“Museums in the Global Contemporary: Debating the Museum of Now” @ Leicester

In 2015, CSMVS Mumbai and the British Museum co-hosted a workshop entitled Creating museums of world stories which saw museum and heritage professionals’ brainstorm and debate around proposals to develop new forms of ‘encyclopaedic’ displays or museums that might be created beyond Europe and North America, presenting familiar local and national histories in the context of global stories.

This session will consider what heritage organisations are doing now, or can do now and in the future to be relevant, inclusive and collaborative on an international scale, through the inclusion of global voices.

Facilitated by past participants of the British Museum’s International Training Programme, the session will discuss the outcomes and effects of the workshop and consider many of the larger questions which arose during the two days in India.

The ITP alumni will bring ideas from source communities for many collections in the UK, but also make suggestions for what collaborations and partnerships would work in their home countries and institutions. In Mumbai participants were able to demonstrate that a new generation of heritage professionals, internationally focused and multidisciplinary in their outlooks, are already working together to help develop the museums of the global contemporary. This session will introduce the alumni and the outcomes of the workshop to a new network of heritage professionals and extend these debates even further.

During the session, I presented our highly-appreciated exhibition proposal “Carpet Connections: Turkey and the World”, which focused on the rich carpet weaving tradition of Turkey and its connections with the Safavid and Mughal empires and their influence on European art.

The professors and students of the University of Leicester’s Museum Studies Department reacted with enthusiasm towards this topic, and together we tried to find answers to these questions related to our proposal:

– What makes a world story? Whose voices should be included, whose histories should be told?
– What are the benefits and limitations of “mirror” museums, which reflect audiences’ own stories, and “window” museums, which offer audiences a view of other cultures?
– Does every exhibition, display or museum need a global perspective?

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