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Civilizing the (Civic) Museum: Decolonial Work at the Museum of Vancouver

14 Feb 2024 11:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

On Feb. 29 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. via Zoom, the UVic Committee for Urban Studies presents Civilizing the (Civic) Museum: Decolonial Work at the Museum of Vancouver with Vivian Gosselin, director of collections and exhibitions.

For decades, marginalized communities, public intellectuals and academic scholars have called out museums for their role in reinforcing – wittingly or unwittingly – colonial attitudes, racial and social inequality, environmental disconnect and excessive consumption.

In response to these criticisms and accompanied by much soul searching, (many) museums are deliberately leveraging their power as cultural influencers to make space for stories that challenge dominant narratives of progress and belonging (and not belonging).

The Museum of Vancouver has adopted models of co-creation and prioritizes community-led initiatives to pursue this goal. These practices support broader and more inclusive ways of conceiving the city’s past, present and future. This presentation will draw on examples of work at the museum to discuss how valuing and representing diverse knowledge, histories and experiences of the city in the museum space can help build more resilient communities.

Gosselin's work on historical and environmental literacy seeks to make the museum a more responsive, empathetic, and democratic public space that prompts people to recognize their own capacity to effect positive social change.

She has led and co-curated several exhibitions that have been recognized nationally and internationally. She has authored several articles on participatory museology and intercultural curation and is co-editor of Museums and the Past: Constructing Historical Consciousness (UBC Press).

Gosselin is currently involved in developing sustainable exhibition design practices with a team of city staff, architects and designers committed to creating a no-waste city. Rather than talking about radical innovation, she prefers to focus on the power of small wins as a mean of furthering the social work of museums.

Gosselin is a member of the advisory group of the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice. Since 2019, she has been a member of the advisory group for the Coalition of Museums for Climate Justice. She earned her PhD at the University of British Columbia.

To register for this virtual event, click here.

British Columbia Historical Federation
PO Box 448, Fort Langley, BC, Canada, V1M 2R7


The Secretariat of the BCHF is located on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish speaking Peoples. 

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