Understanding Egyptian Collections, part 1.

At the beginning of September I attended the Understanding Egyptian Collections conference at the Ashmolean Museum. This two day international conference, organised by the Ashmolean’s Conservation Department in partnership with Oxford ASPIRE and ICON, explored innovative display and research projects in museums with a focus on conserving, displaying, understanding and interpreting Egyptian collections. Over the next few blog posts I hope to highlight some of the main themes from this conference.

Ashmolean Re-Development.

Ancient Egypt and Nubia gallery guide.

The first two sessions of the conference celebrated the Ashmolean’s ancient Egypt and Nubia galleries which opened in November 2011. Assistant Keeper for Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Liam McNamara, opened the conference with an overview of the collection and re-development.

The 16 month refurbishment project gave the Museum an opportunity to improve showcases, lighting and environmental controls, as well as introduce a clearer layout to the galleries and new contextualising interpretation. The re-development was also instrumental in improving documentation and storage of the collection. Liam McNamara explained how the first three months of the project was spent packing and removing 35,000 objects from the gallery, some of which had been stored beneath the original showcases. The team created an ‘Egypt Decant Database’ to record objects as they were removed, unique barcodes were introduced to improve location control, and existing stores were refitted to provide space for decanted objects. The opening session provided a great insight into how the re-development of galleries can have a greater impact and legacy beyond what is seen on display.

Inter-Disciplinary Collaborations.

Richard B. Parkinson, Professor of Egyptology at the University of Oxford and Director of the Griffith Institute, provided the keynote lecture entitled ‘Egyptology Beyond the Institutional Divide’. Within this lecture, Professor Parkinson emphasised the importance of increasing inter-disciplinary relationships, bridging the gap between museum and academic spheres in order to overcome Egyptology’s institutionalisation and sometimes outdated 19th century paradigms. The intellectual relationship between the curator and conservator was highlighted as particularly significant, creating a dialogue that would allow a greater appreciation and understanding of an object’s physical materiality, as well as a vital step towards engaging wider audiences. In the Griffith Institute’s 75th anniversary year, it was poignant that collaborations between Egyptology and archives were also discussed, with the conclusion that such a wealth of documentation can help us to historicize not only individual objects but the entire discipline also.

Research Projects.
Understanding Egyptian Collections conference.

Marie Svoboda, from the J. Paul Getty Museum in California, introduced the new Ancient Panel Paintings: Examination, Analysis and Research (APPEAR) project. In collaboration with international partners, this four year study (2013-2017) aims to build a database for the comparative study of ancient mummy portraits, and similar material types, in collections around the world. The team have estimated that there are at least 1,028 mummy portraits in museums and private collections world-wide, and they hope that this study will allow researchers to compare examples in terms of historical and contextual information. In addition to the online database the project team is planning a conference in 2017, including practical workshops, and there is even the possibility of an exhibition to present and discuss the findings of the study.

Jennifer Marchant and Abigail Granville, from the Fitzwilliam Museum, spoke about their on-going project to analyse the pigments used on ancient Egyptian coffins. This presentation focussed on their use of Fibre Optic Reflectance Spectroscopy (FORS), a non-invasive means of identifying organic and inorganic pigments. The speakers highlighted the benefit of FORS as an initial assessment: this surface technique is non-invasive and portable, it carries low risk to the object with low, brief light exposures, it can identify pigments both on their own and in mixes, and has the potential to analyse binding media and coatings, albeit beyond the scope of this project. The results of this research will provide technical evidence to support the Fitzwilliam Museum’s forthcoming exhibition ‘Death on the Nile’, planned for Spring 2016.

Development Projects.

Mohamed Gamal Rashed, Museum Display and Research Director for the Grand Egyptian Museum project, introduced current designs and concepts behind some of the permanent galleries under development. The talk focussed on two permanent introductory galleries: the meet-and-greet gallery and the grand staircase, a vertical display space showcasing key ‘discovery’ objects. The Museum aims to unite Egypt’s past and present, explore matters of Egyptian identity and highlight Egypt’s responsibility in protecting its own heritage. The Grand Egyptian Museum, one of the largest museum development projects in the world, is currently under construction and is due to open in 2017.

Interpreting Egyptian Art, The British Museum.

At the end of June Alaistair Sooke, writer and presenter of BBC4’s recent documentary series Treasures of Ancient Egypt, was at the British Museum to discuss how we present and interpret ancient Egyptian art on television and in museums. He was joined in conversation by Marcel Marée, a curator from the Museum’s Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, who shares a similar interest in the history of art. The event provided an opportunity to compare and contrast two quite different approaches to interpretation, not just in terms of the media used but in the disciplinary perspectives they present. While Treasures of Ancient Egypt was keen to promote a more art historical and aesthetically-led approach, museum displays are often guided by a more traditional egyptological and archaeological viewpoint.

For Marcel Marée this topic holds particular relevance as the department is currently in the middle of a project to refresh the interpretation of the Museum’s famous Egyptian sculpture gallery, the results of which are due around November 2014. The mention of a potential temporary exhibition at the Museum in 2017/18 on how to interpret ancient Egyptian art also demonstrates that it is a topic gaining far wider appeal.

The event took the form of an entertaining and engaging conversation between the two speakers structured around some of the key themes, periods and pieces from ancient Egyptian art. This structure allowed us to consider both ancient and modern interpretations of the same pieces whilst demonstrating the development of ancient Egyptian art over time. Both speakers are keen, through their respective media, to dispel the myth that ancient Egyptian art was static and uncreative, a perception often reinforced in the media and more traditional museum displays, and want to encourage people to overcome this long-held prejudice that exists in comparison to other classical cultures.

Marcel Marée reminded the audience that, although the ancient Egyptians had no word for art, evidence shows there was certainly a great appreciation for beauty in both objects and architecture. By approaching ancient Egyptian objects as works of art and viewing them aesthetically, rather than solely from an archaeological perspective, we can breathe new life into some objects, engaging new audiences and encouraging important cross-disciplinary interpretations.

For our speakers this aesthetic approach provides a very logical and meaningful way of interpreting ancient Egypt to the public. It is clear that many of us are initially drawn to ancient Egypt through an appreciation of their visual culture and this approach would allow us to engage more with that underlying attraction. Similarly, an aesthetic approach emphasises a universal and shared commonality and is therefore a form of interpretation that can be appreciated and understood by everyone on many different levels.

It was really interesting to hear the similarities that exist between the roles of the museum curator and the television writer/presenter. Not only do they share similar responsibilities in selecting, editing and curating stories to be presented to the public, but both find themselves restricted in the stories they can tell by the availability of material culture and the preservation bias in the archaeological record. Notably, both speakers emphasised the importance of moving away from purely recounting facts to encouraging people to question evidence and former interpretations. This event highlighted how, as means of presenting and interpreting an ancient culture to the public, the media and the museum share many similarities and have much to offer each other in terms of experimenting with interpretation styles and reaching new audiences.

It was great to attend an event that truly encourages us to question and think more about how and why we interpret and present ancient Egyptian artefacts the way we do. It was even greater to see this kind of discussion happening in the public arena. We can only hope that other museums follow suit – events like this could act as a forum for sharing ideas, providing an opportunity for museum visitors to feedback and potentially influence the way museums approach their interpretation.

Encountering Corpses, part 2.

Following talks by Dr Bryan Sitch and Dr Campbell Price (see part 1) the conference provided curator-led tours of the Ancient Worlds galleries and an opportunity for the delegates to feed back on their experience of viewing human remains within a museum context. This group discussion generated a wide-range of questions and responses, demonstrating the complexity and necessity of such an open debate.

Curator Dr Campbell Price leads a group of delegates on a gallery tour.

Curator Dr Campbell Price leads a group of delegates on a gallery tour.

Much of this discussion focused on the ethics of display and the ways in which museums try to re-humanise human remains, taking into consideration the objectifying effect of the museum display case and the difficult subject-object duality of the material dead. Approaches such as referring to the deceased by name, wherever possible, and using ‘he’ or ‘she’ in interpretation were highlighted as a means of showing respect and sensitivity to the deceased. Visual interpretive methods such as facial reconstructions were also discussed, although it was felt that these methods can be distracting and/or misleading in some contexts. All agreed that context is key when it comes to display – providing a rich socio-cultural and/or scientific context allows a greater understanding of the person.

Dr Price explained how many of these approaches had been incorporated into the Ancient Worlds gallery which opened in 2012. The display of human remains within this gallery had been based upon a series of experimental phases of display, which included different ways of covering the body, this approach generated discussion amongst museum visitors and professionals, and enabled audience consultation for the re-display. As a result, Asru, an Egyptian woman from the 25th-26th dynasty whose preserved body is on display in the gallery, is covered from collar to ankle with ancient linen and has been re-situated within her coffin. As she is displayed beneath visitor’s eye-level, with the coffin lid hovering over her body, visitors are able to choose whether or not to view the human remains, and soft, motion sensor lights ensure her display is subtle. Scientific context has also been built with interviews and research from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology.

Asru in the Ancient Worlds gallery.

Asru in the Ancient Worlds gallery.

It was felt that there is an overall lack of consensus on how to display human remains and that matters of display and reception are very much dependant on the type of museum and collection. The example of medical museums was presented in which human remains tend to be considered more as specimens than people and the group questioned whether this was a consequence of encountering a fragment rather than the whole. Similarly, the group considered the factor of time and its impact upon reception. For example, there seems to be a difference in how we view the long dead in comparison to the recently dead which feeds into our museum experience – ancient remains often feel more distant from us and therefore seem less likely to evoke an emotional response and more likely to generate curiosity.

What I found particularly fascinating in this discussion was the strong local connection that many felt for the Egyptian mummies. Many delegates recounted stories of visiting them in their childhood, referring to them as ‘old friends’ and describing the sense of loss they felt when some were taken off of display to allow for a greater material culture context in the new Ancient Worlds gallery. It would be fascinating to investigate this, and other similar localised relationships, further and find out how unique this heightened attachment is to ancient Egyptian collections and the specific values we assign them.

Above all Encountering Corpses demonstrated the importance of discussing the display and reception of human remains within an inter-disciplinary context. The way we view and understand human remains in a museum setting is informed by our prior-knowledge and experiences and has, therefore, always been framed by the many different social, cultural, medical and artistic encounters we have experienced both individually and within our cultural memory. The fact that this conference sold out six months in advance is testament to its current relevance across the humanities and social sciences. Hopefully such collaborations will lead to a more inclusive, balanced and ethical approach, not just to matters of display and reception but to wider issues relating to the care, management, conservation, research and storage of human remains within museums.

Encountering Corpses, part 1.

A few weeks ago I attended Encountering Corpses at Manchester Museum – a conference organised as part of Manchester Metropolitan University’s ‘Humanities in Public’ programme. The conference reflected upon some of the many contexts in which we encounter the dead, from archaeological excavations and dark tourism to representations in art, politics and the media. While historically we have often thought of human remains as passive and neutral, stripped of agency and identity, this debate encouraged us to re-consider the agency, materiality and mobility of human remains as well as the ethics that surround different encounters.

Encountering Corpses conference at Manchester Museum.

Encountering Corpses conference at Manchester Museum.

The conference included a series of talks on human remains in a museum context, and, as speaker and Curator Dr Campbell Price explained, Manchester Museum is certainly well placed to host such a discussion. The Museum is considered by many to have started the inter-disciplinary study of human remains with some of the earliest scientific mummy un-wrappings conducted by Egyptologist and Archaeologist Margaret Murray in 1907. Since then the Museum and Manchester University has been at the centre of scientific investigations into ancient Egyptian human remains with the Manchester Mummy Project, the Ancient Mummy Tissue Bank and the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology. It is a connection that seems to have always fed into the display of ancient Egypt at the Museum.

Dr Bryan Sitch, Curator of Archaeology at Manchester Museum, presented a talk on the display of human remains in the Museum’s recent Lindow Man exhibition (2008-9). This talk highlighted the role of public consultations as an approach to making museum displays more transparent, inclusive and accountable. Public consultations for Lindow Man revealed that visitors wanted “the body to be treated respectfully and for [the Museum] to reflect different interpretations.” These responses were incorporated into the display with a wide range of people interviewed from forensic archaeologists to pagan community group members. However, this multi-vocal interpretive style received mixed reviews from the visiting public with people questioning the authority of the voices represented.

The exhibition also provided an opportunity for visitors to answer the question ‘Do you think it is right to display human remains?’ – over 12,500 comments were received with 67% of visitors saying that museums should display human remains. It was interesting to hear that these consultations had a wider impact within the Museum beyond the Lindow Man exhibition, contributing to the re-display of ancient Egyptian mummies in the new Ancient Worlds gallery.

A visitor examines the preserved body of Asru in the Ancient Worlds gallery.

A visitor examines the preserved body of Asru in the Ancient Worlds gallery.

Dr Campbell Price, Curator of Egypt and Sudan at Manchester Museum, spoke about how displays of ancient Egypt have always provided a unique encounter with human remains – one that certainly seems very different from any other within the museum setting. This talk examined how those responsible for the display and interpretation of Egyptian mummies have the difficult challenge of managing visitor’s pre-conceptions, high expectations and a fair amount of skepticism.

The preservation bias in the Egyptian archaeological record has resulted in museum narratives that focus predominantly on death and the afterlife. For Dr Price, who has recently curated the re-development of the Ancient Worlds gallery (2012) including the re-display of human remains, this historic portrayal of ancient Egyptians as a culture obsessed with death, coupled with our familiarity with mummies in the popular imagination, has made it difficult to bring new perspectives to their display and interpretation. This talk examined how the fictionalisation of Egyptian mummies has resulted in their “hyper-real” status, leading many visitors to question the authenticity of the human remains on display. Historically this has not been helped by the nineteenth century practice of creating mock-contexts and mock-biographies for mummies on display.

While it is often felt that the preservation bias in favour of funerary archaeology can dominate the museum space physically, Dr Price was also keen to highlight the unique value and potential of this evidence in guiding how we present and interpret human remains to a museum audience. This wealth of textual and archaeological evidence allows us to understand ancient Egyptian beliefs, as well as their expectations and intentions for their own human remains that could help to inform museum practice. Furthermore it can provide significant interpretive information to help visitors understand more about the person rather than the ‘mummy’.

A Fusion of Worlds, the Petrie Museum.

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology.
11th March – 24th May 2014.
Free Entry.

A Fusion of Worlds.

A Fusion of Worlds.

The temporary exhibition A Fusion of Worlds: Ancient Egypt, African Art and Identity in Modernist Britain explores the influence of ancient Egypt upon the work of artists Mahmoud Mukhtar, Jacob Epstein, Edna Manley and Ronald Moody, proving that there is far more to the reception of ancient Egypt in early twentieth century Britain than the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Focussing primarily on the interwar period, this multi-disciplinary exhibition explores the parallel worlds of the modernist art movement, contemporary archaeological thinking and the African diaspora, drawing upon the social, cultural and political landscape in which they were situated and the ancient Egyptian objects that linked them.

An interpretation panel from A Fusion of Worlds.

An interpretation panel from A Fusion of Worlds.

A Fusion of Worlds was inspired by the discovery of a letter from Flinders Petrie, published in the Manchester Guardian in 1929, in which he criticised the ‘primitive barbarism’ of a public sculpture by Jacob Epstein. From this initial discussion of Petrie’s views on the use of sculpture as a marker of civilisation and cultural achievement the exhibition introduces you to the vibrant world of the African-American Harlem Renaissance art movement in which ancient Egypt, alongside other cultural influences, was used to “re-create and re-frame modern black identities.” The exhibition incorporates a diverse range of themes, from the changing view of the ancient Egyptian object from artefact to artwork and the increasingly political nature of the ancient Egyptian image in popular culture, to the philosophical perspectives shared by the ancient and modern sculptor.

The exhibition consists of a series of interpretation panels positioned along the back wall of the main gallery, each exploring different exhibition themes and artist biographies, and a display case featuring a selection of archival material. This presentation style has allowed the Museum to display a greater depth of research than most other exhibitions and presents a level of detail that would make an excellent publication. In this shared space, interspersed amongst the cases in the gallery, the exhibition is contextualised by the permanent collection that surrounds it, allowing you to view and interpret the Museum’s objects from a new and exciting perspective.

Scrapbook style pin board showing images that inspired the exhibition.

Scrapbook style pin board showing images that inspired the exhibition.

This exhibition, co-curated by Debbie Challis (Petrie Museum) and Gemma Romain (UCL Geography, Equiano Centre), stands as another great example of inclusive exhibition practice from the Petrie Museum. Through public engagement workshops the Museum established a project team who were invited to contribute both ideas and text to the exhibition. Many of the interpretation panels include text written by members of the project team, describing visits to archives and museum collections, as well as their personal research and thoughts on particular artworks.

This approach has added an important sense of multi-vocality to the exhibition and it certainly feels richer for their input. I particularly enjoyed an interpretation panel entitled Form and Function: Petrie Museum Objects in which members of the project team picked out objects from the collection that appealed to them aesthetically and explored their similarities in style to the modernist art movement.

There are some brilliant additions to A Fusion of Worlds that allow you to actively engage with the exhibition and participate in some of the research behind its content. Scrapbook-style pin boards display some of the images and artworks explored by the project group and the presence of a comments board encourages visitors to share their thoughts and feedback with the Museum. There is also a table of books and a reading file of articles and newspaper cuttings linked to the exhibition for visitors to look through, and a short film, played on two tablets in the Museum, showing interviews with the curators and members of the project team about their experiences of working on the exhibition.

A view of the Petrie Museum and A Fusion of Worlds exhibition.

A view of the Petrie Museum and A Fusion of Worlds exhibition.

Ancient Worlds, Manchester Museum.

View of Egyptian Worlds gallery.

View of Egyptian Worlds gallery.

The Ancient Worlds galleries opened on the 30th November 2012, marking the 100th anniversary of the first Egyptian gallery at Manchester Museum. As I toured the new galleries with the Curator of Egypt and the Sudan, Dr Campbell Price, it was amazing to see the difference since my last visit in 2009. Even though there are more objects on display than ever before, the galleries feel lighter, more spacious and as a result more inviting and engaging.

View of Discovering Archaeology gallery with image of Flinders Petrie.

View of Discovering Archaeology gallery with image of Flinders Petrie.

The first of three galleries, Discovering Archaeology, contextualises the collection by exploring our relationship with the past – presenting archaeology as a means of “defining and exploring a sense of place, community and identity.” Focussing on the human stories behind the collection the gallery introduces key figures from across the breadth of the discipline and its history, with topics including Early Collecting, Theoretical Archaeology, Understanding Materials and Public Archaeology. The gallery presents a completely holistic and analytical view of current archaeology with a focus on Manchester’s contribution to the study, care and display of archaeological objects.

Discovering Archaeology has allowed the Museum to display a greater range from their extensive archaeology collection. From an Egyptology perspective this gallery places Egypt within a global archaeological context and provides a greater understanding of Egyptian archaeology’s role within the development of the discipline. Within this gallery ancient Egypt is primarily represented through Flinders Petrie in a discussion of sequence dating, ‘setting standards in archaeology’ and his connection to Manchester beneficiary and collector Jesse Haworth.

View of the Egyptian Worlds gallery.

View of the Egyptian Worlds gallery.

The Egyptian Worlds gallery maintains that same feeling of space and light. Around the outside of the gallery objects are arranged in chronological order, displayed in cases with back-lit panels designed to project the subtle shades of an Egyptian sunrise and sunset. Beginning with Predynastic Egypt, on either side of the entranceway, and culminating with the Late Period and Late Antiquity, the Egyptian chronology runs parallel down both sides of the gallery allowing the visitor to create their own pathway. As part of this arrangement the Museum has displayed a selection of pottery from each period running around the top of the cases – a display technique that creates open storage and presents a unique visual demonstration of the development of pottery throughout Egyptian history, signifying its importance and consistency as an archaeological find.

The gallery explores each period and its objects through a wide range of themes and sub-themes presented through varying layers of interpretation, from large back-lit text panels, to object labels and case labels on the glass. The new display really showcases Manchester Museum’s extensive collection of daily life objects, using the sites of Kahun, Gurob and Amarna to represent the ancient Egyptian lived experience during different periods. The wider themes and objects chosen have also created a wonderful sense of diversity within the gallery, creating a celebration of the different cultures and religions that have been, and continue to be, a part of Egypt. Furthermore this focus on cultural interaction serves to centre ancient Egypt geographically in relation to its neighbours.

Amarna - Living in a Royal City.

Amarna – Living in a Royal City.

Framed by this chronological arrangement the centre of the gallery showcases larger freestanding objects, detailing object stories and interpretations in greater depth. However it is the display and discussion of the mummy and coffin of Asru in this area that is of particular interest. Manchester Museum has a strong historic connection with the study of ancient Egyptian human remains and Dr Price explained how he was keen to reflect this in the new gallery. While the number of human remains on display has decreased, the focus on Asru has allowed the Museum to properly contextualise her display by examining the scientific study of human remains in greater detail.

It was interesting to hear about how much of Asru’s display was introduced as a result of extensive audience research at development stages. The covering of Asru from neck to ankle in ancient fabric, the patterned glass to distinguish cases that contain human remains and the use of soft lighting on a motion sensor all contribute to a more ethically-aware style of display. This approach has been strengthened by the inclusion of an interview with Professor Rosalie David from the Manchester Mummy Research Project explaining more about the life of Asru and the value of scientific investigation. These elements have contributed to a subtle yet powerful and thought-provoking display – a sentiment that is continued in the Fayum Portrait Room, a dark and tranquil side-room that allows you to consider the people behind the ‘mummy masks’.

View of Exploring Objects gallery.

View of Exploring Objects gallery.

Exploring Objects, the third and final gallery in the series, challenges the way we view and interpret collections – situated on the balcony overlooking Egyptian Worlds this space is ideal for thinking beyond the museum display and contemplating the objects below. The gallery provides a new and exciting way of questioning museum and archaeological processes through themed display windows, hands-on activities and digital interactives, using the ancient Egyptian collection to explore museum approaches to conservation, classification and collecting. The most eye-catching displays in this gallery are the mass collections – high density displays of objects organised by type, including jewellery, shabtis and stone vessels. It was great to hear from Dr Price how the mass displays were incorporated by the Museum as a direct result of community responses and the public’s desire to see more of the collection on display.

The Museum has provided some excellent ways of engaging with the collection. In addition to an object handling area and i-pads to access the Museum’s blog content, each gallery features audio-visual points where visitors can watch interviews with leading professionals in the field, allowing visitors to participate in current debates and interpretations. There is also an Ancient Worlds Mobile Experience that enables you to unlock fantastic additional content about the objects on display, including audio commentaries, interactive 3D models and image galleries, using your smartphone and the Museum’s free wifi.

A big thank you to Dr Campbell Price for giving up his time and providing such a brilliant guided tour. Don’t forget you can follow the work of Dr Price on Twitter and through the Egypt at the Manchester Museum blog.

Mass display of shabtis in Exploring Objects gallery.

Mass display of shabtis in Exploring Objects gallery.

The Petrie Museum on Tour, London.

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology will be closed in January and February 2014 to allow for the installation of new lights within the museum space. So, until the Museum reopens to the public on Tuesday 4th March, the Petrie team have come up with a series of ‘pop-up’ events across UCL campus and Camden. With walks, talks, and object-handling sessions, the Petrie Museum on tour looks to explore innovative topics in new contexts, linking the Petrie with other spaces and museum collections at UCL.

You can find a selection of pop-up events listed at the bottom of this post. For further details and to see the full events programme visit the Petrie website.

For those interested in conservation and collections management, the Petrie is providing some fascinating updates and behind-the-scenes photos of the conservation work currently underway. You can follow their progress on the Museum’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages, or find out more in their latest blog post.

EGYPT AWAKENED
Tuesday 21 January 1-2pm
An overview of the Egyptian Students who attended the Slade School of Art and modernist artists in Egypt and how the rise of Egyptian nationalism, artists such as Mahmoud Mohktar reflected, led to a change in the way antiquities were excavated by foreign archaeologists, including Petrie.
UCL Art Museum. Drop in.

STONES AND SYMBOLISM: ANALYSING VALUES IN EGYPTIAN ROCKS
29 January 6-7.30pm
Stones, their sources, and why some were valued over others, is an aspect of elite consumption of these materials that receives little attention. This seminar addresses issues of stone preferences during antiquity and crafting through an object handling session.
UCL Rock Room. Booking essential via https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/stones-and-symbolism-analysing-values-in-egyptian-rocks-tickets-9314450773

TAXONOMIES OF BONES AND POTS
13 February 6-7.30pm
What do archaeologists owe to natural science? Explore Linnaean systems of classifying life forms and Flinders Petrie’s sequence of pots; then disrupt the patterns of knowledge with Foucault.
UCL Grant Museum of Zoology. Drop in.

REVELATIONS
Wednesday 19 February 6 – 8pm
In their installation in the Flaxman Gallery, artists Lynn Dennison and Gen Doy combine sound with video projection to create an immersive work which highlights themes explored by John Flaxman in his lectures and sculptures.
Flaxman Gallery, UCL Main Library, Wilkins Building. Drop in.

DEFINING DESIRE: LABELS AND SEX
20 February 6-8pm
John J. Johnston chairs an event exploring how sexuality has been classified or not through ‘Sex and History’ Jennifer Grove (University of Exeter) and ‘Queer Time Capsules’ Tim Redfern / Timberlina .
G6 Lecture Theatre, Institute of Archaeology. Booking required via https://definingdesire.eventbrite.co.uk

EGYPT IN LONDON: MODERNIST SCULPTURE WALK
26 February 2-4pm
We will start at the Carreras ‘Black Cat’ building with a discussion of the popular image of Egypt in the 1920s. Then we will take the tube and/or walk to Jacob Epstein’s public sculpture in out door spaces in London.
Booking required via https://modernistsculpturewalk.eventbrite.co.uk

SUBTEXT OR MAIN TEXT? SAME SEX RELATIONSHIPS IN XENA AND SPARTACUS
27 February 6-9pm
A screening of ‘Amphipolis Under Siege’ featuring Athena and her girlfriend Illainus from Season 5 of Xena: Warrior Princess and an episode from Spartacus: Vengeance that shows the relationship between Agron and ex-body slave Nasir.
Wilkins Portico / G22 Lecture Theatre Pearson Building.
Booking required via https://xenaspartacus.eventbrite.co.uk