Guest Speaker: Rosi Crane

By Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature | Posted: Monday October 16, 2017

Creative Cities Southern Hui warmly welcomes ROSI CRANE as guest speaker. Rosi will be speaking at Centre for the Book: Books and Users on Wednesday 29th November.

'For me the Creative Cities Southern Hui brings not only an opportunity to connect and collaborate with current creative minds but also an opportunity to re-connect with equally creative ghosts from the scientific world of a former era.'

Rosi Crane is interested in the nexus of colonial science, culture and art, particularly within the late-nineteenth century worldwide phenomena of museum building.

After a well-regarded career as a film librarian, working initially for the BBC's Natural History Unit in Bristol and latterly for NHNZ in Dunedin, Rosi Crane returned to tertiary study. She put her working knowledge of zoology to good use to throw light on the career of Thomas Jeffery Parker FRS for her doctoral research. Jeffery was a member of the first generation of trained zoologists to seek employment in the colonies, arriving in 1880 to take up a joint appointment at the University of Otago and Museum.

Since 2015, when her PhD was awarded, Rosi has been following in Jeffery's footsteps at the museum and currently holds the title Honorary Curator Science History.

Her largely biographical research now extends to the specimens acquired for the museum as well as the people involved. Rosi has published several research papers and, continuing in the tradition of museum work, also articles for non-specialist audiences.

She is currently working on a history of the early years of Otago Museum. 

'Scientific research a hundred and fifty years ago in a land of limited resources required participants to be creative in ways that we now find hard to imagine. The Centre of the Book annual research symposium considers how books and users come together'.

The title of Rosi's presentation: 'I am very badly in want of a book' is taken from a letter written, in 1867, by Captain FW Hutton FRS.

'It reminds us that books were an essential tool for nineteenth century men of science, were a precious commodity and were sometimes difficult to acquire. The presentation considers how Hutton built up the Otago Museum library to help him with his particular brand of inventory science.'

The University of Otago's Centre for the Book: Books and Users symposium, on Wednesday 29th November, explores the many ways we interact with the ubiquitous object we call the book, and probes the meaning of 'user'.

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