomena in academia and museum practice?
  • The concepts of image studies and visual studies and their influence on the understanding of the image in the related archaeological research fields
  • The application of image and visual studies concepts in museum practice, and ways of communicating between objects and visitors
  • How do contemporary images emerge from ancient ones?

The conference languages are German and English.

Send abstracts (maximum length 2,500 characters) to tagungaovis2018@geschkult.fu-berlin.de. The deadline is 20 July 2018. Responses will be given by the end of August 2018.




The venue will be announced shortly.