Museums and the future of curatorship

Edited by Philipp Schorch and Conal McCarthy



  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1819-6
  • Pages: 360
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: November 2018
  • BIC Category: Archaeology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Archaeology, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural, ART / Museum Studies, Humanities / Archaeology, Society & social sciences / Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography, Reference, information & interdisciplinary subjects / Museology & heritage studies


What is the future of curatorship? Is there a vision for an ideal model, a curatopia, whether in the form of a utopia or dystopia? Or is there a plurality of approaches, amounting to a curatorial heterotopia? This pioneering volume addresses these questions by considering the current state of curatorship. It reviews the different models and approaches operating in museums, galleries and cultural organisations around the world and discusses emerging concerns, challenges and opportunities. The collection explores the ways in which the mutual, asymmetrical relations underpinning global, scientific entanglements of the past can be transformed into more reciprocal, symmetrical forms of cross-cultural curatorship in the present, arguing that this is the most effective way for curatorial practice to remain meaningful. International in scope, the volume covers three regions: Europe, North America and the Pacific.


'This provocative and timely volume, which assembles key perspectives from an impressive ensemble of international curators, scholars and critics, provides a series of critical yet rousing reflections on the future of curatorial practice. Aiming to advance the field beyond the terms of existing debates, the book maps out new futures for museums and collections, acknowledging that these profoundly cross-cultural institutions can only be made relevant by engaging them collaboratively and dialogically.'
Rodney Harrison, Professor of Heritage Studies, University College London


Philipp Schorch is Head of Research at the State Ethnographic Collections of Saxony - GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde Leipzig, Museum für Völkerkunde Dresden and Museum für Völkerkunde Herrnhut, Germany

Conal McCarthy is Associate Professor and Director of the Museum and Heritage Studies Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand


Introduction: conceptualising Curatopia - Philipp Schorch, Conal McCarthy and Eveline Dürr

Part I: Europe
1 The museum as method (revisited) - Nicholas Thomas
2 What not to collect? Post-connoisseurial dystopia and the profusion of things - Sharon Macdonald and Jennie Morgan
3 Concerning curatorial practice in ethnological museums: an epistemology of postcolonial debate - Larissa Förster and Friedrich von Bose
4 Walking the fine line: From Samoa with Love? at the Museum Fünf Kontinente, Munich - Hilke Thode-Arora
5 Curating across the colonial divides - Jette Sandahl
6 Thinking and working through difference: remaking the ethnographic museum in the global contemporary - Viv Golding and Wayne Modest

Part II: North America
7 The times of the curator - James Clifford
8 Baroque modernity, critique and Indigenous epistemologies in museum representations of the Andes and Amazonia - Anthony Alan Shelton
9 Swings and roundabouts: pluralism and the politics of change in Canada's national museums - Ruth B. Phillips
10 Community engagement, Indigenous heritage and the complex figure of the curator: foe, facilitator, friend or forsaken? - Bryony Onciul
11 Joining the club: a Tongan 'akau in New England - Ivan Gaskell
12 c'?sna??m, the City before the City: exhibiting pre-Indigenous belonging in Vancouver - Paul Tapsell

Part III: Pacific
13 The figure of the kaitiaki: learning from Maori curatorship past and present - Conal McCarthy, Arapata Hakiwai and Philipp Schorch
14 Curating the uncommons: taking care of difference in museums - Billie Lythberg, Wayne Ngata and Amiria Salmond
15 Collecting, curating and exhibiting cross-cultural material histories in a post-settler society - Bronwyn Labrum
16 Curating relations between 'us' and 'them': the changing role of migration museums in Australia ­- Andrea Witcomb
17 Agency and authority: the politics of co-collecting - Sean Mallon
18 He alo a he alo / kanohi ki te kanohi / face to face: curatorial bodies, encounters and relations - Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu, Moana Nepia and Philipp Schorch

19 Curating time - Ian Wedde
20 Virtual museums and new directions? - Vilsoni Hereniko

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