University of Leicester, Minority Views of National museums 2013

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University of Leicester, Minority Views of National museums 2013

  1. 1. Minority views of national museums
  2. 2. 6 European Museums Leicester Aegean Tartu
  3. 3. Who were the minority groups? Economic migrants Mixed cultural roots Free choice Russian - speakers Refugee Roma
  4. 4. 4 Focus groups Museum Minority group Participants National Museum of Scotland British Minority Ethnic (BME) 7 National Museum of Ireland National History Museum, Athens Minority Ethnic and economic migrants Roma 5 Estonian National Museum Russian-language speakers 5 5
  5. 5. Focus group profile • • • • • 22 participants 16 women, 6 men Age range 16-65 years 16 participants 31-65years 13 born in Europe ( 8 nationals Estonia& Greece) • 9 born outside Europe – Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria, Taiwan, Canada, Russia
  6. 6. Different experiences Category of minority Pan-European minority Examples Roma Museum Greece Historical legacy of a prior occupying regime Russian speakers Estonia Economic migrants Those who choose to move for economic reasons Ireland Scotland Displaced Refugee – forced to flee Scotland Mixed cultural roots Parents with different roots or national heritage Ireland Free choice People who have moved to a country through free choice to study or to work Scotland Ireland
  7. 7. Majority views I’m very much against minority groups in any country. I think they tend to be overpowering and I think the locals resent that… Well they’re probably very important at a moment in time [but] I think it would be a mistake to suddenly focus on the latest group of migrants Museum visitor, Scotland
  8. 8. Minority Issues • Minority groups: – Do not expect to be represented in the national museum – Are not regarded as “missing” by visitors • Personal and national identity is especially complex and important to minorities because they are constantly negotiating their relationship with a dominant culture
  9. 9. Different experiences of national identity
  10. 10. Assimilation I am proud to say that I’m an Irish, because I look at it from the point of view “a home away from home” and I think by now I am a person of two homes… I try to fit in and I look at other good things that would have happened to me, my family and my friends, in Ireland. And I say, “You know what? This is my home” Peter, Nigerian, living in Ireland
  11. 11. Racism Racism is encouraged by adults… Within this context, we cannot talk about either national identity, or integration to society Kostas, Roma
  12. 12. Difference Why am I different? Barbara, aged 18-30, Roma
  13. 13. Living between two worlds People don’t allow me that… whenever anybody questioned me about Irish-ness, I kind of go well okay my mum is from Trinidad. And I felt I was partly Trinidadian. When I went to Trinidad I realised I’m absolutely not Trinidadian. Everyone looked at me on the street. I was as different as a wealthy Westerner. And that made me go, okay, well what the hell am I, you know, neither of you groups actually completely accept me? Brina, living in Ireland
  14. 14. Minorities in the National Museum • • • • • Excluded Absent Silent Mis-represented Tokenistic
  15. 15. Ireland is a multicultural community now. [However] you can drive round the whole of Ireland and you would not see anything to suggest that, because there’s no symbols, there are nothing that would say that this country is no longer what it used to be… It is because of the system. The system is not telling you that you belong here… We don’t have that spirit, not through the relationship. So it’s a big problem Peter, National Museum of Ireland
  16. 16. Minority Issues • National museums could provide recognition and representation • Participants wanted to be represented for who they are and be recognised for the contribution they make to the nation • The challenge is for national museums to consider how they can re-interpret the notion of national identity, and national history, so that everyone is represented
  17. 17. A ‘conventional’ view of nation? • National museums do not challenge their visitors • Visitors (generally) seem happy with a conventional perspective of the nation • But this approach excludes minority groups… is this right?
  18. 18. A call to action! • National museums could be…. –More inclusive –More conscious of unheard voices and experiences –More dynamic –More actively engaged –More dialogue

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