Emotions, Transformations, Restorations

Project Overview
How do people respond to materials emotionally, and how has this changed over time? People respond when confronted with unfamiliar materials, when they see dramatic changes in physical forms, and when they seek to restore material states that they feel have been lost. This project explores the theme of the emotional history of materials in a series of three workshops entitled Emotions, Transformations, and Restorations. The workshops, which will be held at the Institute of Making at University College London between April and June 2014, will bring together a presenter, a respondent, and a group of researchers drawn from a range of academic disciplines. Each workshop will use practical demonstrations with materials to encourage reflection on our emotional responses to materials and their properties, and how these responses might signal new historical questions. To participate in one or all of these workshops, each researcher must commit to attending the designated date(s) and to writing up a short response for the project website. We expect that some participants will want to attend all three workshops, while others may like to attend just one – which connects most closely with their research specialism.
If you would like to participate in this project, then please complete the application form below and return it to Leonie Hannan at this address: by the 31 March 2014. If successful you will be required to:

• Attend 1-3 workshops of approximately three hours each
• Write a short response shortly after each workshop to be posted on the project website
• To engage in discussion with fellow participants and make use of the workshops as an opportunity for collaborative research

If you have any further questions about the format for the workshops or the level of commitment required to become a participant on this project, then do drop us a line: Simon Werrett; Anna Maerker; Leonie Hannan

Workshop 1: Monday 28 April
– Emotions. What is the history of people’s emotional responses to materials? Researchers have a good knowledge of how humans interact, but what about humans and materials in e.g. medical interventions? How do rubber, leather, plastics, or metals shape medical or other experiences? We invite Wellcome Public Engagement Fellow and Imperial College Professor of Surgery Roger Kneebone to lead this exploration.

Workshop 2: Monday 30 June
– Transformations. How have people experienced and made sense of changes in the state of materials in the past? How did they react to changes between liquids, solids, and gases, or sudden colour or texture changes, or transformations such as explosions? We invite Matthew Tosh, a pyrotechnician, who is licensed to give indoor demonstrations, to lead this session.

Workshop 3: Monday 12 May
– Restorations. How have people sought to restore properties of materials they perceive to have been lost in the past? What is the history of repairing, cleaning, reinvigorating and restoring material objects? We invite Fred Bearman, a Preservation Librarian in UCL Special Collections, to run a session on paper and book restoration.

Emotions, Transformations, Restorations Application Form


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