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Research Students - Material Culture
Devorah Romanek  
Devorah Romanek  

PhD Working Title: Re-remembered: the collaborative creation of a digital catalogue

2008 - 2011

This study will take as a basis emergent questions brought about by political changes (i.e. repatriation) and changes in technology (i.e. digitisation and the internet), in relationship to material culture as held in cultural heritage institution collections, to consider what impact these changes might have in changing visual cannons of representation. Working with indigenous communities in the American North East Woodlands, a corpus of images will be brought together from the British Museum Pictorial Collection to create a digital catalogue of images; the mediations involved in this process being the focus of the research.

Interests and Publications:

For the last 20 some years I have been working in various museums in the United States, Germany and the UK, and my particular interest in museums is in ethnographic collections, with a specific focus in North America.

Although I have done a variety of work with a variety of collections, currently my interest is in photograph collections, correlating with my interest in material and visual culture in anthropology - having conceptualised and co-curated a photograph exhibit for the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian in 2002: Booming out: Mohawk Ironworkers Build New York.

I also have interests in issues of ownership and copyright as well as cultural transmission and identity work as these issues are manifest in cultural heritage institutions. Bread, I should mention bread - I have a particular interest in food anthropology, that had it's beginnings in my general interest in bread.

Recent publications:

(Title TBC) Essay on the BM Melanesian Photography Collection, B M Publications (2009)

"Touch and the value of object handling: Final conclusions for a new sensory museology", with B. Lynch, in: Chatterjee, H., Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling, London: Berg (2008)

"Digital Curation: Theorising Reflexivity"; ICOM/CIDOC 'The Digital Curation of Cultural Heritage' Conference, Benaki Museum, Athens, September (2008)

"Defining access: factors and variables", with R. Peters, 22nd International Inst. for Conservation Congress, London, September (2008); Published in pre-prints.

"Australia in London; a snapshot of the British Museum's Australian photographic collection", with A. Clark and E. Herdman, King's College Seminar, October (2008)

"Diaspora Identities: Jewish Bakeries and Baked Goods in London and Berlin"; 'Cultures in Transit' Conference, Liverpool Hope University, July (2008)

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