Curatorial talks

5 April 2023

As a museum curator of a small museum, I find that my work each week can be varied and extremely interesting.  This last week has been full of working out budgets for the coming year, thinking about new acquisitions, updating object records, and thinking about our next exhibition.  I have also been doing lots of talking. 

Firstly, I was invited to the Museum of Richmond to talk to volunteers, staff and trustees from the museum and a group of arts students from Richmond College.  The Museum of Richmond are working towards putting together an exhibition entitled ‘Artificial Silk: From Kew to the World’ which will open to the public in late June. I was joined by Calvin Wooding, a fibre specialist, who spoke about the production of the material, whilst I put the invention in the wider context of plastics development and culture.  It was a great day with a wide-ranging audience, the students will be responding to the subject by creating art works that will feature in the exhibition.  I am really looking forward to going back and seeing the end results.


My second public presentation was part of the AUB Open Lecture series.  These lectures are hosted at AUB by the Innovation team and are aimed at external and internal audiences.  My lecture was entitled Making connections: objects, visitors, curators.  Here I drew on topics and themes that were part of my PhD thesis and explored the ideas of:

  • What makes a museum?
  • Value and meaning
  • Relational materiality and the relational museum
  • The role of the curator

Making connections. Image credit Lucy Devall

Throughout the presentation I used personal experiences to illustrate academic thinking around collecting and the function of museums, with particular attention given to the difference between the act of private collecting and that of the public museum.  I talked about how we assign value to objects, and how this effects the way we relate to them, as well as the kinds of energies that are generated by object encounters.

If you would like to find out more about future AUB Open lectures sign up to the AUB Engage mailing list where you can be kept up to date with all the cultural activity from the museum and our engagement colleagues.

Louise Dennis

Curator of MoDiP