Participant biographies

Sepake Angiama is the artistic director of the Institute for International Visual Arts (iniva) in London which is home to the Stuart Hall Library, a rich resource for a globalised discourse on the curatorial and artistic practice of artists and curators from Indigenous, Latin America, Africa, Asian, Caribbean and the Diaspora. Previously Sepake was co-curator of Chicago Architecture Biennial and is the initiator of Under the Mango Tree a self-organised gathering of decolonising and unlearning practices. She has also held positions at Tate, Hayward Gallery, Turner Contemporary, the International Foundation Manifesta, and documenta 14.

 

Khairani Barokka is a writer and artist from Jakarta, whose work centres around disability justice as anticolonial praxis. Her work has been presented widely, in over 15 countries, and work from her Annah, Infinite series of performance installations has been an Artforum Must-See. Among Okka’s honours, she was a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change, an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow, and Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-in-Residence. She is currently Associate Artist at the National Centre for Writing (UK) and Research Fellow at UAL’s Decolonising Arts Institute. Barokka’s books include Indigenous Species  (Tilted Axis; Vietnamese translation, AJAR Press) and Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (as co-editor; Nine Arches), and debut collection Rope (Nine Arches). 

To help kick-start the workshop, Barokka will discuss her interventions surrounding the famous Gauguin painting Annah la Javanaise (c. 1893-1894)as well as reactions to themurging an interpretation of the subject as potentially disabled, and indeed, interpretations of all visual depictions of humans as being potentially disabled. She will explain why such an interpretation is crucial to understanding colonial violence as entrenched within museology; with regards to art and archives in museums as enmeshed in the enforced ableism of colonial visual cultures. 

 

David Dibosa is co-author of Post-Critical Museology: Theory and Practice in the Art Museum. He trained as a curator, after receiving his first degree from Girton College, Cambridge. He was awarded his PhD in Art History from Goldsmiths College, University of London.  He is currently Reader in Museology at University of the Arts London, where he leads the MA in Curating and Collections. David is a Trustee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery and a Member of Advisory Boards for Tate Britain and the Paul Mellon Centre.

David’s television appearances include BBC One’s Big Painting Challenge, in which he was a judge. He is also currently a presenter for Art on the BBC, showing on BBC 4.

 

Nikita Gill is a creative and curator in training with the International Institute of Visual Arts (INIVA) and Manchester Art Gallery. She received her MA in Art Gallery and Museum Studies from the University of Manchester in 2019. Her previous work includes support of the production of Excavating the Reno (2017 – 2018), Portraits of Recovery with David Hoyle and Mark Prest (2017), Bodies of Colour (2018) and Joy Forever (2019) at the Whitworth Art Gallery. Each of these experiences has helped shape thinking around decolonial practices, centred on care within the context of art gallery collections. Currently Nikita is working on Future Collect, supporting Jade Montserrat’s commission by INIVA (2020) to produce a body of work focusing on care as an act of resisting oppression and silence. Nikita Gill is also a member of the Black Curators Collective.

 

Paul Goodwin is a curator, researcher, urbanist and educator based in London. His multidisciplinary research and curatorial practice revolves around exploring the creative potential of both cities and artistic production as sites of aesthetic, socio-cultural and political intervention. Within the urban field this has been framed around understanding how the Black and migrant presence in cities in the West has shaped and in turn been shaped by formations of urban aesthetic and socio-cultural modernity. Within the field of contemporary art the focus has been on the dynamics of how processes of migration, race, globalisation and transnationalism are yielding new forms of radical and transformative artistic and curatorial practices worldwide. He is the Co-Lead Investigator (with Prof Ming Tiampo) of the Worlding Public Cultures international research project as well as co-founder of the Transnational and Transcultural Arts and Culture Exchange network (TRACE)Goodwin’s recent curatorial projects include: W.E.B. DuBois: Charting Black Lives (House of Illustration, London, UK, 2019), We Will Walk: Art and Resistance from the American South (Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK, 2020) and Untitled: Art on the Conditions of Our Time, Chapter 2 (touring, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK, May 2021). Goodwin teaches on the MA Fine Art programme at Chelsea College of Arts and is a professor and the director of TrAIN Research Centre (Transnational Art Identity and Nation) at University of the Arts London.

 

Miles Greenwood was appointed Curator of Legacies of Slavery and Empire at Glasgow Museums in September 2020. His role involves planning and coordinating Glasgow Museums’ approach to addressing the legacies of slavery and Empire. Miles studied for an MA in Heritage Studies at Newcastle University, where he focussed on the role of Pan-Africanism in the decolonisation of the British Empire through a study of the Fifth Pan-African Congress in Manchester. He then returned to his home city of Manchester to take a research job with the cultural audience research agency, Morris Hargreaves McIntyre. Building on his work in audience research, he was appointed Visitor Studies Officer at the Paisley Museum as part of their redevelopment project team, before taking up his current role with Glasgow Museums.  

The phrase “it’s not enough to not be racist; you have to be anti-racist” has been increasingly used since 2020. What does this mean for museum interpretation? Colonialism, and therefore racism, are inextricably linked with the history of many Scottish museums, and the legacies can be felt in their galleries. Ignoring that is no longer an option. Colonialism and its legacy of racism need to be understood and dismantled by the museum, and interpretation is a key tool in doing that. Using some examples of interpretation in Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Miles will analyse what they say about the British Empire, slavery, race and racism.  

 

Kate Jesson is Curator: Modern and Contemporary Art at Manchester Art Gallery. She uses the public collections as a resource to ask questions of identity and Britishness. Past collection displays include Between the Wars (2013), Absent Presence (2015), House Proud (2015), Goodbye to All That (2016) and To be Human (2016). Her contemporary exhibitions include solo presentations by Haroon Mirza (2012), Ryan Gander (2014), and Pat Flynn (2015). Speech Acts (2018-2019), co-curated with Hammad Nasar as an outcome of Black Artists and Modernism (2016-2018). Tania Bruguera’s School of Integration was co-curated with Shanaz Guzar as part of the Manchester International Festival 2019 and is ongoing. 2020 saw the co-curation of a new What is Manchester Art Gallery? introductory display exploring the purpose of our public collections today. It also marked the start of a new partnership with Iniva to reimagine the future of collecting. Kate Jesson is also a Trustee of Castlefield Gallery, Chair of CVAM (part of the CVAN network supporting the visual arts ecology).

 

Kathleen Lawther is a freelance curator specialising in the documentation of museum collections. For the past ten years she has worked with a diverse range of collections, including social history, costume, fine art, and ethnographic collections, in museums of all sizes. Kathleen became especially interested in what is, and what is not, recorded about museum objects, and the ways in which improving documentation practice can feed into work to democratise and decolonise our museums. In 2019 she was awarded a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England for a research and development project called ‘Collections Data: Adapting the Master’s Tools’. The research focused on the origins and development of cataloguing practice in museums, and the ‘tools’ used by museums to categorise and order objects (and the people and cultures associated with them). Kathleen’s work with museums includes documenting new acquisitions made for the Fashioning Africa contemporary collecting project at Brighton Museum, and (re)cataloguing collections from Southern Africa as part of the AHRC funded project Making African Connections, led by the University of Sussex. She is a steering group member for Museum as Muck, the network for working class museum people, and blogs at acidfreeblog.com

 

Priyesh Mistry is Associate Curator of Modern & Contemporary Projects at the National Gallery, London, where he manages the Artist Residency programmes and contemporary commissions, including the current exhibition Rosalind Nashashibi: An Overflow of Passion and Sentiment. Before this, he was Assistant Curator, International Art at Tate Modern where he worked on the Hyundai Commission 2019: Kara Walker in the Turbine Hall, the major retrospective on Anni Albers (2018) and the group exhibition Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (2017). Priyesh completed his MA in Contemporary Art and Theory in Asia and Africa from SOAS in 2016.

 

Renée Mussai is Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial & Collections at Autograph, London. Mussai has organised numerous exhibitions internationally including gallery installations with contemporary artists Zanele Muholi, Lina Iris Viktor and Phoebe Boswell, Aida Silvestri, and James Barnor, amongst others. With Mark Sealy, she has co-curated group and solo exhibitions such as Making Jamaica: Photography from the 1890s (2017), Congo Dialogues – When Harmony Went to Hell (2015), Rotimi Fani-Kayode: 1955-1989 (2011), to name a few. Research-led initiatives include multiple iterations of the critically acclaimed The Missing Chapter – Black Chronicles programmes on black presences in Victorian-era photography in Britain, including Black Chronicles II (2014) and IV (2018), The African Choir 1891 Re-Imagined (2016-18) and Black Chronicles: Photographic Portraits (2017) at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Mussai is a regular guest curator and former fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University; Research Associate at the Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre, University of Johannesburg; [and] Associate Lecturer at University of the Arts London.

 

Hammad Nasar is a London-based curator, researcher and strategic advisor. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; Principal Research Fellow at the University of the Arts London, Decolonising Arts Institute; and co-curator of  British Art Show 9 (2021-22). He was the inaugural Executive Director of the Stuart Hall Foundation, London (2018-19); Head of Research & Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2012-16); and, co-founded (with Anita Dawood) the pioneering hybrid arts organisation, Green Cardamom, London (2004-12). Known for collaborative, research-driven and exhibition-led inquiry, he has curated (or co-curated) numerous exhibitions internationally, including: Structures of Meaning|Architectures of Perception (2018-19) as guest curator for Abu Dhabi Art; Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition (2018-19) at Manchester Art Gallery; Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play – the UAE’s national pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); 15 Invitations for 15 Years (2015-16) at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space (2005-13) at multiple locations including Cornell University’s Johnson Museum. Nasar is a member of the board of Mophradat (Belgium), the editorial board of Tate’s magazine, Tate Etc, and the expert panel for Art and Design, History, Practice and Theory as part of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). He has served on juries, boards and advisory roles for numerous organisations internationally, including: Barbican Centre, Delfina Foundation, Iniva, Manchester Art Gallery, V&A Museum, and Whitechapel Gallery (UK); Lahore Biennale Foundation (Pakistan); and Alserkal Avenue (UAE). 

 

Ananda Rutherford is a museum collections manager and researcher. Her current role is research associate for Provisional Semantics, a TaNC/AHRC foundation project based in the Research Department at Tate. She is also undertaking a part-time PhD with UCL’s Centre for Digital Humanities, looking at the history and role of museum documentation and collections digitisation.

 

Dr. Nima Poovaya-Smith OBE, DL, is a curator, writer and speaker.  As founding Director of Alchemy until 2018, she has undertaken a number of major artistic programmes in partnership with cultural, academic and public sectors. She was previously Head of Special Projects, National Media Museum, Bradford; Director of Arts, Arts Council, Yorkshire and Senior Curator, Bradford Galleries and Museums. Nima is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Fine Arts, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.  Nima was awarded an OBE in 2016 in the Queen’s Birthday Lists for her services to arts and museums and was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire in 2019.

 

Dr Sylvia Theuri is a researcher, freelance curator and lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton – School of Art. Sylvia holds a PhD from the University of Salford, which focused on Black African students’ experiences of higher education art and design. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion issues in art and design education; race, identity and the African diaspora; contemporary African art and the Black Arts Movement. She has recently completed a curatorial residency at The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, working in partnership with New Art West Midlands, International Curators Forum and Coventry Biennial. The outcome of the residency was the exhibition Thirteen Ways of Looking at The Herbert Gallery & Museum (2020). The exhibition explored different strategies of resistance that overlap and intersect in the physical spaces of the gallery and digitally online. Her recent publications include; ‘Critical Race Theory and its Relationship to Art Education’ in Towards an Inclusive Arts Education.

 

Marenka Thompson-Odlum is a Research Associate at the Pitt Rivers Museums and a doctoral candidate at the University of Glasgow. Her doctoral research explores Glasgow’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade through the material culture house at Glasgow Museums.  At the Pitt Rivers Museum, she is the researcher on the Labelling Matters project, which investigates the problematic use of language within the museum spaces and ways of decolonisation through re-imagining the definition of a label.

 

Fatoş Üstek is an independent curator and writer, based in London. She was Director of Liverpool Biennial, (2019-20), a jury member for Turner Prize Bursaries 2020, Arts Foundation Futures Award 2021, Scotland in Venice 2022, Dutch Pavilion 2022, and as an external member of the acquisitions committee for the Arts Council Collection (2018-2020). She is the curator of Do Ho Suh’s commission (2018-2020) co-commissioned by Art Night and Sculpture in the City. She was formerly Director and Chief Curator of DRAF (David Roberts Art Foundation), curated miart Talks 2018; Art Night, East London, 2017 and fig-2 50 exhibitions in 50 weeks, ICA, 2015. She acted as Associate Curator for the 10th Gwangju Biennale, 2014. Ustek is a contributing editor to Extra Extra Magazine, a founding member of the Association of Women in the Arts (AWITA); trustee of Art Night; board member of Urbane Kunste Ruhr; advisory panel for Jan van Eyck Academie; member of the International Association of Art Critics AICA UK; and an ICI Alumni.

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