ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
WITH THANKS TO. Contributors:
Illustrations & Photography:
Phase 4 Shades of Noir Team
Cover image by Charmaine Watkiss.
Raymond Antrobus Ian Barrington Rayvenn D’Clark Othello De’Souza-Hartley Ayesha Fuentes Minhee Kim Clair Le Couteur Samip Mallick on behalf of SAADA Michael McMillan Adil Mian Basil Olton Audrey Samson Valerie St. Pierre Charmaine Watkiss Julie Wright
INFO: W: shadesofnoir.org.uk E: email@example.com Tw: @shadesofnoir Fb: shadesofnoir
A Note From The Lead
Expanding The Conversation
Further Resources Key terms, Further Reading, Digital Resources
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Content Disclaimer. Please note that some of the words in the Key Terms section of this ToR are considered highly offensive to People of Colour but we have included them to support difficult discussions around the subject of Race in higher education.
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From South Africa to the United States, conflict around heritage preservation has been at the forefront of global consciousness as ongoing controversies over the presence of monuments to oppressive powers are challenged. The vandalism, violence and protests manifesting as a result of this reify the social importance of collective memory, the care of which is often entrusted to cultural and heritage institutions. ‘Heritage is a powerful tool. It can inculcate a sense of belonging. It can be used to include or exclude, to give accurate or false impressions. It can also be used … to deny, cover up and sanitise the personal and community histories of a sector of … society (Agyeman, 1993).’ Many institutions within the heritage sector have historically served a small fraction of its public, and have consequently alienated much of the communities to which they are responsible (Cameron, 1971) (Clay, 1994). Denying marginalised communities historical, cultural and social affirmation enforces white supremacist ideology and the colonial origins of museums and other heritage institutions. Such obfuscation invents discontinuities in historic narratives, minimising the contributions of many and inhibiting the education of all (Howe, 1977). However, over the last few decades, efforts have been made by many western institutions to implement programming to reach previously excluded communities. This shift has raised questions of ownership, access, and interpretation of cultural narratives (Simpson, 2001). Who has the privilege to tell the stories of marginalised groups? How can institutions born from colonial ideology serve communities they have traditionally exploited? This Terms of Reference will discuss the social, political, and educational impact of public cultural presence and the power of heritage institutions. How do cultural workers and educators work as memory keepers? What are their ethical duties in preserving voices vulnerable to erasure?
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A NOTE FROM THE LEAD.
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I didn’t read James Baldwin until the age of 24. Actually, I didn’t read Another Country, but downloaded the 15+ hour audio book from the New Orleans Public Library; and in the subsequent 15+ business hours, I wept to every imagined voice. The voices of Rufus and Ida and Cass, carried by the throaty vessel of narrator Dion Graham and born from Baldwin’s beautiful mind. Never had I read (heard) truer fiction. Never had I heard a truer American story. There was such violence and there is such violence in American history, and how this is represented- if it is represented is absolutely barren of the tenderness and nuance that Baldwin reveals. At its greatest, the text is an exercise in compassion. I cannot recall considering a single cultural artefact or historic account throughout my 21 years of American education as a living or human thing. Slavery happened and it is over. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saved us all and now we enjoy a post-racial existence. Historic narratives are narrow and linear, they are finely curated and they are dead. By reading Another Country, I came to the realisation that to be a student in the US education system is to be complicit in white exceptionalism, and consequently, white supremacy. Identifying (or being identified) as anything outside of the dominate narrative is to live a peripheral if not invisible existence without context or presence. It is life as an elective course or a black history month exhibition. It is how one can ‘complete’ an American higher education without having heard of James Baldwin. Reading Another Country was a reckoning with my historic position and my present one at once. I had lived and was living in Another Country, at least another reality: divorced from my history and without control of my narrative. This problem reaches far beyond my personal Black American experience, and further, beyond the deficit of representation in classroom curricula, in museum display cases or on gallery walls. Globally, the power of white hegemonic structures in education, heritage and culture-making lean heavily on memory and imagination. This is done by the discontinuation of histories of the oppressed and resistance to visualising their futures. This Terms of Reference seeks out subversions to this power structure with the recognition that for as long as such strategies have been exacted by those in power, there have been individual and community-lead efforts to undermine them. Such effort has been seen in the creation of participatory archives like the South Asian American Digital Archive or practices that centre around the lives and histories of groups who have been excluded from cultural conversation such as Michael McMillan’s fond memories of his mother’s cooking in ‘Becoming Black British: the front room, dutch pot and the speaker box’, or Minhee Kim’s memorialisation of the traumas of ‘Comfort Women’ in WWII. ‘Ethics, hierarchy and imperialism: preserving voices vulnerable to erasure’ is a meditation on the ‘how’, ‘who’ and ‘why’ of memory to better understand its impact on present perceptions and future imaginings of historically marginalised groups. Its contributors examine and challenge the approach, process, and potential of memory work ranging from education and heritage to art and cultural production and consumption. By challenging ‘official narratives’ and who controls them, we are encouraged to recognise the dynamic function of history in our present lives, to appreciate the multiplicity of the experience of memory and perception and to examine its power to include or alienate. -Tabitha ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 9
1. What are the political, social and psychological impacts of representations in the cultural and heritage sector? 2. How does history shape culture making? 3. How does curatorial practice shape historical narratives? 4. How can creative practice disrupt false narratives? 5. How can art/ design give voice to those underrepresented? 6. How does the structure of the museum and gallery (acquisitions, collection, and maintenance) perpetuate a capitalist value system of heritage? How does this bias collective memory and public thought? 7. How does the presentation of non-western heritage materials in western institutions, impact the life of cultural traditions? Does it have an impact? 8. How have communities and individuals created their own platforms to preserve histories outside of heritage institutions? 9. Do communities who have experienced violence and trauma have a right to forget? 10. Are memory and cultural participation a human right? 11. How can the power of stewards of cultural heritage be shared to collect and showcase a less sterile account of history and a more accurate reflection of the populations the institutions serve? 12. How might disrupting traditional hierarchies of power (with curators and collectors at the top) in cultural institutions affect exhibitions and programming? How else can this power be distributed, and what might the effects be?
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Shades of Noir has been pleased to invite Jessica Crilly to peer review this Terms of Reference. Jess Crilly is Associate Director for Content and Discovery, Library Services, UAL, and in this role is responsible for overseeing the development and management of library and archival collections. Jess completed a UAL RAS2 (Retain-AchieveSucceed) study in 2016, Library Collections and Diversity: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? Jessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interest include the role of academic libraries in debates around decolonising the curriculum, the multiple contexts and uses of archives, and other areas of collection management including digital preservation and open access.
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A NOTE FROM JESSICA CRILLY. I was very pleased to be asked to contribute to this Terms of Reference publication on Ethics: Hierarchy and Imperialism: Preserving Voices Vulnerable to Erasure. My experience in this area is mainly as a librarian, so gained through thinking about the ethical considerations of managing library and archival collections. However, the issues raised in this ToR, of the ownership and presentation of cultural heritage, and issues of identity and narrative cut across all the institutions engaged in knowledge construction and memory work - museums, galleries, libraries and archives. I have recently explored these issues, through a RAS2 Research Programme that critically examined the diversity of our library and archive collections at UAL, and the role these collections play in the work to develop a more inclusive curriculum and learning environment for all our students. In reality that process of learning, and reflecting, is never finished, and just continues……and this Terms of Reference has been part of that process of learning. Reading through the essays, reflections and creative responses that make up this ToR prompted some reflection on the way that archives in their various forms, official, independent or personal, are a part of this territory of preserving voices vulnerable to erasure, as sites that act to construct or reinforce narratives, or allow the discovery of new and different narratives. Stories and narratives are central to national identity, as Stuart Hall explains: Just as individuals and families construct their identities through ‘storying’ … so nations construct identities by selectively binding their chosen high points and memorable achievements into an unfolding national story (Hall in Littler and Naidoo,2005: 26) This social memory however also ‘foreshortens, silences, disavows, forgets and elides…’ particularly uncomfortable memories, and marginalised voices. So my first reflection was on the role of official archives, such as The National Archives, the official archive of the UK government, and how those official records can be used to construct new narratives and tell previously untold stories that complicate, challenge and enrich existing narratives of national heritage. Perhaps this is one of the ways that archival research can disrupt those’ finely curated and dead narratives’ that Tabitha Austin refers to at the beginning of this ToR: Slavery happened and it is over. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saved us all and now we enjoy a post-racial existence. Historic narratives are narrow and linear, they are finely curated and they are dead. The premise of the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project, (Hall, 2014) is that the British national story has focussed unduly on the heroic act of abolition rather than on the transatlantic slave trade itself, and the cultural, political and economic impacts of the financial compensation that was given to UK based slave owners following emancipation in 1833. 12 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
On emancipation slave owners were compensated for the loss of their legal property. A total of 47,000 claims for compensation were made, and 3000 of these were from slave owners in the UK. A total of £20 million was given in compensation, and much of this to these UK “absentee” slave owners. The project researched the identities of the compensated slave owners, and the impact of this compensation as this influx of money was reinvested in the economic, industrial and cultural life of Great Britain, for example in property, art and artefacts, philanthropy, banking, railways and new colonial ventures. The outcomes of the project includes a database which has digitised all the awards in the slave-compensation records of the 1830s with more detailed entries for the absentee slave owners living in Britain. What interested me particularly was the use of public records, kept in The National Archives, notably T71: Office of Registry of Colonial Slaves and Slave Compensation record Commission: Records, in addition to many other public and private archival sources. This use of archives as primary sources is part of the disciplinary methodology of historians, but there is something exceptional here, the construction of a new narrative based on existing archival evidence. Hall explains that because the research was funded it allowed a team of researchers to take a systematic approach to archival research, including digitising content, rather than a more limited case study approach that had happened previously, and therefore allowed researchers to see the bigger pictures of the impact of the financial compensation, and its role in the foundation of Victorian, and ultimately modern Britain: We do not maintain that the slave-owners created modern Britain but we do not think the making of Victorian Britain can be understood without reference to the slave owners. This volume is our attempt to accelerate the (re)writing of slave ownership back into British history. (Hall, 2014:26) This research epitomises the importance of historical official records, as sources for research in multiple contexts, and productive of multiple narratives. Stuart Hall notes the principle of the unknown future uses and interpretations of archives, writing in 2001 about the establishment of a very different archive (African and Asian Visual Artists’ Archive): An archive may be largely about the past but is always re-read in the light of the present and the future…Thus is it extremely important that archives are committed to inclusiveness, since it is impossible to foretell what future practitioners, critics and historians will want to make of it. (Hall, 2001: 92) However archives also contain silences and omissions, records are deliberately or accidentally lost, are undiscovered or undiscoverable, and searched for records may not exist. The flip side of increased access through digitisation is a partial and selected collection of material made available for scholarship, and the limitations of searching. So archives can be places of silences, (Manoff 2016) omissions and exclusions as well as discovery and the construction of new narratives. Clair Le Couteur discusses the impacts ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 13
of missing official archives, the case of the “migrated archives” that included records relating to Kenya and the Mau Mau insurgency. These records were eventually tracked down, but other records are subject to erasure. As British dependent territories achieved independence, decisions had to be made ‘about which papers to destroy, which to leave for successor administrations and which to ship back to the UK’ (Carey report, 2011) Official archives have been criticised for containing the records of “the great and good”, rather than describing or reflecting ordinary lives, and perhaps this sometimes reflects their administrative functions, where individuals may appear in the context of interaction with the state, for example with the justice system; this is one of the factors that has led to the huge growth of community, or independent archives, that are constructing a more democratised and inclusive history. There is debate around terminology of these archives, but I will use the term independent. There are various definitions of independent archive but I take Flinn’s definition as ‘the active participation of a community in documenting and making accessible the history of their particular group and/or locality on their own terms’’ (Flinn, 2009 :73) Flinn also describes a motivation of independent archives to produce “useful history” Some of these archives producing oppositional histories and acting as sites or spaces of resistance seek to create what might be referred to as “useful history”. This is not history produced by and for disinterested academic research but rather archives and history that are explicitly intended to be used to support the achievement of political objectives and mobilization, as a means of inspiring action and cementing solidarity. Examples of independent archives are numerous, including in the UK, The Black Cultural Archives and the George Padmore Institute and Archive, and The Sheffield Feminist Archive. (Sadler and Cox, 2017) The Black Cultural Archives stress the importance of collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain within the context of rewriting national narratives: The relevance of our history is universal. By supporting BCA, you are helping to embed our stories within the history of Britain, ensuring that our contributions are visible and accessible to everyone. (BCA website, 2018.) The South Asian American Digital Archive is described in this ToR, by co-founder and Executive Director, Samip Mallick, an archive that documents diverse and often overlooked stories, and the ways in which South Asian American stories are an integral part of the American history and cultural life. And archives can be personal, the collected material culture of home, of family history, and aspects of lived experience ‘telling stories about ourselves, with ourselves, for ourselves..’ as described by Dr Michael MacMillan in this 14 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
ToR in â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Becoming Black British: the front room, the dutch pot and the speaker box. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC; So voices vulnerable to erasure are sometimes actively preserved through archives, sometimes captured tangentially and sometimes erased or hidden, and though archives are associated with ideas of truth, and neutrality, any encounter with the archive is always contingent and contextualised. A series of questions is posed at the beginning of this Terms of Reference in relation to cultural heritage in a postcolonial and globalised world, and one of the key questions is around ownership and decision making around collections. This is an important point of reflection as we move to increase the digital preservation of our own collections and make them more widely available for research, and for the unknown narratives that will be explored in the future.
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Total arts and cultural workforce in England by disabilityÂ by percentage. Disabled audiencesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; patterns of arts and cultural engagement are largely dictated by practical factors such as cost, access and transport which, unaddressed, can become barriers. Negative experiences of these practical issues can create a vicious circle which further depresses demand.
Data Source: Consilium Research & Consultancy (2013). Equality and diversity within the arts and cultural sector in England. [online] Manchester: Arts Council England. 16 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
Ethnic background profile of the creative and cultural workforce by number. Between 2008/09 and 2011/12 there has been a small increase in the proportion of the creative and cultural workforce with disabilities. However, disabled employees and disabled-led organisations are currently under-represented in the 2012â&#x20AC;&#x201C;15 Arts Council England National portfolio organisation and Major partner museum portfolio. One of the challenges for arts and cultural sector organisations is to understand that the support needs of people with disabilities in their workforce can vary substantially.
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Proportion of 2012–15 National portfolio organisationMajor partner museum workforce by ethnicity by percentage. “Across the creative and cultural workforce as a whole, 7% of employees in 2011/12 are from BME backgrounds, which compares to 12% of staff and manages across Arts Council England’s 2012-15 national portfolio organisations and major partner museums in 2012/13. Less than one in 10 managers within the 2012-15 national portfolio organisations and major partner museums are from a black and minority ethnic background, pg 31.
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Disability profile of workforce Number. Research suggests that the most common reported barriers to arts and cultural participation among black and minority ethnic people are a lack of time, the cost of attending or participating and concerns about feeling uncomfortable or out of place.
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EXPANDING THE CONVERSATION.
BECOMING BLACK BRITISH: THE FRONT ROOM, THE DUTCH POT AND THE SPEAKER BOX . DR. MICHAEL MCMILLAN ASSOCIATE LECTURER IN CULTURAL & HISTORICAL STUDIES AT LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION, UAL
‘The history of Black settlement in Britain in the post-war years is only just beginning to be written. One of the essential preconditions of such an account is the collection, preservation and interpretation of ‘documents’, public and private, formal and informal, as well as testimonies of those who actually went through the experience in the early days. ‘The past cannot speak, except through its ‘archive’. (Hall 1984:4) George Orwell once said that, ‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.’ In the post colonial globalised world we live with legacies of colonialism, where the histories of the black presence have been erased and/ or hidden. These histories are reproduced by cultural institutions that draw their power from a cultural imperialist knowledge of the racialised ‘Other’, and across the African diaspora the ongoing process of decolonisation involves critically interrogating these regimes of representation.
The past is always viewed through the lens of the present, and the ‘reconstruction work’ advocated by the late eminent cultural theorist, Stuart Hall, is to engage with the archive: in the museum to the photographs of, and or the lived experience of families. This is a process of ‘becoming’ (Hall 1993), and by (re)interpreting the archive materials we discover we are able to go beyond dominant readings by giving voice to ‘what is unsaid, or unsayable’ (Hall 1984:4). Unpacking the archive is intrinsic to my practice as a writer, playwright, artist/curator and academic, such as photographs, audiovisual materials and objects, as well as using oral histories from recorded interviews. In this essay, I would like to share images of, and autoethnographic text pieces that feature in some installation-based exhibitions: The West Indian Front Room (McMillan 200506), I Miss My Mum’s Cooking (McMillan 2012), and Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers (2015-16). This work variously explores the material culture of migrant aesthetics in the
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home, Black diasporic food cultural practices, and sound system culture in the UK. Both my parents came from St Vincent & Grenadines, and me and my siblings were born in the UK. Growing up, the front room was where many Caribbean immigrant families could express their aspirations through its material culture. For me, the aesthetics of the front room were like nails on a blackboard, because I felt it was kitsch, and represented the colonial Victorian values I was rebelling against as a young black person searching for an identity in a racist society. And then I had a moment of epiphany, which as an installationbased exhibition eventually became The West Indian Front Room: Memories and Impressions of Black British Homes (Geffrye Museum 2005-06). It resonated with audiences as a form of ‘call and response’ beyond the African-Caribbean experience, from English working class to many cultural diverse migrant communities, and given this universal impact, subsequent international iterations and related products have simply been referred to as The Front Room. I grew up learning that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’, and no matter how poor we were, if the front room looked good then we were respectable, because there was always the unexpected visitor. This could be the insurance man, salesmen selling the Encyclopedia Britannica, Jehovah Witnesses selling The Watchtower, the Avon Lady, or friends or relatives who my mum and dad would entertain. The front room was my mum’s room, and she dressed it in her own feminine style through the fruits of her labour working two jobs. As children we weren’t usually allowed in the front room unless we had to ‘hoover’, dust and polish it on Saturdays, when we had ‘Saturday Soup’. The front room came alive on Sundays big people came around for the big Sunday dinner of rice and peas, stewed
chicken, homemade Guinness Punch, Ginger Beer or Mauby. After their bellies were full, the big people would retire to the front room for big people chat with the Country & Western crooner Jim Reeves blaring out in the background from the radiogram. Me and my siblings would be wheeled in to meet a relative or friend of mum and dad that we didn’t know, but who knew us, ‘Oh look how he get so big’, and then they’d ask us a trick question, such as ‘You studying yuh lesson at school?’ Of course there was only one answer with my mum present. My mum would ask me to fetch her two gold-rimmed glasses from the drinks cabinet that only displayed things we didn’t use. I would wheel over the drinks trolley, and she’d pour two glasses of Stone’s Ginger Wine with ice from the plastic pineapple ice bucket for her and her female guest who were now alone in the front room. Feeling out of place, I would sit down obediently on the upholstered settee, careful not disturb the ‘chair-back’ from its precise position as the plastic covering stuck to my skin. I’d stare at a blonde haired blueeyed Jesus in The Last Supper next to a picture of a bare-shouldered Tina that mum bought in Woolworths, who flirted with me. I would gaze at the black velvet looking scroll depicting a tourist map of St Vincent & the Grenadines, where my parents came from, and the souvenirs from church trips to Margate and Great Yarmouth. I looked for family resemblances in photos of relatives, where the frames were just as important as the picture all these mounted on colourful patterned floral wallpaper that never seemed to match the maroon patterned carpet. A fly is briefly fooled by the plastic flowers in an ornate vase on a colourful starched crochet doily, on a smoked glass coffee table, on a fluffy rug. The sun shines
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through the pressed lace curtains. As I am about to fall asleep, I would overhear, ‘I don’t know why she marry him’ and suddenly I sat up alert to catch more of the gossip. Mum loved a good Com-mess from back home, especially if someone brought her a roast breadfruit, a cooked Manicou or a bottle of white rum as well, ‘Yes dat poor woman marry to dat wort’less man’ ‘Me know deh man’ ‘Yuh nah hear deh woman dead?’ ‘Wey yuh saying’ ‘Sugar kill her’ ‘Wey yuh saying’ ‘And now deh husband having baby wid her daughter’ ‘Wey yuh saying’ ‘Yes me dear’ ‘Wey yuh saying’ ‘Deh people dem in South Rivers upset, so deh holdin’ ah mock hanging fe wort’less husband and de daughter’ ‘Wey yuh saying’ ‘Deh poor woman must be turning in her grave’ ‘Lord have mercy!’ Com-mess was thirsty work, especially if scandal was involved. As my mum was about to refill the glasses, she realised that I was still in the room. She asked me if I have homework to do and I told her it was all done. But the look on her face told me that she wasn’t asking me a question, and I knew it was time for me to leave. Between 2010 and 2011, both my parents passed away, and in clearing the house that we grew up in, I cleared amongst other objects, my mum’s cooking utensils. These materials formed the the basis of an installation, I Miss My Mum’s Cooking, which was mounted as part of a large-scale exhibition Who Sci-Fi Than Us? KAdE Kunsthal, Amersfoort, Netherlands 2012),
curated by Nancy Hoffmann, and included thirty artists from the Caribbean diaspora. My mum would always wax lyrical about the wretched barefoot poverty of country life she grew up with; fetching water in a pail balanced on her head, taking cut grass to feed the livestock of cows, pigs and goats up in the ‘mountain’, checking that no one had stolen their ground provisions – all before going to school. There was the wearing hand me down ill-fitting shoes to church on a Sunday, where as a young girl, she would overhear commess, such as ‘Me see ah Jumbie last night yuh know’. This was in the village of South Rivers, nearby the active volcano Mount Soufriere, in the rural north of St Vincent, which was called Hairoun by the Garifuna/’Black Carib’ inhabitants who resisted French and British colonial conquest of the island until the late 18th Century. Today, St Vincent is also made up of a string islands, the Grenadines, a playground for wealthy tourists with yachts. In England, the kitchen was my mum’s domain, where she commanded respect with her head tied with a cloth like her ancestors back home. Not even my dad could just stroll into kitchen, otherwise she would just curse to be left alone, pointing with her favourite worn down knife, ‘Is wey yuh want now? The kitchen in our house at 36 Mount Pleasant Lane, in Clapton, Hackney, was small and mum could be left alone to spin around peeling, chopping, slicing, mixing, blending, tasting. There was always the sounds of a frying pan sizzling, pots simmering, a kettle whistling and the aromas of browning, seasoning, basing fragrances wafting throughout the house. The secrets of my mum’s cooking techniques were sealed into the burnt bottom of her Dutch Pot burnt forever. As the eldest, it was my chore to shell the peas from their pods, pick dirt from the rice, put marzipan and icing on the
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Black Cake at Christmas made with minced mixed fruit that had been marinated in white rum for a year. My mum often had to hide her stash of white rum, because if my dad found it, he would drink some, and replace the balance with water. I would often watch my mum mixing the Black Cake in the Kenwood mixing bowl, not because I was interested in learning how to bake, but so that after she had spooned the cake mixture into a baking tray for the oven, I could then scoop up the trickles of sweet brown cake mix and lick my fingers with delight. As a teenager, the smell of fresh brewed coffee, fried ‘bakes’, and stewed pilchards with hot pepper sauce, would wake me up on a Sunday morning, even though I may only have had a couple hours sleep from raving the night before. Meanwhile, mum would be multi-tasking cooking the rice and peas, with Gungo peas or Kidney Beans that had been soaking overnight, that she would add coconut milk, made the old fashioned way by soaking freshly grated coconut in water. Rice and peas was de rigueur for Sunday dinner, which might have stewed chicken, homemade coleslaw, and ground provisions, such as sweet potatoes, yam, dasheen, tania, and fried plantains, and back in the day, roast breadfruit if someone brought over one from back home. My dad’s contribution to Sunday dinner, was sometimes his famous ‘Wash’, made in an white enamel jug with freshly squeezed lemons, water and sugar. It was on these occasions that my mum’s rarely used china ware, such as the orange Pyrex dish, would be ceremoniously brought out of the glass cabinet drinks cabinet. After cooking in the kitchen, mum had her never-ending list of chores, from which she might take a break to eat some left-over food, with a spoon in a battered cream enamel plate that doubled up as a lid for a pot. This she did while sitting on the edge of the sofa in the living room while watching Jerry Springer, Judge Judy, The Oprah Winfrey Show or Ricky Lake.
My mum’s diabetes meant that she had to eat regularly, and at night, she indulge in a hot drink of Milo or Horlicks, or warm milk with mashed up Jacob’s Cream Crackers or Ferine (powdered cassava) from back home, which she drank in a brown smoked glass mug. I have inherited my mum’s food culture to some extend, with dishes, such as corned beef and rice or ‘Poor Man Food’, though my favourite is Ackee and Saltfish, which is how West Indians exchanged their cuisine back in day, as well as how Jamaicanised Black British culture has become ...and over time my mum, with her walking stick, became three legged; the ‘sugar’ diabetes went from 2 to 1, and with high blood ‘pressure’ took her loving heart... Escailta ‘Letha’ McMillan 5th February 1932 - 8th September 2011 Early Caribbean immigrants were often banned from pubs and clubs, so they would entertain themselves with vinyl records played on the radiogram, with music imported, such as Jazz and RnB from the US, and later BlueBeat, Ska, Reggae from Jamaica. These House parties eventually became Blues parties, where sound systems, originally from Jamaica, would ‘play out’. Wherever there was black settlement in the UK, a local sound system culture would emerge, and as a teenager during the 1970s, I would follow as a ‘raver’, sounds like Jah Shaka, Sir Coxsone and Fatman, to mention a few. This is the era of Punk, and music was subcultural and tribal, so followers of Roots Reggae called themselves ‘Rockers’, while followers of soul and funk, were ‘Soulheads’, and then it all changed when ‘Lovers Rock’ arrived, the first British born Reggae genre. Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems back in da Day (New Art Exchange, Nottingham, 2015-16, and 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, London, 2016) was an installationbased exhibition that included a three
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screen triptych of filmed interviews with sound system pioneers, current practitioners and ravers in Nottingham and London. Sound system culture has had a profound influence on British music genres and dance culture from Reggae to Jungle to Garage to Drum & Bass to Grime, from Funk to Hip Hop to Soul II Soul. Before I was allowed to go out raving as a teenager, I would listen to Greg Edwards’s Soul Spectrum, and David Rodigan’s Roots Rock Reggae on Capital Radio on a Saturday night on the radiogram. I would fantasise about dancing in clubs and dances, getting down to the Parliament’s Mothership Connection, and skank to Dennis Brown’s Three Meals A Day. When I did start raving, it was and still is a serious business, requiring careful preparation. The outfit had to be right sourcing garments and accessories. Back in the day, men took pride in a Gabicci suede trimmed cardigan over a floral patterned Italian silk shirt, Farah slacks with a handkerchief in the back pocket, and a Crombie coat. And of course, hair has to be properly groomed, greased and combed, often in an Afro style. Women were equally fastidious about their dress-style, with maybe a pleated ‘dub-skirt’, an Italian silk blouse, a Burberry trench coat, and of course a last minute appointment at the hairdressers or the hot iron comb. Footware was usually the iconic Bally shoes for men and women. This was the rude bwoy and rude gal smart style, and we would step looking the ‘crisp biscuit’.
in the wrong place at the wrong time, unlike now. This was also before the ‘ethnic and social cleansing’ of the ‘New Hackney’, when hip young white yuppies wouldn’t venture into Dalston, at least not at night, as that would be taking exotic experiment too far. Who feels it knows it, and stepping into a sound system dance vibrates the senses, bass thumping in the chest. The air thick with the smell of weed - guys skanking with each other, a posse of women rocking with each other, bottles of Canei in one hand, their handbags in the other – not on the floor! As Lovers Rock comes on, and a couple dance so tight that a knife couldn’t separate them as they explore every corner of each other’s bodies. I’m careful not to step on someone’s shoes, as I ask a woman for a dance, but she turns says no, and disappears to the toilet with her girlfriends. The Selector drops a tune, and the toaster/MeeCee calls out ‘JAH!’ and the crowd responds ‘RASTAFARI!’ If the material shared in this essay has any significance, it is that by telling stories about ourselves, with ourselves, for ourselves, we can begin to challenge, resist, and transcend representations of ourselves that dominate cultural institutions in British society. This is also a spiritual and political journey to echo Audre Lorde towards Black British.
Hackney was full of clubs such as Four Aces on, and Cubies off Dalston Lane, Phebies in Stoke Newington ‘Stokie’, All Nations on London Fields, Dougies, Chimes and Mingles around Clapton Pond, and Blues parties of course. There was also Nightmoves on Shoreditch High Street, but that was when Shoreditch and Hoxton was a ‘red neck’ area, and we didn’t want to be the wrong colour, ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 27
TO SWEETEN BITTER . RAYMOND ANTROBUS, POET AND EDUCATOR.
Originally published in ‘To Sweeten Bitter’ by Outspoken Press.
how easy it is now to spill sugar on the table before it is poured into my cup.
My father had four children and three sugars in his coffee and every birthday he bought me a dictionary which got thicker and thicker and because his word is not dead, I carry it like sugar on a silver spoon up the Mobay hills in Jamaica past the flaked white walls of plantation houses past canefields and coconut trees past the new crystal sugar factories I ask dictionary why we came here it said nourish so I sat with my aunt on her balcony at the top of Barnet Heights and ate salt fish and sweet potato and watched women leading their children home from school as I ate I asked dictionary what is difficult about love? It opened on the word grasp and I looked at my hand holding this ivory knife and thought about how hard it was to accept my father for who he was and where he came from
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A NECESSARY FICTION (2017).
BASIL OLTON, ARTIST AND EDUCATOR. Boxed in Boxed out uses the idea of the colonial museum display as a means by which the signification and interpretation of an object or text can be abused, changed, controlled and hidden.
There is a museum effect (Alpers:1991: 27) that turns all objects into works of art and becomes a way of seeing proposed by the dominant class of a society to all members of that society and beyond communicated by systems of representation, signs and signifiers. The redacted texts displayed in Boxed in Boxed out further testify to the erasure of black history and the obfuscation of meaning, with the use of the museum display case an example of a museum as a place of memory that stores memories and organises meaning.
Told from below (exhibition installation view) Medium: Glazed stoneware clay, photographic print onto fabric. Told from below is a response to the architecture of the space and the dominant white room columns as a representation of a dominant narrative over subjugated sections of society. The smaller, black cylinders form part of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;history told from belowâ&#x20AC;?, a phrase by Antoni Gramsci to identify groups excluded from the establishment and the stories that are denied and not part of the mainstream narrative.
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Memory reloaded 2 Medium: Screen-print onto unglazed paper-clay. How we remember and what we are made to forget is the basis of Memory reloaded 2 and the manner in which memory is fragmented, splintered and fractious. I wanted to question the link between the creation of objects and the creation of memory and the mechanisms by which individuals and communities commemorate, recollect (Mack:2003:15) and made to forget.
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Boxed in Boxed out (exhibition installation view) Medium: Screen-print on unfired and fired paper-clay, photographic image on acetate, museum display case.
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SOUTH ASIAN AMERICAN DIGITAL ARCHIVE.
SAMIP MALLICK, CO-FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SAADA.
SAADA is a Philadelphia-based national nonprofit organization that digitally documents, preserves, and shares stories from the South Asian American community. South Asian Americans have been a presence in the United States for more than 130 years. Early immigrants from South Asia worked on farms and factories, helped build railroads, fought for India’s freedom from British rule, and struggled for equal rights at home. Today, more than 4.3 million individuals in the U.S. trace their heritage to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, and the many South Asian diaspora communities around the world. South Asian
American stories are an integral part of the American experience, yet little information is available to the public about these stories. Most young South Asian Americans are never given the opportunity to learn about their own community’s histories and, as a result, do not see themselves reflected in the legacies of individuals who shaped the American narrative. Founded in 2008, SAADA’s archive now contains the largest publicly accessible collection of stories and materials related to these diverse and often overlooked histories. For example, the story of Dalip Singh Saund, elected to U.S. Congress in 1956 after more than 20 years of being denied American
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citizenship, reflects histories of exclusion and political engagement. The story of Anandibai Joshee, who earned an M.D. in Pennsylvania in 1886 to become the first South Asian woman in the world to do so, highlights the specific struggles faced by women during an early period of migration. The story of Eqbal Ahmad, an intellectual and activist who became a powerful voice in opposition to the Vietnam war, illustrates one example of a South Asian American legacy of political and civic engagement. Through digital storytelling initiatives, events, social media, and other outreach, SAADA works to give voice to South Asian Americans and create a more inclusive future. Learn more at www.saada.org Image credit: Vivek G. Bharathan
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CHARMAINE WATKISS, MA DRAWING, WIMBLEDON COLLEGE OF ARTS.
I am interested in history - uncovering the missing footprints made by people of African descent who have formed the fabric of British society for centuries; as well as looking at my own family history and the story of their journey to migrating and settling in Britain. Much of my work is informed by research, I like to work with museum archives and library collections, in particular uncovering information from local history sources. My Lost/Found series came out of research around where I live, I wanted to know why Jamaica road was called Jamaica road and what I uncovered was the borough of Southwarkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s connection
to the slave trade (https://codeless88.files. wordpress.com/2013/05/walk.pdf). I feel as an artist it is important to document our history and presence. Interestingly enough my initial research has lead me to go deeper into Britainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s history, there have been centuries old trade links between Britain and Africa long before the Transatlantic slave trade, the African presence has been here since Roman times so the questions around Britishness have to be challenged as new information comes to the surface.
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THE ETHICS OF STABILITY FOR CULTURAL MATERIALS: A CONSERVATION PERSPECTIVE.
AYESHA FUENTES, PHD CANDIDATE, SOAS UNIVERSITY, OBJECTS CONSERVATOR.
As an objects conservator specializing in archaeological and ethnographic materials -- specifically in the cultural technologies and religious materials of south, central and southeast Asia -- I’ve developed a unique expertise. As a product of academic training and museum-based practice in both high and low-income countries, I’ve embraced my expertise as a type of professional rigor: Why and for whom do we preserve cultural heritage? What is the purpose of conservation, as a material endeavor? After being exposed to a variety of concepts for the function and valorization of material heritage, I believe an examination of conservation ethics is needed as an unsustainable institutional standard that can promote a static, unrealistic model of cultural processes. Conservation came of age as a profession over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and the US, and has distinguished itself methodologically from restoration (the cosmetic renewal of material) and preservation (the policies of maintenance) through the application of scientific thinking, particularly by using chemistry and physics to distinguish material processes of degradation and alteration. This effort has its roots in the same 18th century intellectual climate — referred to as the European Enlightenment — that inspired both colonial
expansion and the public museum as an institution for exhibiting cultural artefacts. The standards and practices of conservation reflect a preoccupation with taxonomy, historical thinking and the scientific method. In the past 50 years, the field has further established itself by creating international guidelines for best practice, and mechanisms for professional development like formal academic training programs and professional organizations. These conservation standards privilege the artefactual value of objects — sometimes framed as a universal cultural heritage — and are directly related to the institutional contexts in which the profession has been cultivated. Our role thus far in museums, collections, and organizations like UNESCO and the International Council of Museums has contributed to the maintenance and valorization of culture as material, rather than as a dynamic, immaterial process of expression or identity. Though gradually being re-shaped by the incorporation of global perspectives on material culture and museology, as well as emerging concepts of intangible heritage, current conservation theory recommends methods of treatment that emphasize the artefactual or historical value of cultural materials. There is an emphasis in our professional ethics to
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always preserve the integrity of the original and to document material history as a derivative series of alterations. It would not be considered ethical practice, for example, to remove a layer of paint original to an image or to sand the buckled surface of a wooden mask. It is ethical to reconstruct a broken ceramic, as long as we use a glue that can be easily detected or removed, and that won’t fundamentally alter the fabric of the object. The policy of minimum intervention is increasingly common as a practice of modifying the object or monument as little as possible and instead maintaining an optimum environment for its survival. Conservation — through direct intervention or preventative maintenance —
always, however, assumes the continuity of the collected object as an historical fact and, moreover, as the property of an institution or authority. However, a challenge to conservation’s fundamental goals of responsible custodianship is found in the very scientific knowledge from which it derives its expertise. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy will tend to increase in a closed system; energy can be embodied as an object - through the technology of its manufacture - but it will tend to disperse itself and become unstable over time. In a conservation context this can be illustrated, for example, by metals reverting to minerals, particularly at surfaces where oxygen, water and
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other elements give opportunistic ions the chance to migrate. For example, metallic iron is created by using heat to refine mineral ore and force to shape it (the energy goes into the object) but if the same object is left in contact with water, it takes the opportunity to disperse this energy and revert to the more thermodynamically stable mineral version we know as rust. A perfect system — one in which no energy is irrevocably disordered and no objects deteriorate — would be a system without time. But the artefactual aspect of objects and their value as cultural properties is directly related to the ways they express historical time: In conversation, most people ask me about either the oldest thing I’ve ever worked on, or the most expensive. In conservation, the concept of inherent vice has been developed to describe the liability of an object to decompose or deteriorate. Some objects embody their vice more dramatically (an ice sculpture at room temperature), and
some are subtle (the darkening of amber in light), but everything is vulnerable to time in some way. In an institutional setting, inherent vice reflects the social and fiscal logic to preserve and maintain material culture but - as one Buddhist saint told her son - we are all pregnant with death. Our presumption to conserve materials and cultural properties is just that. Everything, and everyone, is inevitably decaying and its decomposition is part of the wisdom it communicates. The inherent vice of material objects is that they exist in a system governed by time; simultaneously, the perception of time – the patina of bronze, the fading of dyes -- is an aspect of our historical valorization of those objects. Conservation is an attempt to mediate and document the effects of physical time on cultural materials. However, the concept of decomposition as a liability disproportionately affects objects that are not created with refined technologies
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(and here I mean ‘refined’ as the degree to which they are modified as raw materials). This headdress, for example, is suffering from the fact that it is made of feathers and animal fibers [Image 1]. It was damaged by its use in performances and social rituals, and was then placed in crowded museum storage with a moth infestation. It is unfair to say whether the object’s inherent vice is actually internal (the fragility of feathers or its function in its source community) or external (its use and circulation as a cultural property). But the valuation of a cultural object to an institution, as its asset, is at least partially based on its physico-chemical stability, longevity and potential as an artifact; fragile objects are a liability and inaccessible objects use up expensive storage space. Increasingly since the 1990s there has been a critique of conservation and heritage preservation policies as centrist and the standards they promote as unsustainable outside the relatively well-resourced context of major institutions. For example, the maintenance of collections through the control of the climate (humidity, air purification, temperature) is a central component of the preservation policies of many museums in Europe and the US, but is difficult to realize their standards in a hot, humid southern climate without a secure building envelope and wellmaintained air-conditioning system. This further contributes to the institutional privilege of stability in preservation, one that does not reflect the complex processes of identification, social change and innovation that are often represented by creativity and cultural expression, nor the way these processes are influenced by economic or geographical circumstances.
through objectification, curation and, of course, conservation. My current work looks at the cultural technologies of Tibet and how producers of ritual objects, artists and craftsmen have adapted to their changing social and political environments [Image 2]. In addition to being influenced by Buddhist devotional practices of renewal, I am increasingly aware of the ways in which imagination can be used to undermine dominating institutions or authorities through creativity and individual agency, and how innovation subverts hegemonic narratives of authenticity by expanding on traditional forms and materials. Where should museums operate within these dynamics? Can culture be maintained in a way that doesn’t contribute to some erasure or a consolidation into concepts of ‘authenticity’ or ‘tradition’? Is the mandate of museums to preserve their assets ethically ambiguous? I don’t introduce these questions in order to provoke any definitive response or action, but I hope to generate some discussion of why and for whom we are conserving cultural objects. I wouldn’t say that cultural institutions - and the conservation ethics operative within them - have no value but I believe that we need to think more rigorously about the mechanics of preservation and the relationship between collected objects and the temporal and cultural processes that have produced or maintained them. Whose stuff are we saving and by whose authority? Is it possible to contribute to the welfare of cultural practices and identities without immobilizing them?
More disturbing is the fact that the material valorization of culture can be manipulated by authorities or institutions who would claim protect it. Cultural heritage is easily immobilized — stabilized, if you prefer — ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 41
WITHIN. OTHELLO DEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;SOUZA-HARTLEY ARTIST AND LECTURER REPRESENTED BY SULGER-BUEL LOVELL.
I decided to approach the residency at 32 East Ugandan Arts without any preconceived ideas of Africa or Uganda. I had only made one visit to the continent, while visiting Morocco a few years ago. The only thing I had in mind about Uganda was the red soil, which became the inspiration for my research.
The project accumulated in setting up an installation/photo booth made from local materials, which was built organically through research and an open door policy where passers-by could come in and engage in dialogue, spend time in the space and be photographed once installation was built.
Through research, I developed the project by engaging with artists based in Kampala or born in Uganda, going to talks, looking at local materials and traditions. From these experiences the belief that it was time for Africans to start telling their own stories soon became apparent. I met people who were aware of the fact that prominent traditional materials and points of pride are being eroded for more modern materials and consumption... They were taking traditional materials and bringing back awareness to them, by finding new contemporary uses for them. This was the base of my project, how to use traditional materials in a modernised way. Uganda has a very high youth population. The majority of Ugandaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population is under 35 and it is the second youngest country on the continent. Ugandans want change and are fed up with Uganda being exploited and the negative portrayal of Africa by the west. Uganda has a government in power longer than most of the younger generation have been alive. I met many talented people who wanted to contribute to building their country but felt they were being held back by the infrastructure and the government. ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 43
AUDREY SAMSON SENIOR LECTURER IN DIGITAL ARTS, UNIVERSITY OF GREENWICH CURRENT RESIDENT AT THE SOMERSET HOUSE STUDIOS
Have you ever thought of erasing your entire digital footprint? All those selfies, archived emails, tweets, likes, check-ins, late night chat sessions... Goodnight Sweetheart is a data and device embalming service presented as a participatory installation where visitors are invited to rid themselves of data through a digital data funeral for digital footprints and identities. Resulting defunct devices cast in liquid resin blocks hang from the ceiling, forming a cemetery of crystalised memories. Memories embalmed with resin, the data forever preserved. The digital data funeral is meant as futile ritual of erasure that reflects upon big data analysis and surveillance fueled by social networking sites, and the technological infrastructure of the network. Other iterations of this project have included digital data funeral workshops (using some of the so-called Snowden files) and data embalming performances. Goodnight Sweetheart has been exhibited internationally. It has received generous support from the Canada Art Council.
Video: www.esc.mur.at/en/node/2287 More Info: www.esc.mur.at/en/projekt/ goodnight-sweetheart All images, copyright Alexis Bellavance. Caption: Goodnight Sweetheart (2015-ongoing). A ‘ data embalming service’ research into rituals of data erasure. Installation at Eastern Bloc, Montréal, Canada.
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Portable_001, installation, 20 x 20 x 10 cm. 2015 Embalmed mobile telephone.
Goodnight Sweetheart, installation, devices cast in resin. 2015 Installation overview.
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GPS, installation, 20 x 20 x 10 cm. 2015 Embalmed GPS navigation system.
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12 DVD, installation, 20 x 20 x 15 cm. 2015 12 embalmed DVDs.
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DECOLONISING THE LABEL. CLAIR LE COUTEUR PHD CANDIDATE, ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART.
I’m currently finishing a PhD-by-practice on what I call fictive museums. These are elaborate artworks – like the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, or the Museum of Innocence in Istanbul – which not only weave together facts and fictions, but claim to actually be museums. My subject area is a cross between literature, installation and conceptual art, but my research has led me to question the workings of institutional power. I started asking myself what really distinguishes fictive museums from museum labelling in general. I’m going to describe some conclusions I’ve come to, touching on a residency I was involved with
at Warrington Museum and Art Gallery, in a town between Liverpool and Manchester. Roots Between the Tides (2016) is an installation of 188 photographs, taken in Warrington’s displays, museum stores, and local archives, forming a kind of diagram or portrait of the museum. The images are connected together with giant elastic treasury tags into an associative assemblage, hanging in a mezzanine space. Above is the Fish Gallery, and below – with the lights off – is what’s now called the World Stories Gallery, though it still has the original sign ‘Ethnology’ above the door. Before
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getting into detail, I just want to state here that I’m a huge fan of Warrington. It’s no exaggeration to say I fell deeply in love with the town, its beautiful museum, and its kind, hardworking staff. It’s an underrecognised, under-funded national treasure. Founded in the 1840s, Warrington was probably the first municipal museum in the UK. It was created by wealthy local industrialists for the education and civilisation of their workers, many of whom lived in conditions of extreme deprivation. During the twentieth century, the profits, the ownership, and eventually Warrington’s industries themselves were removed from the local area. Today, many households in central Warrington – and the wider North West region – continue to live in conditions of endemic, long-term poverty. The residents of these areas are predominantly white. Right up until the early 2000s when it was completely refurbished, Warrington Museum’s 1936 Ethnology hall featured labels of the most eye-wateringly racist type. The displays had remained in their original condition, organised on the principles of scientific racism and progress mythology. The race, technology and culture of the white English were depicted as the most evolved, advanced, and morally superior in the world; ‘lesser races’ were systematically dehumanised. When the gallery was re-hung, the curators included an interesting little panel, featuring an image of one of the previous labels. Like almost all ‘real’ museum labelling I’ve seen, this double label has four features I’d like to point out. Firstly, it’s very brief, about fifty words. This is the current best practice for
museum labels. As the Victoria & Albert Museum’s style guide states, ‘visitors have come to look at objects, not to read books on the wall.’ Secondly, the text means far more than it says. There is a lot of thought, debate, and tension behind labels like this. What appears to be simple, literal, direct language is in fact highly euphemistic. The historic label shown is not itself explicitly racist, at least, not in comparison to some that were replaced. The new label is about racism, but racism is not mentioned, only alluded to by the mere presence of the word ‘Race’ in the image. The panel implies something like this: Local visitors may ask, perhaps even angrily, why we changed the gallery. We removed the labels, eventually, because they were offensively, embarrassingly, obviously racist, but we won’t state that directly. Nor will we state that the information on the labels was factually incorrect. Replacing the labels is evidence of our progress; we’ll settle with ‘out-dated’ in order to avoid a public discussion. A potentially heated discussion, in which it might emerge that ‘people’s view of the world’ may not be so very different after all – especially those generations living in Warrington who grew up learning about the world primarily by visiting this very museum. Before the re-hang, Warrington Museum was itself used as a specimen, a field trip location for nearby museum studies courses, who were both appalled by it, and insisted that it didn’t change. An interesting symmetry, ethnology acting on its own past. A past and present that this double label implies, hints at, but does not engage directly. We jump directly from the 1920s to ‘the 21st century world,’ a different world, supposedly, with
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different conditions signalled by the word ‘diverse,’ which is used as a kind of code. But what this code means is not specified, open to interpretation. For many of the UK’s more extreme right wing nationalists, the word ‘diversity’ is indeed seen as a code: a Globalist code word for ‘#WhiteGenocide,’ in which all racial diversity and anti-racist sentiment is depicted as a programme of genocide-by-stealth against white Europeans. In not addressing race directly, this label neither takes responsibility for the museum’s past, nor for the present conditions of reception. The message of the previous labels is not discussed, nor contradicted in any way. Instead, the new message is simply: times have changed, and it is no longer appropriate to speak about race at all. So first, the label is really short; there is no room for discussion. Secondly, it is euphemistic, meaning far more than it says explicitly. Precisely what it means is unclear, and it does not mean the same thing to all audiences. Thirdly, the label is unsigned, undated. The words ‘different than’ hint that the curator who wrote this wasn’t British. He was Canadian, in fact, but the only way to find that out is by contacting current museum staff. Overworked, underpaid staff – continually subjected to ‘restructuring’ over the last ten years – who themselves may or may not know. Many museum labels, perhaps the vast majority in existence, are not only unsigned and undated, but do not have paper trails. We don’t know who exactly wrote them, when, or under what conditions. The label doesn’t tell us when the gallery was re-hung, or by whom. And, crucially, it’s not a question we’re really meant to ask. The museum’s voice is institutional, timeless authority. Unless a famous guest curator is involved, museum labels are meant to be anonymous. The authorship of anonymous labels – and I want to stress this point – is fictive. The label is written as-if by the museum itself;
as timeless, anonymous and neutral as a street sign. As Elaine Heumann-Gurian pointed out in 1991, although we may be reluctant to admit it, museum exhibitions are more like theatre than anything else; they involve sets, props, and performances. In the past, when museum curators were on-site, and the attendants were active guides and teachers – rather than passive security staff sitting alone on chairs – the role of performance and authorship was more evident. More evident, more oral, more discursive, and, of course, far more exclusive. But if you are writing a label with no date, and no signature, you are also engaged in a performance. Museums are buildings with things in, they do not write their own labels. You are writing from the character of your museum, and no matter how seemingly simple or factual your statements, the devices of fiction – allusion, metaphor, implication, elision – inevitably come into play. Let me give a contemporary example. We’re in the 1990s section of the Making the Modern World exhibit at the Science Museum, September 2017. A panel on the wall nearby tells us: ‘These displays are intended to paint the broadest picture of technology in each period… Not only have people in different periods owned and used different things, but they have understood them differently. To convey this… we have laid out the objects according to a classification that was devised at the time.’ Apparently, looking at the display according to the wall text, visitors are meant to conclude that during the 1990s, some kind of classification was devised that linked: speed cameras; wheel clamps; a test sample of a motorway; and… dowsing rods. There are two wooden sticks on the left that are not dowsing rods, though they are a roughly similar shape. Beside them, below the speed camera, however, are four right angles of metal. These are commercially produced dowsing rods.
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The label nearby says only: ‘Dowsing rods, 1994. To search for hidden substances.’ Why are they here? Are they considered roadbuilding technology? Is this a curatorial joke? Behind their inclusion, and the brief, allusive wall text, is clearly some kind of attempt to convey very complex information about technology and belief systems. But this information is not conveyed. What results instead is an inadvertent seal of approval from the Science Museum for the dowsing rod industry. Dowsing, unfortunately, is more than just harmless New Age fun with the ideomotor effect. Throughout the early 2000s, a British company was selling what amounted to extremely expensive dowsing rods at military fairs as a way of detecting controlled substances, including explosives. They are still in use by some security services around the world, another legacy of colonialism. People have died as a result, and four years ago, some of the ringleaders were sent to prison.
Another, very different example. An ancient clay cylinder, part of the British Museum’s vast collection, number 1927,1003.9. It came to the museum from Sir Leonard Woolley’s dig at the Babylonian city of Ur in 1927, and he claimed it as the first known museum label – the Ur-label, perhaps. It was made as part of another collection nearly three thousand years ago, kept in the palace. It was a label, translating an even more ancient clay tablet, which the Babylonians had found when digging their foundations. Labels are objects themselves, and can tell us a lot about what information technologies were being used at the time; this clay cylinder does in fact name who wrote it, when, and why. Today, some of this is hinted at in highly condensed form by the museum labels around it; the information is there, encoded, but almost impossible to work out unless you already know the story. The cylinder is one of the very few items from the British
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Museum’s estimated three million artefacts that is actually on display. Perhaps being possibly the oldest museum label in existence had something to do with its selection, but unless the British Museum tells us that by email, we’ll never know. What Woolley thought it represented – the oldest known museum label – is not mentioned anywhere by the British Museum, neither in the labels around it, nor in the online catalogue entry. So, onto my fourth point: unlike the clay cylinder, most labels are not considered part of the museum’s collection. Cardboard labels are ephemeral, treated as-if they were not really objects at all. If old labels happen to be kept in the documentation file for an artefact, this is generally done on an ad hoc basis, not part of the museum’s formal operating system. Labels are not routinely archived or conserved for future generations. Keeping records of historic labelling, adding them to catalogues,
and making them publicly available for research, are not recommendations of the UK Museums Association. When the Daily Mail is caught publishing falsehoods, it must then print a retraction, however small, and this becomes a matter of public record. Museums are an important part of the way we learn about the world. Though labels have a hugely powerful impact on how the public understand what a museum collection means, when they are replaced, labels often simply disappear without a trace. In 2007, a landmark exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum – ‘Uncomfortable Truths: The Shadow of Slave Trading on Contemporary Art and Design’ – made visible the presence of colonial slavery in the permanent collection with interventions from eleven international artists. Today, no physical traces of these interventions remain in the galleries, and the accompanying book is out of print. Temporary exhibits,
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usually involving artists, are given the task of ‘celebrating diversity’ and ‘coming to terms with history’; these are festivals, special occasions outside of the day-to-day life of the museum. No matter the visibility or the budget for temporary exhibits, unless the the permanent collection changes its labelling and display, nothing really changes. In my research, I think a lot about the fact that we are labelling things with other things. I started investigating the slightly absurd idea of what might happen if we really took this to heart, removing any category distinction between an object and its label. In fact, removing category distinctions entirely, and just connecting things together in extended kinship networks of association. But that’s not what I’m recommending today, as a queer, non-binary artist researcher, an amateur, with no formal museum training or experience. I’m recommending first, let’s accept that labels are part of the collection. In 1894, the Smithsonian Museum curator George Brown Goode wrote: ‘An efficient educational museum may be described as a collection of instructive labels, each illustrated by a well selected specimen.’ He was right; to a great extent, the labels are the collection, especially in the permanent displays. They tell us what things are, and what they mean. The failure to formally accession past and present museum labels, to accept them as part of a museum’s collection, amounts to the destruction by neglect of archival material. Vital material not only for the discipline of museum studies, but also for an understanding of cultural history, the material production of cultural reality, particularly those aspects of reality that our colonial, kyriarchal British culture would rather deny, ignore, downplay, or forget. This issue of Terms of Reference is themed around the ethics of voices vulnerable to erasure. Historic labels are unique artefacts of public heritage held in the public trust, for which museums must bear a duty of
care. Unless we insist on this, the voices of the museum’s own material past and present, particularly those colonial voices for which Britain most needs to take responsibility, will continue to be erased. This is not to say that British archiving is itself a transparent process. Only within the last ten years – as a result of the Mau Mau trial currently taking place – has it come to light that the British Empire had a named policy for archival conspiracy on a vast scale. Operation Legacy was the semi-official name for the systematic destruction of hundred of thousands of files, and the sequestering of others as ‘migrated archives’ outside the regular classification system, carried out by hundreds of governmental officers around the world over a period of decades. Evidence continues to build that huge numbers of files are still being held in breach of the Public Records Act, many at Hanslope Park. In 2015, for example, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) notified government that it had ‘found’ 170,000 files overdue for release. Records of the Kenyan war crimes, and files demonstrating the destruction of other incriminating documents, were discovered largely thanks to the tireless efforts of the legal team at Leigh Day, and Edward Inglett, FCO desk officer for Kenya. Inglett was repeatedly told by Hanslope Park they had no such records, but evidence was presented to him by David Anderson that thousands of files had been ‘retrieved’ prior to the handover to Kenya’s first independent government in 1963. Only after Inglett threatened to visit Hanslope Park in person did they release documents relating to the Mau Mau case, over 1,500 files. The 2011 Cary Report concluded, predictably, that no intentional wrongdoing had taken place. It did however include this telling observation: ‘how well FCO paper files in the last century “told a story”, and how much more difficult it seems to be these days to piece together a coherent reconstruction of recent events.’
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(p.19) The electronic records of contemporary decision-making processes are even more vulnerable to erasure, often through a failure to be archived in the first place. The ongoing Operation Legacy scandal may seem to have little to do with museum labels; I include this information here for three reasons. It demonstrates that the voices of archival material are both vulnerable to erasure, and remain culturally and legally powerful decades later. It also demonstrates that colonialism was never a matter of top-down hierarchy, but a hugely distributed decision-making system of shared responsibility between multiple institutions and the individuals within them, which continues to this day. Lastly, it demonstrates that the British Empire was within living memory a colonial power that committed atrocities similar to those of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and that there are powerful cultural forces at work which do not want this information to become public knowledge. Evidence of the true nature of Great Britain is even now being effaced. This includes not only missing official files on detention camps, and ongoing governmental obstruction of justice. It also includes the quiet tidying away – perhaps with the best of intentions – of the ubiquitous white supremacist propaganda which filled Britain’s knowledge producing institutions throughout the twentieth century. We must insist that new labels are signed and dated; if we wish institutions to become transparent, then authorship must be transparent. There is no escaping the fictive condition of our cultural work. Facts can mislead even more effectively than fictions. ‘The museum’ has never written anything; people write things, and other people edit them. For so long, in performing factuality, museums have been indulging in unselfconscious fictive strategies. Not only does this obscure the real workings of the museum, but it adds
to a lack of public accountability. The kind of lack of accountability that, for example, pays lip service to its past acts, wipes away decades of racist ideological programming with a wave of the hand, and takes no responsibility either for present conditions, or for preserving the voices of its own past. Let’s make the actual material conditions of co-authorship transparent to the public. Let’s make sure everyone involved in the creation of public culture is publicly credited. And, while we’re at it, why not also make public precisely how much each person is being paid for their time? I recently presented these ideas before a group of museum professionals, and one young woman – who operates the Twitter account of a major London institution – explained that labelling transparency would not only work to make institutions more transparent and accountable, but to humanise the heritage professions. Perhaps, she said, if the public knew the person who was sitting behind the screen – rather than imagining they were fighting the faceless institution – she would need to deal with less daily online abuse. Museum professionals study extensively, work hard, and care deeply about what they do. Many people work in museums for very little pay, on uncertain contracts, and under increasingly difficult conditions. They often feel under attack not only from their management structures, but from the incompatible demands of different public groups, who take out their various frustrations with the institution – and even with history and culture as a whole – on the staff. Museum staff are people who care passionately about conserving, commemorating, and communicating our shared history. Signing and dating labels humanises the institution, and more humane institutions not only function better, but are more humane environments in which to work. Colonialism is dehumanising; large numbers
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of individually minor acts combine into an abusive system. Institutional mechanisms not only work against the victims of the systemâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s abuses, but equally work to diffuse the responsibility of its perpetrators among its perpetrators, who may themselves suffer institutional abuse. It is simply not enough to chase details, insist on corrections, argue every point, uncover the facts, though these are things we must continue to do. We also need to change the way institutions operate at the systemic level. We need to make sure every text, every document, every label bears the traces of its human authorship. And we need to recognise that every text which continues to obscure those traces behind an institutional mask is a work of colonial fiction.
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200,000...41,40,39. MINHEE KIM MA TEXTILES, ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART.
My fragile work is about the life and memory of minorities in Korea and a few Asian countries. These minorities were sexual slaves for the Japanese military during the 2nd World War and they were called ‘Comfort Women’. The more I have learnt about their lives, the more difficult I have found it to convey their stories and memories, since what they had experienced are impossible things to represent even by themselves. This work is part of a journey to figure out the way to transfer tragic life, memory, or trauma of certain people in emotional, abstract, but clear visual language. In the 2nd World War, Japan abused 200,000 women, but now there are only 39 abused women left in Korea. Every Wednesday the women protest for recovery of their lives even though they are over 90 years old. I try to convey emotional parts to viewers and make them feel ‘something’ that can’t be translated in words from visual works by using hands-on materials and techniques which contain time and labor. I believe these kinds of visual works have their own convincing language that can move people’s mind. Then, these moved people can give a voice to the public to make changes.
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About their lives.
Detail cut: About their lives
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Detail cut: About their lives
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TRANS/PLANT SHOCK. ADIL MIAN BA PHYSICS, QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON.
There is a certain depression that relates to the loss of connection to one’s home and roots, a depression that a lot of children of diaspora experience without necessarily identifying it as the loss of heritage. Trans/ plant Shock primarily uses flowers/plants in various stages of dying and movement (video) to show one’s disconnection to their homeland, It also implements surreal imagery portraying alienation from one’s own physical body as a side effect of said displacement. For BME artists archiving history is mainly a grassroots endeavour; there is little institutional implementation, and attempts at decolonising the education system face a systemic delegitimization by the mainstream (Lola Olufemi per recently), Therefore BME led art scenes can be a safer space to document and communicate heritage for many. When a tree is relocated from its comfort zone to another soil, there is a danger of its leaves withering due to the root’s inability to gather nutrients from foreign soil. This is called transplant shock and it is a reality when moving trees. Great care is required the initial years after replanting to ensure survival of the roots. I think in the same way if we consider our own history as the roots from which we get nourishment, then it makes sense that if a new environment is unable to accommodate them, that alienation and depression can likely follow. Watch here: www.vimeo.com/246682252
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MY. HEAD. HURTS. MY. FEET. STINK. AND. I. DONT. LOVE. JESUS. RAYVENN SHALEIGHA D’CLARK MA FINE ART, CHELSEA COLLEGE OF ART.
How have communities and individuals created their own platforms to preserve histories outside of heritage institutions? [Virtual] Online communities have made it their mission to create platforms (exclusively) dedicated to preserving histories deemed unpopular or controversial by traditional heritage institutions. These are vital in allowing minority voices to generate research, cultivate understanding and fuel conversation regarding the maintenance and safekeeping or precious communal histories for future generations How can creative practice give voice to those underrepresented? Art is pure, unadulterated expression; boundless; censor-less, and they allow minority voice to express the perspective of underrepresented narrative in society at large. Art/design appeals to more baser instincts within its audiences - no longer is it a question of aesthetic taste, theoretical understanding or academic enrichment, it is simply a case of providing audiences with a visual narrative and inclusive feeling that defies class boundaries Is inclusive programming in the heritage sector enough to counter an exclusive ‘history’?
It is a start, but much more - in my opinion - needs to be, and should be done to make alternative history a compulsory aspect of programming. It is not enough to have selectively placed programming within the curriculum at large. It should be endemic to programme itself, naturally occurring, self generating and actively encouraged. How does your work explore historic narratives/ cultural representation? My work places importance on fuelling a discussion of the irregular position of black artists in a white-washed art-world. Through negotiating the duality of the sculptural mechanism - its ability to delve into the space between imitation and reality, while simultaneously usurping the ‘original - here it is a responsibility of my art to to negotiate collective histories, including the unusual position of artists of colour within male dominated, white curriculum. To be free to discuss curatorial censorships imposed upon artists of colour - not only physically, but theoretically - often undernourished in a curriculum that does not inherently cater to minority voices. My artwork, in all of its infancy, combines these dual concerns with the curatorial considerations of sculpture’s relationship with ‘space’ and its pursuit of ‘presence’
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DETAILS - UNTITLED, 2017
to allow my work to become embedded in the everyday, collective experience. Explain the piece of artwork you have submitted. The work I have submitted is a silicone sculpture. An individual - like any other -the realism of the piece negotiates the predicament that contemporary sculpture has found itself in within today’s art-market; increasingly at odds against the threat that computer generated and simulated objects pose against the traditional goal of sculpture - in its ability to preserve’; examining the exercise or ‘sport’ of ‘sculpture’ in an art-market now technological underpinned. Here, my work aims to meant to generate conversation regarding ‘origin’ in the history of black art.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH VALERIE ST. PIERRE SMITH.
Words by Julie Wright MA Applied Imagination, Central Saint Martins Valerie St. Pierre Smith is an award-winning costume designer with an eclectic background covering stage, fashion, dance, themed entertainment and more. Her designs have been seen on stage at the Kennedy Center, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Sea World: San Diego, the National Museum of the American Indian amongst others. Valerie is proud of both her native American heritage (Anishnaabe) and her membership in the United Scenic Artists 829. Can you tell us about your cultural background? My father was an enrolled member of the White Earth Chippewa band of Native Americans, in Minnesota, and brought up during a time when such a heritage was usually never discussed. He walked on a few years ago. My mother is a first-generation German-American. Her parents immigrated between the first and second world wars, meeting only after they arrived in the United States. My father worked for the railroad for much of my childhood, so I and my closest brother grew up a bit nomadic. I recently moved to my 19th city of residence. Would you say your cultural background and conditioning influence your creative choices? It depends upon the project. I’m inherently drawn to colors, patterns and movement that ultimately come back to my background, my life experiences and my desire to be and
reflect a connection to the world, people, and earth on a more spiritual/intuitive level. I always feel a need to intuit my way around a design, construction project or art piece; regardless of whether it is for costume design or fashion. Sometimes it is a feeling of color, pattern or silhouette. Sitting, playing and just listening to the inspiration of and intention of whatever design I’m working on seems to have the best results. Whenever that connection is lacking, I’m never happy with my work; they end up feeling forced and overworked. You’ve done a lot of research on fashion and cultural appropriation, what advice would you give to fashion designers who aren’t aware of its effects? This is a tough question. In this day and age, there isn’t any reason to not understand or see the effects. I think the greater awareness needs to be on an individual level. Questioning oneself on how you are working with people, cultural heritage and histories; taking the time to open yourself up to another person’s history told via THEIR perspective. Be aware of your resources and which filter has been applied to share the information; one of the first person given by the people themselves, or told through the lens of “anthropological” observation and recordation. I have found there to be a huge disconnect and filter of colonialism always applied through anthropological study. This includes how culture is presented in text books, museums, and other oft-considered reputable sources. It doesn’t take much time to learn the story of the image or the people. And for the love
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of all that is holy, be sure you’re actually making something new. Not a variation on an existing pattern, color or token “symbol” of a culture. We’ve all been taught bullying is wrong- well, imagine how a First Nations woman feels when she sees her people’s colors, fabrics, silhouettes and even beadwork images essentially copied for an haute couture house with no acknowledgment of its original creators? And then watches as these “fashion” pieces make their way into a hyper-sexualized music performance. 1 in 3 United States First Nation women have been victims of rape or attempted rape. The measure of that runway show and that music performance only screams loud and clear “We think you are an object. With no pain or understanding of self. And we can use your image, however, we feel like it. Because we are powerful and you are worthless.” The very argument that designers are “honoring” a culture while making a profit off of the original design work inherent in another culture, with some of the artists still living and creating for their own communities, is nothing more than copycatting and legal infringement. If this happened within a predominantly western community, the cries of intellectual property theft would be heard from the high courts and splashed in the headlines of newspapers. But no one heard a word about the beadwork patterns copied for DSquare’s 2015 Fall collection. Or Coach’s patterns being derivations of native Navajo textile patterns of which many are actually passed down through generations of weaver families.
perceive the identity we project. The old “30 seconds for a first impression” is almost all visual. Fashion tells a story of a person, as well as a society and culture. As a student of fashion history, I’m always struck at how much you learn about a social/cultural group through their chosen dress. Technologies of the time period; social manners, customs and mores (ethics); even politics, cosmology and perceptions of the world. Our current place in time is no different; what is different is the splintering of immediate family and community groups for many people raised and living in “western” nations. The lack of strong family, social and cultural histories being held sacred has coupled with the explosion of capitalism and the fashion industry has led to the view that anything that is visually inspiring, new or different is desirable. And to be measured desirable, it comes down to popularity as measured by currency signs. Visual identities have become more commodity driven than ever before.
What does fashion mean to you and the world around us?
Are there any other creatives who inspire you and your work?
Fashion, in this moment of our world, just as it has throughout history, serves as a way for people to project an identity of themselves, and as a way to align themselves with certain cultures and societies. Visual identity is as old as the human race: how we want to be viewed and of course, how others choose to interact with us is all based upon how our brains
Oh, my. Inspire my design and artistic work? On a subconscious level I’m sure, but like most designers, I’m a magpie and whatever is percolating in my head is affected by the entire world around me- sights, smells sounds and conversations. Usually, my collaborative teams and the stories we tell are what inspire me most. Inspire me as a
To me, the more interesting question is what does it mean to us as individuals, as members of privileged or underrepresented societies and how do we raise each other up, being stewards and advocates of histories and marginalized cultures without continuing the colonialist rhetoric of being “inspired by” or “honouring” another and making a profit from their heritage. Which, for many marginalized people, includes pain, suffering, pride and the sacred in ways that observation alone cannot express.
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person and artist? For sure, but they seem so innumerable to mention. Rodin, though he must be experienced first-hand; Nikki de-Saint Phalle; Judy Chicagoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dinner Party; the generations of beading by the Annishnabe people can sometimes move me to tears. Much like the meticulous and exquisite craftsmanship in couture garments, the amazing spirit, love, and artistry that goes into it are breathtaking. Classic couture houses like Worth, Balmain, Balenciaga, and Dior. Philip Treacy. This list could go on and on. When it comes down to it, though, I have one everlasting idol- Desmond Heeley. His spirit, soul, professionalism, outlook, creativity, and artistry have always been a beacon for me. He recently walked on, but his legacy will live for years in his design work and the other designers he inspired. He was always more interested in what we could accomplish as theatre artists rather than be consumed by all that we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do. What can we expect to see from you next?
I hope that all those involved in fashion, design, and education remember that the world will only change when we do: when we send down the runways, draw our renderings, put on our stages and on our screens, and represent the true histories in our textbooks and museums, the panoply of people that populate this world will be seen. And whenever someone thinks that they have no way or no power to do it, I challenge you that you do. From the body types chosen in renderings; the products, companies and manufacturing practices that are used; the way you look at another person, speak to them, or interrupt them; whether you appreciate their life, their struggle; down to the keywords you use, and stories you choose to surround yourself with - you have power. The power to be silent, and to listen. The power to shift your own relationship to the world. For most of us, we just lack the willpower to do it.
My name in lights? Just kidding. Probably challenging the establishment, even if quietly. My goal is to continue making connections for people to think; using my talents and abilities to raise up the people and stories that need to be heard; and continuing to challenge our conventional notions of inspiration, celebration, and honor. Also to continue to meld research with presentations and speaking engagements that make our perspectives as minorities, and ultimately oppressed communities, heard by a greater audience. Creating work that I feel honors and adds value to this one world, this one earth, that is a gift to our species. It sounds very lofty and ignoble, but really even small currents eventually become tides that change. Any final comments? In the hustle and bustle of today; in the spectacle of our western world and the desire for more, faster, better, newer shinier ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 71
ASHANTI’S CHILDREN. IAN BARRINGTON MA FINE ART, CHELSEA COLLEGE OF ART.
How have communities and individuals created their own platforms to preserve histories outside of heritage institutions? Across the UK there have been a wealth of initiatives to varying degrees of success delivered by individuals and groups; guest talks, debates, exhibitions, through the arts, building galleries, theatres and solo or periodical events of which most famously the Notting Hill carnival, with the aim to initiate a sharing of knowledge and awareness or archive one of which became the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. The major factors are quality, awareness/ marketing and sustainability, in part this is due to the the adoptive nature, or assimilation of cultures by our modern British society. How can creative practice give voice to those underrepresented? Accessibility. We process information in a myriad of ways, languages and systems. Letters and words are constructs to deepen understanding of instruction or ideas. Image/ sound/ performance are largely universal, although can be just as or even more powerful, removing the barriers of linguistics.
Explain the piece of artwork you have submitted. My works explore cultural identities of the diaspora, focused on African, Middle Eastern and Asian. Stylised by cameo portraiture created by the ancient greeks of which is used universally by nations for currencies. My portraits are of women of different nationalities, from Afghanisthan to Jamaica. The seed of a nation, mothers that become teachers, leaders and queens if not for the losses through war, slavery and death. The portraits feature headwraps, stylised of a nation through pattern, colour or method of wearing the attire. Work submitted. “Lioness Over Zion”, a lost queen of Ethiopia that was never born. “Awakening”, A queen of Jamaica - the model lives and works in the UK but is aware of her history. “Witness To a Legacy” (Shahida) of 12th century Afghanistan.
Is inclusive programming in the heritage sector enough to counter an exclusive ‘history’? Quality and sustainability encourages further development.
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Photo by Othello Deâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Souza-Hartley
KEY TERMS. Ally
A person of one social identity group who stands up in support of members of another group; typically a member of a dominant group standing beside member(s) of a group being discriminated against or treated unjustly.
Assigned female at birth
Assigned male at birth
Artistic practice that addresses political and social issues.
The classification of sex and gender into two distinct, opposite and disconnected forms of masculine and feminine.
A term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity to name people, especially one of African, Australian Aboriginal and/or Melanisian ancestry.
The belief that sexism, class oppression, gender identity and racism are impossible to separate. These concepts relate to each other through intersectionality
A person who identifies with the gender that was assigned for them at birth
A term coined by Alice Walker in 1982. Describes the ideology and practice that dark skinned people are lesser than light skinned people. This ideology is indigenous to many cultures outside of the West but is one of the main foundations of racism and white supremacy.
The holistic safeguarding of cultural heritage through preventative measures and interventive action such as environmental monitoring and remedial repair.
When curatorial responsibilities are shared between archivists and the participants in an archive, who as a collective have the most indepth subject knowledge on the records, their contexts and uses
A form of government, tied strongly to Anceint Greek political systems, wherein citizens of a state elect representatives to govern them and potentially have the power to remove such representatives from their position.
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A Person of the indian subcontinent or South Asian diaspora. Desi countries include; Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Scattered population whose origin lies within a different geographic locale. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland.
A group of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared historical, social, cultural experiences, ancestry which distinguish them from other groups.
A set of behaviours, presentations and roles which are culturally associated with being a woman and/or possessing female sex characteristics. People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be feminine, but women and those who are assigned female at birth often experience societal pressure to be so.
Gender is an expression of the reenactment of certain roles. it may differ from time to time.
The belief that people can only fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with fixed traditional gender roles. It assumes that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation or the only norm.
Prejudice against same gender sexual and/or romantic relationships. This hatred extends to the cultures of LGBT/queer people.
Indigenous populations are communities that live within, or are attached to, geographically distinct traditional habitats or ancestral territories, and who identify themselves as being part of a distinct cultural group, descended from groups present in the area before modern states and colonial contact.
Internalised Racism Internalised racism is loosely defined as the internalisation by people of racist attitudes towards members of their own ethnic group. Intersectional Feminism
A perspective within feminism that doesn't exclude people from the movement based on their Gender, Race and Class.
A term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw which examines how social identities are used as a way to discriminate against marginalised groups who experience multiple forms of oppression simultaneously. Specifically women of colour who suffer from both gender and racial discrimination.
A concept invented by Michele Caswell which imagines archives as community-based institutions that focus on the process of imagining futures rather than collecting things. This challenges the idea of ‘belonging’ that has lead to xenophobic, queerphobic, ethnocentric and racist practices.
To relegate to the fringes, out of the mainstream; make seem unimportant:to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power.
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A set of behaviours, presentations and roles which are culturally associated with being a man and/or possessing male sex characteristics. People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be masculine, but those who are assigned male at birth often experience societal pressure to be so.
A social system in which females hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of men, at least to a large degree. An example of a matriarchal society is Moja village in Northern Kenya founded by Rebecca Lolosoli.
A term referring to misogyny directed towards Black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias.
Non-binary gender describes any gender identity which does not fit within the binary of male and female.
When a person or a group of people are subjected to unjust, and usually violent treatment by those in position of power.
An archive in which the usability and fundability of the resources is the number one priority. The usability does not denote use alone, but also a deeper level of involvement in the sense of actual participation in the archive and in the archival process.
A social system in which cis-men hold primary power, predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property at the specific exclusion of women and non gender conforming people, at least to a large degree.
Person/People of colour, has been used and taken up at different points in history in different places to describe non-white, European people.
A theory or academic discipline exploring concepts and themes relating to the cultural legacy of colonialism. Critics of this discipline often consider the prefix ‘post’ to be inaccurate as it suggests ‘a moving beyond’ the colonial moment and its impact.
Hatred towards someone based on their identity. Example: An oppressed person of colour can be prejudiced against privileged races but cannot be racist.
Ensuring the continued life of a collection of cultural material through best proper and storage practice as well as public access.
A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a individuals in particular groups by institutions.
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A word that can function as a noun phrase used by itself and that refers either to the participants in the discourse. People with various gender identities choose pronouns they feel comfortable with; some people may have more than one pronoun.
Queer, Trans and Intersex People of Colour
An umbrella term for sexual and gender minorities that are not heterosexual and/or cisgender
Similar to Homophobia, describes a fear or hatred of queer folk (any one who is not heterosexual)
A socially constructed system of classification of the human population into distinct, unequal, discontinuous groups, based, from the 17th century onwards, on physical features and ancestry. Though the concept existed long before this time, in many different forms, it was used by European scholars, scientists, merchants and nobility to legitimise and justify their genocide and dispossession of the peoples of America and enslavement of Sub-Saharan Africans.
Acts of prejudice, bigotry, and/or discrimination of individuals of one race against members of other races. These acts do not count as racism if they are coming from members of a marginalised race, i.e. black people, as they do not have the social, political or economic power to make their actions opressive and effective. Racism also refers to institutional, systemic, linguistic and economic structures that perpetuate the idea of racial superiority and inferiority, allowing for a wide range of effects, e.g. skin-bleaching, overrepresentation of PoC in prisons, underrepsentation of PoC in media, the poverty of Africa and its Diaspora community.
Radical feminism suggests that the answer to social problems can be a complete restructuring of how society defines human experience.
Refers to equality in opportunity and visibility. For example, representative media is media that is reflective of the variety of races, cultures, genders or religions that its entire readership belongs to.
Sexual Orientations A person&rsquo;s sexual identity in relation to the gender to which they are attracted Sexuality
Refers to a person's sexual orientation/preferences in terms of sexual activities
To undermine the power, authority and logic of an established system, culture or institution with the aim of overthrowing or causing a significant transformation.
Concept first developed by feminist media scholars in the 1970â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s that describes when members of marginalised groups are absent, grossly under-represented, maligned or trivialised in cultural production.
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The practice of making only a symbolic effort to practice inclusivity by accepting a small number of people from an under-repepresented group in order to give the appearance of equality within an institution or space.
The term transgender is an umbrella term for anyone whose internal experience of gender does not match the gender they were assigned at birth .
Prejudice and/or fear towards the Trans folk
A term referring to misogyny directed towards trans women.
A feminism that does not take into consideration non-white women, often even partaking in the oppression of non-white people.
White supremacy is an ideology centered upon the promotion of the belief, that white people are superior. It is argued by critical race theorist that all white people have a level of white supremacy values because of the media, education and politics have embedded whiteness as superior in society.
A term used to describe white actors or actress playing non-fictional and historical non-white character roles. Therefore writing and disconnecting historical events and achievements to the non-white community.
Women of Colour
Because mainstream feminism goals and ideologies differed to that of the needs of Black women, Alice Walker coined the term womanism where Black Women were at the center of the ideology without the need to racialise how gender plays an important role in the life of Black Women.
Fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY. Ageyman, J. (1993). ‘Alien Species’, Museums Journal 93(12): 22-3. Beckles, C. (1998). “We Shall Not Be Terrorized Out of Existence.” The Political Legacy of England’s Black Bookshops. Journal of Black Studies, 29(1), pp.51-72. Black Cultural Archives blackculturalarchives.org/ (Accessed 4th January, 2018) Carey report on the release of the colonial administration files. 2011 www.gov.uk/government/publications/cary-report-on-release-of-thecolonial-administration-files (Accessed 4th January, 2018) Caswell, M. (2014). Seeing yourself in History: Community Archives and the Fight Against Symbolic Annihilation. The Public Historian, [online] 36(4), 2637. Avaiable at: www.digitalrhetoricandnetworkedcomposition.web.unc.edu/ files/2016/01/caswell-seeing-yourself-in-history.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Clay, W. (1994). ‘Update: our family and cultural heritage’, Orator 2(1), Spring. Coard, B. (1971). How the British Educational System Makes the West Indian Child Educationally Subnormal. 1st ed. London: New Beacon Books. Community Archive and Heritage Group www.communityarchives. org.uk/ (Accessed 4th January 2018) Consilium Research & Consultancy (2013). Equality and diversity within the arts and cultural sector in England. [online] Manchester: Arts Council England. Available at: www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/Equality_ and_diversity_within_the_arts_and_cultural_sector_in_England.pdf Drake, J. (2016). Liberatory Archives: Towards Belonging and Believing (Part 1). Medium, [online]. Available at: www.medium.com/on-archivy/liberatory-archives-towards-belongingand-believing-part-1-d26aaeb0edd1 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Drake, J. (2016). Liberatory Archives: Towards Belonging and Believing (Part 2). Medium, [online]. Available at: www.medium.com/on-archivy/liberatory-archivestowards-belonging-and-believing-part-2-6f56c754eb17 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Fenton, S. Why do archive files on Britain’s colonial past keep going missing? The Guardian, 27th December 2017 www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/27/ archive-files-britain-colonial-past-government (Accessed 2nd January 2018) 82 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
Flinn, Andrew and others. (2009) Whose memories, whose archives? Independent community archives, autonomy and the mainstream. Arch Sci, Vol 9, pp71-96. Flinn, Andrew. (2011) Archival activism: independent and community archives, radical public history and the heritage professions. Interactions: UCLA journal of education and information studies. Vol 7. No 2 Foscarini, Fiorella. (2016) Engaging with records and archives: histories and theories. London, Facet. George Padmore Institute and Archive www.georgepadmoreinstitute.org/ (Accessed 4th January 2018) Gray, H. (2016). Precarious Diversity: Representation and Demography. In Curtin M. & Sanson K. (Eds.), Precarious Creativity: Global Media, Local Labor (pp. 241-253). Oakland, California: University of California Press. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ffjn40.22 Hall, C. (2013). The Legacies of British Slave-ownership. [Youtube Video] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtyATuC_f Xw [Accessed 10 Jan. 2018] Hall, C. and others. (2014) Legacies of British Slave-ownership: colonial slavery and the formation of Victorian Britain. Cambridge University Press Hall, S. (1984). Reconstruction Work: Images of post war black settlement, Ten 8, Issue 16(4). Hall, S. (1993). Cultural Identity and Diaspora, in Patrick Williams & Laura Williams, eds. Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Hall, S. (2001) Constituting an archive. Third Text.15:54 pp 89-92 Howe, D. (Ed.). (1977, Spring). Race Today. Huvila, I. (2008). Participatory archive: towards decentralised curation, radical user orientation, and broader contextualisation of records management. Archival Science, [online] 8(10), 15-36. Available at: www.istohuvila.se/files/IstoHuvila_ParticipatoryArchivePrePrint.pdf I Miss My Mumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cooking (Who More Sci-Fi Than Us, KAdE Kunsthal, Amersfoort, Netherlands 2012). ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 83
Littler, Jo and Naidoo, Roshi. (2005). The politics of heritage. Abingdon, Routledge. Manhoff, M. (2016) Mapping archival silences: technology and the historical record. In Foscarini, Fiorella. Engaging with records and archives: histories and theories. London, Facet. RAS Research Programme (Retain, Achieve, Succeed) http://www. arts.ac.uk/about-ual/diversity/ras-research-programme/ Rockers, Soulheads & Lovers: Sound Systems back in da Day (New Art Exchange, Nottingham 2015-16 & 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, London 2016). Sadler, Rosa and Cox, Andrew. (2017) Civil disobedience in the archive: documenting women’s activism and experience through the Sheffield Feminist Archive. Archives and Records, pp 1-16. Simpson, M. (2001). Making Representations: Museums in the Post-Colonial Era. London: Routledge. Southwark Council, (2013). Historic walk: Southwark’s connection to the South Atlantic Slave Trade, [online]. Available at: https://codeless88.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/walk.pdf. Society of American Archivists (2011). SAA Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics. Available at: http://archivists.org/statements/saa-corevalues-statement-and-code-of-ethics (Accessed: 23 May 2017). Tuchman, G. (1978). Introduction: The Symbolic Annihilation of Women by the Mass Media, in: Daniels, Arlene, Gaye, T., Benet, James (Eds.), Hearth and Home: Images of Women in the Mass Media. : Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 3–38. Wesley, C. (1952). Racial Historical Societies and the American Heritage. The Journal of Negro History, 37(1),
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FURTHER READING. Books: Ardouin, C.D., Arinze, E.N., West African Museums Programme, International African Institute (Eds.), (1995). Museums & the community in West Africa. Smithsonian Institution Press ; J. Currey, Washington : London. Arts Council of England, (2000). Whose heritage?: the impact of cultural diversity on Britain’s living heritage : report of National Conference at G-Mex, Manchester, 1st-3rd November, 1999. Arts Council of England, London. Bennett, S., Butler, J., 2003. Locality, regeneration and divers(c)ities. Intellect, Bristol. Bennett, T., Savage, M., Bortolaia Silva, E., Warde, A., Gayo-Cal, M., Wright, D. (2009). Culture, Class, Distinction. New York: Routledge. Coard, B., (1971) How the British Educational System Makes the West Indian Child Educationally Subnormal. 1st ed. London: New Beacon Books. Daniel, D., Levi, A.S. (Eds.), 2014. Identity palimpsests: archiving ethnicity in the U.S. and Canada, Archives, archivists and society. Litwin Books, Sacramento, CA. Donald, J. (Ed.), 2005. “Race”, culture and difference, Repr. ed, “Race”, education and society. Sage, London. Doherty, C., Basualdo, C., Ault, J. and Larsen, L. B. (2006) Curating wrong places, or where have all the penguins gone? In: O’Neill, P., ed. (2006) Curating Subjects. De Appel, Amsterdam and Open Editions, London. Dewdney, Andrew and others, eds. (2013) Post-critical museology: theory and practice in the art museum. London, Routledge. Freire, P., 1996. Pedagogy of the oppressed, New rev. ed. ed, Penguin books. Penguin Books, London. Goldbard, A., Adams, D., 2006. New creative community: the art of cultural development. New Village Press, Oakland, CA. Hall, S. (Ed.), 2006. Culture, media, language: working papers in cultural studies, 1972 - 79, Transf. to digit. print. ed. Routledge [u.a.], London. Hall, S. (Ed.), 2003. Modernity and its futures, Reprinted. ed, ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 85
Understanding modern societies. Polity Press, Cambridge. Hall, S. (1997). Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices. London: Sage. Hall, S., Du Gay, P. (Eds.), 1996. Questions of cultural identity. Sage, London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif. Hall, S. (1993). Cultural Identity and Diaspora, in Patrick Williams & Laura Williams, eds. Colonial Discourse and Post-Colonial Theory: A Reader, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Rutherford, J. (1990). Identity: community, culture, difference. Lawrence & Wishart: London. Hall, S. (1984). Reconstruction Work: Images of post war black settlement, Ten 8, Issue 16(4). James, A., 1996. Positive thinking: creative approaches to providing museum and gallery education. London. Littler, Jo and Naidoo, Roshi. (2005) The politics of heritage: the legacies of ‘race’. London, Routledge. O’Neill, P., Søren, A. (Eds.), 2007. Curating subjects. Open Editions, London. Sandell, Richard and Nightingale, Eithne, eds. (2012) Museums, equality and social justice. London, Routledge. Simpson, M. (2001). Making Representations: Museums in the Post-Colonial Era. London: Routledge.
Articles, Essays & Journals: Arondekar, A., Cvetkovich, A., Hanhardt, C.B., Kunzel, R., Nyong’o, T., Rodríguez, J.M., Stryker, S., Marshall, D., Murphy, K.P., Tortorici, Z., (2015). Queering Archives: A Roundtable Discussion. Radical History Review, [online] Available at: https:// escholarship.org/content/qt7z19h7rg/qt7z19h7rg.pdf [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Beckles, C. (1998). ‘We Shall Not Be Terrorized Out of Existence.’ The Political Legacy of England’s Black Bookshops. Journal of Black Studies, 29(1), [online] Available at: http:// journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/002193479802900104 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Richter, D. and Kolb, R. (2017). ‘Decolonizing Arts Institutions.’ On Curating. [online] 35. Available at: http://www.on-curating.org/files/oc/dateiverwaltung/issue-34/ PDF_to_Download/Oncurating_Decolonizing_Issue35.pdf [Accessed 4 Jan. 2017]. Carter, R.G.S., (2006). Of Things Said and Unsaid: Power, Archival Silences, and Power in Silence. Archivaria, [online] Available at: https://archivaria.ca/ index.php/archivaria/article/viewFile/12541/13687 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Caswell, M. (2014). Seeing yourself in History: Community Archives and the Fight Against Symbolic Annihilation. The Public Historian, [online] 36(4), 26-37. 86 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
[online] Avaiable at: www.digitalrhetoricandnetworkedcomposition.web.unc.edu/ files/2016/01/caswell-seeing-yourself-in-history.pdf [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Consilium Research & Consultancy (2013). Equality and diversity within the arts and cultural sector in England. [online] Manchester: Arts Council England, [online] Available at: www.artscouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/download-file/Equality_and_diversity_ within_the_arts_and_cultural_sector_in_England.pdf [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Drake, J. (2016). Liberatory Archives: Towards Belonging and Believing (Part 1). Medium, [online]. Available at: www.medium.com/on-archivy/liberatory-archives-towards-belongingand-believing-part-1-d26aaeb0edd1 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Drake, J. (2016). Liberatory Archives: Towards Belonging and Believing (Part 2). Medium, [online]. Available at: www.medium.com/on-archivy/liberatory-archivestowards-belonging-and-believing-part-2-6f56c754eb17 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Eardley, A.F., Mineiro, C., Neves, J., Ride, P., 2016. Redefining Access: Embracing multimodality, memorability and shared experience in Museums. Curator: The Museum Journal 59, 263â&#x20AC;&#x201C;286. https://doi.org/10.1111/cura.12163 Evans, J., Hall, S., and Nixon, S. (2013). Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices. London: Sage Publications, [online] Available at: https://www. unipa.it/scuole/s.u.p.c./.content/documenti/150121-testo.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Farrell, B. and Medvedeva, M. (2010). Demographic Transformation and the Future of Museums. Washington DC: The AAM Press. [online] Available at: www.aam-us.org/docs/center-for-the-future-of-museums/ demotransaam2010.pdf [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Foster, H. (2004). An Archival Impulse. The MIT Press, [online] 110, 3-22. Available at: www.poderesunidosstudio.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/ hal-foster-an-archival-impulse.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Flinn, A., Shepherd, E., Stevens, M. (2009). Whose memories, whose archives? Independent community archives, autonomy and the mainstream. Archival Science, [online] Available at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10502-009-9105-2. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Gehlbach, R.D., 1990. Art Education: Issues in Curriculum and Research. Educational Researcher 19, [online] Available at: http://journals.sagepub. com/doi/abs/10.3102/0013189X019007019. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Gilliand, A., McKemmish, S. (2014). Role Participatory Archives in Furthering Human Rights Reconciliation and Recovery. Atlanti, [online] 24(1). Available at: www.iiastrieste-maribor.eu/fileadmin/atti/2014/Gilliland.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Hall, S., (2001). Constituting an archive. Third Text 15, [online] Available at: www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/095288201 ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 87
08576903?needAccess=true. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Huvila, I. (2008). Participatory archive: towards decentralised curation, radical user orientation, and broader contextualisation of records management. Archival Science, [online] 8(10), 15-36. Available at: www.istohuvila.se/files/ IstoHuvila_ParticipatoryArchivePrePrint.pdf [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Jones, S. (2009). Expressive Lives. [online]. London: Demos. Available at: www.demos. co.uk/files/ExpressiveLives_web_ii.pdf?1246871840. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Keaney, E. (2006). Culture and civil renewal â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the human face of regeneration. Engage Review, [online] 17. Available at: www.engage.org/ downloads/18BA16C31_17.%20Emily%20Keaney.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Levitt, P. (2015). Museums Must Attract Diverse Visitors or Risk Irrelevance. The Atlantic. [online]. Available at: www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/11/museums-must-attractdiverse-visitors-or-risk-irrelevance/433347/. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Marshall, D., Murphy, K., Tortorici, Z.. and Arondekar, A., Cvetkovich, A., Hanhardt, C., Kunzel, R., Nyongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;o, T, Rodriguez, J., Stryker, S. (2015). Queering Archives, A Roundtable Discussion. Radical History Review, [online] 122, 211-231. Available at: www.anncvetkovich. com/uploads/9/9/3/8/9938110/radical_history_review-2015.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Meecham, P. (2005). Museums for changing lives? Engage Review, [online] 17. Available at: www.engage.org/downloads/18BA16BC7_17.%20 Pam%20Meecham.pdf [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Radhakrishnan, R. (1993). Postcoloniality and The Boundaries of Identity. Callaloo 16, 750, [online] Available at: www.jstor.org/ stable/2932208?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Shilton, K. and Srinivasan, R. (2007). Participatory Appraisal and Arrangement for Multicultural Archival Collections. Archivaria. [online] 63, 87-101. Available at: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9642/ c824d282bfb18a4a1aa87e58907e278bf9a6.pdf. [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Williams, S. and Drake, J. (2017) Power to the People Documenting Police Violence in Cleveland. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies. Available at: http://www.academia.edu/32657323/Power_to_the_People_ Documenting_Police_Violence_in_Cleveland [Accessed 10 Dec. 2017]. 88 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
DIGITAL RESOURCES. Websites: www.ayeshafuentes.com/readings Website of objects conservator and researcher, Ayesha Fuentes www.ianbarringtonart.com Website of contributing artist, Ian Barrington www.ideacritik.com Website of contributing artist, Audrey Samson www.kabul-reconstructions.net/disappeared The Index of the Disappeared is an ongoing collaboration between artists Chitra Ganesh and Mariam Ghani. It is a physical archive of post-9/11 disappearances - detentions, deportations, renditions, redactions - and a platform for public dialogue around related issues. The Index also produces visual and poetic interventions that circulate fragments of the archive in the wider world. www.minheekim.crevado.com Website of contributing artist, Minhee Kim www.othellodesouzahartley.com Website of contributing artist, Othello Deâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Souza-Hartley www.raymondantrobus.com Website of contributing writer, Raymond Antrobus www.rayvenn-dclark.com Website of contributing artist, Rayvenn Dâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Clark
Podcasts: Oxborrow-Cowan, E. (2017). Freedom of memory: a new human right?.The National Archives Podcast. Available at: http://media.nationalarchives.gov.uk/index. php/big-ideas-freedom-memory-new-human-right/[Accessed 20 Nov. 2017]. Olusoga, D. (2017). 200 Years of Black History.Backdoor Broadcasting Company Academic Podcasts. Available at: www.backdoorbroadcasting.net/2017/10/ david-olusoga-2000-years-of-black-history/ [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 89
Video: Fuentes, A. (2017). Cultural detritus, conservation ethics and contemporaneity. In: Decolonising the cultural institution? [online] London: SOAS CCLPS Postgraduate Conference. Available at: www.soas.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer. aspx?id=a1fc6f93-a355-427a-a777-1a096f15a39f [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Joyce, J. (2017). Sorry Not Sorry, Tokenism and White Liberal Proverbs. [Youtube video] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRO0_F6WBGo [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Le Couteur, C. (2017). Decolonising, Non-Binary Research and the Fictive Museum. In: Decolonising the cultural institution? [online] London: SOAS CCLPS Postgraduate Conference. Available at: www.soas.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer. aspx?id=5a03553f-0538-4fb1-82c0-5f621bfe5cd6 [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017]. Object Positions Public Lectures 1-4.(2017). Available at: www.theshowroom.org/ projects/object-positions-curatorial-fellowship. [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017]. Olton, B. (2017). A Necessary Fiction at Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. [Youtube Video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/ channel/UCzlS3tPk3-VdGm26YNTt_Ig. [Accessed 4 January. 2017]. The Palestinian Museum (2016). The Embroiderers. Available at: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=cJiyApe9tqw&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017]. Whitley, Z. (2016). How artists create spaces for dialogue. [Youtube video] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvype-frXWw [Accessed 5 Nov. 2017].
Key Organisations: Iniva - Stuart Hall Library www.iniva.org/library/ One of the leading UK libraries in international visual art holding a substantial collection of monographs, catalogues, periodicals, DVDs and other media on visual arts and culture focusing on contemporary art from Africa, Asia and Latin America and the work of British artists from diverse cultural backgrounds. The Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Library www.lse.ac.uk/Library/Collections/Collection-highlights/The-Womens-Library A UNESCO recognised collection housed at the London School of Economics consisted of printed material, archives and 3-D objects. Disability Cooperative Network for Museums (DCN) www.musedcn.org.uk/ A UK-based group of committed museum professionals working with national charities, organisations, people with disabilities, academics, groups, disability networks in other sectors, curators and managers to promote and embed inclusive practice in the heritage and cultural sector. 90 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
Decolonising the Archive (DTA) www.decolonisingthearchive.com/ London-based body working to reclaim black narratives, past and future by recontextualising and reflecting on heritage objects in archives. South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) www.saada.org/ A Philadelphia-based nonprofit dedicated to creating a more inclusive society by giving voice to South Asian American through documenting, preserving and sharing stories that represent their unique and diverse experiences. George Padmore Institute www.georgepadmoreinstitute.org/ A London-based archive, educational research and information centre housing materials relating mainly to the black community of Caribbean, African and Asian descent in Britain and continental Europe. Tell Us About It www.education.shadesofnoir.org.uk/digi-artefact/ www.arts.ac.uk/study-at-ual/library-services/collections-and-archives/ archives-and-special-collections-centre/collections/ A joint collaboration between Creative Learning in Practice and the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and the University of the Arts London Diversity Team, the Tell Us About It project explores the learning experiences of students with diverse backgrounds. The aim is to extend the range of institutional strategies to support students effectively in their learning and progression. The collection has been digitised by Shades of Noir and is now hosted on its Educational Resource site. Black Cultural Archives www.blackculturalarchives.org/ The only national repository of Black history and culture in the UK— a public archive safeguarding history if people of African and Caribbean descent in Britain. Arts Council England www.artscouncil.org.uk/ Organisation funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to support arts, information and heritage sectors. Heritage Lottery Fund www.hlf.org.uk/ HLF is the largest dedicated funder of heritage in the UK— advocates and supports heritage projects nationally. ukadia www.ukadia.ac.uk/about/ A group of specialist arts and design institutions from across the UK’s higher and further education sectors aiming to widen participation in higher education and encourage mobility in professions serving creative and cultural industries ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 91
The Feminist Library www.feministlibrary.co.uk The Feminist Library is a large archive collection of Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Liberation Movement literature, supporting research, activist and community projects in this field. UNESCO en.unesco.org UNESCO is responsible for coordinating international cooperation to promote access for all to education, scientific advancement, and cultural heritage. May Day Rooms www.maydayrooms.org/about An educational charity founded as a safe haven for historical material linked to social movements, experimental culture and the radical expression of marginalised figures and groups. Black Quantum Futurisms www.blackquantumfuturism.com A Philadelphia-based collective exploring Black/ African cultural traditions of consciousness, time and space. BQFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work focuses on recovery, collection and preservation of communal memories, histories and stories through, writing, music, film, visual art, and research projects. Art & Humanities Research Council www.ahrc.ac.uk A funding body supporting research in the arts and humanities. Community Archives and Identities Project www.ucl.ac.uk/dis/icarus/projects/community-archives An AHRC funded project exploring the importance of independent community archives and their role in the production of collective identities. rukus! www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitanarchives/the-collections/Pages/rukus.aspx Black and LGBT cultural archive consisting of collected diaries, letters, minutes and related papers, magazines, pamphlets, flyers, posters, journals, books, photographs and prints, audiovisual material, memorabilia and ephemera. Records relate to individuals including activists, DJs, club promoters, writers, artists and magazine publishers; community organisations; and subjects including sexual heath, black lesbians and women, night clubs and pride events. The Center for Historical Reenactments www.facebook.com/pg/Center-for-HistoricalReenactments-151490281528008/about/?ref=page_internal The Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR) is a Johannesburg based nonprofit organisation, which sets to look at history to investigate how, within a particular historical hegemony, certain values have been created, promoted and subsequently sublated into a broader universal discourse. CHR explores how artistic production helps us to deconstruct particular readings of history and how historical 92 // ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE.
context informs artistic creation, both which become central questions. Curating Development www.curatingdevelopment.com/f The Curating Development project uses curatorial research methodology to address conversations about development. It combines ethnographic methods including participant observation, curatorial research practice involving community-based arts events to investigate the nature of Filipino migrant workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; investments in their own country. The Anarchist Library www.theanarchistlibrary.org/special/index Free, publicly editable web-based library. . Numbi, Coming Here: Being Here www.numbi.org/heritage-archive-projects/ This project archiving British Somali presence in the East End of London seeks to engage with, gather and share the stories of people in the Somali community and train 10-15 local people to design and deliver the workshops and events that make up the archival process. The project spans over five months (September 2017 February 2018) and culminates in an exhibition and a live celebratory event. Chimurenga Library www.chimurengalibrary.co.za The Chimurenga Library is an ongoing invention into knowledge production and the archive. Curated by Chimurenga, it investigates the library and the archive as conceptual and physical spaces in which memories are preserved and history decided. Pan African Space Station (PASS) www.panafricanspacestation.org.za PASS is a pop-up live radio studio, a performance and exhibition space, a research platform and living archive, and an internet based radio station. A Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland www.archivingpoliceviolence.org A web-based archive which collects, preserves, and shares the stories, memories, and accounts of police violence as experienced or observed by Cleveland citizens. Indian Memory Project www.indianmemoryproject.com Indian Memory Project is an online, curated, visual and narrative based archive that traces a history and identities of the Indian Subcontinent Black Radical Imagination www.blackradicalimagination.com A touring program of visual shorts that delve into the worlds of new media, video art and experimental narrative. The notion of Black Radical Imagination stemmed from a series of discussions around the boundaries and limitations historically given to people of color in the realm of the cinematic. ETHICS, HIERARCHY AND IMPERIALISM: PRESERVING VOICES VULNERABLE TO ERASURE. // 93
Nelson Mandela International Dialogues www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/nelson-mandela-international-dialogues-overview A collaboration between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ Global Leadership Academy to bring together participants from countries worldwide to engage in a series of dialogues on memory work.
Twitter Users to Follow: @newbeaconbooks @MicheleCaswell @jmddrake @raymondantrobus @bcaheritage @AutographABP @GPI_Archive @IndigArchives @ideacritik @FRAUD_la @AfroFutures_UK @DWAN @MuslimsinArts @SYFUCollective @fhalmarchives @BlackMuslimArt @museumDCN
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We salute you!
Ethics, Hierarchy and Imperialism: Preserving Voices Vulnerable to Erasure ÂŠ Shades Of Noir 2018