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Worklab General Meeting 2014 - Check out the program and register now!

WORKLAB - International Association of Labour Museums - is organising a general conference in September 2014. Worklab Conference 2014 will be held by Museum Arbeitswelt in Steyr, Austria 3-7 September 2014. The Call for papers is closed and the program is now published.

The conference will include 19 top class presentations from 14 different museums in nine European countries. The keynote speaker is professor Andrea Komlosy from International University of Vienna. Presentations vary from future of labour museums to learning issues, changing economical environments, identities, feminism, sounds of work and much more. You can read the wonderful program online:

Now it is the time to register for the conference, reserve the flights and your accomodation in Steyr! Conference will start in the Wednesday evening 3rd of September and close with sunny excursion day on Saturday 6th September. Please, start by registering on conference website. The conference fee is only 100 euros which includes scientific program, conference material, coffee breaks, guided tours and excursion! Excursion will take us into noteworthy history of iron industry in Steyr, show interesting aspects of workers housing and finally Erzberg – beautiful landscape where the iron ore for the region have been mined for centuries.

You can find all the information from the conference website or ask Udo Wiesinger for more information (udo.wiesinger(at) Please follow the official conference website at:

Conference includes also the general assembly of WORKLAB on the Friday evening 5th September. General assembly is open for all WORKLAB members and we also welcome those who consider joining our network. This official meeting shall discuss about coming projects and programmes and elect the members of the board. If you are interested to take an active role in WORKLAB or want to make a suggestion for the assembly, please contact the chairman Kalle Kallio (kalle.kallio(at)

Beside all this, WORKLAB conference will gather international labour museum community and plenty of museum professionals interested in social history. WORKLAB's last general conference was in 2010, so it is now an excellent opportunity to meet again. Steyr will be a great place to network, share new ideas and build long-lasting friendships. 

Minutes - Ironbridge Meeting 2013

ironbridge meeting13
Worklab Members Meeting

12 July 2013 (3-5pm)


1. Kalle Kallio (Worklab Chair, Finnish Labour Museum) welcomed members to the meeting


2. Each member attending the meeting gave an update about their institution’s work and future plans


3. Worklab News

  • Labour and Landscape - Six articles based on the 2010 Tampere Conference are going to print soon and are already available online (International Journal of Heritage Studies 2013, Issue 5)
  • Sound of Work – the project is now due to begin (led by Museum of Work, Sweden)
  • Website – changes are to be implemented to the website and all members should try to be more active in using the website


4. Future Projects

  • ILO 2019 anniversary – Chairman to write to all members to ask if they want to take part and for their ideas
  • Dagmar Kift’s (LWL Industriemuseum, Germany) Writer Project – Dagmar to write a short brief for the project to find project partners (for touring exhibition)
  • Unemployment – Louise Karlsgov Skyggebjerg (Worker’s Museum, Denmark) is still interested in this theme in Denmark – Katy Archer (People’s History Museum, UK) to provide details of the UK project which potentially will be run in partnership with Exeter University
  • Sofia Seifarth’s (Technical Museum, Sweden) Medical and Technical Issues project is in planning stage – Sofia to write a short project brief for other members
  • Music was discussed as a potential future topic for collaboration – many members had connections to the theme
  • Suffrage and democracy was discussed as a potential future topic for collaboration – particularly around Women’s Suffrage which could be talked about more as part of a future conference
  • The Fight for the Welfare State was discussed as a topic (particularly of interest to Louise and Katy)


5. Conferences

  • A Worklab Conference will be held in Austria in 2014 around themes of work and labour
  • Following Worklab Conference will be held as A Work with Sounds conference in Dortmund in 2015 as part of that project

Call for Papers: WORKLAB Conference 2014 in Austria


Call for Papers: WORKLAB Conference 2014 in Austria

WORKLAB - International Association of Labour Museums - is organising a general conference in September 2014. Worklab Conference 2014 will be held by Museum Arbeitswelt in Steyr, Austria 3-7 September 2014. Worklab's last general conference was in 2010, so it is no a great opportunity to meet labour museums globally in Austria next autumn. So please, reserve the dates on your calendars right away!

The Call for Papers is now open. We hope that as many museum professionals as possible in Worklab museums will submit their papers until 31st March 2014.

The main theme of the Worklab conference 2014 is the question, how labour museums can find and redefine their position in a changing social, political and economic environment. There are plenty of interesting subthemes as well:
- New ways of communications with visitors
- Educational Programs for schools and other target groups
- Cooperations between labour museums and other institutions
- Women history in labour museums
- Work and identity
- Dying industries and society

If you want to participate with your own paper, please send an one-page abstract and one page cv included to udo.wiesinger (at) or send it by fax (0043 7252 77 351 11) or via regular mail, postmarked to following address: Museum Arbeitswelt Steyr // Wehrgrabengasse 7 // 4400 Steyr, Austria.

Please follow the official conference website at:

WORKLAB Meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

WORKLAB Meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site

Friday 12th July 2013 (15-17 PM)

Meeting of the European Network of Labour Museums
Room: G F Williams Room, Institute building

WORKLAB – International Association of Labour Museums invites you to the WORKLAB afternoon meeting at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site (UK) 12 July 2013. The meeting will be organised during international conference called Rust, Regeneration and Romance: Iron and Steel Landscapes and Cultures.

The meeting is open for all Worklab members and everyone else interested in our network. WORKLAB – The International Association of Labour Museums was founded in 1997 and today we have 40 member museums from four continents. Worklab is a network for co-operation, common projects, sharing knowledge, learning and admirable friendship. Our latest EU project, "Work with sounds", will start this autumn.

Ironbridge meeting is intended to be informal meeting for Worklab museums. It is a great possibility to meet colleagues and share ideas of current situations in labour museums globally. We ask all participating museums beforehand to plan potential projects and exhibition ideas.


Agenda for the Meeting (12th July, 15.00-17.00)

  1. Welcome, Chair of Worklab Kalle Kallio
  2. Labour museums today. Introduction of participants and latest news from different museums (no time for powerpoint-presentations)
  3. Current news of Worklab: Labour and Landscape special issue (International Journal of Heritage Studies) out this summer, Work with Sounds EU project, updated Website, Facebook.
  4. Discussion of further activities. All participants are welcome to make suggestions of future projects, exhibitions and initiatives!
  5. Conferences in 2014 and 2015.
  6. Closing the meeting


The meeting is organised as a part of Rust, Regeneration and Romance conference. All information concerning the whole conference can be found at the conference website.


Rust, Regeneration and Romance: Iron and Steel Landscapes and Cultures

International Conference Announcement and Call for Papers

Ironbridge International Institute for Cultural Heritage, University of Birmingham and The Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust

Rust, Regeneration and Romance: Iron and Steel Landscapes and Cultures
10-14 July 2013, Ironbridge, UK

For centuries iron and steel have been the fundamental building blocks of modernity. These metals and the technologies, societies and cultures surrounding them have revolutionised the lives of billions of people. From the earliest functional usage of iron in domestic life, to decorative cast iron, from weapons to knives and forks and from the use of high tensile steels in buildings around the world to the stainless steels of space exploration, the transformative power of iron and steel is undeniable. This capacity to transform extends to the landscapes and cultures which have themselves been transformed through the mining, production, processing and consumption of iron and steel. As China and India race to modernise their economies with imported iron and steel, many cities across Europe and North America are still struggling with the decline in production and manufacture. In many parts of Europe former centres of iron and steel production have undergone regeneration and now form part of the tourism economy. Rust has gained currency as part of industrial heritage. Still, in many parts of the developing world, ideas of heritage lie very much in the future, as communities continue to work in the mining of iron ore and the production and fabrication of steel.

This conference seeks to engage in an open multi-disciplinary analysis of iron and steel landscapes and cultures, from the ancient to the modern. It looks toward the legacies of both production and consumption and how these metals have influenced all aspects of social life. We wish to explore the relationships that communities, regions, nations share with iron and steel through its functional use, creative and artistic use and its symbolic use. Indicative questions the conference will address are: How are economies and societies transformed by the extraction and processing of iron? How does the environmental impact and legacy of iron and steel sites shape social and political life? How do governments and communities deal with both the expansion and decline of the iron and steel industries? What are the forms and formats of regeneration for iron and steel landscapes and communities? To what extent are global communities connected through iron and steel, economically and culturally? How have the landscapes and cultures of iron and steel found expression through various art forms? How are these landscapes managed and understood?

The conference welcomes academics from the widest range of disciplines and wishes to act as a forum for exchange between the sciences, social sciences and the humanities. The conference will draw from anthropology, archaeology, art history, architecture, engineering, ethnology, heritage studies, history, geography, landscape studies, linguistics, metallurgy, museum studies, sociology, tourism studies etc. The conference will take place at the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

Indicative themes of interest to the conference include:

  • Understanding iron and steel landscapes - historic and contemporary perspectives
  • Human - technology relationships
  • Challenges in the presentation and interpretation of iron and steel heritage
  • Touring and tourism in iron and steel landscapes
  • Histories and ethnographies of iron and steel communities - labour relations and working environments
  • Architectural tropes surrounding mining and fabrication
  • Representations of iron and steel cultures in the 'popular' media
  • The 'cultural industries' (arts, sport, tourism, etc.) in the regeneration of iron and steel communities
  • Languages of steel cities - dialects and territories
  • Symbolic economies of iron and steel - iconography, art and design

Abstracts of 300 words with a clear title should be sent as soon as possible but no later than January 31st 2013 to
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please be sure to include your full contact details.
Information will be updated on the website

Worklab on Facebook


WORKLAB is now on Facebook. Facebook page was founded primarily for communication between museums and their staff. Worklab members can use the site to inform about their exhibitions, events, news and everything related to the labour heritage. The page can be a good tool to network and foster friendship! The settings for the page are liberal and everyone can post there. Check it out, like the page, post and use it!

Worklab on your smartphone

The Worlab site has been updated. Now you can access the site with your smartphone, tablet etc.

Just scan  or download the following QR-code and you're done:


The site looks like this on your mobile device:
Samsung S3

Minutes - Manchester Meeting 2012

Minutes of Worklab meeting, 18-19 June 2012, People’s History Museum, Manchester, UK

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