CFP: Signs with Symbolic Character. Collections as a Mirror of Social Values (Munich, 4 Nov 2022)

The Art History Department of the University of Munich (LMU) is organising a one-day workshop during the first network meeting of the Transuniversity Doctoral Forum of Provenance Research (TPP) in Munich. This workshop will be for young researchers with doctoral projects in all disciplines with overlaps to the fields of Collection History, Provenance Research, Culture Heritage Studies, and Museum Studies.

Deadline: 23 Jul 2022

As early as 1990, Krzysztof Pomian described the formation of cultural heritage as the “transformation of certain waste products into signs with symbolic character” (Pomian 1993, p. 43,44). With this phrase, Pomian refers to two aspects of collecting, which will be the focus of the upcoming workshop: First, it is the statement that the constitution of (museum) collections is subject to permanent change up to the present and thus always implies something processual. Secondly, this change is visible in permanently changing subjective and social attributions of meaning and value to individual objects in the context of their collections. At the same time, the actors and recipients in the museum space renegotiate these attributions during every museum visit.

Based on this, the workshop asks what significance museums, and their visitors play in the (de)construction of new and existing object- and collection-related attributions of value. What effects do the curator’s revaluations or devaluations of the objects have on the perception of the collection? How do recipients understand artifacts in museums? Do they have the chance to actively redefine value attributions in the context of the participatory (and increasingly digital) museum?

The workshop will be held in German and English. Depending on the Covid-19-situation, the workshop may take place in a hybrid format. On-site participants have to fulfill the applicable Covid-19-regulations of the LMU. In order to promote discussion and exchange among junior scientists, abstracts will be circulated among participants prior to the workshop.  

The workshop will be supported by this year’s promotion of young researchers at LMU. For this reason, 6 travel stipends for travel and accommodation in Munich amounting to 250 euros p.p. can be offered upon submission of receipts after the event. If interested, please include a brief justification for the grant as part of your application. 

All interested PhD-students can submit an abstract (max. 5,000 characters) for a 20-minute presentation followed by a 20-minute discussion, with a short CV (max. 500 characters). Please send your documents in PDF format to Elisa Ludwig ( by 23 July 2022.