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Special Collection

Museums and Social Justice

Collection launched: 22 Jul 2021

Museums, as products of the European Enlightenment, have been implicated in imperialist and colonialist exploits since their beginnings. Following the international protests sparked by the unjust police killings of Black Americans, institutions must respond better to the needs of black, indigenous, and other people of colour (BIPOC), as well as other marginalized communities. Addressing diversity, equity and inclusion has been promoted as the way to fight historical injustices and systemic racism.

But, what does this mean for museums? How are museum staff, volunteers, and communities affected? How do museums distance themselves from their histories of perceived neutrality and take responsibility for myth-making? How do museums ensure that BIPOC representation reaches all facets of their organizations including staff, visitors and exhibition content? Is collecting statues of personalities implicated in racist, colonial or imperial histories a threat or an opportunity for museums? Have there been stories of success or failure that can inform museums’ next steps?

This collection brings together submissions from a Special Call for papers on the topic that was issued in summer 2020. The collection will remain open for future relevant contributions.

Image credit: geralt @Pixabay