GLAM Research Seminar Series

The Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) Research Seminar Series began in 2020. Open to all, they are designed to showcase the work of GLAM researchers and to foster synergies across the division. 

Upcoming seminars

Please check back for details.

Previous seminars

Hand-held hubris: Decolonizing 19th century British medals

Dr Shailen Bhandare, Curator of South Asian and Far-eastern Coins and Paper Money, Ashmolean Museum

Thursday 28 January 2021, WebinarJam, 13:00-14:00.

The production and circulation of commemorative medals was a major public activity in 19th century Britain. The medals were designed and struck in order to memorialize important events, particularly those which were connected to national pride, valour and benevolent sentiments, and sold to general public. Campaign medals struck to be awarded as particular acts of bravery or contribution in a war are one more kind of medals, which also went through the same design and production processes as the commemorative medals, but had a limited issuance and circulation. The ‘visuality’ of design elements of 19th century British medals offers a very interesting insight into the public perception about such events. Through an interplay of allegory and typificaton, the designs often tell stories which we now might find uncomfortable, particularly from a post-colonial viewpoint. The lecture will focus on offering an alternative voice in understanding British medallic art in 19th century by discussing some such visual tropes, emphasizing on their indexical nature and deployment through the use of colonial imagery and stereotyping. 


The drawings by Raphael (1483-1520) at the Ashmolean Museum: new approaches and discoveries

Angelamaria Aceto, Research Assistant (Italian Drawings Project), Ashmolean Museum

Friday 4 December 2020, Zoom, 1-2pm

A giant of  Western art, Raphael is unquestionably one the most creative and influential draughtsman of all time. The Ashmolean Museum is fortunate to be the repository of the most important group of his drawings for scope, quality and historical significance in the world. On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, the seminar will introduce some case-studies from the collection, while highlighting new recent discoveries. 

The video from this seminar can be viewed here.


The shipwreck in a diamond mine: analysing the ivory cargo of a 16th century Portuguese merchant ship

Dr Ashley Coutu, Research Fellow, Pitt Rivers Museum

Thursday 12 March 2020, Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum, 1-2pm

In southwest Namibia in 2008, diamond mining uncovered the remains of the Portuguese vessel Bom Jesus, which wrecked off the coast of Namibia in 1533 AD.  Over forty tons of cargo was found, including gold and silver coins, copper ingots, navigational equipment, and 100 complete tusks of elephant ivory.  We used a combination of analyses to source the tusks to West African habitats, revealing patterns of ivory acquisition and circulation during the formative stages of maritime trade that linked Europe, Africa, and Asia.


Suspended in time

Dr Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente, Museum Research Fellow, Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Thursday 30 January 2020, Headley Lecture Theatre, Ashmolean Museum, 1-2pm

Amber, fossilised plant resin, is able to transport in time small portions of ancient ecosystems. These became trapped in the resin almost instantly, including diverse organisms preserved in stunning detail. But, how is amber gathered, prepared and studied, from the field to the laboratory? What sort of data about life on Earth millions of years ago can be obtained from this fascinating material?