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The Social History Curators Group call for papers for 2016 conference

Lincoln Cathedral Centre and The Collection, Lincoln

Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th June 2016

Call for contributions, papers, workshops, roundtable discussions and other presentations on the theme:

The Only Way Is Ethics: Social History and the 21st Century Museum

Suggested strands and discussion topics for guidance:

Practitioners make ethical decisions every day, whether it’s around conservation, rationalisation, contemporary collecting, charging entry, workforce and training, diversity, censorship, donations, disposal or a multitude of other concerns. How are you as practitioners being innovative, engaging with audiences, responding to contemporaryconcerns and the challenges of caring for museum collections whilst making those everyday ethical decisions? 

Collecting vs Disposal:

  • How do we actively collect, and maintain the public’s trust in the face of high profile sales of collections?
  • How are we pushing the boundaries, being innovative and showcasing the impact that social history collections can have within the museum? 

Staying relevant by addressing challenging subjects:

  • What innovative examples are there of collecting the contemporary concerns of our audiences? 
  • How are museums reflecting contemporary society and how is the public engaging in contemporary displays, which can often contain raw and emotive subjects?
  • What happens when the subject of your exhibition suddenly becomes the hot-topic at the top of the news agenda?

Community voices vs Curatorial authority - striking a positive balance:

  • Do museums do enough to meet the expectations of people who donate items to collections?
  • How are museums including the public in decisions, exhibitions and education, and what examples are there of the public actively putting their trust into the museum?

New for 2016! The Ethics Quick-Fire Round.

Do you have an ethical issue you have faced head on that you can discuss and analyse in 3 minutes? This year we are inviting 6 delegates to each present a 3-minute paper which clearly explains a problem or issue they have faced, what the dilemma was, how they approached it, and what the outcome was. 

Following the presentations, all 6 speakers will then facilitate group discussions round tables which will aim to give delegates practical advice and guidance, how to (or how not to) face issues in all areas of museum practice and at all career levels.

If you think you have an interesting idea to submit, please complete the application form below.

2016 Conference:

This year we are looking for thought provoking, forward thinking, insightful and innovative papers and workshops which broadly reflect thinking around the conference theme. SHCG believes there is a great deal to learn from the successes, failures and insights of each other’s work and would like to invite proposals from across the museum and cultural sector.

Contributions to conference may offer a local, national or global perspective. This year we’re also particularly keen to see more proposals for interactive workshops and roundtable sessions which give delegates the chance to debate and reflect on social history practice in the 21st century museum. 

Important dates to note:

  • Please complete your submission form below and return it to Jemma Conway and Verity Smith, Conference Organisers, by Friday 29 January 2016. 
  • All applicants will be notified by Friday 19th February 2016.

Please note the T’s and C’s:

  • The decision of the conference panel is final.
  • Only one person from each presentation or workshop submission will be given a free day delegate place for the day they are speaking.
  • Speakers taking part in the 3 minutes Ethics Quick Fire Round presentation do not qualify for a free place on the day they are speaking.
  • Speakers travel costs will be reimbursed at standard fare rate- booked by a cut-off date specified by SHCG.
  • Unfortunately we are unable to provide additional fees, subsistence costs or accommodation for speakers.
  • The Social History Curators Group is a membership organisation dedicated to improving the status and provision of social history in museums and the standards of collections, research, display and interpretation. 

Our annual conference is open to all and aims to facilitate the sharing of skills and experiences, and provoke debate around a current theme affecting our members through presentations, interactive workshops and tours.

For more information see

2016 SHCG Conference Submission Form

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