Tag Archives: Science Museum

Science Museum Group Research Conference 2019: The Place of Industry – Call for Papers

The 2019 Science Museum Group Research Conference will take place 4-5 November 2019, at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester.  Here, on an internationally significant industrial heritage site, in the world’s first industrial city, we will emphasise the place of industry. The conference seeks to showcase research from across the Science Museum Group, partners, and collaborators and to broaden the participants in – and audience for – that research. Alongside the overarching theme, the conference gathers together new thinking that resonates with the collections and practices of the Science Museum Group and draws out emerging work from our research community.

This year we particularly welcome offers of papers, panels, case studies, screenings and performances on the following topics:

  • Place-based approaches to science and industry. From the coffee house to the technical school, from bricks and mortar to regional strategies.  What does a focus on place and space bring to our understanding of science and industry?
  • Interfaces and juxtapositions of industry with other disciplines and frames. From applying a science, technology, engineering and maths lens to industry to making space for artists and creative practitioners to extend industry’s meaning.  What potentials are there in pushing and exploring the boundaries of industry?
  • The proximity of industry. From the haptic perception of technologies to the sensory qualities of industrial cities and spaces.  How does industry being close-at-hand alter human experience? And how does experience design respond to industrial spaces?

If you are interested in contributing, please get in touch with Abi Wilson Abigail.wilson@scienceandindustrymuseum.org.uk

Your proposal should include the following information:

  • Proposed format of your contribution (presentation, performance, panel etc)
  • Working title
  • Abstract– at this stage a brief paragraph is fine
  • Name(s) of speaker / contributors
  • Home institution.

The deadline for receipt of proposals is Friday 28 June 2019.

Great Response to ABTEM Autumn Seminar!

Over 70 people attended our autumn event held at the Dana Centre at the Science Museum in London.

Titled the ‘Death of the Machine’, the meeting debated some of the issues surrounding the continuing success of museums with collections of machinery and how they might be sustained in the future.

As well as thought-provoking presentations from Oliver Green, Ben Russell, Laura Musgrave and Daniel Martin, there was also a lively debate discussing some of the issues raised in the meeting!

Thanks are due to the Science Museum for their support and to Lee Hutchinson for his help in organising the event.

ABTEM are also supporting another seminar at the National Waterways Museum on the 7th December – details to be posted shortly!




The Death of the Machine? Book Now for the ABTEM Autumn Seminar

THE DEATH OF THE MACHINE?  What future for machines in museum collections?

Thursday 3rd November: Dana Centre, Science Museum London

Our Autumn Meeting will look at the current status of industrial machinery in UK museums and ask whether the long-term sustainability of machinery collections could or indeed should be ensured.

The UK’s remaining industrial collections are faced with significant threats to their survival, and these show little sign of abating. Current challenges include:

Ongoing funding cuts, the demise of industrial-collection-specialist curators and conservators, nationwide deindustrialisation and the rapid growth in automation, and education curriculums offering fewer opportunities to learn about industrial machinery.

Will the rise of what has been described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, where emerging technologies begin to blur the lines between the physical and digital realms, cast a shadow over the machines of former industrial ages, and send industrial collections further into obscurity, or can museums embrace the technological revolution to revive and enhance interest in machines that revolutionized the 18th and 19th centuries?

What’s more, should they? With a decline in industrial collecting opportunities and a growing movement for community-driven museums, might there be a case for mothballing machinery collections and focussing on user participation – with increased access initiatives in the form of working-exhibit rides and demonstrations, and tours and activities behind the scenes?

The meeting will also include the ABTEM Annual General Meeting

Provisional Programme

10:00 – Registration, tea, coffee and biscuits

10:45 – Introduction – Jack Kirby (Head of Collections, Science Museum)

11:00 – Tim Bryan (Chair, ABTEM)

‘ABTEM’s Larger and Working Objects Project’

11:30 – Oliver Green, (freelance, former Head Curator, London Transport Museum)

‘Thoughts on the future for industrial & transport museums’

12:00 – Ben Russell (Curator of Mechanical Engineering, Science Museum)

‘The Raid on Raglan: the commemorative role of machines in museums’

12:45 – Lunch

1:45 – Laura Musgrave (former Engagement Officer, Coventry Transport Museum)

‘The redevelopment of Coventry Transport Museum – how people’s stories took centre stage’

2:00 – Daniel Martin (Curator, Museum of Making, Derby)

‘Taking a co-productive approach at the Museum of Making’

2:15 – Open discussion and debate with speakers

3:15 – Tea/coffee/biscuits

3:45 – ABTEM AGM

4:15 – End

To book, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/abtem-autumn-seminar-the-death-of-the-machine-tickets-28451149153




The Science Museum Group has launched a new online journal that shares research from the four national museums in the group.

Articles within include an account of the significance of James Watt’s workshop (now displayed at the Science Museum, and a study of a 1960’s exhibition at South Kensington featuring the ‘Freedom 7’ Mercury spacecraft.

In his introduction, Ian Blatchford, Director of the Science Museum writes:”At a time when scholarship seems under threat, we are strengthening our commitment to a deeper understanding of our world class collections, conservation challenges and the most successful ways of engaging the wider public with the history of science and the technological and scientific challenges facing modern society”.

The first issue is available to browse at: http://journal.sciencemuseum.org.uk/.