SOCIETY FOR THE HISTORY OF COLLECTING
THE MIND IN THE MATTER: NEW APPROACHES TO THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLLECTING
Research WorkshopPsychology informs us about what drives an individual to collect. In the Enlightenment, the human mind was often analysed and discussed by means of metaphors and analogies borrowed from the world of collecting. In the nineteenth-century, the stereotypes surrounding the monomaniac, eccentric or perverse collector was codified in the art press and through fiction. In the twentieth century, the topic was treated at length by scholars such as Werner Munsterberger, often working in an explicitly psychoanalytic framework. Whilst this Freudian approach has been subject to intense criticism in the past thirty years, many scholars continue to interpret collecting in terms of categories such as ‘lack’, ‘surrogacy’, ‘desire’ and ‘loss’.
Join us for a workshop that investigates the extent to which psychological models are still valid and necessary to understand collecting as a human activity. Is there a tension between the universalising psychological theories and the drive to study collecting historically? What sources are particularly useful or revealing for uncovering the collector’s motivations or relations to his objects? What can recent developments in psychology and neuroscience add to our understanding? How far can or should we enter the interior life of a collector, and what role does imagination play in communicating these insights to new audiences? And what are the meaningful alternatives, apart from opportunistic acquisitions; to a psychological approach of the study of collecting - can we ever escape from this way of thinking?
10.00- Welcome and Introductory Remarks
10.10- “I Became a Perfect Vellomaniac”: Thomas Phillipps and his manuscript collection
Dr Toby Burrows, Senior Researcher, Oxford University
10.30- Charles Robert Cockerell and Perceiving the Past c.1820
Professor Susan Pearce, Professor Emeritus of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester
10.50- Interpreting interior spaces: an insight into the mind of the collector
Dr, Isobel Macdonald, University of Glasgow and The Burrell Collection.
11.30- Coffee Break
11.50- The Mind of a Collector
Professor John Harrison, Associate Professor at the Alzheimer Center at the VU Medical Center in Amsterdam and a Visiting Professor with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King's College London
12.10- The Work of The Wildgoose Memorial Library: Collecting & Recovering the Past from 'Somewhere Outside the Realm, Beyond the Reach of Intellect'
Dr Jane Wildgoose, artist, writer, and NESTA Fellow, co-leader of the Material Thinking and Creative Practice Module, MA Museum and Galleries/Heritage and Contemporary Practice at Kingston University
12.30- Acquiring art today: Studying the motives and process of the contemporary collector
Shaune Arp, Gagosian Gallery, New York and Geneva
13.10- Roundtable/ Closing Remarks
Please register for your place on Eventbrite:
Tickets are free for students and £10 for members. For any enquiries about the event, please contact secretarysocietyhistorycollecting.org
Organizing committee: Tom Stammers, Adriana Turpin, Eleni Vassilika
CONF: The Mind in the Matter (London, 27 Mar 19). In: ArtHist.net, Mar 18, 2019 (accessed Dec 2, 2022), <https://arthist.net/archive/20415>.