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Andrea Potts

Research Student, How do exhibitions of colonialism in museums mediate historical trauma?

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am interested in how museum exhibitions represent histories of European colonialism and how these histories are engaged with by audiences. Through researching these processes in museums in Britain, the Netherlands, and Denmark, I assess how contemporary museum exhibitions in Europe mediate colonialism as historical trauma. I consider whether exhibitions perpetuate trauma or act as a form of post-trauma therapy and for whom, and how these positions relate to the decolonising of the museum. Do exhibitions support or hinder decolonisation and why? 
Many European museums are currently experimenting with exhibiting colonialism, yet are guided by an ill-defined discourse of decolonisation. My research contributes to an understanding of what decolonising in the museum means in practice by focusing on the impact of exhibitionary practices on audiences, which has been neglected in museum studies and practice. 
My research brings together understandings of exhibitionary practices, decolonial practice and cultural memory.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, University College London

Award Date: 31 Oct 2019

Bachelor, University of Cambridge

Award Date: 30 Jun 2013

External positions

Exhibition Curator. The Museum of Richmond


Senior Policy Advisor, Museums. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport


Cultural Content Manager, First World War Centenary Commemorations. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport



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