CFP: Artefacts Consortium, October 5-7

Call for Proposals

Artefacts Consortium: ACCESS
Ottawa, 5-7 October 2020

ARTEFACTS is an association of historians of science and technology, mostly in museums and academic institutions, who share the goal of promoting the use of objects in historical studies. See

The theme of the 25th meeting of the Artefacts Consortium is ACCESS. Access to artefacts is a central element in their study and analysis. The ability to see, examine, and interrogate objects is, more often than not, the starting point for engaging with the material culture and history of science and technology. But access in relation to artefacts can, and does, mean so much more than physical proximity. Taken another way, access can also mean our ability to share, represent, and interpret these histories.

As museums rethink the role of access, curators, conservators, and other staff, are presented with opportunities to get creative with the ways in which collections are shared with their publics. In some cases, accessibility guidelines are developed in response to new legislation. In others, digital tools and spaces are being experimented with in order to make a relatively stationary collection move across the virtual world and appeal to new audiences. Finally, care is taken to ensure that representation and the inclusion of marginalized voices and experiences are the focus of research that seeks to access these overlooked accounts of the history of science and technology.

Participants are encouraged to submit proposals for traditional 20 minute papers or for shorter presentations of 10 minutes in length.

Examples might include, but are not limited to:

  • Access as a lens into the history of science and technology;
  • Access and inclusion in museums and material culture;
  • Intellectual Access: the story of an object in 60 words or less, storytelling with objects;
  • Virtual/Open Access: national and international efforts to share collections virtually, and the ethics, testing, challenges, and opportunities related to those efforts;
  • Accessing Knowledge: complications arising from the building of a digital “archive” (post/colonial studies), re-evaluating and expanding artifact documentation, consultation, co-curation, and shared authority;
  • Conservation and the material implications of access.

Abstracts for proposed papers should be a maximum of 250 words and be accompanied by a 50-word author biography. Proposals should be sent to

Note from Organizers

Dear colleagues,

I hope you and yours are all well and safe. Many of us have been working from home these past few months and struggling with the demands of work and home life. There is certainly still a lot to process as our institutions begin to reopen to the public. This whole experience has certainly provided a lot of food for thought in terms of this year’s meeting theme: ACCESS.

Due to our collective circumstances, we have decided to extend the Call for Proposals to July 24th.

Thank you to those of you who took the time to respond to SurveyMonkey questionnaire that was sent in the last communication. The consensus was that Zoom is the preferable platform for a virtual conference. I also want to assure anyone who feels anxious or uneasy about using Zoom that Ingenium will provide a user guide in advance of the conference that will detail how to use the program.

Questions and intentions to attend should be directed to the attention of Christina Harb at

Thank you and stay safe.


Erin Gregory, Christina Harb, Emily Gann, and Anna Adamek.

Leave a Reply