The Material Life of Things (External organisation)

Activity: Membership typesMembership of research network


In recent years, the evidence of technical and material analysis has become increasingly important to art-historical interpretation. Beyond their traditional role in informing the restoration of artefacts, technical investigations have greatly contributed to our understanding of how works of art were made. Yet, less critical attention has been paid to the ‘use-life’ of artefacts - that is, to the manipulation, exchange and consumption of artefacts throughout their life histories. Drawing together researchers from different areas of expertise including curators and conservators, this research project aims to explore the material lives of artefacts in a variety of media, encouraging object-based, methodological and theoretical discussions relating to the shifting relationship between artefacts, people and environments throughout the life history of particular objects or classes of objects. Emphasis is placed on works of art as material objects considering the ways in which they are manipulated, re-made and unmade by different individuals, at different times, manifesting different social and cultural practices.
Held atThe Material Life of Things, United Kingdom