Decolonizing Curatorial Pedagogies
In the wake of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Final Report and its calls to action demanding a review of museum policies and best practices in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, a two-day workshop, titled Decolonizing Curatorial Pedagogies was held in Ottawa this spring. UWinnipeg professor Dr. Angela Failler participated in this significant exploration — led by Carleton University’s Dr. Monica Patterson — along with her colleagues, Dr. Erica Lehrer and Dr. Heather Igloliorte of Concordia University.
The workshop explored the possibilities for decolonizing approaches at the intersection of curating and pedagogy. The questions it raised include: what does it mean to employ decolonizing curatorial pedagogies in the museum, in the classroom, and in other public spaces; and how can curating as pedagogy deepen engagement with difficult historical and cultural issues and contribute to social justice?
“This workshop provided an opportunity to connect with members of the Carleton and Ottawa communities and engage in a critical discussion on decolonizing how we teach and learn through/by curatorial studies,” Failler says. “The possibility for teaching through curating in university classrooms, galleries and museums, or community settings is incredibly valuable for The University of Winnipeg, particularly for our Cultural and Curatorial Studies programs.”
The workshop included a day at the Canadian Museum of History to hear from staff and Carleton public history students about the proposed revisions for the Canadian History Hall, followed by a tour of research assistant and curator Alexandra Nahwegahbow’s exhibit Temporal Re-Imaginings. The tour concluded with the keynote lecture by Dr. Amy Lonetree, University California Santa Cruz, titled Indigenizing Museums and the Move Toward Decolonization: Successes and Ongoing Challenges. Her address examined the current state of contemporary exhibition practice with, by, and for Native Americans at both national and tribal museums.
More information about the workshop, including photos, videos, and the full program can be found on the project’s website by visiting Decolonizing Curatorial Pedagogies.
This workshop was funded primarily by a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant project titled Thinking through the Museum: Difficult Knowledge in Public directed by Failler.