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  • ‘Facts and Building Artefacts: What Travels in Material Objects?’

Valeriani, Simona, 2011, Book Section, ‘Facts and Building Artefacts: What Travels in Material Objects?’ In: How Well Do Facts Travel? Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521159586

Abstract or Description:

This book chapter appeared in a prestigious publication, which was very positively reviewed in journals such as Science (2011), Isis (2012) and Public Understanding of Science (2012). It was the result of a project that was highly commended in the THE ‘Project of the year’ awards.

Facts are often expressed as or associated with verbalised descriptions. But Valeriani’s work reflects on facts – and particularly facts about technology and architecture - transmitted and recorded in material objects. Considering examples from the praxis of archaeologists, historians, conservators and museum curators, Valeriani explores how building elements and material objects can be ‘embodied, multi-layered facts’. She investigates how material objects carry facts over time and space, far from the site of their original production and intended use. Books, drawings, travelling gentlemen, craftsmen and architects have, as she shows, all acted as vehicles for the travelling of technical facts.

Valeriani advances her argument through case studies, which illustrate different patterns of transmission and reveal the openness of different knowledge systems and their ability to allow for innovation. Her work draws on both written sources (including primary sources related to St Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome and St Paul’s Cathedral, London) and material evidence (including that offered by the first ‘archaeological’ analysis of St Paul’s cathedral’s loft spaces during which graffiti from 1705 was found).

Valeriani was invited to present papers on this topic at the History of Science Society Conference (Pittsburgh, 2008), at the Conference of the Koldewey Gesellschaft (Regensburg 2008), at a Leverhulme Workshop at Reading and at the Maison Française d’Oxford (both 2010). A closely-related article in which she develops further the question of how technical knowledge travels was published in 2010 ‘Roger Pratt and the influence of the educational traveler in Britain’ (Akten der 45. Tagung für Ausgrabungswissenschaft und Bauforschung, Dresden, 127-135).

Subjects: Architecture > K900 Others in Architecture
School or Centre: School of Humanities
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2013 17:46
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2014 12:23
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1592

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