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2017 Science Museum Group Research Conference

To mark the rebranding and renaming of the National Science and Media Museum, the 2017 Science Museum Group Research Conference explored the theme of sound and vision in science museums.

The conference showcased research from across the Science Museum Group, our partners, and our collaborators in HEIs.

See below for the full programme.

Scheduled dates


Thursday 23 November

10.00–10.30: Coffee and registration

10.30–11.40: Session 1

  • Welcome
  • Intro and Ways of Hearing in the Museum, Dr James Mansell (University of Nottingham)
  • Can sound convey knowledge to grasp at a sensuous level?, Alcina Cortez (

11.40–12.45: Session 2

  • Coding, Coal Trains and CAD: British Rail 1965–1975, Bob Gwynne (National Railway Museum) and Jonathan Aylen (University of Manchester)
  • Reels on the Rails: Film and sound collection at the National Railway Museum, Angélique Bonamy (Associate Archivist of Film & Sound, National Railway Museum)
  • The National Grid: A conflicted history or a history of conflict?, Paul Coleman (University of Leeds and MSI)
  • Three-dimensional chart used by Central Electricity Generating Board planners, c.1954: Object’s use and users, Alice Cliff (Curator of Science and Technology, MSI)

12.45–14.00: Lunch

  • Optional lightning (5-minute) talks showcasing the breadth and diversity of original research across SMG in Learning, Audience Research, Conservation and Collections Care

14.00–15.15: Session 3

  • Hugh Davies’s Objects of Sound and Music: Practice, use and modification, James Mooney (University of Leeds)
  • Sound Culture: New challenges for museums in the post-digital age, Stefania Zardini Lacedelli (PhD student at the University of Leicester, School of Museum Studies)
  • Intangible Culture in an Expanded Field: The Collections of audio interfaces and transport at the Museum of Portable Sound, John Kannenberg (, winner of the SMG Journal Writing Prize 2017)

15.15–15.45: Refreshment break

15.45: Session 4

  • Fake News panel: How can cultural institutions, researchers and those concerned with policy-making respond to urgent, emerging and difficult-to-pin-down phenomena such as ‘Fake News’?
    Participants: John O’Shea, Senior Exhibitions Manager, NSMM; Sarah Browncross, Exhibitions Team, NSMM; Dr Fiona Macaulay, PSID (Peace Studies and International Development), University of Bradford; Silvia De Michelis, PSID, University of Bradford; Professor Andy Miah, University of Salford; Rebecca Smith, De Montfort University and NSMM

16.30 onwards: Early evening options

  • Ephemeral media and anonymous lives in history—magic lantern slide performance, Philip Roberts (University of York and NSMM)
  • Paul’s Theatrograph: An untold history, Ian Christie (Birkbeck, University of London)
  • ADAPT Project Q&A

17.00–20.00: Evening events

  • Drinks reception and Fake News exhibition opening
  • ADAPT Live: In partnership with Royal Holloway University, Adapt Live will give delegates and visitors the chance to experience broadcast history
  • Sound installation and performance by Sam Hertz, in collaboration with the Dare Partnership between the University of Leeds and Opera North

Friday 24 November

09.30–10.00: Coffee and introduction

10.00–11.15: Session 1

  • Scripting the Postwar Museum, Tim Boon (Science Museum)
  • A History of the Science Museum’s First Permanent Displays, Cate Watson (The Science Museum Library and Archives, Wroughton)
  • Sound and Vision in the Medicine galleries, Emma Stirling-Middleton (Curator, Medicine and Bodies Gallery, Science Museum)

11.15–11.45: Refreshment break

11.45–13.00: Session 2

  • Magic Lanterns and Media History at the NSMM, Philip Roberts (University of York and NSMM)
  • Everything In Its Place: Locating movement and stasis in the Daily Herald Picture Library, Rebecca Smith (De Montfort University and NSMM)
  • ‘Make your public curious’: Cinema advertising and public taste, Dr Robert James (University of Portsmouth)
  • Uncovering British radio and television history in the National Science and Media Museum archive, Emily Rees (PhD candidate at the University of Nottingham)
  • Optional lightning (5-minute) talks showcasing the breadth and diversity of original research across SMG in Learning, Audience Research, Conservation and Collections Care

13.00–14.00: Lunch

14.00–15.15: Session 3

  • Museums, their collections and the STEAM curriculum, Daniel Martin (Curator of Making, Derby Museums)
  • A Collection of Small Choices: the Hoxton Hall experience, Hannah Bruce and Jonathan Eato (Affiliation: Hannah Bruce and Company/University of York)
  • Hooked on Music: Driving Citizen Science with Sound, John Ashley Burgoyne, Marieke Navin, Erinma Ochu and Antonio Benitez (University of Amsterdam and MSI)

15.15–15.45: Refreshment break

15.45: Session 4

  • Round Table: Science in Visual Culture / Visual Culture in the Science Museum Group

Main image: detail from logo of the Anti-Noise League, 1935 © Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library