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Material Worlds Conference

Emeritus Professor Susan Pearce has made signifcant contributions to the fields of material culture studies, museum studies and archaeology.

Material Worlds Conference

International Material Worlds conference at the University of Leicester John Foster Hall, Oadby, Monday15th- Wednesday 17th December

Issued on 10 December 2008

An international two-day conference at the University of Leicester will mark the long and distinguished contribution to the fields of material culture studies, museum studies and archaeology, of Professor Susan Pearce.

The conference, Material Worlds, is being organised by the University’s internationally acclaimed Department of Museum Studies and is attracting worldwide interest. More than 100 speakers are coming from around 17 countries for what is seen as a major interdisciplinary event.

Delegates from almost every continent include people from the worlds of museum studies, museum professionals, museum management, fine art, social anthropology, history of art, archaeology, geography, English literature, theology and information technology.

Among many distinguished speakers are Howard Morphy, Director of the Research for Humanities at the Australian National University and Charles Saumarez Smith, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Material Worlds will take a broad look at material culture as well as theoretical approaches to it. Themes include: Museums and heritage; Defining and engaging with objects; The roles and values of objects; Objects of science; Designing and making; Objects in museums; Representing and interpreting culture; and Collectors and collecting.

Material culture studies explore how people interact with the material world and what the material world means in terms of life, status and relationships. Susan Pearce has made a significant contribution, not just to Museum Studies generally, but also to material culture studies and the theory of material culture.

On the final day of the conference, Professor Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester will make a presentation to her, in thanks for her contributions to the life of the University both as an academic and as a former Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Conference organiser, Dr Sandra Dudley, said: “I came to Leicester five years ago from Oxford. At that time I’d never met Sue, but her name was already well-known. At the Oxford library, on the new books shelf, there was always a book by Susan Pearce. Her work was a formative influence on me, as a graduate student. So to come here and have the opportunity of organising a great conference like this in her honour is really exciting.”

“I am delighted and grateful to Sandra Dudley for organising this conference,” responded Professor Susan Pearce.

Notes to Editors: For more information on this please contact

Dr Sandra Dudley, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, tel +44 (0)116 252 3970, email

Barbara Lloyd, Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester tel +44 (0)116 252 3962, email

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