Contrasting Narratives: Indigenous Histories in the Museum
As the first Conversations in Indigenous Arts event of 2017, scholars Dr Natalie Alvarez and Dr Kelsey Wrightson will be presenting on the topic of “Contrasting Narratives: Indigenous Histories in the Museum,” with response offered by Dr Norman Vorano, Curator of Indigenous Art at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.
Alvarez will be discussing the Shoal Lake 40’s Museum of Canadian Human Rights Violations as a counterpoint to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the ways by which it engages in a sustained form of curatorial activism that aims to galvanize the settler tourist to join its resistance against the systemic de-resourcing and neglect of First Nations communities.
Focusing on two museums, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the McCord Museum, Wrightson’s presentation will take a scaled approach to the politics of museums, looking to both the intimate and meta-narratives told in and through the spaces. Through this critical approach to these narratives, her work seeks to centre the responsibilities of museum spaces to forward anti-colonial political projects.
The Conversations in Indigenous Art series is organized by Dr Dylan Robinson, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University and sponsored by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre. These events are free of charge, and all are welcome to attend.
Presenters’ biographical notes
Natalie Alvarez is Associate Professor in the Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University. Her performance studies scholarship on cultural difference and political performance has been published widely in international journals and essay collections and she is currently at work on three forthcoming books: Stages of Difference: Immersive Simulations and the Politics of Knowing (U of Michigan Press), funded by SSHRC; Theatre& War (Palgrave Macmillan); and the co-edited collection, Sustainable Tools for Precarious Subjects: Performance Actions in the Americas (Palgrave Macmillan).
Kelsey Wrightson is a settler scholar from Treaty 6 Territory. Her research examines the role of museums in settler colonial relations of power, focusing on the work of women in decolonization. She is currently the research manager for the “Decolonizing Water Project” based out of the University of British Columbia.