Thinking Through the Museum: UWinnipeg Prof leads collaboration

Dr. Angela Failler

Dr. Angela Failler

UWinnipeg’s Dr. Angela Failler has been awarded a three-year Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant valued at $168,618 for her project Difficult Knowledge in Public: Thinking Through the Museum. Failler is an Associate Professor in the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies. UWinnipeg hosts this grant in partnership with Concordia and Carleton universities.

“We are motivated to support museums and cultural institutions in the realization of their own mandates and commitments to meaningful dialogue with communities through public engagement,” said Failler. “Museums will benefit from the network of researchers and partnership approaches established through this phase of our project by expanding their capacity to be in touch with the needs and interests of the communities they represent and serve.”

The project team includes Failler (Principal Investigator), Dr. Erica Lehrer (Co-Investigator, Concordia University), Dr. Heather Igloliorte (Co-Investigator, Concordia University), and Dr. Monica Patterson (Co-Investigator, Carleton University).

The team’s objective is to build an experienced network of researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to collaborate with museum practitioners, community members and students. This network will serve as infrastructure to sustain a research program with the scale and expertise to engage diverse communities and the broader public, focusing on the potential for museums to provide opportunities for learning about and from difficult histories including forms of colonial violence, such as residential schools, whose legacies remain potent and affecting in the present. Emphasis will also be placed on community-based efforts calling for museums to be responsive to socially marginalized groups and individuals.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg serves as a catalyst and pilot site for the project. Failler has led UWinnipeg’s Cultural Studies Research Group (CSRG) in developing case studies of various facets of the CMHR ranging from news media coverage and public reception to the museum’s governance structure, consultation processes, exhibition plans, communications strategies, location, and architecture. UWinnipeg’s physical proximity to the CMHR has provided opportunities for Failler and her colleagues to be in direct dialogue with curatorial and education staff from the CMHR, and to observe how local communities and debates are impacting the newly opened museum. See more about the CSRG’s project:


Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg

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