As protests and activism around the world call out for art institutions to take an active stance against systemic racism, bias, and structural inequality, our anti-racism event series sets out to explore what reform looks like across a number of art forms. Ahead of the first event in this series which will focus on the visual art sector, we’ve compiled a list of resources relating to the museum sector and decolonisation:
Recommendations for decolonial reading, books on race and post-empire identity.
A content bank for resources on social justice in the museum sector. See here for resources specifically focusing on decolonisation.
‘In his MuseumNext talk, Jérémie Michael McGowan, director of Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum in Tromsø, Norway, explained that indigenous works tended to be in ethnographic museums, not art museums. This distinction helps to perpetuate the idea that these cultures are no longer living and continuing their traditions.’
‘We know very well that art museums are some of the strongest cultural bastions of western colonization. Through very deliberate racist and sexist practices of acquisition, deaccession, exhibition, and art-historical analysis, museums have decisively produced the very state of exclusion that publicly engaged art historians and curators (including myself) are currently working hard to dismantle.’
Culture& has produced a charter calling on the arts and heritage sectors to commit to a number of changes ‘in order to decolonise their relationship with the UK Black community and their workforce, collections and programmes’.
Culture& is an independent arts and education charity working in partnership with arts and heritage institutions and artists to develop programmes that promote diversity in the workforce and expand audiences.
VIDEO & AUDIO DISCUSSIONS
In this conversation, moderated by Cultural Consultant and Independent Curator Monica O. Montgomery, the speakers discuss how external pressure and public discourse can help to hold organisations accountable and advance structural change.
‘Realising that we’re in an intense moment of social upheaval, our silence makes us complicit. Our inaction makes us extinct. The world is watching, and museums, arts and culture, galleries and libraries, and the humanities need to lead the charge, to amplify a civic vision of social change.’ - Monica O. Montgomery, Cultural Consultant + Independent Curator, Museum Hue; Moderator (webinar moderator)
In this discussion, Ariella Azoulay discusses ‘how artists, collectors, critics, and other arts professionals play a role in the continuing dispossession of colonial subjects, most often people of colour, around the world’.
‘Rather than assuming that museums were always there and objects were collected into those museums, what I am trying to show is that the amount of plunder unleashed this process of creation of museums’ Ariella Azoulay
Shaheen Kasmani speaks on her experience co-curating an exhibition, The Past is Now, at Birmingham Museum, particularly focusing on how exhibition text and language is political.
Sara Wajiddiscusses starting Museum Detox, the importance of spaces for ‘impolite’ conversations, and the ‘push and pull’ between the museum and co-curators in the process of producing The Past is Now’s panel text.
Join us on Thursday 24th September at 7PM as we dig deeper into topics such as these through our panel discussion: Post-colonial perspectives: Playing a role in reforming our museums.
The session will question how it is possible for museums to reframe narratives of colonialism, elitism, and racism, and will explore how individuals can play a role in advocating for reform. You'll have the opportunity to hear directly from a diverse panel of speakers from the arts sector as well as, discuss practical examples of how change happens, and ask any questions you may have.