29 June 2018 | Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh


Whether considered at an individual or population level, collections of human remains contain multiple biographies that encompass the personal, biological and historical and the personal. Narratives generated from these different biographies – by descendants, archaeologists, anthropologists, artists, curators and historians – are often represented as has having conflicting or opposing purposes, built on contradictory principles and values.

Artistic engagements with these remains, such as “Dead Images”, may provide the opportunity to confront, appraise and mediate these tensions by creating unsettling spaces of encounter that transcend the limitations of history and science. In so doing they invite the possibility of an open and reflexive appreciation of other perspectives on this challenging heritage.

This meeting brings together diverse reflections on encounters with collections of human remains, to critically explore the histories, including histories of violence and dis-possession, which are disclosed in these diasporic gatherings of bones and the problematic of their ongoing dwelling within the public sphere.

Throughout the day of the Friday, the 29th of June, our invited speakers will discuss these issues, presenting papers, pieces, provocations and polemics which emerge from upon their own engagements with the complex legacy of these collections and the lessons that may be learned from these engagements. Time will be given for discussion and collaborative reflection.


Confirmed speakers:

Tal Adler (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Sam Alberti (National Museums of Scotland)
Christine Borland (Northumbria University)
Sabine Eggers (Natural History Museum of Vienna)
Te Herekiekie Herewini (Te Papa Tongarewa)
June Jones (Birmingham University)
Elizabeth James-Perry (artist, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head –Aquinna)
Konradin Kunze (author and performer, Berlin)
Rebecca Redfern (Museum of London)
Layla Renshaw (Kingston University London)
James Riding In (Arizona State University)
Charlotte Roberts (Durham University)
Elise Smith (University of Warwick)
Joan Smith (Edinburgh College of Art)
Anna Szöke (Humboldt University of Berlin)
Maria Teschler-Nicola (University of Vienna, Natural History Museum Vienna)
Paul Turnbull (University of Tasmania, University of Queensland)


The Conference is open to the public, but a registration  is required, due to the limited number of seats.


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This conference will be preceded by the opening of the “Dead Images” installation and reception on the evening of Thursday, 28 of June. The event will be free.

To also book places for the vernissage, please go to:

Dead Images, exhibition opening, discussion and reception


Dead Images conference & exhibition website: Dead Images


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Dead Images brochure