WORKLAB - International Association of Labour Museums - will meet again next summer. We will be part of ICOM General Conference, the biggest museum event in the world. See you in Milan, Italy 3-9 July 2016!
ICOM General conference has plenty of different seminars, best speakers and thousands of museum professionals - in the wonderful city of Milan! Participating in this important event is a unique opportunity to experience the new Milan by taking part in the daily excursions, international working groups and outstanding shows and cultural experiences which will be available at ICOM 2016. The main theme of the conference is "Museums and Cultural Landscapes building up a Cultural Heritage" with a huge variety of sessions.
CIMUSET (International Committee for Museums and Collections of Science and Technology) is organising a very interesting part of the program under the question "What role for science, technology and industry in cultural landscapes?". WORKLAB and our local member MUSIL (Museum of Industry and Labour of Brescia) is co-organising a session in this CIMUSET part of the program (part 2). Our session is titled "Work and Industry in the Heritage of Modern Landscapes". It is designed especially for Worklab museums specialized in the heritage of work, labour and industry! We hope that as many Worklab members as possible to join this session and especially to submit their papers! You can read our session below or in the full Call for Papers.
Work and Industry in the Heritage of Modern Landscapes (WORKLAB and MUSIL session)
It’s undeniable that our collective imagination about landscape is deeply influenced by the great changes that took place in the last two centuries, when industrial revolutions played a fundamental role in Western Countries. The heritage of the modern landscapes includes a great variety of industrial landmarks; former factories, mines, heavy machinery, workers’ housing districts or early transportation systems are amongst the best known attractions of industrial tourism. Traces of workers’ everyday life, significant historical moments or evidence of labour movements are preserved less frequently.
Entire urban areas have been formed around factories, whilst the destruction, transformation or ‘heritage-isation’ of industrial inner-city sites have been the cause of much debate and controversy. However, iconic industrial landscapes like those around the Ruhr, Lancashire or Detroit still carry heritage values that have been noticed and respected over the last decades.
De-industrialisation has destroyed many historical sites or started transformations that effectively delete meaningful industrial heritage. Former factories have been rebuilt as shopping malls or apartment blocks that now hardly retain any association with previous times. Some sites have been preserved as industrial museums - trying to represent the forgotten glory or deprivation of industrial times. Industrial heritage has also become part of much wider political and economic considerations. Specific aspects or materializations of industrial society have been naturalised, and the past is shaped by different conservation efforts. Museums play troublesome roles as attractions, preservers, interpreters, creators and shapers of industrial heritage.
We encourage museum practitioners and scholars to submit papers that relate to the wide themes of industrial and labour heritage in the context of landscape. A theoretical approach to issues of heritage, industry, labour, museums and history is most welcome.
For the last 20 years we have been addressing an audience with personal experiences and memories of industry and industrial sites and landscapes as places of work.
This session is dedicated to the theoretical evaluation of heritage processes and interesting representations of history, mainly in the context of museum and heritage studies. Papers that focus solely on practical preservation of built environments, history of architecture or equivalent case studies unfortunately cannot be included in this session.
The Call for Papers is open until 18th February 2016. If you would like to present your project please send your proposal for papers (title, text 500–700 words) or for posters (A1, portrait format) along with a brief professional profile (150 words). The suggestions for papers and posters should be submitted online by this address (and remember to select thematic area 2 = Worklab session):
The registration for the conference is done by the ICOM conference site only. There is plenty of information about all the practicalities. Please note, early bird fee will close in 28th January. It is possible to participate the ICOM conference for non-members of ICOM as well.
We hope that many Worklab museums are able to join us in Milan, present their work (by submitting a paper) and share their ideas between colleagues from like-minded museums! See you in Milan!
WORKLAB - International Association of Labour Museums - will meet again next summer in Dortmund, Germany. Work With Sounds Conference will take place 19. - 21.8.2015 in the headquarters of the LWL-Industriemuseum. There will be sections on sounds and soundscapes of Europe, on urban sounds, museum sounds, reflecting sounds and working with sounds. Conference is organised by an EU project participated by many Worklab museums - please join us in sunny Dortmund! Call for papers is now open!
In 1971 the composer and sound researcher R. Murray Schafer started the “World Soundscape Project,” which was devoted to the comparative study of soundscapes. The driving impulse behind his project was the realization that industrialization and urbanization brought about a drastic change in the acoustic environment. The issue of the acoustic environment remained unaddressed by the scholarship long after. But gradually the arts, humanities and cultural institutions are beginning to turn their attention towards the cultural meanings of sounds and listening.
What was the soundscape of industrialization? How does it differ from the soundscape today? Has the volume of our environment increased or decreased? When did people begin to perceive urban and industrial sounds as a nuisance? When did people start measuring the acoustic environment? Where and why have sounds turned into acoustic codes? What role does the technical reproducibility of the acoustic play? Which sounds are carved into the acoustic memory? What significance can sounds have for the identity of individuals, collectives or even nations? What sources can be used for a comprehensive Sound History? How do museums deal with the acoustic cultural heritage and how can they impart it? What are the benefits of publicly accessible sound collections and who would make use of them?
The final conference of the EU-Project “Work with Sounds” in 2015 brings together sound projects from museums, archives, universities and media to share their experiences with recording, conserving, exploring and using the sounds and soundscapes of Europe. In panels on urban sounds, museum sounds, reflecting sounds and working with sounds the conference wants to present and discuss theories and practices in the history and anthropology of sound, the importance and meaning of sound, and the potential of working with sounds – internationally and interdisciplinary.
In the final panel we invite projects to present their work, exchange ideas and opinions, and network. We would like to have 10 minute presentations highlighting the 5 most important issues of your work – with sounds and pictures if you wish. Our “project market“ will offer further opportunities for self-presentation and networking. Please send your proposal (1 page incl. a short biography) to konrad.gutkowski(at)lwl.org. Deadline for papers is 20th June 2015. Hope to see you in Dortmund next August!
Please follow the Work with Sounds project and read more about the conference at:
Worklab General Assembly
Museum Arbeitswelt, Steyr, Austria
5th September 2014
1. Minutes from the latest meeting
The minutes from the last meeting, 12 July 2013 at Ironbridge, UK, are available to all Worklab members on the website: www.worklab.info
2. Matters Arising
No additional matters were raised
3. Worklab: past, present and future
Kalle Kallio, Chair, gave a short presentation about Worklab
For Kalle, Worklab is:
Some strategic points about Worklab that Kalle outlined are:
4. Next conferences
The next conference in 2015 will be the final conference of the project, Work with Sounds, in Dortmund between 19 and 21 August 2015. At this conference there will be a launch of the Work with Sounds website and the opportunity to share the project with a wider audience. There will be a call for papers to complete the programme which will be shared by email with Worklab members.
In 2016 it is proposed to combine a Worklab meeting / conference with the ICOM General Conference which will be in Milan that year. The overall theme of the ICOM Conference is ‘landscapes’ and Worklab could encourage papers under the sub themes of social or industrial landscapes.
5. Future plans
It has been proposed to create an online publication from this conference and all speakers will be asked to submit their papers if they would like to be included. Kalle will be in touch with all speakers with more details.
Worklab will continue to develop ideas for conferences, projects, the website and facebook and this work will be led by the Board
6. Future projects
Kalle asked everyone present to share their ideas for projects with the rest of the group. Some organisations were unable to commit to leading European projects due to other commitments including major redevelopment of museums and exhibition spaces. There were a number of project ideas that were discussed by the group:
Project to explore the stories of working migrants from the former Yugoslavia
Niklas from the Museum of Work in Norrkoping introduced this project idea and his museum would be interested in hosting this project after Work with Sounds has been completed.
The project idea has come from a contact in Belgrade and would involve countries who had a bi-lateral agreement with Yugoslavia. The project would focus on telling the personal stories of migrants although the project outputs (eg. Exhibition / website / online resource etc) have not yet been agreed.
A number of other museums at the meeting were interested in this project and people can contact Niklas to discuss the project further.
Project looking at working migration from Belgium to the UK during the First World War
Geert from AMSAB is planning a project exploring cross-cultural encounters between Belgium and the UK during and after the War. People’s History Museum has agreed to be a UK partner. The project will include crowd-sourcing events to collect material from people and an exhibition in 2017. The project will link to contemporary issues and examples of migration at times of war.
Project about ‘job circus’ and industrial education
Niklas also discussed an idea for a project building on a previous project at the Museum of Work in Norrkoping on the issue of young people not wanting to take part in industrial education. Niklas felt that this would be of interest to governments, unions and employers who are all wanting to attract young people into industry. This project could have a European dimension across a number of countries and some other museums were interested and could discuss this further with Niklas.
Human Machine Project
Sofia talked about the Human Machine project which has funding and is due to begin with 5 countries involved. The project will explore what is human and what is machine at a time when it is possible to almost replace every part of the human body. The project will involve workshops with artists, researchers, young people and media producers and will create digital artwork, a website and an exhibition in all venues
Other themes for projects were discussed, but would need a museum to take the lead in developing the project with partners and securing funding. Themes included:
Work / Life
Votes for women
Radical / Mass protest
Kalle encouraged everyone to think about these project ideas, share contact details and talk to each other about potential projects.
7. Future funding bids
Creative Europe funding
The next deadline for funding is 1 October 2014 and there will be another round in 2015.
Geert mentioned that there was another network which has a sub-committee who monitor funding opportunities between annual meetings. Kalle receives this information and can share with Worklab members where appropriate.
It was agreed that these Board members would continue in their position:
The following Board members have agreed to step down:
They will be replaced by:
9. Any other questions
Geert shared information about a workshop taking place in Berlin in November to discuss the ILO centenary in 2019 – Geert will follow this up and share the details with Kalle.
Geert let everyone know that Europeana will continue and they will be looking for 5 new partners who want to share their digital collections on the network. Details will be circulated to Worklab members.
10. The General Assembly was closed.
WORKLAB - International Association of Labour Museums - is organising a general conference in September 2014. Worklab Conference 2014 will be held by Museum Arbeitswelt in Steyr, Austria 3-7 September 2014. The Call for papers is closed and the program is now published.
The conference will include 19 top class presentations from 14 different museums in nine European countries. The keynote speaker is professor Andrea Komlosy from International University of Vienna. Presentations vary from future of labour museums to learning issues, changing economical environments, identities, feminism, sounds of work and much more. You can read the wonderful program online:
Now it is the time to register for the conference, reserve the flights and your accomodation in Steyr! Conference will start in the Wednesday evening 3rd of September and close with sunny excursion day on Saturday 6th September. Please, start by registering on conference website. The conference fee is only 100 euros which includes scientific program, conference material, coffee breaks, guided tours and excursion! Excursion will take us into noteworthy history of iron industry in Steyr, show interesting aspects of workers housing and finally Erzberg – beautiful landscape where the iron ore for the region have been mined for centuries.
You can find all the information from the conference website or ask Udo Wiesinger for more information (udo.wiesinger(at)museum-steyr.at). Please follow the official conference website at:
Conference includes also the general assembly of WORKLAB on the Friday evening 5th September. General assembly is open for all WORKLAB members and we also welcome those who consider joining our network. This official meeting shall discuss about coming projects and programmes and elect the members of the board. If you are interested to take an active role in WORKLAB or want to make a suggestion for the assembly, please contact the chairman Kalle Kallio (kalle.kallio(at)tyovaenmuseo.fi).
Beside all this, WORKLAB conference will gather international labour museum community and plenty of museum professionals interested in social history. WORKLAB's last general conference was in 2010, so it is now an excellent opportunity to meet again. Steyr will be a great place to network, share new ideas and build long-lasting friendships.
Worklab Members Meeting
12 July 2013 (3-5pm)
1. Kalle Kallio (Worklab Chair, Finnish Labour Museum) welcomed members to the meeting
2. Each member attending the meeting gave an update about their institution’s work and future plans
3. Worklab News
4. Future Projects
Call for Papers: WORKLAB Conference 2014 in Austria
WORKLAB - International Association of Labour Museums - is organising a general conference in September 2014. Worklab Conference 2014 will be held by Museum Arbeitswelt in Steyr, Austria 3-7 September 2014. Worklab's last general conference was in 2010, so it is no a great opportunity to meet labour museums globally in Austria next autumn. So please, reserve the dates on your calendars right away!
The Call for Papers is now open. We hope that as many museum professionals as possible in Worklab museums will submit their papers until 31st March 2014.
The main theme of the Worklab conference 2014 is the question, how labour museums can find and redefine their position in a changing social, political and economic environment. There are plenty of interesting subthemes as well:
- New ways of communications with visitors
- Educational Programs for schools and other target groups
- Cooperations between labour museums and other institutions
- Women history in labour museums
- Work and identity
- Dying industries and society
If you want to participate with your own paper, please send an one-page abstract and one page cv included to udo.wiesinger (at) museum-steyr.at or send it by fax (0043 7252 77 351 11) or via regular mail, postmarked to following address: Museum Arbeitswelt Steyr // Wehrgrabengasse 7 // 4400 Steyr, Austria.
Please follow the official conference website at:
WORKLAB Meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
Friday 12th July 2013 (15-17 PM)
Meeting of the European Network of Labour Museums
Room: G F Williams Room, Institute building
WORKLAB – International Association of Labour Museums invites you to the WORKLAB afternoon meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site (UK) 12 July 2013. The meeting will be organised during international conference called Rust, Regeneration and Romance: Iron and Steel Landscapes and Cultures.
The meeting is open for all Worklab members and everyone else interested in our network. WORKLAB – The International Association of Labour Museums was founded in 1997 and today we have 40 member museums from four continents. Worklab is a network for co-operation, common projects, sharing knowledge, learning and admirable friendship. Our latest EU project, "Work with sounds", will start this autumn.
Ironbridge meeting is intended to be informal meeting for Worklab museums. It is a great possibility to meet colleagues and share ideas of current situations in labour museums globally. We ask all participating museums beforehand to plan potential projects and exhibition ideas.
Agenda for the Meeting (12th July, 15.00-17.00)
The meeting is organised as a part of Rust, Regeneration and Romance conference. All information concerning the whole conference can be found at the conference website.
International Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham and The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust
Rust, Regeneration and Romance: Iron and Steel Landscapes and Cultures
10-14 July 2013, Ironbridge, UK
For centuries iron and steel have been the fundamental building blocks of modernity. These metals and the technologies, societies and cultures surrounding them have revolutionised the lives of billions of people. From the earliest functional usage of iron in domestic life, to decorative cast iron, from weapons to knives and forks and from the use of high tensile steels in buildings around the world to the stainless steels of space exploration, the transformative power of iron and steel is undeniable. This capacity to transform extends to the landscapes and cultures which have themselves been transformed through the mining, production, processing and consumption of iron and steel. As China and India race to modernise their economies with imported iron and steel, many cities across Europe and North America are still struggling with the decline in production and manufacture. In many parts of Europe former centres of iron and steel production have undergone regeneration and now form part of the tourism economy. Rust has gained currency as part of industrial heritage. Still, in many parts of the developing world, ideas of heritage lie very much in the future, as communities continue to work in the mining of iron ore and the production and fabrication of steel.
This conference seeks to engage in an open multi-disciplinary analysis of iron and steel landscapes and cultures, from the ancient to the modern. It looks toward the legacies of both production and consumption and how these metals have influenced all aspects of social life. We wish to explore the relationships that communities, regions, nations share with iron and steel through its functional use, creative and artistic use and its symbolic use. Indicative questions the conference will address are: How are economies and societies transformed by the extraction and processing of iron? How does the environmental impact and legacy of iron and steel sites shape social and political life? How do governments and communities deal with both the expansion and decline of the iron and steel industries? What are the forms and formats of regeneration for iron and steel landscapes and communities? To what extent are global communities connected through iron and steel, economically and culturally? How have the landscapes and cultures of iron and steel found expression through various art forms? How are these landscapes managed and understood?
The conference welcomes academics from the widest range of disciplines and wishes to act as a forum for exchange between the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. The conference will draw from anthropology, archaeology, art history, architecture, engineering, ethnology, heritage studies, history, geography, landscape studies, linguistics, metallurgy, museum studies, sociology, tourism studies etc. The conference will take place at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.
Indicative themes of interest to the conference include:
Abstracts of 300 words with a clear title should be sent as soon as possible but no later than January 31st 2013 to
Information will be updated on the website http://ironandsteel2013.wordpress.com/.
WORKLAB is now on Facebook. Facebook page was founded primarily for communication between museums and their staff. Worklab members can use the site to inform about their exhibitions, events, news and everything related to the labour heritage. The page can be a good tool to network and foster friendship! The settings for the page are liberal and everyone can post there. Check it out, like the page, post and use it!