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Imagining and engaging difference in the art museum

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This article focuses on power, difference and knowledge, areas critical to adult education. It conveys insights into how educators and curators in an art museum imagined and engaged with difference, and particularly the black subject, when working within a collaborative project that included the acquisition of art objects (fine art photography). The article utilises material drawn from an ethnographic research project that included a case study based on an 18-month participant-observation of an evolving partnership between the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) and the Black Cultural Archives (BCA), in London, UK. The case offers a snapshot of the tensions involved in educators and curators seeking to imagine and engage difference in the art museum. The case provides evidence of the lived experience of collaborative work and the challenges involved in negotiating issues of difference in multiple contexts: across organisational cultures, when imagining audiences, and in the representation of the black subject within photographs.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom,

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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