Young Curators’ club – Week 1: Plastic gloves and Papua New Guinea

During the month of March, UCL Ethnography Collection is developing a new program called Young curators’ club. Ten students aged between 14 and 16 years old and from Maria Fidelis School (Borough of Camden) are members of this club.DSC_0245Every week they will learn new aspects of what it is to be a curator and to be in charge of a collection. This program will end at the end of the month with an exhibition curated by the members of the club. Every week, Dr. Haidy Geismar, Academic curator, and Delphine Mercier, curator – Collections management and care, will host speakers who will talk about their work in relation with ethnography collections

Post written by Shosha Adie, pictures by Yiran He

“Looking at objects is like going to an alien planet”
Dr Ludovic Coupaye, lecturer at UCL

In the first week of this program, our young curators were not only introduced to UCL ethnographic collection, but the study of what makes us human and how objects can give us clues into other worlds. The speaker of the week was Dr. Ludovic Coupaye, who gave an exciting talk on the spontaneous nature of anthropological research, using his experiences with the Abelam peoples of Papau New Guinea as an example. He also went into the discipline of material culture and how, for him “Looking at objects is like going to an alien planet.” Social anthropologists will look at relationships, and structures; he is more interested in the symbolic aspects. He made very good friends during his research, but also learnt a great deal about what It means to be human; “I cannot say I became an Abelam… but I was very Happy there”. After a quick snack and chat, the young curators got gloved up and had a chance to handle artefacts for the first time. Now they had to become the anthropologists and explain to the rest of the group what they had discovered about their object. This brought up a lot of interesting information, and we are all looking forward to what the next session will hold.
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