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May 23

Spring into Methods: Work with Objects

23 May 2023 @ 10:00 am - 24 May 2023 @ 4:30 pm

This two-day training session will introduce doctoral students to the principles of object-based research as practiced across a range of fields in the Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Heritage Sector. It also affords students an opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience of conducting object-based research.

The session aims to develop your understanding of object-based research as an interdisciplinary research methodology. The session will give you a working knowledge of technical aspects of object-based research, including the basic principles of handling, description, and provenance, as well as more advanced training in scientific, historical, and cultural analysis of materials and manufacture. Students will be introduced to a suite of instruments for spectral, chemical, and scientific analysis of materials and composition in the Kelvin Hall teaching labs, and will develop strategies for to locating, sifting, and interpreting documentary evidence. This methods training will be applicable to a wide range of object types, both historical and contemporary, from across the globe.

Building on these skills, participants will collectively

1. Examine the benefits object- and collections-based research both as the primary research method and as a complimentary methodology that can enhance research projects in any discipline
2. Assess the challenges involved — including gaps in the historical record, destruction of documentary evidence or objects themselves, limits on access, geographical challenges (working in war zones, for example) — and the resources and strategies available to address these challenges
3. Explore how to mobilize object-based research as a decolonial methodology in multiple disciplinary contexts

Specific case studies from the Hunterian’s rich and varied holdings provide opportunities to uncover and analyze traces of past and ongoing instances of global trade, military conquest, colonization, and enslavement that are physically present on objects and embedded in the documentary history of their manufacture, movement, acquisition, and display. Drawing on the award-winning Curating Discomfort exhibition, the session will show how decolonial object-based research can advance academic and heritage sector collaborations and generate successful KE and impact projects.

The course staff have extensive experience in conducting and directing interdisciplinary object-based research projects drawing methods and concepts from art history, archeology, sociology, history of science and medicine, literary studies, and the creative arts. Students will be encouraged to contribute to discussions, as well as to participate in handling workshops and practical exercises; there will also be opportunities for group discussion of individual projects and specific challenges.

Please note, this event is now open for registration. When you complete your registration form, please select ‘Yes, I have been invited to register’ when prompted.


23 May 2023 @ 10:00 am
24 May 2023 @ 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Kelvin Hall Teaching Labs
University of Glasgow
Glasgow, G3 8AW United Kingdom


Dr Dahlia Porter
Dr Lola Sanchez-Jauregui
Attendance: 19 / 19