Jul 16, 2020|News|5 minutes
How to start being anti-racist on a personal & institutional level
Smartify has selected a number of helpful online resources, networks and articles for museums responding to the Black Lives Matter movement to make sustained change. We hope that you may find some valuable information in these pieces. This is by no means and exhaustive list so please feel free to get in touch to point us to additional resources.
Start off by reviewing this crowdsourced list of anti-racist action for museums - each entry has been input anonymously by an individual who has taken the time to think about direct actions that would affect them.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture has written a really useful resource on the act of being antiracist. The museum takes you through different forms of racism, suggestions of phraseology to use in conversation when responding to racism and various tasks you can start today.
The Guide to Allyship is a free open source starter guide to help you become a more thoughtful and effective ally. The guide takes you through what an ally is, Dos and Don’ts and helpful advice on how to handle mistakes.
The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise founded in 2019 to address the lack of Black British history in the UK Curriculum aiming to facilitate social change by mobilising young people. Their latest report includes information on understanding the omission of Black history and the importance of Black history as history.
Organisations, Groups & Projects
UAL Decolonising Arts Institute - UK based at the University of the Arts London. The Institute “seeks to challenge colonial and imperial legacies and drive social, cultural and institutional change. We imagine the Institute as a de-centred, disruptive, evolving and porous space. We aim to create interdisciplinary collaborations and research-driven projects through partnerships across UAL and beyond.”
Musea Bekennen Kleur (Museums See Colour) - Dutch museum network. They will compile and sign a manifesto in early 2021. Longer-term plans include an international symposium, a national education programme for children aged 10-12 and annual reviews of the museums’ individual diversity targets. The project is estimated to cost €424,000, subsidised 40% by the Mondriaan Fund, a public grant-making body, and 60% by the museums, whose contributions will vary according to annual turnover.
Shades of Noir - An independent program created by Aisha Richards that supports curriculum design, pedagogies of social justice through representation, cultural currency and accessible knowledge.
Culture& is an independent arts and education charity running a Black Lives Matter Charter for the UK heritage sector which includes information on projects such as African Digital Heritage and an artistic intervention at the Pitt Rivers Museum.
Decolonize This Place - US based movement to challenge institutional “art world” as it exists today.
See In Black - US based “See In Black formed as a collective of Black photographers to dismantle white supremacy and systematic oppression.”
Black Cultural Archives - A national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain.
Tate, UAL - Provisional Semantics, Addressing the challenges of representing multiple perspectives within an evolving digitised national collection - “This research project focuses on how museums and heritage organisations can engage in decolonising practices to produce search terms, catalogue entries and interpretations fit for purpose for an evolving digitised national collection.”
Will Gompertz interviewed Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, playwright Bonnie Greer and Professor Dan Hicks, curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum about whether museums will change their collections in response to Black Lives Matter.
Lydialyle Gibson interviewed Dorothy Berry, the digital collections programme manager at Houghton Library, about increasing the discoverability of black voices and texts already within the libraries collection in Bringing black history to light.
Social Media Accounts to follow
Museum Detox - A UK-based network “for Museum and Heritage works who identify as of colour”. As well as organising events, their site has lots of useful blogs including a list of resources and follow on Twitter for direct actions.
@changethemuseum - an Instagram account anonymously sharing stories of racism in museums from employees of American institutions.
@_fortheculture2020 - An Instagram account of current/former Black & Brown employees & allies united together to call out systemic racism in Museums & other cultural institutions.
Follow Dr Andrea Wallace for information on Intellectual Property Rights and Open Access relevant to the digitisation and restitution of African Cultural Heritage and associated materials. Read one of her recent papers here.
Open letter from staff at the Southbank Centre to leadership.
Public statement from The Met
Public statement from Tate
At Smartify we’ve been thinking and working on ways to be anti-racist as an organisation. We have made a commitment to actively support the Black Lives Matter movement and increase diversity and representation within our team and the Smartify platform.
We encourage all partners and potential partners to consider the ways the app can help restore missing narratives and histories to their collections, whether by writing collection labels, removing works or adding new ones. Think we should do something differently? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org