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Relocation and revaluation in university collections, or, Rubbish Theory revisited

Author(s): Mark A. Meadow

Journal: University Museums and Collections Journal
ISSN 2071-7229

Volume: 3;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: University collections | Rubbish theory | Disciplinarity | Material basis

Objects move from place to place, discipline to discipline, into and out of collections within the university (even at times into and out of the university). In the course of these relocations, these objects also continually change in function and in value. By looking at university collections in a holistic and trans-disciplinary manner, a model of multiple, simultaneous and highly dynamic value systems better explains how such transformations are possible. Within the contexts of the university and of the theme of this conference, “Putting University Collections to Work in Research and Teaching”, understanding these processes – migration, disciplinary shifts, alterations in the utility and worth assigned – is essential to making smart policy decisions concerning the stewardship of all university collections. In this paper, I look toward and beyond models of object circulation and revaluation such as Michael Thompson’s Rubbish Theory to explain how these metamorphoses take place.
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