Museum Openings: Caring for Difficult Knowledge

University of Winnipeg Members of the Cultural Studies Research Group taking a tour of the Museum

University of Winnipeg Members of the Cultural Studies Research Group taking a tour of the Museum – courtesy of the CMHR

Having the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg brings with it opportunities, but also challenges and responsibilities.  The University of Winnipeg’ Cultural Studies Research Group is hosting an invitational workshop that coincides with the CMHR’s public opening.  Museum Openings: Caring for Difficult Knowledge Within and Beyond the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, from September 19-21, 2014.

The workshop aims to consider its impact on human rights discourse and contemporary museum and curatorial practice, its contribution to cultural heritage and public history debates, and its influence on both local communities and at the national and international levels.

courtesy of the CMHR

courtesy of the CMHR

More specifically, the workshop is geared to address how thinking through the CMHR as a site of “difficult knowledge” may help generate new concepts and terms of engagement for learning from histories of violence and suffering within and beyond the museum.

“Difficult knowledge refers to encounters with the past that are not easily assimilated into our present frameworks of understanding,” explains Failler. “Canada’s ongoing history of colonization and the genocidal practices carried out against First Nations and Metis people, for example, constitute difficult knowledge relative to common conceptions of Canada as a benevolent and peaceful nation.”

Highlights include a keynote lecture by Dr. Karyn Ball (University of Alberta) as well as presentations by CSRG members, CMHR staff, and visiting scholars from Australia and across North America, as well as the participation of curators from local galleries including Gallery 1C03, Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and students from the MA Program in Cultural Studies and beyond. This workshop also incorporates a special tour of the CMHR, and marks the official launch of a new research partnership between UWinnipeg’s CSRG and Concordia University’s Centre for Ethnographic Research and Exhibition in the Aftermath of Violence (CEREV).


Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E:

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