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CfP: Annual Meeting ICOM Costume Committee 2015

September 8-13, 2015
Toronto, Canada

Theme: Exhibitions and Interpretation

With the Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition about to open at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition now on show in Melbourne it’s clear that fashion exhibitions have become big business for museums.  As likely to appear in a museum of fine art as one of social history or decorative art they tap into the contemporary fascination with flair, celebrity and modern design.  Yet displaying dress is not only confined to blockbuster fashion exhibitions in the world’s grandest museums.  Dress artefacts are used to illuminate wider narratives of design, manufacture, culture and society whether in small local museums or large nationals, and increasingly on the internet.

New technologies, display standards and approaches, both theoretical and aesthetic, pose fresh challenges for curators, conservators and exhibition designers displaying dress in the contemporary museum. Nevertheless many long-standing considerations such as choice of mannequins, giving visitors a sense of dress as worn and how to present information in a variety of formats remain key to curating dress exhibitions. The successful display of dress involves a careful consideration of these creative issues alongside the more prosaic matters such as budget and environmental conditions.  

Recognising the vast range of dress and fashion exhibitions now found in museums we invite members to share their experiences of exhibiting and interpreting dress.  We particularly welcome papers that offer perspectives on working with specific collections and objects, providing case studies to initiate discussion with colleagues about the challenges and rewards of displaying and interpreting dress.

Possible topics include:

•    Exhibition design and the aesthetics of display
•    Choosing mannequins for display
•    Conservation for display or investigational Integration of new technologies to aid understanding or visitor engagement
•    Interpreting dress outside the exhibition setting
•    How to incorporate scholarship while being accessible to a wide range of visitors
•    The impact of research on interpretation
•    Presentation of information related to dress objects
•    How to integrate historic or social context into a dress exhibition

Presentations should be 15 minutes in length and delivered in English or French.  We will not be providing translation so presentations should be easy for an international audience to follow.  

Please submit abstracts of c. 300 words  (in a Word .doc or docx format) to Alexandra Kim by 31 March 2015 icomtoronto2015@outlook.com.  Abstracts should include the following:

•    Paper title
•    Name and affiliation of author (with ICOM membership number for ICOM members)
•    Email address
•    Language of paper
•    Any special technological requirements (For example a Mac or PC for accompanying images, video)


Further details about the meeting, which will be held 8 – 13 September 2015, can be found on the meeting website http://icomcostumetoronto2015.wordpress.com

Details about registration and payment will be available from 1 April 2015.  If you have any questions please email Alexandra Kim at icomtoronto2015@outlook.com.