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Organised by Sven Dupré and Erma Hermens, the latest edition of the Technical Art History Colloquium sees curator, writer and historian Glenn Adamson explore the 'material turn' in the Humanities at leading American universities.

Detail Summary
Date 14 June 2018
Time 15:30 - 17:00

Minding Making: Hands On Learning in the American University

One of the most striking developments in the Humanities over the past decade has been a ‘material turn’. This cross-disciplinary current, seen in art history, the history of science, museum practice and elsewhere, has challenged previous theoretical models by insisting on the importance of tacit knowledge and craft-specific content. Rather than distinguishing making from thinking, scholars now see the two as inextricable and mutually generative. In his talk, Dr Glenn Adamson will discuss how these developments are playing out at three leading American universities: Columbia, Yale and Harvard.

Each of these institutions has undertaken substantial making-based research and teaching in the past few years, but in varying directions: at Columbia, an emphasis on the recreation of techniques based on archival documents; at Yale, an emphasis on the material intelligence contained in historic crafts; and at Harvard, a thematic investigation of contemporary making, based on the connective concept of the ‘maneuver.’ Adamson will survey this intellectual landscape and provide a first-hand account of the creation of Minding Making, a new web initiative based at Harvard.

Learn more at:

About Glenn Adamson

Glenn Adamson is a curator, writer and historian who works at the intersection of craft and contemporary art. Currently Senior Scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, he has previously been Director of the Museum of Arts and Design; Head of Research at the V&A; and Curator at the Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee. Adamson’s publications include Art in the Making (2016, co-authored with Julia Bryan-Wilson); Invention of Craft (2013); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion (2011); The Craft Reader (2010); and Thinking Through Craft (2007). Most recently Adamson was the co-curator of Voulkos: The Breakthrough Years at MAD (2016); curator of Beazley Designs of the Year, at the Design Museum in London (2017); and co-curator (with Martina Droth and Simon Olding) of Things of Beauty Growing: British Studio Pottery, at the Yale Center for British Art (2017). His new book, Fewer Better Things: The  Hidden Wisdom of Objects, will be published by Bloomsbury in August 2018.

Visit his website at:

About the series

The Technical Art History Colloquium is a monthly series organised by Sven Dupré (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam, PI ERC ARTECHNE), Arjan de Koomen (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History), Abbie Vandivere (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History & Paintings Conservator, Mauritshuis, The Hague), Erma Hermens (University of Amsterdam and Rijksmuseum) and Ann-Sophie Lehmann (University of Groningen).

Practical information

Date: Thursday, 14 June 2018
Time: 15:30 – 17:00
Location: Ateliergebouw, 1st floor - Room B, Hobbemastraat 22, Amsterdam


Admission to the colloquium is free, but please RSVP by Thursday, 7 June 2018 to ensure your place by emailing Jill Briggeman at: