Call for Papers: The Ludic Museum

Image c. Wikipedia Commons.
Image c. Wikipedia Commons.

Liverpool, Tate Liverpool, January 31 – February 1, 2014; CFP Deadline: Nov 29, 2013

Confirmed keynote speakers: Lars Bang Larsen, Pascal Gielen, Ane Hjort Guttu

Coinciding with the exhibition of the Palle Nielsen Archive at Tate Liverpool, this international two-day conference seeks to investigate the role of ‘play’, ‘fun’ and ‘games’ in the museological context. In 1968, Danish artist and activist Palle Nielsen conceived ‘The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society’ at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, which saw the entire museum transformed into a playground for children, complete with sound system, climbing structures, bouncy areas and spaces devoted to activities such as painting and costume-making. Although the children were unsupervised in ‘The Model’, they could be observed from outside via short-circuit television.

The Ludic Museum aims to shift contemporary museological discourse about play away from outreach and family-oriented education and closer to more fundamental questions of freedom, creativity, indeterminacy and participation. ‘The Model’ allowed children to appropriate the museum and, to a large extent, set their own rules of engagement with each other, their guardians and the institution. Precisely because it would be difficult to replicate in any major museum today, ‘The Model’ prompts us to take seriously the challenges that play poses to the physical and theoretical premises of the contemporary museum.

Curators, art historians, educators, artists, philosophers and researchers of any background are invited to propose papers on these or related topics:

– Historical or recent instances of play in museums

– Children’s museums – their histories or architectures

– Philosophical reflections on play and art

– Play and ‘relational aesthetics’

– Play as unlearning

– Museum curators and educators as administrators of play

– Legacies of 1960s political activism in contemporary examples of play

in museums

– Institutional and archival traces of play

– Fun and labour in the museum

– Play as curatorial strategy

– Pedagogical theories on play and museums

– Museums and game theory

– Play in virtual museum environments

– Relationships between play and aesthetics (including neuroaesthetics)

– Museums, play and wellbeing

Please email an abstract of up to 300 words, along with a short CV, by Friday 29 November 2013 to Antony Hudek, Research Curator, Tate Liverpool: antony.hudek@tate.org.uk.

Although speakers’ travel and accommodation are not covered, limited travel funds will be available for EU researchers who are not affiliated with an institution. Selected papers from the conference will feature in an online Tate publication, to be published in 2015.

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