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Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
Design Archives

Fashions Hall display, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
Design Archives

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Museum Exhibition Design: Histories and Futures

A nearly carbon-neutral conference

1-11 September 2020

WELCOME to the Museum Exhibition Design: Histories and Futures conference!

We are delighted to be able to welcome you – our international community of scholars and practitioners from over 18 countries – to consider the history and future of exhibition design in museums. While museum studies is underpinned by seminal texts attending to the poetics and politics of museum display, the agents and collaborative process of past display practices have often remained hidden ‘behind the scenes’ of the museum. Together, the papers, discussion boards and resources presented through this conference work to change this: they reframe understandings of museums and their genealogy, as well as challenge contemporary museums and exhibition makers as they plan for the future. We look forward to reflecting collectively on the activities, agendas, experiences and impact of those historically involved in museum exhibition making, from the early nineteenth century to the recent past.

Hosted by the Centre for Design History at the University of Brighton, UK, Museum Exhibition Design: Histories and Futures is a nearly carbon-neutral conference (NCNC). It includes the typical elements of an academic conference – keynote addresses, panels, Q&As, abstracts, a noticeboard, publications rack and contacts list – but there are no air flights, train journeys, hotel bookings, or conference packs. And no registration fee: registration at Museum Exhibition Design is free, and open to all.

TO REGISTER for the conference, click on the yellow button on the right.

Pre-recorded papers will be published on the site over the two weeks of the conference (1-11 September 2020), during which time you are encouraged add your questions and comments to the Q&A discussion boards. After 11 September, a selection of papers and discussions, as well as the resources pages, will remain on this website as a permanent online contribution to museum studies, design history and exhibition making today.

As conference convenors, we would like to thank our keynotes, presenters and delegates for the enthusiasm with which they have embraced this new, experimental format, as well as for their outstanding scholarship and ideas. We also are deeply indebted to Dr Tim Satterthwaite at the University of Brighton, who generously shared with us his invaluable experience and skills, built through the Future States conference which he convened in April 2020. The directors of the Centre for Design History, Prof Jeremy Aynsley and Dr Annebella Pollen, as well as administrators Georgina Le Breuilly and Ian Sinclair, deserve special mention for their support, and we are very grateful to the University of Brighton Design Archives for permission to use their incredible collection of images.

Thank you for joining us, and we hope you enjoy the conference.


Claire Wintle, Kate Guy and Hajra Williams