‘End of Multiculturalism’ – Myth and Reality
Curatorship and Community Engagement at the Crossroads
The past decade has witnessed radical polarisation of opinions and public policy in the domain of multiculturalism. Radicalisation of Islam and the counter radicalisation strategies of governments, especially in the west, have informed the post 9/11 global uncertainty. While Theo Van Gogh’s murder has swung the Dutch and their neighbours into a conservative frame of mind in dealing with multiculturalism, German and British heads of governments are mooting the end of ‘state sponsored multiculturalism’.
Integration is the buzz word, a platform that the immigrants have always wished for as opposed to simplistic assimilation to the establishment set of values. While the past hegemonic discourse was about the essentialist other, recent calls for a national code are posing the threat of self-essentialisation by the establishment. Galla’s talk addresses the transformations of curatorship and community engagement in this complex environment. Critical reflections from select countries, the Netherlands and Australia included, and the dilemma for museums in complex societies in the face of a leadership crisis will be addressed. The works of select artists will be used to illustrate the talk.
An alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Amareswar Galla was Professor and Director of Sustainable Heritage Development programs, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at the Australian National University, Canberra, before becoming Australia’s first Professor of Museum Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.
He worked at the National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, on Museums and Cultural Diversity Promotion in the Netherlands. Galla is a Guest Curator of International Projects with the Vietnam National Department of Cultural Heritage; and Director of the Pacific Asia Observatory for Cultural Diversity in Human Development in partnership with bodies including UNESCO. He is the first Australian elected as the President of the Asia Pacific Executive Board (1998-2004) – Chairperson of the Cross Cultural Task Force (2005-2011) – and Vice President of the International Executive Council (2004-2007) – of the International Council of Museums, Paris.
A Trustee of the Pacific Islands Museums Association, he is the Editor-in-Chief of three academic journals dealing with Sustainable Heritage Development: International Journal of the Inclusive Museum (Chicago/Melbourne); International Journal on Intangible Heritage (Seoul/Paris); International Journal on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability (Chicago/Melbourne).
The Curatorial Lecture Series presents lectures on contemporary curatorial practice. It is organized by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in collaboration with the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, the Museum of Anthropology, and the Department of Anthropology, with the support of the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies, and the Faculty of Arts at The University of British Columbia.
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tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689