Recontextualizing the George Brown Collection through Creative Ceramics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The George Brown Collection has a complex and contested history, reflecting a range of personal and wider socio-political trajectories. Brown largely accumulated the collection between 1860 and 1907, whilst serving as a Methodist missionary in Oceania. The collection has had a number of homes over the years, exercising the endeavours of a variety of people. In 1986, the majority of it was controversially sold by Newcastle University to the National Museum of Ethnology (NME), Osaka, Japan. Between January and April 2013, I was the recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) international placement which took place at the NME. Although my doctoral project, of which the placement formed part, focuses on Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ (SMWG) collection of mainly nineteenth century Sunderland pottery (see McHugh 2013), researching the George Brown Collection enabled me to further test my approach to collection and community, albeit in a substantially different setting.This paper will reflect upon my attempt to investigate, through creative ceramic practice, what status and role the George Brown Collection has within the community at its current home in Japan. I will also explore parts of the collection which, for various reasons, remain in UK museums. It is hoped that these insights will contribute to discussions of how collections can be rejuvenated and reinterpreted in alternative ways, particularly through arts practice, leading to increased access and collaboration.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages85-106
    JournalJournal of Museum Ethnography
    Volume28
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2015

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    museum
    ethnology
    Japan
    art
    Oceania
    missionary
    community
    nineteenth century
    recipient
    history

    Keywords

    • george brown
    • collection
    • ethnography
    • museum
    • engagement
    • ceramics

    Cite this

    @article{b15d146213dd4552915d33b4cab3c1d7,
    title = "Recontextualizing the George Brown Collection through Creative Ceramics",
    abstract = "The George Brown Collection has a complex and contested history, reflecting a range of personal and wider socio-political trajectories. Brown largely accumulated the collection between 1860 and 1907, whilst serving as a Methodist missionary in Oceania. The collection has had a number of homes over the years, exercising the endeavours of a variety of people. In 1986, the majority of it was controversially sold by Newcastle University to the National Museum of Ethnology (NME), Osaka, Japan. Between January and April 2013, I was the recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) international placement which took place at the NME. Although my doctoral project, of which the placement formed part, focuses on Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ (SMWG) collection of mainly nineteenth century Sunderland pottery (see McHugh 2013), researching the George Brown Collection enabled me to further test my approach to collection and community, albeit in a substantially different setting.This paper will reflect upon my attempt to investigate, through creative ceramic practice, what status and role the George Brown Collection has within the community at its current home in Japan. I will also explore parts of the collection which, for various reasons, remain in UK museums. It is hoped that these insights will contribute to discussions of how collections can be rejuvenated and reinterpreted in alternative ways, particularly through arts practice, leading to increased access and collaboration.",
    keywords = "george brown, collection, ethnography, museum, engagement, ceramics",
    author = "Christopher McHugh",
    note = "Reference text: Adams, Julie 2014. ‘Making the Past Present: Paul Montague in New Caledonia’, conference presentation, Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art and European Museums , Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, 24 March 2014. Adamson, Glenn 2009. ‘You Are Here’, in Edmund deWaal Signs andWonders: Edmund deWaal and theV&A Ceramics Galleries . London: V&A Publishing, pp. 33–47. Barker, David. and Teresita Majewski 2006. ‘Ceramic studies in historical archaeology’, in Dan Hicks and Mary C Beaudry (eds.) The Cambridge companion to historical archaeology . Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 205–231. Brown, Deidre 2007. ‘Te Ahu Hiko: Digital heritage and indigenous objects, people and environments’, in Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine (eds.) Theorizing Digital Culture Heritage: A Critical Discourse . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.77–92. Brown, George 1908. Pioneer-Missionary and Explorer, an Autobiography, A Narrative of Forty-Eight Years Residence and Travel in Samoa, New Britain, New Ireland, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands , London: Hodder and Stoughton. Brown, Stephanie. 2001, ‘Pioneer Printer’, Keramik, no.3: 28–33. Collections Trust 2009. Revisiting Museum Collections, A toolkit for capturing and sharing multiple perspectives on museum and gallery collections , Cambridge: Collections Trust. <http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk/images/documents/c1/a514/f6/revisiting_ museums_toolkit-1.pdf>. Connerton, Paul 2009. How Modernity Forgets . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dixon, Stephen 2014. ‘Fragments and narratives: reflections on a residency at the V&A’, <http://www.ceramics-in-the-expanded-field.com/essays/professor-stephendixon- uk>, accessed 02.08.14. Edwards, Elizabeth 2009. ‘Photographs as objects of memory’, in Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins (eds.) The Object Reader . London; NewYork: Routledge, pp. 331–342. Frayling, Christopher 1985. ‘Eduardo Paolozzi and the Temple of Doom’, in Eduardo Paolozzi Lost Magic Kingdoms and Six Paper Moons from Nahuatl: An Exhibition at the Museum of Mankind . London: British Museum Press, pp. 159–160. Gardner, Helen B 1999. ‘Controversial Collection: The George Brown Exhibition, 10 March–31 May 1999’, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter , no. 9 (December 1999): 7–8 Gardner, Helen B. 2006. Gathering for God: George Brown in Oceania. Dunedin: Otago University Press. Gell, Alfred 1998. Art and Agency:An Anthropological Theory . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gibson, Ross 2013. ‘On the senses and semantic excess in photographic evidence’, Journal of Material Culture , 18(3): 243–257. Gosden, Christopher 2004. ‘Making and display: our aesthetic appreciation of things and objects’, in Colin Renfrew, Christopher Gosden and Elizabeth DeMarrais (eds.) Substance, Memory and Display: Archaeology and Art . McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research: Cambridge, pp.35–45. Hastrup, Frida 2010. ‘Materializations of disaster: recovering lost plots in a tsunamiaffected village in south India’, in Mikkel Bille, et al. (eds.) An Anthropology of Absence: Materializations of Transcendence and Loss . Berlin: Springer, pp. 99–114. Heidegger, Martin 1971. Poetry, Language, Thought , translations and introduction by Albert Hofstadter. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Hodder, Ian 2012. Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things . Malden; Oxford; Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Hyde, Sally 2012. ‘Milburn Family History: My connection to William Milburn, 1771– 1849, Master Potter of Scott’s Pottery Sunderland’. <http://www.whatsyourstory. org.uk/page_id__177_path__0p3p.aspx#return> accessed 10.07.14. Ishimori, Shuzo 1999. ‘On the George Brown Collection’, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter , no. 9 (December 1999): 8–9. Knowles, Chantal 2003. ‘Commissioning Art: Objects, Ethnography and Contemporary Collecting’, Journal of Museum Ethnography , no. 15: 57–66. Kromek 2014. RadAngel: Safety in Numbers , product website, available at <http://www. radangel.net/>, accessed 18.09.14. K{\"u} chler, Susanne 2002. Malanggan:Art, Memory and Sacrifice . Oxford ; NewYork: Berg Matsuzaki, Asako 2002. ‘Nihon shutsudo no yoroppa toujiki’, in Katsu Kobayashi (ed.) Unearthed Cities: speculations from comparisons of excavated articles in Japan and Netherlands . Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, Inc., pp.133–170. Marshall, Yvonne. and Alexandra Maas 1997. ‘Dashing Dishes’, World Archaeology, 28(3), Culture Contact and Colonialism (Feb. 1997): 275–290. McHugh, Christopher J 2012. Kith and Kin: New Glass and Ceramics Stage 2—The Crinson Jug . <http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/engage/blog/kith-and-kin-new-glassand- ceramics-stage-2-the-{\%}E2{\%}80{\%}98crinson-jug{\%}E2{\%}80{\%}99/> McHugh, Christopher J 2013. ‘Towards a Sunderland Pottery for the Twenty-First Century: Materializing Multiple Dialogues in Museum Display Through Creative Ceramics’, Journal of Museum Ethnography , no. 26: 71–88. McKay, Carol 2014. ‘Christopher McHugh Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau)’, catalogue entry in Mike Collier (ed.) Wordsworth and Basho-: Walking Poets . Art Editions North, Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications, pp. 106–111. McLeod, Malcolm 1985. ‘Paolozzi and Identity’, in Eduardo Paolozzi Lost Magic Kingdoms and Six Paper Moons from Nahuatl: An Exhibition at the Museum of Mankind . London: British Museum Press, pp. 15–60. Newell, Jenny 2012. ‘Old objects, new media: Historical collections, digitization and affect’, Journal of Material Culture , 17(3): 287–306. Olsen, B 2010. In Defense of Things:Archaeology and the Ontology of Objects . Lanham and Plymouth: Altamira Press.",
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    Recontextualizing the George Brown Collection through Creative Ceramics. / McHugh, Christopher.

    In: Journal of Museum Ethnography, Vol. 28, 01.03.2015, p. 85-106.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Recontextualizing the George Brown Collection through Creative Ceramics

    AU - McHugh, Christopher

    N1 - Reference text: Adams, Julie 2014. ‘Making the Past Present: Paul Montague in New Caledonia’, conference presentation, Pacific Presences: Oceanic Art and European Museums , Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, 24 March 2014. Adamson, Glenn 2009. ‘You Are Here’, in Edmund deWaal Signs andWonders: Edmund deWaal and theV&A Ceramics Galleries . London: V&A Publishing, pp. 33–47. Barker, David. and Teresita Majewski 2006. ‘Ceramic studies in historical archaeology’, in Dan Hicks and Mary C Beaudry (eds.) The Cambridge companion to historical archaeology . Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 205–231. Brown, Deidre 2007. ‘Te Ahu Hiko: Digital heritage and indigenous objects, people and environments’, in Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine (eds.) Theorizing Digital Culture Heritage: A Critical Discourse . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp.77–92. Brown, George 1908. Pioneer-Missionary and Explorer, an Autobiography, A Narrative of Forty-Eight Years Residence and Travel in Samoa, New Britain, New Ireland, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands , London: Hodder and Stoughton. Brown, Stephanie. 2001, ‘Pioneer Printer’, Keramik, no.3: 28–33. Collections Trust 2009. Revisiting Museum Collections, A toolkit for capturing and sharing multiple perspectives on museum and gallery collections , Cambridge: Collections Trust. <http://www.collectionstrust.org.uk/images/documents/c1/a514/f6/revisiting_ museums_toolkit-1.pdf>. Connerton, Paul 2009. How Modernity Forgets . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dixon, Stephen 2014. ‘Fragments and narratives: reflections on a residency at the V&A’, <http://www.ceramics-in-the-expanded-field.com/essays/professor-stephendixon- uk>, accessed 02.08.14. Edwards, Elizabeth 2009. ‘Photographs as objects of memory’, in Fiona Candlin and Raiford Guins (eds.) The Object Reader . London; NewYork: Routledge, pp. 331–342. Frayling, Christopher 1985. ‘Eduardo Paolozzi and the Temple of Doom’, in Eduardo Paolozzi Lost Magic Kingdoms and Six Paper Moons from Nahuatl: An Exhibition at the Museum of Mankind . London: British Museum Press, pp. 159–160. Gardner, Helen B 1999. ‘Controversial Collection: The George Brown Exhibition, 10 March–31 May 1999’, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter , no. 9 (December 1999): 7–8 Gardner, Helen B. 2006. Gathering for God: George Brown in Oceania. Dunedin: Otago University Press. Gell, Alfred 1998. Art and Agency:An Anthropological Theory . Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gibson, Ross 2013. ‘On the senses and semantic excess in photographic evidence’, Journal of Material Culture , 18(3): 243–257. Gosden, Christopher 2004. ‘Making and display: our aesthetic appreciation of things and objects’, in Colin Renfrew, Christopher Gosden and Elizabeth DeMarrais (eds.) Substance, Memory and Display: Archaeology and Art . McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research: Cambridge, pp.35–45. Hastrup, Frida 2010. ‘Materializations of disaster: recovering lost plots in a tsunamiaffected village in south India’, in Mikkel Bille, et al. (eds.) An Anthropology of Absence: Materializations of Transcendence and Loss . Berlin: Springer, pp. 99–114. Heidegger, Martin 1971. Poetry, Language, Thought , translations and introduction by Albert Hofstadter. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc. Hodder, Ian 2012. Entangled: An Archaeology of the Relationships between Humans and Things . Malden; Oxford; Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Hyde, Sally 2012. ‘Milburn Family History: My connection to William Milburn, 1771– 1849, Master Potter of Scott’s Pottery Sunderland’. <http://www.whatsyourstory. org.uk/page_id__177_path__0p3p.aspx#return> accessed 10.07.14. Ishimori, Shuzo 1999. ‘On the George Brown Collection’, Minpaku Anthropology Newsletter , no. 9 (December 1999): 8–9. Knowles, Chantal 2003. ‘Commissioning Art: Objects, Ethnography and Contemporary Collecting’, Journal of Museum Ethnography , no. 15: 57–66. Kromek 2014. RadAngel: Safety in Numbers , product website, available at <http://www. radangel.net/>, accessed 18.09.14. Kü chler, Susanne 2002. Malanggan:Art, Memory and Sacrifice . Oxford ; NewYork: Berg Matsuzaki, Asako 2002. ‘Nihon shutsudo no yoroppa toujiki’, in Katsu Kobayashi (ed.) Unearthed Cities: speculations from comparisons of excavated articles in Japan and Netherlands . Tokyo: Nichigai Associates, Inc., pp.133–170. Marshall, Yvonne. and Alexandra Maas 1997. ‘Dashing Dishes’, World Archaeology, 28(3), Culture Contact and Colonialism (Feb. 1997): 275–290. McHugh, Christopher J 2012. Kith and Kin: New Glass and Ceramics Stage 2—The Crinson Jug . <http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/engage/blog/kith-and-kin-new-glassand- ceramics-stage-2-the-%E2%80%98crinson-jug%E2%80%99/> McHugh, Christopher J 2013. ‘Towards a Sunderland Pottery for the Twenty-First Century: Materializing Multiple Dialogues in Museum Display Through Creative Ceramics’, Journal of Museum Ethnography , no. 26: 71–88. McKay, Carol 2014. ‘Christopher McHugh Flotsam and Jetsam (Portmanteau)’, catalogue entry in Mike Collier (ed.) Wordsworth and Basho-: Walking Poets . Art Editions North, Manchester: Cornerhouse Publications, pp. 106–111. McLeod, Malcolm 1985. ‘Paolozzi and Identity’, in Eduardo Paolozzi Lost Magic Kingdoms and Six Paper Moons from Nahuatl: An Exhibition at the Museum of Mankind . London: British Museum Press, pp. 15–60. Newell, Jenny 2012. ‘Old objects, new media: Historical collections, digitization and affect’, Journal of Material Culture , 17(3): 287–306. Olsen, B 2010. In Defense of Things:Archaeology and the Ontology of Objects . Lanham and Plymouth: Altamira Press.

    PY - 2015/3/1

    Y1 - 2015/3/1

    N2 - The George Brown Collection has a complex and contested history, reflecting a range of personal and wider socio-political trajectories. Brown largely accumulated the collection between 1860 and 1907, whilst serving as a Methodist missionary in Oceania. The collection has had a number of homes over the years, exercising the endeavours of a variety of people. In 1986, the majority of it was controversially sold by Newcastle University to the National Museum of Ethnology (NME), Osaka, Japan. Between January and April 2013, I was the recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) international placement which took place at the NME. Although my doctoral project, of which the placement formed part, focuses on Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ (SMWG) collection of mainly nineteenth century Sunderland pottery (see McHugh 2013), researching the George Brown Collection enabled me to further test my approach to collection and community, albeit in a substantially different setting.This paper will reflect upon my attempt to investigate, through creative ceramic practice, what status and role the George Brown Collection has within the community at its current home in Japan. I will also explore parts of the collection which, for various reasons, remain in UK museums. It is hoped that these insights will contribute to discussions of how collections can be rejuvenated and reinterpreted in alternative ways, particularly through arts practice, leading to increased access and collaboration.

    AB - The George Brown Collection has a complex and contested history, reflecting a range of personal and wider socio-political trajectories. Brown largely accumulated the collection between 1860 and 1907, whilst serving as a Methodist missionary in Oceania. The collection has had a number of homes over the years, exercising the endeavours of a variety of people. In 1986, the majority of it was controversially sold by Newcastle University to the National Museum of Ethnology (NME), Osaka, Japan. Between January and April 2013, I was the recipient of an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) international placement which took place at the NME. Although my doctoral project, of which the placement formed part, focuses on Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ (SMWG) collection of mainly nineteenth century Sunderland pottery (see McHugh 2013), researching the George Brown Collection enabled me to further test my approach to collection and community, albeit in a substantially different setting.This paper will reflect upon my attempt to investigate, through creative ceramic practice, what status and role the George Brown Collection has within the community at its current home in Japan. I will also explore parts of the collection which, for various reasons, remain in UK museums. It is hoped that these insights will contribute to discussions of how collections can be rejuvenated and reinterpreted in alternative ways, particularly through arts practice, leading to increased access and collaboration.

    KW - george brown

    KW - collection

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    KW - engagement

    KW - ceramics

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    JO - Journal of Museum Ethnography

    T2 - Journal of Museum Ethnography

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    ER -