Open Access: Announcing the Inaugural Volume of Proceedings of the Annual Seminar on Glass

Almost every fall for 60 years, The Corning Museum of Glass has hosted its Annual Seminar on Glass. The single exception was in 2020, because of COVID-19. But come 2021, the Annual Seminar on Glass—based on the year’s special exhibition, In Sparkling Company: Glass and the Costs of Social Life in Britain during the 1700s—was back, this 59th time as the Museum’s first-ever online seminar, going fully virtual due to the continuing pandemic. (You can find the recordings of presentations and discussions on the Museum’s YouTube channel.)

The 59th seminar is also the source of another Museum first: the inaugural volume of a new Museum publications series, Annual Seminar on Glass Proceedings. Until now, there was no easily accessible, consistent yearly record of seminar outside the institutional archives and lecture videos in the Rakow Research Library. The Publications and Curatorial departments wanted to create a record of seminar events and discussions readily available for consultation. And we wanted something that could reach a global audience, combining the Museum’s vision of transforming the world’s understanding of the art, history, and science of glass and its pursuit of greater diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The virtual seminar platform in 2021 facilitated the publication project. Before the event, the seminar organizers and participants had prepared written transcripts of presentations, so these were on deck for Publications to edit and collect into a volume. In Sparkling Company: Glass the 18th-Century Atlantic World, edited by Dr. Christopher L. Maxwell, includes ten papers, grouped into the three panels from Day Two of the seminar and accompanied by commentary from the panel moderators. The volume also has an introduction by the seminar organizer and special-exhibition curator, Dr. Maxwell, and a preface by the director of collections and curatorial affairs at the time, Carole Ann Fabian. Each article has a bibliography to inspire further reading, and the 132-page volume is illustrated with 74 intriguing images.

In the papers, glass and ideas move across and around the Atlantic World—Central, South, and North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe—and even beyond to Asia. The authors use glass as the focal point for exploring women in industry, philosophical movements and science, slavery, race, and social conflict and change.

Annual Seminar on Glass Proceedings was launched in early November and is now accessible via the Publications Department webpage to anyone around the world with an internet connection. In the interest of encouraging the open sharing of information, the series is not only accessible to the public online but also is Open Access, published under a Creative Commons NonCommerical-Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license that allows—and encourages—sharing of the contents.

Whether you attended the 59th seminar or wish you had, please take a look at In Sparkling Company: Glass and the 18th-Century Atlantic World. And go ahead, share the volume and help us at the Museum to inspire people to see glass in a new light.

Keep an eye out later in 2023 for the next volume recording the 60th Annual Seminar on Glass.

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