Angela Failler awarded Canada Research Chair

The Government of Canada has announced a major investment in research excellence at The University of Winnipeg, with Dr. Angela Failler’s appointment as a new Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Culture and Public Memory — an award valued at $500,000 over five years. Failler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies.

Failler’s CRC research will focus on how practices of culture and public memory are used to grapple with the difficult knowledge of historical traumas and their after-effects. She is specifically interested in the potential for these practices to advance reconciliation, redress, and decolonized forms of relating.

Failler’s research pays particular attention to memorials, museums, commemorative artworks, community-based practices of remembrance, and government sponsored memory projects. She uses collaborative approaches: combining the expertise of scholars, educators, artists, and curators to develop cultural studies in public.

For more information. check out the news release on the University of Winnipeg’s website!

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Dr. Monica Patterson featured in Institute of African Studies Newsletter

The Thinking through the Museum team congratulates team member Dr. Monica Patterson for being featured in the Institute of African Studies’ newsletter. Interviewed by African Studies graduate student Kristine Harwood in a piece titled “Monica Patterson: Curating a new methodology in African Studies,” Patterson makes clear she “seeks to create a new and hybrid methodology, one that works towards reinserting historical materials into communities, questions the colonial legacies of knowledge production about ‘Africa’, and creates space for the histories and memories of marginalized groups” (4).

screen-shot-2016-11-01-at-12-22-24-pmTo read the full feature, click here to download the newsletter.

 

 

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SakKijÂjuk Exhibition featured with 20th biennial Inuit Studies Conference

Dr. Heather Igloliorte (photo credit: Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Dr. Heather Igloliorte (photo credit: Memorial University of Newfoundland)

Thinking through the Museum team member Dr. Heather Igloliorte’s curated exhibit, SakKijâjuk: Art and Craft from Nunatsiavut, has been featured in an interview style by the Memorial University of Newfoundland in anticipation of its grand opening in St. John’s, Newfoundland in October 2017. The exhibit, opening at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, will also coincide with the 20th biennial Inuit Studies Conference.

For more information, please see the original feature on the conference website here.

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Review: Curatorial Dreams

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 12.07.25 PMThinking through the Museum team member Erica Lehrer’s recently co-edited collection (with Shelley Ruth Butler), Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions, has been reviewed by Robert Fulford of the National Post. The review, titled “‘Every Exhibition is an Argument’: Scholars Envision Dream Exhibitions that May One Day Exist,” describes the collection as “ground-breaking.”

The review can be accessed here.

In lieu of an abstract, here is an excerpt:

Across the world this is the golden age of museums. Other cultural institutions come and go but the popularity of museums never stops growing. Every city in the world wants one, and if it has one already it wants to make it better by enlarging it and bringing the architecture up to date.

The exhibitions that fill museums are another matter. Patrons often find them disappointing. They are judged old-fashioned, or too trendy. Or they are not “world class.” They tell us too much, or too little, about their subjects.

These are among the reasons to welcome a ground-breaking book, Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine Exhibitions (McGill-Queen’s University Press), edited by Shelley Ruth Butler, a cultural anthropologist at McGill, and Erica Lehrer, in the sociology-anthropology department at Concordia.

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Review: The Idea of a Human Rights Museum

busby coverMarjorie Schwarzer has recently published a positive review of Karen Busby, Adam Muller, and Andrew Woolford’s The Idea of a Human Rights Museum, which includes a chapter co-written by Thinking through the Museum‘s Project Director Angela Failler with the late Roger I. Simon. The review, published in Museum Management and Curatorship, can be accessed here.

In lieu of an abstract, here is an excerpt from the review:

A museum might facilitate dialogue, but can it be an appropriate place to inspire action on behalf of human rights? This book’s answer is inconclusive. Christopher Powell delineates what he sees as the hard truth: the fight for human rights is a continual struggle. He posits that CMHR’s narrative is ‘top down’, reflecting ‘the interests of the sovereign and … social elites’ who founded and funded it (p. 138). ‘Top down’ implies that abuses against humanity are aber- rant occurrences that can be transcended through enlightened institutions. Powell advocates a ‘bottom up’ approach that emphasizes a commitment to constant questioning and subversion of the larger system. Perhaps, Powell notes on page 141, an ongoing external critique of CMHR, such as the one presented in this valuable book, can allow the museum to become ‘a vehicle for the propagation of human rights, despite itself’.

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ACHS 2016: Thinking through the Museum Roundtable

ACHS Thinking through the Museum panel members.

ACHS Thinking through the Museum panel members. (L to R: Jennifer Robinson, Heather Igloliorte, Monica Patterson, Angela Failler, Erica Lehrer, Shelley Butler)

On Tuesday, June 7, 2016, Thinking through the Museum research team members Angela Failler, Heather Igloliorte, Erica Lehrer, and Monica Patterson were joined by colleagues Shelley Ruth Butler and Jennifer C. Robinson for a roundtable discussion at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference in Montreal, Québec, Canada.

The discussion focused on the conference’s theme and asked the question: what might the heritage of difficult knowledge change, if productively curated? Participants discussed topics including (but not limited to): slow museology and conflict; game methodologies to address victim competition; children and difficult knowledge; counter-museums and social justice, failed politics of recognition, museum leadership and structure, and indigenous curatorial practice and settler colonialism.

While the Canadian Museum of Human Rights was a central focus, particularly in relation to the Partnership Development Grant from SSHRC, participants also drew on their broad field of engagement, including museums in Poland, South Africa, northern Canada, the United States, and Germany.

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Curatorial Dreams book published

Curatorial Dreams book cover (credit: McGill-Queen's University Press)

Curatorial Dreams book cover (credit: McGill-Queen’s University Press)

The Thinking through the Museum team congratulates Dr. Shelley Ruth Butler and Dr. Erica Lehrer for their recently published edited collection, Curatorial Dreams: Critics Imagine ExhibitionsThe collection officially launched, with more than 25 people in attendance, at the ACHS conference (Concordia University) on June 6, 2016 in Montreal, Québec.

This collection, which features chapters from team members Erica Lehrer and Monica Patterson, challenges museum critics to propose exhibitions inspired by their research and critical concerns to creatively put theory into practice.

What if museum critics were challenged to envision their own exhibitions?

Click here for an overview of the collection from the publisher's website...

 

In Curatorial Dreams, fourteen authors from disciplines throughout the social sciences and humanities propose exhibitions inspired by their research and critical concerns to creatively put theory into practice.

Pushing the boundaries of museology, this collection gives rare insight into the process of conceptualizing exhibitions. The contributors offer concrete, innovative projects, each designed for a specific setting in which to translate critical academic theory about society, culture, and history into accessible imagined exhibitions. Spanning Australia, Barbados, Canada, Chile, the Netherlands, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States, the exhibitions are staged in museums, scientific institutions, art galleries, and everyday sites. Essays explore political and practical constraints, imaginative freedom, and experiment with critical, participatory, and socially relevant exhibition design.

While the deconstructive critique of museums remains relevant, Curatorial Dreams charts new ground, proposing unique modes of engagement that enrich public scholarship and dialogue.

 

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Dr. Heather Igloliorte wins EVA Critical Eye Award

Heather Igloliorte

Heather Igloliorte accepts the Critical Eye award at the Excellence in Visual Arts Awards ceremony. (photo credit: © Keith Gosse/The Telegram)

Congratulations to research team member Dr. Heather Igloliorte who, on May 13, 2016, was awarded the Excellence in Visual Arts (EVA) Critical Eye Award at the 11th Annual EVA Awards in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The award, presented by Visual Artists Newfoundland & Labrador (VANL-CARFAC), recognizes the impact that critical art writing can have on a visual artists’ career. Any writer worldwide who has written about a NL artist in any recognized print or online publication during the past calendar year is eligible for consideration.

For more information on the awards, check out VANL-CARFAC’s website.

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Dr. Erica Lehrer awarded Insight Grant

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (photo credit: W. Kryński)

POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews (photo credit: W. Kryński)

Canadian Museum for Human Rights (photo credit: CMHR - MCDP flickr)

Canadian Museum for Human Rights (photo credit: CMHR – MCDP flickr)

Dr. Erica Lehrer has been awarded a SSHRC Insight Grant valued at $133,268 for a 4-year comparative project focusing on Poland and Canada entitled “Difficult Heritage in National Museums.” As Lehrer describes the project:

Major museums worldwide are increasingly billed as sites of human rights and democratic spaces of introspection and critical thinking. But given museums’ origins as organs of the state, questions simultaneously arise regarding how museums can best do the difficult work of opening public discussions around painful, contested histories that may implicate the very nations they represent. The proposed project probes the ability of two major new national museums in Canada and Poland, countries that have both recently begun grappling with their difficult histories in public, to meet their own stated mandates for social justice. It does so by seeking creative ways to operationalize postcolonial discourses of “critical museology” filtering into establishment museums by new cohorts of activist curators.

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Dr. Nadine Blumer & Dr. Erica Lehrer win Connection Grant

Moving Memory Group Shot

L to R: Nadine Blumer, Hourig Attarian, and Anique Vered. (photo credit: CEREV website)

The Thinking through the Museum team would like to congratulate co-applicants Dr. Nadine Blumer, a research collaborator on the Thinking through the Museum project, and Dr. Erica Lehrer for being awarded a SSHRC Connection Grant (2015-2016). It will support the research creation project, “Moving Memory: Difficult Histories in Dialogue,” curated by Dr. Nadine Blumer in collaboration with Dr. Hourig Attarian and artist-researcher Anique Vered.

“Moving Memory” is a collaborative multi-sited research exhibition about the Armenian and Roma genocides that proposes creative solutions to museological and scholarly conflicts around commemoration. The exhibit, a mix of performance and interactive digital media installations, will take place in CaPSL (the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab) as well as opening up into a live conversational happening in the foyer of Concordia’s EV building. By literally moving memory, this project interlinks physical, discursive, and digital spaces of representation, catalyzing the movement of ideas and historical narratives locally and transnationally, and prompting audiences to think through histories of violence in relation to, rather than in opposition to one another. The exhibit launches on June 6th, 2016 as part of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference being hosted by Concordia University and UQAM

**reposted, with permission, from the CEREV website**

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