Photo of Dr Catherine Cummings

Dr Catherine Cummings

Research Fellow

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01392 725989

Amory 220

Dr Catherine Cummings is a Research Fellow on the EU research project RICHES (Renewal, Innovation and Change: Heritage and European Society) with Prof Charlotte Waelde.  The project is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. The research project is about change: about the decentring of culture and cultural heritage away from institutional structures towards the individual and about the questions which the advent of digital technologies in posing in relation to how we understand, collect and make available Europe’s cultural heritage.

The RICHES project addresses the move from analogue to digital. The role of Exeter is to develop an IPR legal Framework for the digital economy. It analyses the tension between human cultural rights (presenting CH as public good) and the traditional copyright law (focused on the commodification of culture, private property, ownership and control). The challenge is to investigate how the groups involved in the creation, selection and mediation of CH within the analysed case studies can benefit from the cultural rights articulated in the UNESCO Conventions.

Catherine’s previous post at the university was to support a Leverhulme-funded project Cultures of the Suburbs where she organised the final conference at Exeter University in June 2014. Previous to this she assisted on another Leverhulme project Chinese Cinema in the 21st Century with Dr Song Hwee Lim and organised the project conference in Taiwan. Previous employment includes lecturering in Art History (University of Plymouth) where she taught the module Cultures of Colonial Collecting and was Head of Contextual Studies at Plymouth College of Art.

Her PhD Collecting En Route: The Collection of Gertrude Emily Benham was concerned with the history of collecting and colonialism, the emergence of ethnographic museums and the representation of non-Western objects in Western museums. Benham (1867-1938) made eight voyages independently around the world from 1904-1938, during which she amassed a collection of eight hundred objects, which she donated to Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery in 1935. In order to address the complex issues of colonial collecting an interdisciplinary perspective was employed including anthropology, material culture,  geography,  museology, postcolonial and feminist theory. Benham was located within a range of intersecting histories: colonialism, travel, collecting and gender. Central to the thesis was the agency and role of indigenous peoples in the formation of ethnographic collections.

 

Research interests

Includes:

Collecting and collecting history

Gender, colonialism and collecting

The historical and contemporary role of museums

Representation, exhibition and display

Objects and material culture

Object biographies

 

Recent research includes:

The digitisation of cultural heritage

The use of digital technology in museums

Museum collaboration and co-creation of cultural heritage

The use of digital technologies in how we access, interpret, preserve cultural heritage

Publications/conference presentations

Cummings Catherine, Amalia Sabiescu, Martin Woolley and Janine Prins (2015) Online Maker Communities: Craft and Engagement with Cultural Heritage. Presentation 7th International Conference on Communities and Technologies, University of Limerick, Ireland (26 June – 2 July 2015).

Cummings, Catherine, (2014) Chiefs and Governors: Art and Power in Fiji at The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), University of Cambridge (7 June 2013 to 19 April 2014). Exhibition review accessed at the following link:  http://www.fijianart.sru.uea.ac.uk/2013pastnewsevents.php#MEGvisit

Cummings, Catherine (2013)  Queen Victoria’s Samoan Bonnet: symposium presentation at THE IN-BETWEENNESS OF THINGS: Materializing Mediation and Movement between Worlds. 22-23 March 2013 The event was sponsored by the Journal of Material Culture, the British Museum and the UCL Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies. It was organised by Paul Basu.  Abstracts can be accessed at the following link: http://www.mhm.ucl.ac.uk/events/The_Inbetweenness_of_Things_abstracts.pdf 

Cummings, Catherine (2012) ‘Connecting with Gertrude’ Journal of Museum Ethnographers, Vol.25, 2012 pp183-188.

Cummings, Catherine (2011) Entanglement and Complexity in Colonial Collecting. Presentation: University of Plymouth.

Cummings, Catherine (2009) The Passion of Travel and Constructing the Self.  Conference presentation at ‘Emotion in Motion: the Passion of Tourism, Travel and Movement, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Cummings, Catherine (2009) Colonial Collecting and Gender in the Collection of Gertrude E. Benham. Conference presentation at ‘Going Public: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Presenting Women’s History. Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Canada.

Cummings, Catherine (2009) The Collection of Gertrude E. Benham: Knitting Seven Times Around the World. Conference presentation: Amateur Passions/Professional Practice: Ethnography Collectors and Collections: The Museum Ethnographer’s Group Conference (MEG), Bristol University.

Cummings, Catherine (2013) Chiefs and Governors: Art and Power in Fiji at The Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA), University of Cambridge (7 June 2013 to 19 April 2014). Exhibition review accessed at the following link:  http://www.fijianart.sru.uea.ac.uk/2013pastnewsevents.php#MEGvisit

Cummings, Catherine (2013)  Queen Victoria’s Samoan Bonnet: symposium presentation at THE IN-BETWEENNESS OF THINGS: Materializing Mediation and Movement between Worlds. 22-23 March 2013 The event was sponsored by the Journal of Material Culture, the British Museum and the UCL Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies. It was organised by Paul Basu.  Abstracts can be accessed at the following link: http://www.mhm.ucl.ac.uk/events/The_Inbetweenness_of_Things_abstracts.pdf 

Cummings, Catherine (2012) ‘Connecting with Gertrude’ Journal of Museum Ethnographers, Vol.25, 2012 pp183-188.

Cummings, Catherine (2011) Entanglement and Complexity in Colonial Collecting. Presentation: University of Plymouth.

Cummings, Catherine (2009) The Passion of Travel and Constructing the Self.  Conference presentation at ‘Emotion in Motion: the Passion of Tourism, Travel and Movement, Leeds Metropolitan University.

Cummings, Catherine (2009) Colonial Collecting and Gender in the Collection of Gertrude E. Benham. Conference presentation at ‘Going Public: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Presenting Women’s History. Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Canada.

Cummings, Catherine (2009) The Collection of Gertrude E. Benham: Knitting Seven Times Around the World. Conference presentation: Amateur Passions/Professional Practice: Ethnography Collectors and Collections: The Museum Ethnographer’s Group Conference (MEG), Bristol University.