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  • Archive for April, 2011

    Cane toads ate my baby

    By Jack Ashby, on 28 April 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 13

    From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account of my time in the field.

    Weeks Sixteen to Nineteen – part 2

    Last week I described how we went about trapping small fauna at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s Wongalara sanctuary in the Northern Territory’s Top End. This week I want to talk about cane toads and some of the other feral beasts around. (more…)

    Tarot and Ancient Egypt – A Connection?

    By Debbie J Challis, on 27 April 2011

    A couple of years ago, I wanted to know why there were so many Ancient Egyptian inspired objects in ‘New Age’ shops and what the connections where with tarot.  I was put in touch with a  historian and practitioner Lena Munday and thought I’d share with you what she wrote:

    “A language in itself, a book of occult wisdom, a mode of communication invented by the Ancients that reaches us today despite centuries of persecution, distortion and neglect…A coded system linked directly to Astrology, gnosticism, alchemy, ritual magic and Qabala… The Tarot is a mirror and a map of the soul reflecting the entire spectrum of human experience.

    From the infancy of the Fool to the completion and knowledge that finds its embodiment in the World, this system speaks the ancient language of symbols. This book has evolved into a deck comprised of 78 cards, 22 of these are the Major Arcana and the remaining 56 are the Minor Arcana with four suits- Pentacles, Swords, Rods or Wands and Cups. These number ace to ten and include pages, knights, kings and queens. For each card there is an alchemical correspondence, an astrological sign and a number. (more…)

    Gotta catch ‘em all – Top End Trapping

    By Jack Ashby, on 21 April 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 12

    Burton's snake lizard

    Burton's snake lizard from a funnel trap

    From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account of my time in the field.

    Weeks Sixteen to Nineteen – part 1

    For my final bit of fieldwork I joined a team of ecologists from the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) at one of their sanctuaries, carved out of the incredible Arnhem Land Plateau in the monsoonal forest of the Northern Territory’s Top End. (more…)

    How wild is that animal?

    By Jack Ashby, on 14 April 2011

    A delayed account of zoological fieldwork in Australia – Part 11

    From April 2010 I spent about five months undertaking several zoological field projects across Australia. I worked with government agencies, universities and NGOs on conservation and ecology studies ranging from Tasmanian devil facial tumour disease, the effect of fire, rain and introduced predators on desert ecology and how to poison cats. This series of blog posts is a delayed account of my time in the field.

    Weeks Twelve to Fifteen

    After about three months of back-to-back field projects, I decided to take some time off and visit Tropical North Queensland with some friends for a few weeks. Unlike the majority of the field work we spent pretty much all of our time looking for wild animals without trapping them.
    (more…)

    Moreover: the Slade revisits UCL Art Collections

    By Andrea Fredericksen, on 12 April 2011

    On Monday UCL Art Collections opened Moreover, an exhibition featuring the final results to our third annual invitation to the Slade to revisit the past masters and create new works in response.

    Moreover began with a challenge to all current students at the Slade to develop their own practice using contemporary media and new modes of thinking while taking the time to consider and appreciate what has gone before. Over the Winter term students were given special access to thousands of remarkable and historically important objects within UCL’s art collections. They explored cabinets and archival boxes to discover a number of hidden treasures: an 18th-century print of a Soho drag queen, an annotated drawing by the arts educator and painter William Coldstream, John Flaxman’s neo-classical plaster models, postcards to Stanley Spencer, paper records used by museum staff to chart the shifting locations of art work – plus more. It has been an exhausting process for the students and myself, but in the main it has been productive and highly rewarding. Out of the 35 proposals submitted, 21 finalists were chosen by a panel from UCL Museums & Collections and the Slade to exhibit their works in the Strang Print Room. (more…)

    Ode to a Grecian box – some thoughts on the multiple histories of our Ancient Greek handling collection

    By Celine West, on 11 April 2011

    We have several boxes of stuff that we lend to schools. Not any old stuff of course, these are boxes containing some great objects from the collections, including one box that contains 15 objects from Ancient Greece that are part of our Archaeology Collections. There are metal animals and figurative pieces including a ceramic woman; there are decorated potsherds – broken pieces of pottery – as well as a couple of whole jugs.

    These objects are roughly two and a half thousand years old and were used in a variety of domestic circumstances in different parts of the Grecian world, by people who we can imagine had not the slightest inkling of where that old jug that Daddy broke when he’d been at the retsina would end up.

    The objects have this history, the history of their creation and use in their original context, and they have the history of their discovery and excavation, followed by their journey into our collection. They were brought together as a teaching collection about ten years ago, with the purpose of using them to help Primary School teachers when their class is learning the History topic What was life like in Ancient Greece?
    (more…)

    Live from Tasmania, for now

    By Jack Ashby, on 8 April 2011

    This week I’ll take a break from my delayed account of last year’s fieldwork because I’m back in Tasmania out in the field with the University of Tasmania’s School of Zoology.

    Rejoining the project I was on last year, looking at the ecosystem effects of the massive crash in the Tasmanian devil population, this field trip is slightly less glamorous than trapping the devils, partly because they are practically extinct here up in the northeast of the island, where contagious cancer first appeared 15 years ago. What we’ve been doing is counting sultanas – it doesn’t actually involve setting eyes on a single animal (apart from millions of ants), but intriguing all the same.
    (more…)

    Typecast Today

    By Debbie J Challis, on 6 April 2011

    Typecast Today? News and Opinion on Genetics, Heredity and Race. . .

     

    The exhibition Typecast opened at the Petrie Museum last week and we officially open together with the UCL Library’s Francis Galton: An Enquiring Mind tomorrow evening. Whilst I was preparing the ‘private view’ information a few cursory clicks on google brought up the following headlines around ‘genetics’, ‘breeding’, ‘family tree’  . . .

    4 April 2011 BBC News

    Five more Alzheimer’s genes discovered, scientists say http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12937131
    (more…)

    Dust & Catharsis

    By Mark Carnall, on 1 April 2011

    A mere two weeks after we open heavy demolition work in the basement underneath the Grant Museum kicks up plaster dust inside the display cases. Nobody is to blame in particular but I thought I’d share these images to get the dust out of my system (and our cases).

    dust obscuring specimens in a case in the Grant Museum

    If only dust had some kind of market value?

    Ashes to ashes

    Actually we could pretend that this is a collaborative effort with the Wellcome Collection's current exhibition Dirt.

    (more…)