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Remaking the Museum:
Curation, Conservation, and Care in Times of Ecological Upheaval

About the conference

In this time of entangled social and environmental crisis, the need to not only reimagine but remake the museum has acquired new urgency. Bring together leading scholars and practitioners from across the environmental humanities and beyond, this two-day conference will investigate the opportunities, challenges, and limits of the museum as a catalyst for social change in the Anthropocene. From the museum’s early modern origins to the development of today’s highly heritage saturated public culture, the capacity of museums and their objects to perform particular relationships between nature, culture, and history has always been important—inviting critique from a variety of political and theoretical vantage points. The emergence of the Anthropocene as both a contested concept and concrete reality adds new layers of complexity and intensity to this story.

What modes of collecting, classifying, conserving, and curating are called for amidst this moment of unfolding change? How to actively reshape our relations with contemporary ecologies of loss, profusion, and transformation in a way that is both more affirmative and more just? What alternative practices of curation and care flourish in the margins of official heritage projects? How can we differently actualize what Tony Bennett long ago called “the exhibitionary complex” in light of contemporary issues? And finally: Given the museum’s problematic history, can it be salvaged as the vector of its own remediation? Working across a wide range of historical, geographical, and disciplinary contexts, scholars and practitioners will come together to consider these important questions. Our aim for the conference is not only to critique and deconstruct—important tasks in their own right—but also chart a path forward for the museum as a powerful force for world-making. 

Conference Schedule

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Dehlia Hannah (University of Arizona)
  • Sharon Macdonald (Humboldt University of Berlin)
  • Timothy W. Luke (Virginia Tech)


Taking place at Denmark’s Moesgaard Museum, this two-day conference will explore the possibility of remaking of the museum as catalyst for social and environmental change in this geological epoch of our making: the Anthropocene.

  • Date: Wednesday 06 December - Thursday 07 December
  • Location: Moesgaard Museum, The auditorium (020), Moesgaard Allé 15, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark

The conference organizers welcome papers from across the environmental humanities and beyond. Please send abstracts (200 words) or enquiries to Michael Vine by November 1, 2017.


Organised by Centre for Environmental Humanities and AURA (Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene):

  • Felix Riede
  • Heather Swanson
  • Michael Vine