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Anti-Racist Practice In Collection Management

Introduction

This page contains resources for anti-racist practice in collection management and databases. These resources address the connection between collections and chattel slavery, empire, and colonialism and how these systems can perpetuate structural racism.

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We previously called this page 'Decolonial Practice in Collection Management' but recently we've chosen to stop using the term 'decolonising' unless we are talking about the repatriation of indigenous land and life, so that we are clear with the language we are using and what it encompasses.

Databases

The Making African Connections Digital Archive researches historic African collections held in Sussex and Kent museums with the aim of furthering both conceptual and applied debates over decolonial practice in public institutions.

Art Hx is a searchable, digital database of objects and images of the historical and ongoing entanglements between art, race and medicine in the spaces of the former British empire.

Digital cultural colonialism: measuring bias in aggregated digitized content held in Google Arts and Culture by Melissa Terras looks at issues of representation in Google Arts and Culture. 

Collections Management Systems

Dreaming of a New Collections Management System is a Balboa Park Online Collaborative series of webinars that looks at the challenges with collections management systems.

Episode 1- Dreaming of a New Collections Management System 

Episode 2- Dreaming of a New Collections Management System

In Documentation and Decolonisation Ananda Rutherford discusses what approaches can be employed to engage critically with museum documentation and object records, in order to tackle structural bias and the hegemony of traditional western, colonial, heteronormative, ableist norms of knowledge production and practice.

The CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance are people and purpose-oriented, reflecting the crucial role of data in advancing Indigenous innovation and self-determination. These principles complement the existing FAIR principles encouraging open and other data movements to consider both people and purpose in their advocacy and pursuits.

This recorded session by Abeer Eladany for the Collections Trust looks at dealing with legacy catalogue descriptions.

The Language Dilemma: Ethical cataloguing and inclusive description in practice- a talk by Carissa Chew for The Collections Trust.

Dr Melissa Bennett talks about her experience of decolonising collections in this recorded talk for CILIP, what it means, and the challenges libraries and archives face in getting it done.

A Benin Bronze Sculpture of an Oba with text "Bronze Sculpture depicting an Oba (King) of Benin Looted by British forces in 1897 during the destruction of Benin City in present-day Nigeria by a British military expedition."
Related guide

Restitution And Repatriation Resources

This page contains resources for restitution and repatriation procedures and discussion in museums and galleries.

Find out more