Annual Egyptological colloquium
Displaying Egypt

Thursday 19 July 2018,
10.00–17.30
Friday 20 July 2018,
10.00–17.30
BP Lecture Theatre
Tickets £55
Members/Concessions £35
Colloquium: £55 (£35) Joint ticket (Sackler lecture and colloquium): £70 (£40, undergraduates and postgraduates of UK universities £25) Concessions are Members, Egypt Exploration Society members, British Egyptian Society members, Sudan Archaeological Research Society members

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The British Museum has displayed Egyptian objects since it opened in 1759, from a variety of typological, thematic and chronological perspectives. The current galleries reflect approaches from 1979 (the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery, Room 4) to 2014 (Early Egypt, Room 64). Temporary exhibitions, starting with the first UK blockbuster, The Treasures of Tutankhamun (1972), have allowed more experimental, nuanced and/or focused presentations, but also displays that diverge from the typically separate treatment of pharaonic, 'Coptic' and 'Islamic' Egypt, such as the exhibition Egypt: faith after the pharaohs (2014/15).

We are now considering how Egypt will be displayed in the next generation of British Museum galleries, prompting this colloquium that aims to gather those researching how Egypt – of all periods – has been represented and interpreted for audiences through displays across the world, both in museums and beyond.

The representations of Egypt in public displays have, to varying degrees, reflected collecting/acquisition histories, disciplinary/institutional distinctions, historical/political/social contexts, aesthetic/design trends, economic drivers and audience expectations. Such displays have in turn helped inform and shape perceptions of Egypt past and present. Despite the growing focus on histories of Egyptology, and the study of Egypt and its heritage within the context of colonial and postcolonial histories, the subject of Displaying Egypt remains one rich with potential for further discussion and research.

A range of international speakers – from museum curators to archaeologists, museologists and historians will present papers responding to the following themes:
• How have displays of artefacts and human remains shaped perceptions and conceptions of Egyptian history and culture for different audiences?
• How have collecting and acquisition histories informed displays? Conversely, in what way have display requirements/desires shaped acquisition policies?
• To what extent have displays reflected and shaped research on Egypt? How has the non-display/storage of certain artefacts influenced research on, and perceptions of, Egypt?
• How have distinctive settings – national, local, institutional – shaped displays of Egypt? For what aims were such displays created?
• How have various contexts – such as colonialism/postcolonialism, or social, visual and design trends – influenced displays?
The colloquium will not focus solely on pharaonic Egypt.

The colloquium is accompanied by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation Distinguished Lecture in Egyptology, by Stephanie Moser: The most ordinary of things: Victorian artists and the allure of the ancient Egyptian collections at the British Museum.

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