African Diaspora Arts and Scholar-Activism at the 6th Biennial Network Conference on Black Cultures and Identities in Europe (University of Tampere, Finland, July 2017)

On 6th July 2017 more than 200 delegates from 20 countries gathered in the city of Tampere, Finland, to participate in the 6th Biennial ‘Afroeuropeans’ Network Conference on Black Cultures and Identities in Europe – convened and hosted by the Academy of Finland Research Fellow Dr Anna Rastas (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tampere), working in partnership with a team of scholars, artists and administrators from Aalto University, Sibelius Academy, the University of Tampere and the University of Helsinki.

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Delegates at the 6th Afroeuropeans Network Conference, Linna Building, University of Tampere, Finland. 6 July 2017. Photo: Carol Dixon.

The  conference took place over three days, specifically scheduled to also coincide with Tampere’s hosting of the FEST AFRIKA 2017 cultural programme of live music, poetry and spoken word performances by solo musicians, dancers, bands, dub poets and other literary and performing arts practitioners from continental Africa and the African and Caribbean diasporas in Europe.

Keynote Address by Professor Paul Gilroy

The conference’s opening keynote address was given by the internationally renowned social scientist, literature scholar and cultural theorist Professor Paul Gilroy (American and English Literature, King’s College, University of London), who gave a wide-ranging presentation about race and racism, inequalities, border politics, the dynamics and impacts of securitisation, and associated activism to stem the problematic rise of ‘securitocracy’ throughout Europe – titled, On the necessity and the impossibility of being a black European [a 2017 re-mix] or the value of anti-racism in the ‘Alt-right’ era.

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Professor Paul Gilroy speaking at the 6th Afroeuropeans Network Conference, University of Tampere, Finland, 6 July 2017. Photo: Carol Dixon.

Through Paul Gilroy’s skillful articulation of what he termed “The Slave Historical Arc” – a tracing of key transitional events, change processes and resistance struggles from the era of transatlantic enslavement through to the contemporary racisms and exclusions imbricated within the political apparatus of our 21st century societies – he was able to explain the emergence of “the impossible condition of being” for black and brown people negotiating the complexities, paradoxes and precarious conditions of our compromised (non-)citizenship in Europe. Continue reading African Diaspora Arts and Scholar-Activism at the 6th Biennial Network Conference on Black Cultures and Identities in Europe (University of Tampere, Finland, July 2017)

Conference Panel: Western Museumscapes and the Political Aesthetics of Decolonisation

Carol Ann 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 programme for the 6th biennial network conference Afroeuropeans: Black Cultures and Identities in Europe, University of Tampere, Finland, 6 – 8 July 2017.

Session title: 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:
Continue reading Conference Panel: Western Museumscapes and the Political Aesthetics of Decolonisation

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).

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

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’.

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