EAMHMS Congress, London 2014

Call for Papers: ‘Between medical collections and their audiences’ – EAMHMS Congress, London 2014

4–6 September 2014

Science Museum, Royal College of Surgeons of England, Wellcome Collection

The European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences Congress biennial meeting will be held in London, 4–6 September 2014, jointly hosted between the Science Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons (Hunterian Museum) & the Wellcome Collection. 

The theme for the 2014 Congress is ‘Between medical collections and their audiences’.

After a thrilling conference of the European Association of Museums of the History of Medical Sciences (EAMHMS) hosted by the Charite, Berlin 2012, we would like to invite the members of the association, as well as interested scholars and curators from the community of medical history collections and museums to participate in the next meeting of the organisation – London 2014. 

EAMHMS is an active global network of curators, scholars and stakeholders with an interest in medical collections. The biennial Congress is a great opportunity to present research within a vibrant forum of debate and discussion, and promotes international exchange and collaboration amongst medical history museums. The Association, although nominally European, today attracts participation from around the world and is thus the leading international body of medical museums and collections. 

The 2014 Congress will focus on medical collections and audiences – looking at how medical heritage is used to intrigue, problematise, teach, and stimulate interaction and reflection about medicine of the past and of today. Who engages with our collections and which new audiences are we innovating ways to engage with? Our visitors are not passive spectators, but rather participants in the creating of and telling of stories about medical heritage – so what does that mean for the future of curating medical collections and displays? 

We welcome contributions around strands such as: 

  1. Retelling 'old' histories with new narratives; in what ways can we reinvigorate audience engagement through re-telling established histories of medicine?
  2. Medical professionals as audience – in what ways can we connect and involve our collections to medical students or retired clinicians and beyond
  3. Communicating problematic medical heritage – such as medical controversies, human remains, medical ethics.
  4. Audiences and communicating contemporary medical practise – how might we foster contemporary collecting or engage visitors with the material culture of contemporary biomedical practices
  5. Histories of audiences visiting medical collections - who has historically visited medical museums, how has this changed, what impact does this have?
  6. Audiences beyond the walls of the medical museum - approaches to engaging audiences in virtual world or through outreach.
  7. Research & innovation with audiences - what do we understand about our visiting audiences through audience evaluation? What new interpretative approaches excite us?

Papers are requested to be no more than 15 minutes in length (with an additional 15 minutes allotted for questions). The language for abstracts, talks, and discussions will be English. Short abstracts will be circulated to Congress participants in advance. As spaces for speakers are limited, we would also like to invite contributions in the form of poster presentations – which will be discussed in a dedicated session. 

We ask you to choose a topic from the above-mentioned issues and send your paper or poster abstract (maximum 1000 characters) with a title, your name and brief biography, the name of your institution (if you are attached to any) and your contact details (preferably e-mail address) to Katie Maggs, Curator of Clinical & Research Medicine at the Science Museum, London: katie.maggs@sciencemuseum.ac.uk 

Deadline for submission: 20 January 2014. A programme committee will select abstracts for an inspiring programme. Speakers and poster presenters will receive confirmation by mid-March. If your contribution is chosen, you will be asked to send in an extended abstract (2 to 5 pages) April 2014.

EAMHMS shares costs across the congress, so unfortunately speakers do not go free. The conference fee is envisaged at about £200, but will be confirmed shortly. We look to minimise costs wherever possible. There may be a reduced fee for a small number of student contributors.  

General enrolment for this conference will open in April 2014.

We’re looking forward to a thrilling conference! See you in London 2014.