Collection Ecologies – Scientific Heritage, Historical Ecology and Multispecies Encounter

International Summer School logo, 21st - 25th June 2021

Monday 21st of June

10 - 11am | 11am - 1pm | 2.30 - 4.30pm

Dr Domink Huenniger, University of Hamburg (Germany)

About the Presenter

Dr Dominik Huenniger is a research associate at the DFG-Centre for Advanced Studies “Imaginaria of Force” at the University of Hamburg and affiliate researcher at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow. He is interested in the entangled histories of environments, medicine and knowledge. His first book and PhD is a cultural and environmental history of cattle plagues in 18th century Scandinavia and Germany. After helping to build up and run the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Goettingen for 10 years, which included supporting the University’s Centre for Collection Development, he took up his current post at the University of Hamburg in 2019. Here he is collaborating with the Center of Natural History and finalizing the manuscript for his second book which is a material history of knowledge making about insects and other invertebrates from the 17th to the 19th century. 

About the Session

Both environmental history as well as the history of (natural history) collections and collecting have gained much momentum and public attention in recent years. However, the productive potential of exploring both in conjunction has not yet been fully realized, especially in relation to how collections developed and still function as sites of entanglement across continents, species, societies, and bodies. The sessions will re-assess the value of scientific collections for multidisciplinary research in the light of environmental issues and the need for sustainable action both in museums and at universities. We will look at the environments in which collecting took place but also highlight ecological knowledge created by collecting as well as the opportunities for collecting created by environmental crises. Marginalized human actors and groups as well as non-human organisms and formations take central stage. We will consider the ways in which archives, libraries and collections can and have been understood as environments, or even ecosystems themselves with their own ecologies and multispecies encounters. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session, participants will:

  • be familiar with current methods, approaches and findings in environmental history of collections;
  • be able to reflect on the (historical) instability and potential of scientific disciplines, including ecology and environmental history, as well as on the diversity of actors in the processes of knowledge production; 
  • have developed perspectives for a future environmental history of collections. 

Who might be interested?

This session will be of particular interest to Postgraduate and PhD students in all disciplines of the arts and humanities, specifically from art history, history of science and knowledge, material culture and museum studies, (historical) ecology, environmental history and humanities, heritage studies.

Participant Pre-requisites

No prior experience necessary for introductory and handling sessions. For the "bring your own object / research question" participants will need to be familiar with object-based research and/or environmental humanities.


10 - 11am: Introductory Lecture, Dr Domink Huenniger

11am - 1pm: Workshop 1, 'Birds, butterflies and a not so blue antelope - museum specimens and collection ecologies' 

Maggie Reilly; Jeanne Robinson; Dr Lola Sanchez-Jauregui, Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery

2.30 - 4.30pm: Bring your own object / research question

Click Here to Register

First published: 19 May 2021