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.
- What is the ‘heritage-isation’ of work and industry?
- How is industrial heritage constructed and presented today?
- What is the meaning of urban and rural landscapes within industrial museums?
- How should we develop the role of industrial heritage in collaboration between museums and the tourist sector?
- How do we make industrial heritage accessible to people that were not initially included as visitors and users (e.g. people with mobility impairments)?
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.
- How do we address the next generations who do not have this biographical connection and for whom traditional industry is a distant experience or at the most something connected to nostalgia (such as steam train rides)?
- The same applies for immigrants – can industrial heritage help them in their integration process?
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!