Call for Papers for a Gulf Research Meeting (GRM) 3-day workshop conference 25-28 August 2014 at the University of Cambridge, UK. This workshop conference is aimed at the sharing and discussion of research and museum work in the Arabian Peninsula/GCC; travel funding is available to speakers; desired conference outcome is publication. Full GRM information available here: http://grm.grc.net
This workshop will focus on and investigate the Arabian Peninsula's manifestation of the ‘national museum’, its relationships to heritage (collections and festivals), and growing use as a tool to represent and project desired histories, education, soft power, and social cohesion. Museums and other exhibitionary media have increasingly become spaces where the State may present and forge identities through the symbolic use of tangible and intangible culture. The economic growth of the Gulf States has allowed for the recent proliferation of museum re-creation and heritage revivalism, which has also contributed to government-highlighted aspects of education and tourism growth. With the importance placed on museums and heritage as part of multiple State’s ‘future vision’ plans , and therefore their use to produce and project political meanings and desired social cohesion, this area of research has wide ranging consequences.
Pertinent aspects for investigation include: purposes and narratives of GCC national museums; relationships to society, culture and government; creation of desired histories; political meanings; impacts of the Arab Spring and governmental changes; how nation is portrayed through exhibitions; purposes of heritage projection; uses of heritage and museums to consolidate and project power.
The representation of the nation via heritage and museums brings together multiple aspects of regional study, including economics, government and politics, international relations, citizenship and population, as well as the more obvious heritage, history, museum, architecture, and socio-cultural aspects. This workshop offers a forum for bringing together contributions that would otherwise not occur within the individual areas of study, which may therefore inform a broad range of subjects.
This workshop seeks submissions from both scholars and researchers, as well as those working in the region’s museums and heritage sites, and postgraduate students. The inclusion of participants from subject areas that may not normally partake in a ‘museum’ discussion – including cultural diplomacy, soft power, cultural tourism, economics, government, and psychology – is also encouraged.
Although research on this area has been conducted, particularly in Europe, submissions should concentrate on the GCC States. Submissions may take a theoretical or historical approach, however the presentation of empirical research and ‘hands-on’ qualitative research is also greatly encouraged. Due to the lack of presentation and publication outlets for museum-related research in the region there exists research projects in the region with no public release; it is therefore hoped that this workshop will encourage the sharing of existing and on-going research with a broader Gulf Studies audience.
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