The museum will not be decolonised

Media Diversified

Sumaya Kassim describes the challenges of trying to bring context to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.” Audre Lorde, 1978

Earlier this year, I was part of a group of co-curators invited to set up an exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) which would use the Museum’s collection to confront history in new and challenging ways. The attempt is worthy – reflective of movements like ‘Rhodes must fall’ and ‘why is my curriculum white’, which call for a radical reassessment of history, an awareness of how colonial processes impact our present times. However, the exhibition brought into focus an important question – one of whether large British institutions like BMAG can and should promote ‘decolonial’ thinking, or…

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CLTs for NYC: Mapping H.E.Arts and Threats in the South Bronx — communitybasedresearch

Bronx residents face the largest challenges to economic opportunity of anyone in the city on the basis of (poor) access and benefits, housing, work and school, and infrastructure, and yet the city continues to give away public space for private development and industrial activity. The fight for public control of land in the Bronx has been brewing for … Continue reading CLTs for NYC: Mapping H.E.Arts and Threats in the South Bronx

via CLTs for NYC: Mapping H.E.Arts and Threats in the South Bronx — communitybasedresearch

Engaging Multilingual Students: An Educator’s Guide

Art Museum Teaching

Written by PJ Gubatina Policarpio

As the new school year officially starts here in New York, I am reminded of the thousands of students in the city, who will eventually descend upon our museums, science centers, botanical gardens, libraries, historical societies, and many other informal places of learning. As always, I am inspired by these young learners who bring a richness of experiences, languages, cultural identities, curiosities, and imagination that make our institutions come to life. In my own practice, I often wonder how I can tap into the wealth of characters and personalities each student brings to the table to create a truly engaging and equitable learning environment for all.

As school programs educator at Queens Museum, I was amazed by the diversity of the students that were coming into the museum; reflecting the demographic of the borough (one of the most diverse in the country!). It was more…

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Mapping as Process: Food Access in Nineteenth-Century New York

“Mapping as process differs from mapping as representation in that it is generative of new questions and answers, feeding back into a productive cycle of research and interpretation.”

Global Urban History

Gergely Baics, Barnard College, Columbia University

BaicsMapSeq1Geographic information system (GIS) has changed social science and humanities research through spatial analysis. It has reinvigorated the spatial turn, which has swept many fields in the past decades, improving their empirical foundations, methodological tools and analytical process. Historians, especially those working within the field of urban history, have looked to GIS to incorporate new resources and methods to raise new questions or revisit old ones. Further, given the considerable data demands of certain projects, GIS mapping has made historical research more accessible, collaborative and open-ended. Some of the most fruitful collaborations occur when the public is directly invited to help produce and make use of historical GIS data, as is the case with the New York Public Library’s several creative initiatives (Map Warper, Building Inspector, NYC Space/Time Directory), or when historians work together with geospatial analysts to produce…

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The Pleasures of Protest: Taking on Gentrification in Chinatown

“I began to understand that gentrification, which was so often described as white people moving into a neighborhood and displacing long-time residents, was actually a process that was far more complex.”


Esther Wang | Longreads | August 2016 | 17 minutes (4,223 words)

On a cold night in the early winter months of 2007, I was with a group of tenants — all Latino and Chinese immigrant families — clustered together in front of their home, two buildings on Delancey Street that straddled the border between Chinatown and the Lower East Side. We were there, shivering in the cold, to protest their landlords.

Ever since they bought the two buildings in 2001, the owners of 55 Delancey and 61 Delancey Street — Nir Sela, Michael Daniel, and 55 Delancey Street Realty LLC — had been attempting to kick out the Chinese and Latino families who had lived there, but in recent months, the situation had come to a head. They had begun aggressively bringing tenants to housing court, often on trumped up charges (one lawsuit argued that, based on the number…

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