Why museums matter: activism, politics and protest

Next week we have the privilege of welcoming Professor Richard Sandell, a leading museologist from the UK, to Te Papa. Richard, who my colleague devoutly declares ‘should be compulsory reading for anyone working in a museum’, is one of the keynote speakers at this year’s Federation of International Human Rights conference. His keynote address, ‘Why Museums Matter: activism, politics and protest’, is taking place on Wednesday 23 September at 6pm, and is open to the public free of charge. All you need to do is book.

Professor Richard Sandell, University of Leicester, UK.

Of his research interests, Richard comments:

‘My research, frequently carried out in collaboration with museums, focuses on the potential for museums to support social justice and equality. I am especially interested in the emergence, over the past two decades, of an ‘activist museum practice’ (Sandell and Dodd 2010) and in exploring the social agency of museums and, in particular, their potential to tackle prejudice and engage audiences in debates pertaining to contemporary human rights. Current projects are exploring museums’ increasing engagement with sexuality, gender identity and LGBTQ history and culture and developing new, progressive narratives of disability within museums.

Richard’s work has had a profound impact on museum policy and practice in recent years. In this lecture he reviews recent trends, explores why museums matter, and considers their potential to make a difference to their communities. As Te Papa is on the brink of a major renewal project, the timing of Richard’s presentation could not be better. If you are interested in museums, their relationship with communities and the potential they have to make a real difference in society, please come along.

If you would like to attend the conference, registrations are still open. The three day conference features speakers from New Zealand and around the world. To find out more about the conference, visit: http://www.fihrmconference.nz/

Professor Sandell’s visit has been made possible by Victoria University’s Museum & Heritage Studies Programme.




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