AC/CFP: « The History and Future of Art and Design Museums », International conference, Bonn, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 19 – 21 January 2012

Deadline: Feb 28, 2011

Organisers :
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn
Abteilung Kunstgeschichte | Department of History of Art, Rheinische
Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

‘Collections and public monuments are the true teachers of a free society. Not only do they teach by practical studies, but more  importantly they inform public taste.’ (Gottfried Semper, 1852)

From 18 November 2011 – 15 April 2012 the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, will host the exhibition ART AND DESIGN FOR ALL: THE VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM. On this occasion the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle, together with the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and the Department of Art History, University of Bonn, is organising an international, interdisciplinary conference on the significance, the role, the history and the future of art and design museums.

The Victoria & Albert Museum was from its beginnings in the nineteenth century confronted with the challenges of industrialisation and mechanisation. Using its innovative concept as a starting point, the conference will focus on the question of changing profiles and new concepts for museums of art and design. The collections of the South Kensington Museum, founded in 1857 and rebranded as the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1899, encouraged aesthetic improvement of British manufactured and industrial products. At the same time it provided the museum’s visitors with uplifting and enlightening views and models for imitation. When the new building opened in 1909, the Victoria & Albert was described as a ‘public educational institution’ for the advancement and the support of excellent achievements in the visual and the industrial arts.

But how do we define a museum of art and design today? Do these museums have an identity of their own, and what makes them unique? Or do they merge with art collections? Which innovative concepts can guarantee success today? What are the tasks of museums of art and design, and how can they be best performed?

Based on the foundation of the Victoria and Albert Museum which emerged from London’s Great Exhibition, the conference also aims at examining today’s relationships of art and design museums. What were and are their connections with the market? What is the relationship between art and design museums and schools of design today? In what kind of social, economical and cultural framework do art and design museums operate, and how far-reaching is their impact? How is design perceived in the context of the dissolving/expanding forms of art practice? How do new technologies change design? And finally: How important is product branding today?

We are aiming at a wide range of contributions for this conference and invite you to submit proposals for papers of no more than 20 minutes from the areas of art history, design history, history of museums (including both historic approaches and recent developments in e.g. Eastern Europe), marketing history etc. to one of the following addresses by 28 February 2011:

Dr Katharina Chrubasik

Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Friedrich-Ebert-Allee 4
531213 Bonn
Dr Grischka Petri
Universität Bonn
Abteilung Kunstgeschichte
Regina-Pacis-Weg 1
53113 Bonn

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