TTTM Research Team speaks at International Conference in Poland

panelists

Panelists for the Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public presentation (Warsaw, Poland; March 13, 2017)

Thinking through the Museum research team members and collaborators closed the momentus “Museums and their Publics at Sites of Conflicted History” international conference in Warsaw, Poland (March 13-15, 2017). The conference explored the role of museums in negotiating new public histories in societies in transition; of special interest was how the historical narratives constructed in museums help to shape new social relations in a dynamically changing present.

Drs. Angela Failler, Heather Igloliorte, Erica Lehrer, and Monica Patterson participated in the conference’s many roundtable and panel discussions, finishing with a panel of their own titled “Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public.” This panel, which also invited collaborators Dr. Shelley Ruth Butler (McGill University), Hanna Radziejowska (Warsaw Uprising Museum, the Dom Spotkan z Historia [“House of Meetings with History”], Museum of the City of Warsaw), Magdalena Zych (Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum), and Aleksandra Janus (Jagiellonian University), asked the questions:

Can museum institutions question cherished collective myths of heroism and tolerance? To what extent can they be self-critical, and how? What progressive social, political, and educational functions can such museums serve? And most interesting for our research: what roles can scholars, activists, artists, and citizens play in holding these institutions to their highest stated mandates, or even expandingthem? This includes not only their content or modes of representation, but the construction of their audiences. Who are audiences imagined (and encouraged) by museum practitioners to be, and what are these visitors allowed and expected to do? 

The presentation is available for viewing on the conference’s website here.

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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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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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