24 September 2021


UNESCO Chair Refugee Integration Through Language and the Arts and Glasgow Museum's Virtual global forum 

28-30 September 2021 

An evaluation of centuries of European colonialism is at last emerging and moving to centre stage. Museums, archives, universities and related institutions whose own histories are inextricable from colonialism are being forced to examine their practices unquestioned for centuries.

For many indigenous peoples their history, identity, culture and traditions are often contained within their artefacts. However, for over 300 years many activities associated with colonialism have resulted in colonised peoples being physically separated from their material heritage which may now exist only in museum or archive collections.

How can entrenched ways of seeing, collecting, conserving, and curating the knowledge and material inherited from imperial collecting become inverted, subverted, and diverted?

How can colonial institutions function as both a target of criticism and a means through which colonising nations re-evaluate their colonial past?

Can museum objects themselves act as catalysts for critique and reinvention?

The volume of demands for accountability, transparency, and repair for injustice past and present is increasing. Conversations are often harder to hear than accusations, condemnation or dismissal. We want to start these conversations. 

Themes for Unsettled Objects: Global Repatriation Forum:

  • Place: Who decides whether an object or objects are in the right place? How do we define that place? Do objects have a ‘home’
  • Relationships: objects define and can be defined by their relationships with people and cultures. Objects can tell many stories, sing many songs. Whose stories are we listening to? How do the stories that get told affect the objects?
  • Fragmentation and dispersal: Often the true importance of sacred objects to the people and cultures who created them are obscured or hidden. They may only be whole when united with the legends, songs, and ceremonies associated with them. Can the material objects survive the separation from their sacred intangible whole? What is lost when a collection is fragmented and dispersed? Who loses? Who gains?

11 September 2021

Job Opportunity: National Trust Collections Cataloguer (x2)

 The National Trust is undertaking the delivery of new programmes of interpretation using their world collections, and are seeking two Collections Cataloguers to support the objectives of this project. The cataloguing roles will support the editing of outdated language on our collections management system, as well as improving the lack of research and information available online about our world collections. 

This role is part of a short-term project, offered on a fixed-term basis until the end of February 2022. 

Are you excited by the prospect of new research, creating national connections, and improving public access? Your practical cataloguing skills and world collections research will enable the National Trust to promote under-researched collections to external audiences, and ensure collections can readily support the diverse ways we communicate history publicly.