[H-verkko] Helsinki, From the sanctuary to the museum: Displaying the sacred. Spring School, University of Helsink

agricola at utu.fi agricola at utu.fi
Ke Joulu 7 09:18:53 EET 2016

Agricolan tapahtumakalenteriin on lähetetty uusi ilmoitus:

>From the sanctuary to the museum: Displaying the sacred. Spring School,
University of Helsink

Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 33
20.3.2017 – 24.3.2017

>From the sanctuary to the museum: Displaying the sacred

Spring School, University of Helsinki

20–24 March 2017

Call for Applications

In medieval Christianity, the transcendental manifested itself in materially
tangible substances, from the bread and wine of the Eucharist to the relics of
the saints. Images, liturgical and devotional objects, and built spaces
translated the spiritual message to physical form. Sensory access to the sacred
was conditional: the individual’s interaction with the divine was orchestrated
in a reciprocal movement between concealement and exposure, where the not-seen
was as spiritually charged as the immediately visible. Relics lay hidden in
altars and reliquaries, the folding doors of altarpieces remained closed for
most of the year, the imagery of stained-glass windows and exterior façade
sculpture was set so high as to be near impossible to make out from ground

In present-day museums, the conditions of display are vastly different. The
knowledge regime of modernity demands for exhibits to be fully exposed to view
in well-lit display cases, sculpted building elements previously out of reach to
be mounted at eye level, and wings of altarpieces to be thrown up to allow a
view from all sides. The resulting disenchantment of the objects may be
fruitfully compared to the exhibiting in ethnographic museums of sacred and/or
ritual objects from non-Western cultures; in contrast to the latter, however,
the ontological and ethical consequences for the medieval objects have not
raised much scholarly debate.

The course will explore the above issues by interrogating the contexts in which
sacred objects have been put on display—or not—from the Middle Ages to the
present. Although the primary focus will be on the visual and material culture
of the Latin Church, a wider frame of reference will be provided by applying
perspectives taken from archaeological and ethnographic discourses on the
transfer of ritual objects from their original cultural settings to become part
of museum collections. The participants will be expected to engage actively in a
dialogue on the implications of different modes of display for the perception
and interpretation of the objects, historically and today.

The Spring School welcomes applicants from across the fields of art history,
cultural history, ethnography, museology, anthropology, religious studies, and
archaeology. Participants are warmly encouraged to bring their own specialities
to the table through project presentations and discussions. A reading list for
beforehand preparation will be distributed.

Part of the course will consist of students’ project presentations, with
comments provided by the teachers and the other students. The particpants are
required to submit an essay (5–7 pages) on a topic based in their ongoing
research. Is is an added value if the topic links up to the focus of the course,
although this is not a prerequisite.

The Spring School is organized by the Thure Gallén foundation, Centre for the
Nordic Studies at the University of Helsinki, Swedish Historical Society in
Finland and Glossa Society for Medieval Studies in Finland. Course leader is
Professor Lena Liepe (University of Oslo).

Fifteen students (on Ph.D. or Master’s level) will be accepted on to the

Students receive 5 ECTS points for attending the course and completing the
course assignments, including submitting an essay and making a project
presentation. Applicants are invited to send a one-page abstract to the
coordinator Karolina Kouvola by January 15, 2017. The organizers can provide a
travel grant from €100 to €400; to apply, include in your application the
reason for applying for the grant, as well as an estimate of travel expenses.

For further information, please contact the coordinator or Prof. Lena Liepe.

Karolina Kouvola, University of Helsinki – Karolina.kouvola[at]helsinki.fi

Lena Liepe, University of Oslo – lena.liepe[at]ifikk.uio.no


Tiedustelut: Karolina Kouvola (karolina.kouvola[ät]helsinki.fi)
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