This project is intended for you to build upon some of the concepts developed in the course. The focus of your proposed exhibition will be that of the traditional craft techniques and practices relating to the media we are covering in the course.
Note: I am certainly not expecting you to actually build miniature models of your exhibit, and this assignment requires no technical knowledge of exhibition design. What I am looking for is your responses to the problems of displaying aspects of craft practices through images and text. This is an opportunity to use your imagination as well as your research skills!
The assignment involves the following stages:
1. Decide upon the theme you want to illustrate in your exhibition.
There are different ways you can approach this. One route would be to look at how a particular item – a glazed bowl, a glass vessel, a rug, and so on – are made. This could be done by looking at a specific region of the world or specific period or you might choose to look at how these things are done in different regions. Alternatively, you could look at an issue – such as gender, signatures on objects, or the organization of workshops – and how it is shown by objects in a variety of media. In the coursepack there are examples of the ways in which modern science (and archaeology) allow us to reconstruct traditional craft practices; this is a potential avenue for an exhibit. You could even focus in on a particular material – such as gold, silk, a valuable pigment – and how it appears in more than one medium.
2. Find between three and five artefacts that will form the focus of your exhibition.
These artefacts (this can be anything from paintings and sculptures to objects made in any of the media we will be discussing in the course) can be gathered from a wide variety of sources. You may find it useful to visit websites of major museums (such as the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum, Freer Gallery of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, Louvre, and so on), and DIDO (the slide archive of the Department of Art History and Visual Studies). Another source of images are the websites of the Legacy Art Collection and the University library special collections. I will create another document with additional online sites you can look at.
The choice of artefacts is very much your own, but you will need to tell me (in the written part of the assignment) why you chose the artefacts you did. Remember that you can also choose things such as representations of craftsmen/craftswomen working that appear in paintings, manuscript images, drawings, and so on.
3. Summary of the Exhibition (40% of the total mark)
This should include the title of your proposed exhibit and a summary (between 500 and 750 words) outlining what you are hoping a visitor would gain from looking at the exhibit, and why you chose the artefacts.
4. Captions (20% of the total mark)
Each of your artefacts will need a caption (like the ones you would normally see in a museum, but also give the URL for where you accessed the image). Each caption can be anything from 50 to 100 words (excluding the URLs), and should give information about the artefact (date, materials it is made out of, place of manufacture, and so on) as well as anything else you think is important for the exhibition.
5. Layout of the exhibition (40% of the total mark)
In this last section you should write about how you would plan to display the artefacts in your exhibition (this should be around 500 words). At this stage you can say how you might arrange the objects (in terms of the order they are seen in, the lighting, the use of background colour, and so on). You could also talk about what else you might need for your display (photographs of craftsmen/women, maps, diagrams showing tools and methods, and so on).
Remember to include a bibliography of the -ebooks, museum/gallery websites, articles (for example, check out those on JStor through the Library website), and other materials you have cited in your project. I will provide some guidelines in another document in this section showing how to cite different types of sources. See also the section ‘Useful Resources’ on Brightspace for links to sites with information about museums, libraries, crafts, and traditional art techniques. This section will be updated periodically through the term.