The Postcolonial Heritage Research Group (PHRG) and The University of Sussex School of Media, Arts and Humanities are excited to present a new seminar series titled The New Museum Paradigm, which seeks to provide a common platform to promote complex and provocative research concerned with the social role of museums. Our seminar welcomes approaches that engage critically with key themes and issues relating to the study of museums and their place in society in the hope of drawing interdisciplinary links between different contexts of museum traditions in how they engage with the themes of imperialism, colonialism and slavery (and other intersecting issues). We are interested in bringing together perspectives from Europe, North America, South America and Africa to explore new subjects, methods, philosophies, approaches, temporalities, geographies and practices under the guise of the New Museum Paradigm in the hope of producing a more high-resolution picture of the current museumscape.

This seminar series will follow on from our successful 2019 inaugural symposium Empire and the New Museum Paradigm, which was also hosted by The University of Sussex (funded by CHASE).

We welcome speakers from across academia and the museum & heritage sector, and we aim to ensure maximum representation of those from underrepresented groups as well as postgraduate students and ECRs.  We aim to have 6 sessions in total, all focusing on decolonisation in museums, touching on important themes concerning the social role of museums (more information on each panel can be found on our website):

  1. Museums and Education (Convenor: Laharee Mitra, MA Goldsmiths, University of London)

  2. Museums and Science (Convenor: Mike Rayner, PhD student, University of Sussex)

  3. Museums and Anti-Slavery (Convenor: Adiva Lawrence, PhD student, University of Hull & Dr Lennon Mhishi, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Liverpool)

  4. Museums and Race (Convenor: Matthew Jones, PhD student, University of Sussex)

  5. Museums and Restitution (Convenor: Dr Samuel Aylett, Visiting Fellow at The Open University)

  6. Summary session: The New Museum Paradigm? (Convenor: Dr Samuel Aylett, Visiting Fellow at The Open University)

Each session will last around one and a half hours. Each session will comprise 3 speakers with papers of no longer than 10-15mins, followed by a Q&A. We also welcome presentations that take the form of artistic interventions in the broadest sense, and those that diverge from the usual format. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to hold these seminars virtually. This also presents us with the opportunity to broadcast these seminars to a global audience. We will also be recording them and uploading them onto YouTube. 

We welcome proposals from academic, practitioners, artists, activists, and heritage and museum professionals that speak to/contradict/challenge the thematic panels. Please submit a short bio (no more than 200 words), and a proposal of no more than 300 words to Further explanation of each thematic panel can be found below. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL NO LATER THAN THE 16TH APRIL 2021. We expect papers to take place during the summer term. 


Applicants from underrepresented minority groups across the humanities, academia and the arts & heritage sector can apply for a bursary of £200. Whilst the conference is online, and therefore travel is not necessary, we are acutely aware of the underrepresentation of minority groups across the Humanities.  The Royal Historical Report on Race, Ethnicity and Equality released in 2018, demonstrated, for example, that in the history profession ‘…93.7% of historians are White, a figure considerably higher than that for the sector as whole (85%) making the discipline one of the least diverse in the sector. Almost all BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) groups are underrepresented, but the proportion of Black academics is especially low. Across the sector, only 1.5% of academic staff are Black. In History the proportion is 0.5%.’ Experiences of exclusion, bias and discrimination need to be challenge if we are to attract the best intellects, and it is with this in mind we encourage those from underrepresented groups to apply for a bursary when submitting a proposal. A total of 15 bursaries are available.

More here.

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