CONFERENCE: On the Matter of Books and Records: Forms, Substance, Forgeries and Meanings Beyond the Lines, An International Workshop on the Materiality of Written Culture, London, The Victoria & Albert Museum, 23 November 2015.
On the Matter of Books and Records: Forms, Substance, Forgeries, and Meanings Beyond the Lines is an international and interdisciplinary workshop on the materiality of books and documents from Antiquity to the Modern Era. The workshop is aimed at junior scholars interested in the material culture of the written word, especially geared towards PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.
Papers will range chronologically and geographically, providing both methodological overviews and more specific case studies. Over the course of three sessions, we will look to answer different sets of questions, focusing on material supports, and subsequently on the binding and forgery of both books and documents respectively:
– How were writing supports created and employed, and what can they tell us about their users? What is the meaning of papyrus, parchment, and paper beyond their texts?
– How were written texts gathered and organised? What do structures and bindings communicate about the history of books and documents?
– How was the materiality of books and documents used as means of deception? How do physical elements of books and documents help us assess authenticity?
Historians, classicists, art historians, and conservators will give short presentations accompanied by a discussion of examples. Ultimately, the workshop will provide junior researchers from diverse backgrounds with the chance to engage critically with textual sources using the approach of material culture.
* Filippo de Vivo and Marta Ajmar, Introduction.
First Session. Supports: Papyrus, Parchment and Paper
* Danae Bafa (UCL), From Boats to Book-rolls: Unfolding the Materiality of Papyrus in Graeco-Roman Egypt
* Jessica Berenbeim (Magdalene College, University of Oxford), What Parchment is, and What it Means
* Maria Alessandra Chessa (V&A Museum), From the Nature of Paper to Meaning and Function.
Second Session. Binding Books and Documents
* Anna Gialdini (Ligatus, UAL) and Alessandro Silvestri (Birkbeck), Binding and Rebinding Records in Late Medieval Sicily. A Material Approach to Administrative History
* Carlo Federici (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Bindings, Parchments and Papers. My Pathway to the Archaeology of the Book.
Third Session: Forgery in Books and Documents
* Emily Taylor (British Museum), Book Forgeries: A Composite Fake and Egyptological Conundrum from the British Museum’s Collection
* Alfred Hiatt (Queen Mary University of London), Forgery of Documents in the Late Middle Ages.
* Ian Sansom (University of Warwick), Closing remarks: The Paper Museum.
The workshop is jointly organised by AR.C.H.I.ves (Birkbeck, University of London), the Ligatus Research Centre (University of the Arts London), and the History of Design Programme at the Royal College of Art / Victoria & Albert Museum.
Registration will close on 15 November 2015.