The Bartlett School of Architecture


Oscillating Objects - Interdisciplinary Workshop

17 March 2021, 2:00 pm–4:30 pm

Nina Vollenbröker and James Santer, www.noodlejam.com, 2020

A workshop to bring together interdisciplinary scholars working on a range of everyday objects to discuss material culture.

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Nina Vollenbröker and Marjorie Gehrhardt


This workshop is part of Oscillating Objects, a British Academy funded project that examines the interplay between material culture and senses of identity in diverse geographical and historical contexts.

The half-day event brings together a group of interdisciplinary scholars working on a range of everyday objects – from face masks to mantelpiece objects and food – to discuss the role material culture plays in the intricate processes of transmitting, strengthening or challenging identity and belonging.

The workshop consists of four academic papers followed by a roundtable discussion. It accompanies an exhibition which can be accessed online, and a community workshop held in Lebanon in February 2021. 

  • 14:00-14:15: Welcome and Introduction (Dr Nina Vollenbröker; Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt)
  • 14:15-14:35: Paper 1 (Dr Anna-Lisa Müller)
  • 14:35-14:55: Paper 2 (Dr Erica Rowan)
  • 14:55-15:15: Paper 3 (Dr Rachel Hurdley)
  • 15:15-15:25: Break 
  • 15:25-15:40: Community workshop presentation (Yara Kurumilian)
  • 15:40-16:15: Q&A/Discussion/Roundtable
  • 16:15-16:30: Closing remarks


Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt

Dr Marjorie Gehrhardt

Dr Rachel Hurdley

Dr Rachel Hurdley is a Research Fellow at Cardiff University. Her research focuses on how identity and power are organised within home, work and family; everyday spaces and things; belonging, remembering, excluding and forgetting. In a recent Leverhulme-funded ethnography Rethinking Openness, Space and Organisation, she examined how power is organised through university spaces and materials.  Other research projects include The Power of Corridors as well as the British Academy funded work “Materialising modernity: Patrick Geddes, Mass Observation and the lost aesthetics of social research.”

Yara Kurumilian

Yara Kurumilian holds an MBA in international enterprise management. With BILADI, a Lebanese Non-Governmental Organisation aiming to promote heritage education, she has implemented various community projects including fieldwork and workshops. Heritage being a major component in defining cultural identity, Yara promotes traditional objects as major contributors to an individual’s sense of belonging and therefore their identity.

Dr Anna-Lisa Müller

Dr Anna-Lisa Müller is a social geographer and sociologist. She is currently professor for human geography at the University of Heidelberg and an associated member at the Institute of Migration Studies and Intercultural Research at Osnabrück University. Anna-Lisa is interested in the interrelation of materiality and sociality in postmodern societies, especially in international migration and urban developments across the globe. Her research project, Tourists and vagabonds in 21st century cities: On senses of socio-spatial belonging of international migrants, investigates how international migrants establish senses of belonging despite frequently changing locations and pays particular attention to the role of material objects in the creation of attachment to place.

Dr Erica Rowan

Dr Erica Rowan is a Lecturer in Classical Archeology at Royal Holloway, University of London. She works on the formation and evolution of ancient cultural identities and economic developments through an examination of Roman foodways and serves as the environmental specialist on excavations in Tunisia, Turkey and Italy. Erica’s research centres on ancient consumption practices, the evolution of food identities, the economies of production and alternative fuel sources. She approaches historical questions regarding ancient foodways by integrating the physical food remains with the more traditional forms of material culture, ancient texts. 

Dr Nina Vollenbröker

Dr Nina Vollenbröker

More information

Exhibition contributors

Mega Chand Inglis, Bernard Devauchelle, Tom Dyckhoff, Jorge A. Eiroa, Fernando P. Ferreira, Marjorie Gerhardt, Yara Kurumilian, Aleks Pluskowski, Zoë Quick, Guang Yu Ren, Huda Tayob, Nina Vollenbröker and Azadeh Zaferani.