Universeum is a European network, established in 2000 concerned with academic heritage in its broadest sense, both tangible and intangible. It aims at the preservation, study, access and promotion of university collections, museums, archives, libraries, botanical gardens, astronomical observatories, etc. It is open to heritage and museum professionals, researchers, students, university administrators and all those involved in university heritage.
Last year the annual Universeum conference took place in the sun-drenched Brno, Czech Republic, and ETWIE was there. The theme of the conference was 'University museums and collections as networks for understanding the world: shaping narratives or knowledge for the past, present, future'. A whole range of lectures and posters were reviewed and addressed issues such as interdisciplinarity, public participation and new media.
In June 2020, Universeum will take place in Belgium. The Université Libre de Bruxelles and KU Leuven (Belgium) set out to organise the conference. Aside from the lectures, it will also include trips to the newly refurbished university museums of Mons and Ghent!
The call for papers is now online. General theme: ‘University museums and collections in the vanguard of contemporary societal debates’.
Following the new museum definition, the academic heritage community will consider whether or not U-museums can, or should, be in the forefront of social and political change. And if so, how can they have more impact on society? Secondly: Across Europe there have been times of significant development, but also times of extreme violence and abuse. These pasts are often reflected in the European U-collections and other U-heritage. How can they deal effectively and appropriately today with the challenges of their past?