London debates 2009 publication

Tuesday 15 December 2009

The School of Advanced Study is delighted to announce the publication of London Debates 2009: What role do museums play in the globalisation of culture?

The University of London’s School of Advanced Study is pleased to announce the publication of a policy document on museums and the globalisation of culture, arising from its 2009 London Debates workshop.

The report, coauthored by a select group of early-career researchers drawn from across Europe and North America, incorporates innovative research in the humanities and social sciences and presents the most important results of a three-day workshop held at the School of Advanced Study in May 2009. This report will be disseminated to stakeholders and policy-makers at local, regional, national and European level. The report is available online at and print copies are available on request.

The London Debates 2009 report presents a series of recommendations for museums facing the myriad challenges and opportunities of globalisation. The report begins with an introductory essay by Sharon Macdonald, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. This is followed by summaries presented by the workshop participants of the five dichotomous relationships through which museums are seen to play a key role in the globalisation of culture: continuity/discontinuity; the local/the global; the unique/the universal; inclusion/exclusion; the material/the immaterial. The report concludes with a series of action points that summarise the main recommendations of the early-career researchers.

The School of Advanced Study’s London Debates is a series of three-day discussion workshops at which a subject of broad concern in the humanities and social sciences is debated by a small group of invited senior academics and 15 outstanding early-career researchers, chosen by open competition. The 2009 workshop was opened by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Sir Graeme Davies, and featured talks from leading figures in museology, including: Professor Sir Mark Walport, the Director of the Wellcome Trust; Dr Cilly Kugelmann, Program Director of the Jewish Museum in Berlin; Professor Sharon MacDonald, Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester; Lars Tharp, Director of the Foundling Museum; and Dr Paul Basu, Reader in Material Culture and Museum Studies at University College London. The next London Debates workshop, 13–15 May 2010, will be on the topic of ‘How does Europe in the 21st century address the legacy of colonialism?’. Further information on the London Debates is available from the School website:

Professor Naomi Segal, Director of the Institute of Germanic & Romance Studies at the School, was delighted to see the first of the London Debates, a series that she had devised, take off so well: “The event was a great success with an excellent atmosphere and a brand new network generated. The aim was to provide the opportunity for early-career researchers to meet one another, to have access to senior researchers, and to make a significant contribution to debate in an important cross-disciplinary area. It succeeded.”

For more information, please contact Rosemary Lambeth at the School of Advanced Study, University of London on 020 7862 8695 /

The School of Advanced Study at the University of London is a unique scholarly community in the heart of London. It brings together the specialised scholarship and resources of ten prestigious postgraduate research institutes to offer academic opportunities across a wide range of subject fields in the humanities and social sciences. The School is the only institution in the UK nationally funded to facilitate and promote research in the humanities and social sciences.