This article provides new insights into two of the crucially important cases of representation of source communities in regional museums, at Manchester Museum and Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. Both are reassessed from Ashmore’s perspective of an arts practitioner, which has identified that art interventions in museums are as complex as the permanent collections, but are less studied. This article developed out of a practice led doctoral study, which examined arts practice alongside museum practice; and considered the wider political context in the then dominant discourses of cultural diversity. Of the scholars addressing the interaction between government policy and curatorial decision-making (Crooke, 2008; Appleton, 2001) it is Ashmore that focuses on art commissions rather than conventional museum collections. Multiple site surveys formed the basis of this work including: observation; photography; filmmaking; walk through analysis; investigation of museum documentation; and interviews with curators. The relationship not only between curatorial staff and source communities was addressed, but the mediation within that relation by an artist. Ashmore’s insight into the display practices in museums was underpinned by exhibiting her own artistic interventions in Hastings Museum & Art Gallery’s exhibition Indian Summer (2009). Museum studies and curatorial studies attend to community engagement and redisplays but very rarely focus on the specific issues that surround the meaning of artistic commissions within the context of an ethnographic gallery. Ashmore addresses the fact that this commissioning practice has been posited as a solution without being critiqued. The publication of these findings in the professional journal for Museum Ethnographers means these findings can inform curatorial practice. This research has led Ashmore to convene a panel, ‘Exhibiting South Asia, 1901- 2012’, at the Design History Society’s 2013 conference. Her co-authored paper gives consideration to the influence of global politics on the critique of the representation of India in the UK.
|Number of pages||21|
|Journal||Journal of Museum Ethnography|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2011|