Call for Papers

MARTOR 23/2018

CURATING CHANGE  IN  THE  MUSEUM

The Museum of the Romanian Peasant is seeking contributions for its annual journal Martor 23/2018. Martor is a peer-reviewed academic journal, established in 1996, indexed by EBSCO and CEEOL, with a focus on cultural and visual anthropology, ethnology and museology.

The theme of our 23rd issue is CURATING CHANGE IN THE MUSEUM.

Museums are places of conservation but they do not necessarily have to be conservative places. On the contrary, museums are sometimes at the vanguard of cultural innovation, changing the world rather than keeping up with the way the world changes. This thematic issue seeks to gather texts and case-studies of museums challenging the status-quo, opening up instead of closing in, daring instead of being cautious, all the while keeping up the standards of preserving and exhib­iting the precious collections in their care.

The Romanian Peasant Museum is especially suited to host such a debate in the pages of its journal of museology and visual anthropology as it has been itself a site of controversy and bold innovation. Recognized as such and awarded with an EMYA in 1996, the museum is currently undergoing reconstruction works and will reopen its gates with a contemporary version of the award-winning permanent exhibition (imagined and produced by artist Horia Bernea during the 1990s).

The challenges museums bring to cultural paradigms tackle both form and content. Museums are seen as institutions that mostly avoid controversy and would rather wait for a canon to be built around a subject before exhibiting it. However, the experience of post-communist states has shown that half a century of traumatic experience laid unexamined until museums, both public and private, started exploring it with the specific language of curated artifacts. Insofar as the communist experience is concerned, museums were in the vanguard of opening up the debate about former totalitarian regimes and the silence surrounding them.

Museums foster innovation not only in the themes they choose to exhibit, but also in proposing new museological languages. Involving the visitor in the exhibit, making her a part of the exhi­bition (Nina Simon’s participative museum) changes not only the way museums are visited, but also the wider cultural experience of someone who has once felt that she is no more a spectator but a co-author. Inviting artists to curate collections of history or ethnography, introducing fiction as a way to both create and challenge the authenticity discourse, curating by children, re-writing exhibition texts in less authoritarian voices, these are all new ways in which museums reinvent not only themselves, but also challenge cultural recipes.

This thematic issue seeks to publish texts, from both academics and practitioners, on a broad array of subjects such as:

  • case-studies of museums who have innovated or dealt creatively with controversial issues or collections;
  • new sources of inspiration for museum practice;
  • new solutions to old problems;
  • new museums for old collections;
  • conservation as innovation;
  • fiction in the museum;
  • the new curators of museum exhibition (invited artists, the community, children etc.);
  • precariousness in the museum (see Musée Précaire Albinet).

We encourage early submissions in the form of abstracts and expressions of interest, by 1st of November 2017.

We are expecting texts, in either English or French of 7.000 to 10.000 words by 1st of February, 2018. High quality images supporting the argument are a plus in the selection process.

For the academic writing standards of our journal, please see the Style Sheet available in the For Authors section on our website.

Please e-mail your submissions and any inquiries (e.g. editorial guidelines) to revistamartor@gmail.com.

Editor: Simina Bădică

Assistant editor: Anca-Maria Pănoiu

This thematic issue is conceived in the framework of the project Museums and Controversial Collections. Politics and Policies of Heritage-Making in Post-colonial and Post-socialist Contexts (2015-2017, New Europe College) and in collaboration with Museums meet Museums international seminar.