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Worlding Public Cultures: new research seeks to reimagine the global

Abstract painting
Abstract painting
Abstract painting
Written by
Cat Cooper
Published date
20 October 2020

TrAIN was recently awarded a major international grant for our new research project Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation.

This project sets out to connect people locally with key activity happening in museums and universities under the term ‘global’. It will facilitate an international exchange of critical information about key exhibitions, university courses and activist campaigns centred on decolonising museums, the impact of globalisation on art and decolonial curation in the field of transnational art.

As museums and universities worldwide move forward with decolonising activities, the dedicated project website will provide a global hub for exchange and information. A publicly accessible database will share a vast store of curated data and information about how these 'global' narratives are being told and shared by museums, university courses and activist initiatives around the world - providing local museum workers, university teachers and students and cultural activists with bespoke information that can help them when planning and organising activities or projects.

This research will support and strengthen ongoing initiatives on decolonisation and internationalisation of museums and universities by staff, cultural workers, students and activists in Europe and North America. As it moves forward, the aim is to expand the scope of the project to include narratives coming from the Global South.

The story so far

Principal Investigator, TrAIN director and UAL Chair of Contemporary Art and Urbanism Professor Paul Goodwin leads a team of researchers from universities in Europe and North America: Free University of Amsterdam (VU); Concordia University, Canada; Carleton University, Canada and University of Heidelberg, Germany. The project will draw on and collaborate with the world-class learning and outreach programmes of our partner institutions including Tate Modern, National Gallery of Canada and Dutch National Museum of World Cultures, as well as the extensive and longstanding public programmes of the partner research centres.

​The project started in January 2020 and has recruited post-doctoral researchers in the London, Amsterdam and Heidleberg teams. In London at UAL, digital humanities specialist, Dr Maribel Hildalgo Urbaneja has joined the project to lead on developing the project website and database.

Work has also begun planning publications, events, data collection and overall planning – with planning underway for Academies (symposia) in Amsterdam in April 2021 on 'Decolonisation, Activism and Institutions' and London in December 2021 on 'Worlding the Caribbean'.

The design and build of the project website and database is underway. These key project outputs are due launch to coincide with the first Academy in April next year. The website will house interviews with curators, educators and activists in addition to the database and video and audio materials from the public events and Academies.

Find out more about Worlding Public Cultures: The Arts and Social Innovation project


Main image: Paul Chisholm, MA Fine Art Chelsea College of Arts UAL 2019. Photo by David Poultney