Call for Papers

Call for Papers: UNIVERSEUM 2023 annual conference „Experience of Academic Heritage”

Call for Papers: UNIVERSEUM 2023 annual conference „Experience of Academic Heritage”

The next annual conference of UNIVERSEUM will be hosted by the University of Wroclaw in Poland, 4th-7th July 2023. It will give the opportunity to move forward in that direction. During the 2023 Universeum meeting, we want to reflect on and share our „Experience of Academic Heritage”.

According to ICOM’s new definition of museums of 2022, museums ‘operate and communicate ethically, professionally and with the participation of communities, offering varied experiences for education, enjoyment, reflection and knowledge sharing’. How do these ways of experiencing apply to academic heritage? In this UNIVERSEUM annual meeting, the goal is to explore how this is resonating with your practice and with how your audiences are experiencing academic heritage.

UNIVERSEUM aims to move beyond only celebrating and to critically reflect about academic heritage and the experiences it offers and provides. Are there other directions in which you would like to take the interpretation and experience of university collections further? Should we be doing more with what we have? What are the opportunities and obstacles in realising our full potential within our collections, museums, institutions?  

Subtheme 1
By whom and for whom?

University collections are presented in many different ways and are experienced by different communities and groups. Increasingly, university museums are working together with various groups to agree on themes, approaches, and interpretations of academic heritage.

  • How conscious are we of our curation and interpretation processes and how these are experienced by different audiences?
  • How can we find out if the experience is received as we intended and by whom? How can we learn from this? How do we react to unexpected outcomes? 
  • Does who is involved in the design of these experiences affect the end result and how these are experienced?

Subtheme 2
Experiencing difficult heritage

Experiencing academic heritage can go beyond having fun and joy. They can also include encountering issues and ideas from a long history of academic practices and institutional history that make us uncomfortable and can be disturbing. 

  • What is the role of university museums and collection custodians in this process? 
  • How can they facilitate and encourage debates on difficult heritage in an effective way and not hide from them?

Subtheme 3
Media and methods of interpretation

When designing experiences of academic heritage, we use various means in our disposal for presenting and interpreting these. Some of these, like storytelling, have remained unchanged over the years, while others are constantly evolving, like the use of new technologies and social media.

  • How do our media and methods for setting up experiences of academic heritage, for instance the language and tools we use, affect the messages we are trying to communicate? 
  • And whom do we involve in the process of selecting and designing interpretative tools and approaches? 
  • How can we evaluate their effectiveness?

During the 2023 Universeum meeting, the aim is to explore different ways of encouraging discussion and debate, as well as allow as many voices from the community to be heard as possible. We would like to combine short papers, with longer in-depth contributions that reflect more broadly on these themes rather than present specific projects, as well as invite dialogue and discussions from all participants. 


Format of submissions
Under these themes, proposals for the following are invited:

  • 5-minute talks
  • 15-minute talks
  • posters

Guidelines for submissions

You will find all necessary information and the abstract template on Universeum website.

The conference language is English. Contributions from cultural heritage professionals and academics, but also postgraduate students are very welcome.

Please send your abstract proposal (max. 200 words), with an indication of the session you are submitting to (sub-theme 1, sub-theme 2, or 3), plus a short biographical note highlighting main research interests and/or field of professional experience (max. 50 words) to the following email address using the abstract template by Tuesday 28 February 2023: sekretarz.muzeauczelniane(at)

Travel Grants

The UNIVERSEUM Board is able to offer a small number of travel grants of up to 300 Euros each to students whose proposal (for either a poster or a talk) to present at the conference has been accepted. You can tick the related box if you want to apply in the abstract template. 

Programme Committee

Frédérique Andry-Cazin, Sorbonne-Universities, UPMC (France), Treasurer of UNIVERSEUM Natalia Bahlawan, Jagiellonian University Museum (Poland)Esther Boeles, University of Amsterdam (NL), Secretary of UNIVERSEUM Marek Bukowski, Medical University of Gdańsk (Poland), Vice-President of the Polish Association of University MuseumsMaria Economou, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow (UK), Vice-President of UNIVERSEUM Hubert Kowalski, Warsaw University (Poland), President of the Polish Association of University MuseumsMagdalena Muskała, Medical University of Białystok (Poland), Vice-President of the Polish Association of University MuseumsMarta Piszczatowska, Warsaw University Museum (Poland), Vice-President of the Polish Association of University MuseumsJoanna Ślaga, Jagiellonian University Museum (Poland), Vice-President of the Polish Association of University MuseumsSébastien Soubiran, University of Strasbourg (France), President of UNIVERSEUM Martin Stricker, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), Vice-President of UNIVERSEUM Marta Szaszkiewicz, (Museum of the University of Gdańsk), (Poland), Secretary of the Polish Association of University Museums

Veröffentlicht am 02.02.2023