The Exhibition

An exhibition has been installed about the Focus on Curating project. Viewable by appointment at the Research and Cultural Collections Study Centre

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Illuminating Object Biographies

Post by Rebecca King

My first impression of this Lantern was that it was beautiful. I initially decided to pick it as one of my objects simply because I think it is beautiful. Had I known that its background was so mysterious I may have chosen an easier object to research!  

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Lantern, iron, Research and Cultural Collections 

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Commemorative Keys in the Heritage Collection

Post by Rebecca King

2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of World War One and commemoration is of global importance. Commemorative practices have changed and developed over time. Historically commemoration has taken place through ceremony, or the commissioning of certain objects or monuments such as statues, coins, medals, stamps and plaques. Yet in more recent times we see commemorative television programmes, blogs and online exhibitions.

Birmingham Guild of Handicrafts

Commemorative Key, c.1909, brass, Research and Cultural Collections

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Representations of Ceremony

This guest blog has been written by Research and Cultural Collections volunteer, Katherine Sykes, who works on documentation and digital access.

When I was asked to write about a single object from the Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts, it soon became apparent that it was not going to be an easy task to choose one. The Danford Collection contains a wide and varied assortment of fascinating objects from the many cultures of West Africa throughout a variety of time-periods, and it is only after hours spent trawling through the Collection’s records that I finally settled upon this Akan gold-weight.

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Goldweight, brass, Research and Cultural Collections

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Curious Curators Workshop

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By Rebecca King

Four months ago I wrote a post wondering how to hold the attention of a group of children during a two hour workshop, last week I found out! Although our workshop was shortened to an hour the task remained the same; engaging a group of young people with a topic alien to them. Thankfully, we are happy to report it was a success and after six months of planning and preparation Focus on Curating culminated in an educational workshop with ten bright students from The Friary School taking part. 

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Cabinets of Curiosity

By Rachael Yardley

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Selection of objects from the University Heritage Collection, Research and Cultural Collections 

We have already mentioned the vast and varied collections that fill the rooms here at Research and Cultural Collections. When the second leg of our photography training arrived I decided to have a rummage through a drawer or two (a very careful rummage with gloved hands of course) to find some objects to make an interesting photograph. Inside the very first drawer I opened I spotted amongst the various objects a rather large tooth, a tin ox and carriage, and a beautiful little tin with actual spices inside. 

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Digitisation: Conserving Materiality

This guest blog has been written by the University of Melbourne’s Museums & Collections Award recipient of 2014, Emily Keppel, who joined the Focus on Curating volunteers during their photography training.

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Mask, metal, Research and Cultural Collections 

The Museums & Collections Award is a Universitas 21 partnership between the University of Birmingham and the University of Melbourne. As a recipient of this Award, I worked on a range of different collection management projects during a one month residency at the University of Birmingham in January-February 2014. I am currently completing a Masters of Cultural Material Conservation at the University of Melbourne, and my experience in Birmingham enabled me to develop new and existing skills in research, exhibition planning, cataloguing and preventive conservation.

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Georg Sauter and Lilian Galsworthy – A Tragic Love Story

By Rachael Yardley 

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Georg Sauter

Portrait of Lilian Sauter, tempera, Research and Cultural Collections 

Portrait of Lilian Sauter by Georg Sauter is an incredibly beautiful painting, a portrayal of a beloved wife by an original and talented artist. It caught my eye almost immediately in the Art Room at Research and Cultural Collections. For this reason this portrait is the first object that I have chosen to photograph and research. I soon came to learn that Georg and Lilian’s story is incredibly romantic, with a rather gloomy end. Georg Sauter (1866 – 1937) was a German artist that immigrated to London at the end of the nineteenth century. Lilian Galsworthy was the sister of Nobel Prize winning novelist John Galsworthy, author of The Forsyte Saga. This particular depiction of Lilian, though unfinished, seems to reflect the artists’ love for his wife and is perhaps even a window into the couple’s darker future. 

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Georg Sauter’s Bridal Morning

By Rachael Yardley 

On my very first visit to the delightful Art Room at Research and Cultural Collections a rather enchanting portrait immediately caught my eye. This was Georg Sauter’s Portrait of Lilian Sauter. When beginning research into the delicate portrayal of Sauter’s wife Lilian, I hardly expected to be met with controversy – but one of Sauter’s paintings, The Bridal Morning, caused just that. 

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Chancellor’s Court by Dr. Roy S. Lehrle (1930-2007)

By Rebecca King

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Dr Roy S. Lehrle

Chancellor’s Court, mixed media, Research and Cultural Collections 

The artwork on which this entry focuses depicts the iconic ‘Old Joe’ clock tower and Chancellor’s Court painted by former Chemistry student and member of academic staff Dr. Roy Lehrle.

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OBJECT IN FOCUS: ASANTE GOLDWEIGHT

Asante
Goldweight, Cast brass, Research and Cultural Collections


This beautiful object was the inspiration for the Focus on Curating project, and acted as an instrumental example in RCC’s funding bid to the Marches Network. 
You can find out more about this goldweight at RCC’s Redmarley blog. 

OBJECT IN FOCUS: ASANTE GOLDWEIGHT

Asante

GoldweightCast brass, Research and Cultural Collections

This beautiful object was the inspiration for the Focus on Curating project, and acted as an instrumental example in RCC’s funding bid to the Marches Network

You can find out more about this goldweight at RCC’s Redmarley blog

Education Workshop Training

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By Rebecca King

How do you hold the attention of a group of young people for two hours? - Good question!

The culmination of our project is to be an educational workshop delivered to a small group of young people. Although this is an exciting undertaking and gives us a lot of scope for creativity it is also quite a challenging prospect! Having worked as a mentor in the past I am looking forward to engaging with a group of young people again and conveying my passion for museums and collections. However, after meeting with the Learning and Access Officers from the Barber Institute we are now acutely aware of the issues that we will face in delivering a workshop that is informative and enlightening, but most importantly fun!

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Photography Training Day

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By Rachael Yardley

One of the most important aspects of this project is digitising a few chosen objects from the Research and Cultural Collections (RCC). Our collective knowledge of photography is (or should I say was) rather under developed, ranging from my incredibly basic knowledge of taking a few snaps with an iPhone, to Beth’s experience of using a basic DLSR whilst travelling. Digitisation of collections is becoming increasingly important; often people view an object online before they see it in person. It is imperative therefore to present the objects in the best possible ‘light’ (whether that be ambient or flash light).

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