Call for Papers: Western Museumscapes and the Political Aesthetics of Decolonisation

Carol Dixon will chair a 90-minute conference session on decolonial scholar-activism by African and Diasporan artists, curators and educators working with collections of ethnography and works of fine art in Western museums. This session forms part of the forthcoming programme for the 6th biennial network conference Afroeuropeans: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe, University of Tampere, Finland, 6 – 8 July 2017.

If you would like to propose a research paper, show a portfolio of work, or suggest an alternative multi-media presentation for consideration, please draft a 250-word abstract in response to the following overview:

Session: Western Museumscapes and the Political Aesthetics of Decolonisation: African and Diasporan Arts Activists Agitating for Change

"Anthropomorphic head" (Benin, c. 14th -16th century), displayed in the Pavillon des Sessions at The Louvre. Photo: Carol Dixon
“Anthropomorphic head” (Benin, c. 14th -16th century), displayed in the Pavillon des Sessions at The Louvre. Photo: Carol Dixon

Overview:
High-profile museums and galleries in the West – such as the British Museum in London, the Pompidou in Paris, and the MoMA in New York – are continuously revising and developing new strategic plans  to ensure that their collections, cultural programmes and exhibiting practices are engaging increasingly diverse global audiences. At the heart of these developments are complex issues about the changing nature of acquisitioning, curation, display and interpretation of artworks and cultural objects described as permanent holdings. The policies and practices implemented by these institutions serve as catalysts for generating and sustaining a rich discourse that invites artists, researchers, curators, archivists, educators, scholar activists and other creative practitioners to question their own roles and responsibilities within such dynamic museumscapes.

In this panel discussion, museologists, art historians, contemporary artists, scholars, educators and cultural  commentators from around the world will come together to discuss these issues with reference to one (or more) of the following questions:
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The inaugural issue of Stedelijk Studies – “Collecting Geographies: Global Programming and Museums of Modern Art”

Please see below a link to the first issue of the new peer-reviewed academic journal Stedelijk Studies, which publishes research related to the Stedelijk Museum collection in Amsterdam, its institutional history, wider museum and gallery studies, and other topical issues in the field of visual arts and design.

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The inaugural issue – titled, “Collecting Geographies: Global Programming and Museums of Modern Art” – features the following articles and commentaries:

  • Collecting Geographies: Editorial –  by Jelle Bouwhuis and Christel Vesters
  • Recalcitrant Geographies: National Claims, Transnationalism, and the Institutionalization of Contemporary Art – by Kitty Zijlmans
  • Peace, the Museum, and Globalization, 1800/2014 – by Todd Porterfield
  • Creating Ancestors and Affinities: A Rhetorical Analysis of African Art in the Story of Modern Art – by Nanna Leigh
  • Revisiting Magiciens de la terre – by Annie Cohen-Solal
  • Between the Global, National, and Peripheral: The Case of Art Museums in Poland – by Karolina Golinowska
  • Curatorial Expeditions: The Ramallah Safari – by  Tina Sherwell
  • Museum Practices and Migrating Modernity: A Perspective from the South – by Celeste Ianniciello and Michaela Quadraro
  • Statues also die, even…Time and Agency of Museum Display – by María Íñigo Clavo

Link to the full-text articles: Stedelijk Studies Journal Issues – Stedelijk Studies.
Continue reading The inaugural issue of Stedelijk Studies – “Collecting Geographies: Global Programming and Museums of Modern Art”

Placing the Museum: Towards Museum Geography (AAG Annual Meeting, Chicago – April 2015)

AAG-Annual-Meeting-2015-PosterAdvance notice and call for papers, re. the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting in Chicago, USA (April 21-25, 2015) 

Geographers are increasingly contributing to understanding the multiple functions museums serve, much like their colleagues in history, anthropology, and museum studies.  In her 2010 article “Museum Geography: Exploring Museums, Collections and Museum Practice in the UK” Hilary Geoghegan writes,

“Museums and collections offer geographers exciting sites and subjects for research and teaching… [and] that it is now time to consider museum geography more closely” (p. 1472).

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Across the Indian Ocean: ‘Imagining a Museum of Intangible Culture’

Professor Françoise Vergès and Dr Shihan de Silva will be speaking at a forthcoming ICS symposium on Wednesday 29th October 2014 (9.30am-6pm) at Senate House (Room 349, 3rd Floor), University of London.

This FREE event – titled, ‘Across the Indian Ocean’ – is being organised by the Race in the Americas (RITA) Group, in partnership with Kavyta K. Raghunandan (University of Leeds, Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies [CERS]) and will focus on an exploration of the “politics of the present” across the Indian Ocean region – re. Mauritius, Seychelles, Réunion Island, Comoros and Madagascar.

In the event programme, the title of Françoise Vergès’ presentation is ‘Imagining a Museum of Intangible Culture in the Indian Ocean’, and Dr Shihan De Silva will address colonial history and its legacies throughout the region in a talk on ‘Difference and Inequalities’.

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Reflections on the legacies of ‘Statues Also Die’ (Présence Africaine, 1953) re. the museums sector in France today

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Earlier this year an article by Tom Devriendt was posted to the online discussion forum Africa is a Country’ to commemorate the life and work of French filmmaker Alain Resnais (1922-2014), who passed away on 1st March  (Devriendt, 2014). The central focus of this piece was to celebrate the achievements of Resnais and his co-director Chris Marker (1921-2012) in creating a ground-breaking film from the early 1950s about  African art and French racism, Statues Also Die [Les statues meurent aussi] (Resnais and Marker, 1953) – commissioned and produced by the Parisian-based publishing house Présence Africaine. What is interesting about the film is the way it features a complex mixture of commentary on French museum practices from the 1950s, the history of French colonialism in Africa, and the public’s changing attitudes in the mid-20th century towards African art – referred to throughout the documentary as ‘black art’.

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Continue reading Reflections on the legacies of ‘Statues Also Die’ (Présence Africaine, 1953) re. the museums sector in France today