Mapping Decolonisation: Exhibition Floor Plans and the “End” of Empire at the Commonwealth Institute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between “permanent” exhibitions and political flux. Offering a close reading of London’s Commonwealth Institute and its intriguing gallery floor plan of 1969, it considers the interaction between display, exhibition graphics, and imperial change. While the British Empire crumbled (reforming in more clandestine guises), and new nation-building programmes took place around the world, the Commonwealth Institute became a dynamic site of neo-imperial and nationalist agendas, with diplomats, designers, and educators from Asia and beyond all working to re-territorialise, redistribute, and challenge British hegemony. Through this history of the Commonwealth and its exhibitions, the article offers broader lessons on the possibilities and limits of an exhibition’s ephemeral archive, the embodied, fragile nature of exhibition making, and the limits of ‘decolonisation’ as a productive term in the current drive to develop socially just exhibitions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Art Studies
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Decolonization
  • Museum Studies
  • India
  • Exhibitions

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