Imaginative Things: Curious Objects 1400-2000

Alternate Wednesdays 12:00-14:00 during term-time

CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Alison Richard Building


About

Imaginative Things: Curious Objects 1400-2000

Following a highly successful year in which the Things seminars explored objects and embodiment, during 2017-18 we further our investigation into the connection between material culture and the mind. We explore how objects affect cognition not just in virtue of their functional characteristics or their more obvious ties to human practices, but also through their ability to generate awe, curiosity, whimsy, and drama due to their construction and materials as well as their symbolic significance. 

Imaginative Things examines of objects which may at first appear merely ornamental and fanciful, but which can in fact trigger forms of divergent and creative thinking, as well as a diverse range of emotions that lead to original insights. Things such as these influence cognitive processes via the action of visual and aesthetic stimuli, as well as through the way they engage physically with space and exert agency upon the body. 

We renew our commitment to a nuanced interdisciplinary approach and the desire to bridge the gap between academic researchers with practitioners. Furthermore, this year we dedicate at least one session per term to a ‘workshop’ style seminar, where the discussion of a topic is followed by a ‘making session’. Our aim is to integrate academic investigation with a hands-on appreciation of materials and practices complementing a merely theoretical appreciation of creative processes. Our opening session on Wednesday 11th October constitutes a first example of this new exciting format. We will explore the practice and art of paper marbling with independent artist Hayrettin Kozanoglu and literary scholar Dr Mary Newbould. Future workshops include topics such as leatherwork and taxidermy. Turning the audience into active participants will provide a valuable opportunity to gain different perspectives on materials and practices, fostering a direct engagement which takes into account the emotional as well as intellectual responses objects trigger through sight, sound, touch, and smell. 

Imaginative Things will be run in collaboration with Dr Marta Ajmar at the V&A Research Institute, consolidating a successful partnership which began during the last academic year. Together we will maintain the traditional configuration of Things in Cambridge, while holding one session in Lent and Easter terms at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This will grant us privileged access to a multitude of objects from the museum’s collection. Our discussions will be complemented and enriched through viewing as well as handling original artefacts. These sessions will thus provide the audience with an extensive, multifaceted, and multi-sensorial understanding of how studying the whimsical side of material culture opens the way to a deeper understanding of objects. Looking into the histories of materials, as well as our mental, emotional, and physical engagement with them, and the cognitive processes involved in creating, interacting, remembering will reveal the power of these Imaginative Things both today and in the past.

Administrative assistance: gradfac@crassh.cam.ac.uk

Convenors

Convenors

Abigail Gomulkiewicz (PhD Candidate-Faculty of History)
Laia Portet-i-Codina (PhD Candidate-Faculty of History)
Annie Thwaite (PhD Candidate-Department of History and Philosophy of Science)
Valerio Zanetti (PhD Candidate- Faculty History)

 

Previous Convenors

Stephanie Azzarello (PhD Candidate-Department of History of Art) [2015-17]
Heidi Carlson (PhD Candidate, Faculty of History) [2015-17]
Irene Galandra Cooper (PhD Candidate, Faculty of History) [2015-16]
Sophie Pitman  (Faculty of History) [2014-16]
Katherine Tycz, (Department of Italian [2014-16]
Michelle Wallis (Department of History and Philosophy of Science) [2012-16]

Margaret Carlyle (SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept of History and Philosophy of Science) [2014-15]
Katie Reinhart (Department of History of Art) [2014-15]
Lesley Steinitz (Faculty of History) [2013-16]

Michael Ashby  (Faculty of History) [2012-14]
Dr José Ramón Marcaida (Department of History and Philosophy of Science) [2013-14]
Dr Brian Murray  (CRASSH) [2013-14]
Kathryn Schoefert  (Department of History and Philosophy of Science)
Sally Woodcock  (Department of History)

Susannah Brooke  (Faculty of History) [2011-13]
Molly Dorkin    (Department of History of Art) [2011-13]
Simon Layton  (Faculty of History) [2011-13]
Eoin Phillips  (Department of History and Philosophy of Science) [2011-13]
Hank Johnson  (Department of History of Art)
Lucy Razzall    (Faculty of English)
Jonathan Yarker  (Department of History of Art) [2011-13]

Founders of the group 2011-12
Katy Barrett   Co-Secretary (Curator of Art Collections, Science Museum)
Sophie Waring   Co-Secretary (Department of History and Philosophy of Science) [2011-14]
Adrian Leonard  Treasurer  (Affiliate Research Student, Winton Centre for Financial History) [2011-12]


Faculty Advisors

Dr Victoria Avery (Keeper of Applied Arts, The Fitzwilliam Museum)
Dr Abigail Brundin (Department of Italian, Cambridge)
Dr Katy Barrett (Curator of Art, pre-1800, Royal Museums Greenwich)
Dr Spike Bucklow (Hamilton-Kerr Institute)
Dr Melissa Calaresu (Faculty of History, Cambridge)
Dr Craig Cessford (Dept of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge)
Dr Mary Laven (Faculty of History, Cambridge)
Dr Alex Marr (History of Art, Cambridge)
Professor Ulinka Rublack (Faculty of History, Cambridge)
Professor Simon Schaffer (Dept of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge)
Dr Jason Scott-Warren (Director of the Centre for Material Texts, Faculty of English, Cambridge)
Dr Emma Spary (Faculty of History, Cambridge)
Professor Nick Thomas (Historical Anthropology, and Director of the Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology, Cambridge)
Dr Sophie Waring (Modern Collections Curator, Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford)

 

(Previous) Faculty Advisors

Professor Maxine Berg (Department of History, University of Warwick)
Dr Richard Dunn (Curator of the History of Navigation, National Maritime Museum)
Dr Catherine Eagleton (Curator of Modern Money, British Museum)
Professor Ludmilla Jordanova (History, University of Durham)
Dr Larry Klein (Faculty of History)
Dr Kim Sloan (Francis Finlay Curator of the Enlightenment Galleries and Curator of British Watercolours and Drawings before 1880, British Museum)
Dr Chris Wingfield (Curator for Archaeology, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)

Programme 2017-18

 

Things Material Cultures
Paper Marbling
11 October 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Buildng

Hayrettin Kozanoglu (Artist), Mary Newbould (Cambridge) - Things
 

Leather
25 October 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Thomas Rusbridge (Birmingham), Philip Warner (National Leather Collection) - Things

Feathers
08 November 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Buildng

Stefan Hans (Cambridge) - Things
 

Precious Stones
22 November 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Buildng

Tom Blaen (Exeter), Silvia Weidenbach (V&A Gilbert Collection Resident/ Artist) - Things
 

Past events

 

Things Material Cultures
Artefacts
11 October 2011, CRASSH

Professor Simon Schaffer (HPS, Cambridge) and Professor Nick Thomas (Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge)

Botany
25 October 2011, CRASSH

Dr Kim Sloan (British Museum) and Dr Charlie Jarvis (Natural History Museum)

Telescope
08 November 2011, CRASSH

Dr Richard Dunn (National Maritime Museum) and Dr Alexi Baker (HPS, Cambridge)

Money
22 November 2011, CRASSH

Dr Catherine Eagleton (British Museum) and Dr Martin Allen (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)

Fashion
24 January 2012, CRASSH

Prof John Styles (University of Hertfordshire) and Amy Miller (National Maritime Museum)

Advertising
07 February 2012, CRASSH

Dr Philippa Hubbard (Adam Matthew Digital) and Jenny Basford (University of York)

Porcelain
21 February 2012, CRASSH

Dame Rosalind Savill (Wallace Collection) and Dr Anne Gerritsen (University of Warwick)

Artist's Things
06 March 2012, CRASSH

Dr Katie Scott (Courtauld Institute of Art) and Dr Hannah Williams (University of Oxford)

Food
01 May 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG2, Ground floor

Dr Melissa Calaresu (University of Cambridge) and Dr Emma Spary (University of Cambridge)

Decorative Textiles
15 May 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG2, Ground floor

Dr Mary Brooks (York Museums Trust) and Dr Tara Hamling (University of Birmingham)

The Ship
29 May 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG2, Ground floor

Dr James Davey, Dr John McAleer and Dr Quintin Colville (all National Maritime Museum)

The Body
12 June 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG2, Ground floor

Dr Sam Alberti (Royal College of Surgeons) and Faramerz Dabhoiwala (Exeter College, Oxford).

We Need to Talk about 'Things': Concluding Colloquium
27 September 2012, CRASSH
Thinking Things
09 October 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Abstracts available: Jonathan Lamb (Vanderbilt University) and Elizabeth Eger (King's College London)

Worshipping Things
23 October 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Mary Laven (University of Cambridge) and Maia Nuku (University of Cambridge)

Stilling Things
06 November 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Hanneke Grootenboer (Oxford) and Joser Ramón Marcaida Lopez (Cambridge)

Curing Things
20 November 2012, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Simon Chaplin (Wellcome Library) and Christelle Rabier (London School of Economics)

Altered Things
22 January 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Dr Luisa Calè (Birkbeck) and Dr Adam Smyth (Birkbeck)

Model Things
05 February 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Prof Simon Schaffer (University of Cambridge) and Dr Anna Maerker (Kings College London)

Re-materialising Things
19 February 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Jane Wildgoose (Kingston University and Keeper of The Wildgoose Memorial Library) and Dr Mary Brooks (Durham University)

Royal Things
05 March 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Dr Cordula Van Wyhe (University of York) and Desmond Shawe-Taylor (Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures)

Printed Things
30 April 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground Floor

Dr Sean Roberts (University of Southern California) and Dr Elizabeth Upper (UL Munby Fellow)

Paper, Making, Things
14 May 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground Floor

Dr Elaine Leong (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) and Dr Helen Smith (University of York)

Handling Things
28 May 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground Floor

Dr Melanie Vandenbrouck (National Maritime Museum), Felicity Powell (Artist), and Ben Carpenter (University of Wolverhampton)

Painted Things
11 June 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground Floor

Dr Matthew Hunter (McGill University) and Professor Mark Hallett (Paul Mellon Centre). Part of the Things: Early Modern Material Cultures Seminar serie

Reconstructing Things
24 October 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Ulinka Rublack (Cambridge) and Spike Bucklow (Cambridge) at Things

NB * This session will be on Thursday at 1.30pm

Housing Things: Soane and Watts Gallery
06 November 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Tim Knox (Fitzwilliam Museum) and Nick Tromans (Watts Gallery) at Things

Carved Things, Carved Identities: Africa
20 November 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Sally-Ann Ashton (Cambridge) and Jean Michel Massing (Cambridge) at Things

Artefacts: Oceania and Museum of AA
04 December 2013, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1, Ground floor

Nick Thomas (Cambridge) and Anita Herle (Cambridge) at Things

Inventories of Things
15 January 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG2, Ground floor

Jason Scott-Warren (Cambridge), Nancy Cox (Wolverhampton) at Things

Polite Things (to Talk About): Conversation Pieces
29 January 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG2, Ground floor

Lawrence Klein (Cambridge), Kate Retford (Birkbeck) at Things

Romantic Things
12 February 2014, CRASSH, Seminar room S1, First floor*

Sarah Ann Robin (Lancaster), Sally Holloway ( Royal Holloway, UL) at Things

Domestic Things
26 February 2014, NB: Lecture Block Room 5, next to Lady Mitchell Hall (Note change of venue)

Tara Hamling (Shakespeare Institute, Birmingham), Catherine Richardson (Kent) at Things

Reading Things
12 March 2014, CRASSH, Seminar room SG1 * (NB different room today)

Jim Secord (Cambridge), Kristina Lundblad (Lund) at Things

Photographic Things
23 April 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG1

Annamaria Motrescu-Mayes, (Cambridge), Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort, Leicester) at Things

Thinking with Things, 1500-1940
25 April 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG2

Online Registration is closed.

Things: Cambridge Graduate Workshop
01 May 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG1 & SG2
Gendered Things
07 May 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG1

Maya Corry and Victoria Mills (Cambridge) at Things

Bodily Things
21 May 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG1

Anna Maerker (London), Margaret Carlyle (Cambridge) at Things           

Potent Things
04 June 2014, CRASSH Seminar room SG1

Elizabeth Haines (London), Juliette Kristensen (London), Matthew Paskins (UCL) at Things

Reading Institutional and Domestic Things
08 October 2014, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Jane Hamlett (Royal Holloway), Alastair Owens (Queen Mary) at Things

Household Things
22 October 2014, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Julia Poole and Craig Cessford (Cambridge) at Things

Explosive Things
05 November 2014, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Simon Werrett (UCL), Haileigh Robertson (York) at Things

Collected Things
19 November 2014, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Chris Wingfield (Cambridge), Leah Clark (Open University) at Things

Printing Things
03 December 2014, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Adam Smyth (Oxford),  Nicholas Smith and Colin Clarkson (Cambridge) at Things  

Devotional Things
14 January 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Maya Corry (Cambridge)  Christian Kühner (Freiburg) -Things

Anonymous Things
28 January 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Sara Pennell (Independent scholar), Roisin Inglesby (Victoria & Albert Museum  ) -Things

Drinking Things
11 February 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Angela McShane (Royal College Art), Nigel Jeffries (London Archaeology ) -Things

Postcolonial Things
25 February 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Robbie Richardson (Kent ) -Things

Moving Things
11 March 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Lisa Jardine (UCL),  Evelyn Welch (KCL) -Things

Gifted Things
22 April 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building.

Timothy Wilson (Oxford), Sarah Haggarty (Cambridge) ~ Things

Containing Things
06 May 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building.

Anne Secord (Cambridge), Lucy Razzall (Cambridge) ~ Things

Reproduced Things
20 May 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building.

Helen King (Open University), Michelle O’Malley (Sussex) ~ Things

Sexy Things
03 June 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building.

Will Fisher (New York), Jen Evans (Hertfordshire) ~ Things

Matter and Materiality in the Early Modern World
12 June 2015, Room SG1, Alison Richard Building.

Conference ~Things

Fragments
14 October 2015, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Ben Outhwaite (Cambridge)- Things

Conservation
28 October 2015, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Penny Bendall (Ceramic Conservator), Spike Bucklow (Cambridge)- Things

Jane Austen
18 November 2015, Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building *NB Different room*

Hilary Davidson (Independent Scholar), Kathryn Sutherland (Oxford) - Things

Taste
25 November 2015, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Emma Spary (Cambridge), Iona McCleery (Leeds)- Things

Alcohol
20 January 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Richard Stone (Bristol), Deborah Toner (Leicester)- Things

Architecture
03 February 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Donal Cooper (Cambridge), François Penz (Cambridge) -Things

Interiors
17 February 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Antony Buxton (Oxford), Ulrich Leben (Waddesdon Manor)- Things

Religion
02 March 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Joanne Sear and Deborah Howard (Cambridge)-Things

Paint
27 April 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Christine Slottved Kimbriel, Jose Ramon Marcaida (Cambridge)- Things

Art and Science
11 May 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Stella Panayotova, Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb (Cambridge)- Things

Slaves
25 May 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

James Poskett (Cambridge), Stefan Hanß (Berlin)- Things

Bronze
08 June 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Victoria Avery (Cambridge), Andrew Lacey (Artist and Independent Scholar)- Things

Encounters.
05 October 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building (NB Different date)

Marta Ajmar (V&A Museum), Roger Kneebone (London), Fleur Oakes (Independent artist)- at Things

Armour
26 October 2016, Fitzwilliam Museum today

Victoria Bartels (Cambridge) - at Things

Passageways
09 November 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Jacqueline Nicholls (Independent Artist), Daniel Jütte (CRASSH, NYU) - at Things

Knowledge
23 November 2016, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Michael Wheeler (Stirling), Gunther Rolf Kress MBE (UCL) -at Things

Collecting
25 January 2017, Seminar room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Sean Silver (Michigan), Ruth Scurr (Cambridge) -at Things

Curiosities
08 February 2017, Site visit to UL

Visit to UL, Jill Whitelock (UL) -at Things

Dress
22 February 2017, Seminar room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Rebecca Unsworth (QMUL/V&A), Elizabeth Currie (Central Saints Martins) -at Things

Death
15 March 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building (NB Different date)

Emily Rose (Harvard), John Robb (Cambridge) -at Things

Food
03 May 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

David Gentilcore (Leicester), Richard Fitch (Historic Royal Palaces) at Things

Porcelain
17 May 2017, Fitzwilliam Museum Site Visit

Fitzwilliam site visit with Helen Ritchie (Dept of Applied Arts) at Things

Hands
31 May 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

James Daybell (Plymouth) at Things

Curiosity and Cognition: Embodied Things 1400-1900
16 June 2017, Seminar Room SG1, Alison Richard Building

Embodied Things: Histories of Cognition, Practices, & Theories. 

Previous Themes

2016-17 Embodied Things: Histories of Cognition, Practices, & Theories

We would like to propose an overarching theme of ‘embodiment’ in connection with material culture as a framing device for the Things seminars in 2016-17. The aim of this innovative approach, which is at the cutting-edge of current scholarship, is to further investigate human understanding of the world vis-à-vis objects. These seminars will examine a wide range of embodied practices, focusing on the historical and theoretical underpinnings of this larger theme.

The point of departure focuses on the significance of embodiment in all processes of cognition and learning, moving beyond an obstructive divide between 'mind' and ‘hand' - between ‘intellectual’ and ‘manual’ knowledge. In particular, we will probe the interaction of objects in relationship to the body and explore issues regarding sensorial experiences. This new approach will allow us to probe the connection between humans and objects in the wider understanding of culture. Discussions will focus on diverse topics including the making of objects and the skills required, artisanal epistemology, and the languages of embodied knowledge from 1400-1900. 

We seek to break down the divide between the Humanities and Sciences, and this theme will bring together speakers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds within academia and beyond, such as museum curators, conservators, artists, performers, medical experts and scientists. The seminars will engage with topics from Art History, Musicology, History, Archaeology, Anthropology, History and Philosophy of Science, Medicine, Psychology, and Biology amongst others, in order to foster discussion and the development of ideas within and between each discipline; for instance, we have invited Victoria Bartels to speak about the embodiment of the use of armour in the Renaissance, for a site visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum.

In 2016-17, we intend to collaborate with Marta Ajmar (Victoria & Albert Museum Research Institute) who will be a visiting scholar in Cambridge, and Roger Kneebone (Imperial College) to convene the seminars. Together, we will keep the traditional Things format with a two-speaker minimum, but alternate each ‘conventional’ seminar with a new style of sessions, including on-site visits, performance-based seminars, and roundtable-style presentations and discussions. The traditional format will continue monthly, with the new sessions complementing them on alternate weeks. 

Building on the success of the traditional Things discussion-based seminar, next year’s sessions will also include more site visits and performative aspects to increase audience engagement. Visits may include the Fitzwilliam Museum to see manuscripts in the Founder’s Library in conjunction with a presentation on-site by speakers to explore historical human interaction with manuscripts. Other site visits could include an object session at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to view fan capes. To incorporate a performative aspect, some sessions would include speakers demonstrating the embodied practices discussed in their presentations. For instance, we will invite Victoria Bartels (University of Cambridge) on Renaissance armour, Professor James Daybell (Plymouth University) on gloves, and Professor John Rink (University of Cambridge) on musical performance. These demonstrations combined with comparative papers will provide the audience with a comprehensive examination of how studying material culture through the lens of embodiment facilitates a deeper understanding of objects and their use, and of humanity’s historical interactions with ‘things’.

 

2015-16 Things - (Re)constructing the Material World

'Things' is now a firmly established part of CRASSH and the interdisciplinary community of Cambridge, having been founded in 2011. In 2015-16, we are focusing on the theme of construction and reconstruction in response to an exciting turn in material culture studies, where scholars have been thinking more about production and collaborating with craftspeople and museum professionals to develop a deeper understanding how objects were made, as well as used and consumed. We want to stretch the definition of 'reconstruction' even further, to explore how scholars are bridging gaps in the archive, crossing disciplinary borders, and collaborating with practitioners outside of academia in order to 'reconstruct' ideas, spaces, and 'things' from the past.

Many of our speakers will be exploring how objects were made and crafted and how knowledge of construction can help us to understand more about how things were used and valued in the early modern world. Some of these speakers will be reconstructing these processes step-by-step in laboratories, workshops, and performance spaces, and we look forward to learning from their practical expertise and experiments.

Conservators and curators have a different approach to 'reconstruction,' and we hope to hear more about how they repair damaged objects and imaginatively bring their collections to life through artistic collaboration and interpretative installations.

Some of our speakers will be performing less literal kinds of 'reconstruction'. We are looking forward to learning how scholars have filled in gaps in their archival sources in innovative ways - employing interdisciplinary methodologies, new approaches to biography and historical fiction, the history of emotions, literary reading, visual analysis, and thinking with 'things' to reconstruct the material world.

While our speakers come from a diverse range of backgrounds - as makers, academics, and museum professionals - they all share a deep interest in objects and place 'things' at the heart of their work.

 

2014-15 Things that Matter

In the 2014-2015 academic year, we are pushing the already popular series in new and innovative directions. Considering the “material turn” in scholarship, this year’s series will emphasise the importance of materiality in object study, and we have thus entitled the next year’s seminar: Things that Matter, 1400-1900. This play-on-words emphasizes the need to focus scholarship on the material composition of an object in addition to the object’s relevance, appearance, and use. A deeper awareness of the matter will allow speakers to emphasize how the economic, cultural, and physical attributes of certain materials and their meanings contributed to understanding the value and connotations of objects in their original contexts.

 

2013-14 Things: Comparing Material Cultures 1500-1900

With the dawning of modernity came the age of ‘stuff.’ Public production, collection, display and consumption of objects grew in influence, popularity, and scale. The form, function, and use of objects, ranging from scientific and musical instruments to weaponry and furnishings were influenced by distinct  and changing features of the period. Knowledge was not divided into strict disciplines. In fact, practice across what we now see as academic boundaries was essential to material creation. This seminar series uses an approach based on objects to encourage us to consider the unity of ideas of this period, to emphasise the lived human experience of technology and art, and the global dimension of material culture. It does this by inviting pairs of speakers, often from different institutional backgrounds, to speak to a particular kind of ‘thing’ or a theme that unites disparate ‘things’. Previous ‘Things’ seminars have concentrated on the early modern period generally and the long eighteenth century in particular; this year we have taken the step into the nineteenth century, the era that brought us the mass production of ‘things’. Our aim continues to be to look at the interdisciplinary thinking through which material culture was conceived, and to consider the question of what a 'thing' is, with the ultimate goal of gaining new perspectives on the period 1500-1900 through its artefacts.