Material Properties

material properties

Friday Forum of UCL’s Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences Faculties Institute of Graduate Studies (Joint FIGS)

Properties are often ascribed to materials and are distinct from the kinds of qualities which apply to objects as forms. The cultural variety between material properties is particularly difficult to unpack and can appear in a scientific sense to be inevitably associated with or fixed to particular materials.

Rather than being fixed in materials, properties comprise ways of knowing and ways of experiencing potentialities and limitations, which become relevant at specific moments, places, times, and with particular people. Thus material properties are not simple constructs, but are often socially transformative, existing in practice as a compound of persons, objects, practices and knowledge.

At a time when new materials are being created and used inventively and experimentally, this Forum asks what we can learn in both historical and contemporary contexts by examining materials first and foremost, as opposed to starting with artefacts or processes. Presentations are centred around the 3 following themes:

Extension - Substitution

In what ways can materials be used as extensions or substitutions within conceptual or physical domains? How do materials allow us to push against and alter boundaries between human, non-human and environmental concepts?

Methods of interrogation

What kinds of research methods are used to investigate materials? How do these methods differ across disciplines and how can they be applied in different contexts?

Embedding and extracting information

How is information embedded in, or extracted from materials? Do new formats of information emerge through researching materials?

Schedule

Camilla Sundwall (organizer)Strand 1 Extension and Substitution

Chair: Leonie Hannan

The Art Exhibition as a Site of Transformation

Naomi Siderfin, The Slade School of Art

Creating a Second Life for Museum Collections through ‘Souveniralisation’

Yunci Cai, Institute of Archaeology

Hacking you better

Lydia Nicholas, Anthropology

Architected Materials

Sarat Babu, The Bartlett School of Architecture

Defining Coolness and Accessing Creativity Through Studio Practice

Sarah Fortais, The Slade School of Art

Strand 2 Embedding and Extracting Information Chair: Adam Drazin

Sustainable Materials and Knowledge Transfer: The Death of the Sensuous Materials Salesman

Dr. Sarah Wilkes, Institute of Making

Free from Censure: Material Meanings Embedded in Nineteenth-Century Presbyterian Communion Tokens

Ruth Mason, Geography

Unlocking Past Human Behaviour Using Flint

Josephine Mills, Institute of Archaeology

Continuous Weaving: tales of spiders, threads and making across species

Dr. Eleanor Morgan, The Slade School of Art

Exploring barkcloth with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Emily Brennan, Anthropology

Strand 3 Methods of Interrogation Chair: Martin Holbraad

Assessing the stability of archival cellulose acetate films

Dr Emma Richardson, History of Art

Experimental and Analytical Investigation of Black Bronze Alloys

Agnese Benzonelli, Institute of Archaeology

Follow the Thing: Poppies, Geopolitics and the Circulation of Meaning

Joseph Thorogood, Geography

Complex materials: the hidden fabric of digital life through cables

Nadia El Mrabet, Anais Bloch, Anthropology

Material Histories of Chemistry

Dr Simon Werrett, Science and Technology Studies

The Law of the Good Neighbour - Jin-Woo Choi, HistoryHand in Glove: Archival Paperwork, Method and Materiality

Maryanne Dever, Department of Information Studies

Heritage Smells! Using Volatile Emissions to Understand Historic Objects

Katherine Curran, Centre for Sustainable Heritage, Bartlett School of Graduate Studies

Round table discussion Chair: Dr Haidy Geismar, Anthropology

Professor Michael Rowlands (Anthropology); Dr. Petra Lange-Berndt (History of Art), Dr. Simon Werrett (STS)

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