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Decolonising Collections: Curatorial Research Network Call for contributions

Upshot of bronze statue in a museum wearing a disposable facemask
Upshot of bronze statue in a museum wearing a disposable facemask
Rodin during Covid-19 courtesy of Manchester Art Gallery © Andrew Brooks
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
22 January 2021

Decolonising Collections is an emerging curatorial research network led by UAL’s Decolonising Arts Institute in partnership with the Arts Council Collection, British Council Collection and Manchester Art Gallery Collections, generously supported by the Art Fund Professional Network Grant scheme.

The network will focus on 3 virtual connected research residencies, hosted remotely and digitally by the Arts Council Collection, British Council Collection and Manchester Art Gallery Collections.

Three curatorial researchers will be awarded bursaries of £5,000 each, to support c.25 days of collections-based research undertaken flexibly on a part-time basis over a 9-month period through 2021. The virtual residencies will interrogate specific aspects of the three collections’ practices, policies, histories, holdings and objects through critical and creative strategies that engage decolonial thinking/doing and address questions of decolonisation. The network/residency programme will culminate in an online digital display and related e-publication.

Residencies will be largely remote while lockdown restrictions remain in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical access arrangements to the three collections are under constant review in accordance with government guidance. As such, proposals should not rely on physical engagement with the collections and need to be adaptable to the rapidly changing circumstances. Curatorial researchers may propose, for example, to work primarily with digital artefacts (digital research sources, digital art works or digital assets of art works), and/or the narrative practices and interpretative processes around the collections, and/or specific acquisition or exhibition histories.

We welcome proposals that focus on a specific collection or aspect of a collection, and/or a specific artwork(s), with approaches that may challenge, for example, dominant narratives of identity, nation, culture, language, heritage, Britishness, Eurocentrism, Westernisation, modernism, feminism, radicalism, activism, whiteness, blackness, race, class, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, age, belief, and the politics of institutional memory and silence.

Key dates

  • Deadline for submissions: 14 February 2021, 5pm
  • Online interviews: 19 February 2021
  • Residency period: March – November 2021
  • Digital display and e-publication: December 2021

How to apply

Decolonising Collections - Curatorial Research Network call document [PDF, 214KB]

Application form [MS Word, 814KB]