Call for Papers: Museum Ethnographers Group 2019 Conference

Everything we hope to do rests upon trust.  Ethnography displays rely upon mutual trust - between and among museum professionals, external partners, and diverse audiences.

How do we develop an environment of trust that enables, accepts and forgives the contradictions inherent in our displays? We display difference as a means of searching for commonalities; our displays seek to 'give voice' and yet often we 'speak for'.  Trust enables forgiving spaces and critical conversations around displays that aspire to present, represent, advocate, interpret and empower other ways of being.  An absence of trust risks displays that seem to misrepresent, (mis)appropriate, consume and disempower.

How do we encourage institutional trust in a time of post-truth politics?

How can museums deal with ‘toxic’ or contested objects in our collections that potentially undermine the institution's message? 

Recognising that a failure of trust causes actual harm, how can we nurture and maintain trust?

Can collaborative curation and conversation really effect change in the broader landscape of museum practice? Do we need to re-think the museum’s relationships with the state and funders? And with originating communities?

We welcome long and short papers that address these and related issues: long papers x 20 minutes, short papers x 10 minutes.

We also invite short papers on work in progress.

Please send a 200 word abstract and 100 word biography to the conference organiser, Robert Storrie, at

Deadline for proposals: 31 January 2019