CFP: Collectors/Collecting/Collections, U of Otago

Deadline: 31 August 2013

Collectors/Collecting/Collections: A Call for Papers

The Centre for the Book at the University of Otago will be holding a two day symposium on Collectors/Collecting/Collections on 17 & 18 October 2013. On the evening of 17 October in the Dunningham Room, Dunedin Public Library, Jim E. Traue, ex-Turnbull Librarian, Wellington, will give an open lecture entitled: ‘Treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life’. All are welcome to attend. The Symposium proper will begin at 10.00 on 18 October at the Auditorium, Toitū Early Settlers Museum. It will finish at 5.00 pm.

There is no end to collecting. There are collectors of the first editions or earliest printings of various works of literature, history, science, and philosophy; of bibles, children’s books, travel books, and almanacs; and still others ranging from limited private press productions to collectors of manuscripts and illustrated books. There are also those who collect thimbles, decorative teaspoons, cakes tins, art, motorcycles, and a whole lot more.

The methods by which collectors amass their materials are equally varied, including through catalogue, auction, gifts, and e-sites like Trademe and Indeed, by accumulating such items, the question arises: what constitutes a collection? Is it a disparate mass of stuff, or something much more organised?

Institutions throughout New Zealand have been fortunate to benefit from collectors such as Alexander Turnbull, Sir George Grey, A. H. Reed, and Dr Hocken, to name but a few. Their collections are in the public domain for all to use and enjoy; we would be much poorer without their efforts. There are, however, those that are lost, such as General Robley’s moko collection, and Rex Nan Kivell’s New Zealand-related collection (now in Australia). And what of the future? Will institutions continue to receive collections from generous public-spirited collectors, or will they disperse them to the four winds, for others to enjoy?

If you would like to participate in this symposium, which we hope will be wide ranging, please send your abstracts to Dr Shef Rogers, English Department, University of Otago ( or Dr Donald Kerr, Special Collection Librarian, University of Otago ( by 31 August 2013.

Registration for the full day will be $25 (waged); $10 (unwaged). Details of how to register will be notified on the Centre’s website closer to the event.  Please check out the Centre for the Book at Otago website for forthcoming events.



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