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DOING THE WORK: Embedding anti-racism and decolonisation into museum practice

3 walls of an indoor installation of placards with images mounted on sticks of different heights
  • Written byCommunications Team
  • Published date15 January 2021
3 walls of an indoor installation of placards with images mounted on sticks of different heights
Sonia Boyce, Devotional Wallpaper and Placards, 2008-2020. Acquired by the Contemporary Art Society for the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) through the Rapid Response Fund, 2020.

The re-ignition of the Black Lives Matter and Rhodes Must Fall movements have prompted UK museums and galleries to review their collections and practices. In 2021, The Contemporary Art Society (CAS) has made decolonisation a central focus of its work.

To support staff working in museums, art galleries and public art collections, CAS has partnered with UAL Decolonising Arts Institute to run a dedicated seminar programme across this year called DOING THE WORK: Embedding anti-racism and decolonisation into museum practice.

A series of 8 monthly workshops run by CAS and led by Decolonising Arts Institute's Dr Anjalie Dalal-Clayton will focus on co-developing practical support strategies and meaningful action to embed anti-racist and decolonial working practices across the museum sector.

The programme is designed to springboard from the active participation of workshop participants. It will draw on personal experiences from those working in museums and examples of both good and bad practice, so that real challenges can be understood and overcome. Participants will be asked to share and discuss specific examples that they have encountered or been involved in, to enable an open and productive discussion.  Each workshop will be limited to 25-30 participants, who will break out into smaller groups for more in-depth discussion.

The programme

Stretching across 2021, the series will address a variety of areas of museum work. The first half will consider how artworks are catalogued, interpreted, curated, and displayed, and how interventions by artists and curators not embedded within the museum can impact these practices. The second half will explore key issues in public engagement, acquisitions, funding and patronage, and leadership and governance.

The sessions include speaker presentations from individuals working in the museum and gallery sector in the UK and internationally, who have a track record of implementing anti-racist and/or decolonial practice in their fields of work, including UAL Professor Paul Goodwin.

The first 3 workshops running January to March are fully booked. Visit the CAS website to view the programme details and speaker biographies and for future workshop dates.

UAL Decolonising Arts Institute

UAL Decolonising Arts Institute seeks to challenge colonial and imperial legacies and drive cultural, social and institutional change. The Institute works on collaborative projects in arts and education across UAL and beyond. Find out more about our projects.


Image: Sonia Boyce, Devotional Wallpaper and Placards, 2008-2020. Acquired by the Contemporary Art Society for the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA) through the Rapid Response Fund, 2020.