Network Activities and Initiatives
The network facilitates meetings, seminars and conferences about different themes on the field of manorial and country house studies.
The network produces applications for larger-scale activities such as common research and education projects, heritage projects, public initiatives and other common interests of the network.
The members of the network share updates on network activities and news. To join the mailing list or suggest updates of interest to network members please contact The Danish Research Centre for Manorial Studies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is also possible to follow the network on Facebook.
May 20th 2019 the first ENCOUNTER publication entitled ‘Estate Landscapes in Northern Europe’ was published. The edited volume is divided into 9 chapters covering the estate landscape characteristics across the Northern European region. The volume contains contributions from six different countries and is the first book by the European Network for Country House and Estate Research (ENCOUNTER). Researchers from The Danish Centre for Manor House Research have edited the book in collaboration with the University of York.
Upcoming ENCOUNTER conferences and seminars:
Nordic Symposium on Manors and Manor Museums in association with ENCOUNTER
Oslo, September 21-23, 2023
MANOR, COUNTRY HOUSE AND HISTORIC HOUSE MUSEUMS AND NEW MUSEUM IDEALS
In 2022, ICOM – the international museum organisation – added four noteworthy new concepts to its definition of what a museum is to reflect new directions in political ideology and cultural policy: inclusion, diversity, sustainability and community participation.
The new definition has also created much debate amongst curators and academics connected to manor museums, country houses and historic houses, which face an urgent need to discuss the consequences of the new definition within fields such as preservation, management, research and outreach. Are new or revised museum priorities necessary – and at what cost?
This joint conference brings together the Nordic symposium on manors and manor museums and ENCOUNTER to focus on issues related to this shift in museum ideals in the context of manors, country houses and historic houses.
Download Call for Papers here: CfP Oslo 2023
Previous meetings and seminars
The 6th ENCOUNTER Conference
The role of the manors and estates changed throughout Europe when states with strong feudal roots were transformed into modern welfare states, particularly in the last two hundred years. The period has been characterised by liberal legislation, land reforms, reduced incomes in agriculture, the retreat of the landowning elite, strong industrialization and urbanization, as well as major political upheavals. In Western Europe, marked by a democratic breakthrough, the mansions went from being the private powerhouse of the elite to beginning to be perceived as a common cultural heritage with high aesthetic values, which could be put in the service of popular education. In Eastern Europe’s totalitarian states, land reforms were instead carried out with the dissolution of the estates, which once and for all broke the old nobility’s position of power.
Download the conference programme here: Program ENCOUNTER
Servants in the eighteenth-century European country house, Online seminar 28. October 2021
Convener: Kristine Dyrmann (The Danish Research Centre for Manorial Studies)
The large country house ran on servants, from labourers and outdoor workers to the governesses, housekeepers and stewards of the main building. From scrubbing floors and cooking food to raising children, domestic service was an integral part of the eighteenth-century country house, yet the experiences and daily lives of servants remain elusive to the historian. Household accounts reveal their existence and numerous tasks, as do bills, letters and reports. The “servant problem” of recruiting staff fills the letters from masters and stewards. Taken together, these records speak volumes about the presence of servants and of their central, though often invisible, roles in running an eighteenth-century country house.
Hunting and the Country House, Interdisciplinary Online Research Seminar, 19. oct., 2. nov, 16. nov., 30. nov. and 14. dec.
Convener: Daniel Menning (University of Tübingen)
Hunting is an activity intimately connected to life in country houses across Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day. It is also closely related to noble lifestyles over the centuries. Yet, the continuous existence of this activity might easily lead us to overlook the many meanings, changes and transformations that occurred as well as the different people that participated in hunting or whose livelihoods were implicated by it.
The Netherlands 2019
Amsterdam. October 2nd 2019. “The Country House and the City.”
The Castles and country houses are generally portrayed as quintessentially rural; their intimate relationship with towns and cities is often overlooked. This symposium payed attention to the many ways in which castles and country houses are intrinsically linked with cities and city life. The relationship between the country house and the city is evident in the seasonal changes of life in cities and country houses, in the flow of people and objects travelling between the city home and the country houses, in agricultural goods transported from the country estates to the city, in early modern nobles and regents emulating archaic ideals about country life, and in country houses turned into city parks. The Netherlands as an early centre of urbanism served as one, but not the only, case study at the conference.
Europa Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), was hosting the 4th ENCOUNTER conference “Managing Manorial Heritage”. The conference was opened by Minister of Culture and Science of the Federal County Brandenburg Martina Münch in the beautiful Senatssaal at the university. There was a lot of interesting papers followed by great, exciting and passionate discussions under the theme “How can we save the manors, country houses and cultural heritage of Europe?”. On the last day theory and practice was combined by visiting some of the country houses of Brandenburg. The conference was covered in many German media such as Süddeutsche Zeitung, Berliner Zeitung and RTL/Germany. See the feature (with ENCOUNTER’s Paul Zalewski) on Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg here: ardmediathek.de
The third ENCOUNTER workshop was held in Trondheim, Norway, May 3rd-4th 2018 with the theme “Castles, Manors and Religion”. Erkebispegården in Trondheim was the beautiful venue and professor Alexandra Walsham, Cambridge University, and Dr. Henrik von Achen, University of Bergen, was the two keynote speakers. Professor Walsham gave a talk on “Holy Households: Religion, Space and Material Culture in Post-Reformation England” and Dr. von Achen gave a talk on “Changing a visual culture. Practices and practicalities in the centenary following the Reformation in Norway 1537”.
From September 21st to 23rd 2017 The Danish Research Centre for Manorial Studies hosted the conference A Manorial World arranged by the network as part of the Aarhus European Capital of Culture celebrations. The conference brought together more than 60 curators, academics, architects and heritage professionals with the aim of expanding and clarifying the notion of manors and country houses as European cultural heritage and presented some of the most distinguished experts from seven European countries in the Great Hall at Gammel Estrup – itself a unique manor house with local, national and international significance. Download programme and conference brochure (pdf) The Danish Minister for Culture opened the conference. Download speech (pdf).
The second ENCOUNTER workshop was successfully completed after two days of interesting presentations and discussions about the Nordic Country House at King’s Manor in York on the 20th and 21th September 2016.
The workshop was hosted by the University of York and brought together academics and curators from across Northern Europe to discuss the changing role of the country house in the cultural and economic networks between Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic States from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.
One of the themes discussed was the physical, social and ideological landscape of the country houses in different national, regional and historical contexts. A second theme presented a number of interesting examples from museums and heritage projects concerning restoration of landscapes, buildings and interiors and the dissemination of the life in the country houses. Last but not least the workshop also themed the economic and organizational challenges for the country houses and the cultural heritage today.
The workshop gave an inspiring input for the participants and the ENCOUNTER network members for the further work with research, conservation and dissemination of the Northern European Country House
From 6th to 7th October 2015 Gammel Estrup – the Manor Museum hosted the international conference ‘European Encounters. Estates and Landscapes’. The central theme of the conference was the estate and the manorial landscape. The conference examined the physical, social and symbolic interaction of the house, gardens and estate lands in a historical perspective. It explored similarities and differences in regions across Europe and discussed how estate landscapes are preserved and interpreted as cultural heritage today. Crossing traditional boundaries between history, archaeology, art history, architecture and heritage management, the conference programme presented acclaimed scholars and participants from a number of European countries. Conference Report & Conference Programme.
The group of 40 participants welcomed the opportunity to learn about and compare estate landscapes from different parts of Europe, and to share the common interest in houses, estates and landscapes. The conference concluded with the formation of ‘ENCOUNTER: European Network for Country House and Estate Research’ among the conference participants.