Aims of conference

The call for papers is now closed.


Museum Metamorphosis - The Adaptable and Changing Museum

Tuesday 5 November - Wednesday 6 November 2013

A Two-Day Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference hosted by the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, in partnership with Leicester Arts and Museums Service.

This conference seeks to explore the phenomenon of metamorphosis — or change — in the museum. Museums are often perceived to arrest time, or go beyond it, yet they are not fixed or static entities. It has often been claimed that in order to become meaningful, museums should change by addressing and responding to the needs of society. Is this the case? Museum Metamorphosis —The Adaptable and Changing Museum will be the fifth conference organised by the PhD community at the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, and follows last year's highly successful Museum Utopias.

Aims and topics

We aim to discuss and share ideas on some of the most seminal issues in museums today. Papers addressing the following themes and questions are encouraged, but we also welcome new suggestions and creative proposals.

  • How might we define metamorphosis in the context of the museum?
  • Metamorphosis is a concept that resonates across many disciplines, from biology and geology to literary studies. How can such different conceptions of metamorphosis be harnessed in order to consider change in the museum?
  • How do museums deal with resistance to change, both internally and externally?
  • What are some of the opportunities and/or risks arising from constant and never-ending change in the museum?
  • Historically, how has the museum changed from its early inception?
  • What organisational changes have museum institutions implemented, and how has the museum profession responded to these?
  • How have digital and other technological trends impacted upon the way we conceive museums and the ways in which museums relate to their communities?
  • Have collections and displays been made relevant for contemporary audiences? If so, how? If not, why not?
  • How have museological concepts such as learning, interpretation and collection adapted to new contexts?
  • How, and to what extent, are new trends in exhibition-making creating the museum anew? How have museum-making processes changed?
  • How can we describe changing understandings of museum space?
  • How has our knowledge of the complex range of visitor experiences shifted? What impact has this had?
  • How are museums used to create identity on different levels, and how are museums' identities created in turn by the communities they serve?
  • To what extent are museums an instrument for social change, and to what extent is change forced upon them?
  • How can museums explore and reflect contemporary discussions in society?

Who can participate?

The conference team welcomes all postgraduate students and early career researchers, as well as professionals who are interested in and researching topics related to the museum field. All disciplines and nationalities are invited to participate.

Format and style of presentations

We welcome and encourage alternative presentational styles, besides the traditional paper. Workshops, panel debates, creative writing and film, installations, visual creations and displays will all be considered.

Presenters will have 20 minutes (plus 10 minutes Q&A) to deliver their papers. Workshops and panel debates will be up to 60 minutes in duration.


Abstracts should include the following information:

  1. title of abstract
  2. author name(s) and contact information
  3. biography (max. 100 words)
  4. format and style of presentation
  5. abstract of no more than 250 words
  6. optional: up to two jpg images, each under 2MB, to complement your proposal

Abstracts should be sent by email to Sarah Hughes, Conference Secretary, by midnight GMT on 31 May 2013, to

Successful participants will be notified by early July 2013.

Cost and payment

Early bird fee (until 31 July 2013) £40 £50
Full fee (after 1 August 2013) £60 £70

Lunch and refreshments will be provided on both days. In addition, there will be optional social events and museum visits.

Bursaries are available for student delegates to cover conference fees and travel expenses of up to £100. Please contact us at for further information.

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For general website enquiries, please contact Amy Hetherington. For enquires about the conference contact Sarah Hughes:

School of Museum Studies
University of Leicester
Museum Studies Building
19 University Road