University of Brighton staff and PGRs are invited to join us for the Exhibition Histories Reading Group 2021-22

Convened by Kamal Badhey, Kajal Meghani, Laharee Mitra and Dani Trew, this year’s Exhibition Histories Reading Group will focus on ways in which museum practitioners address contemporary social problems and respond to a changing world. It will consist of three reading sessions, around the issues of positionality, alternative curating and ‘difficult’ histories. We will also have two museum visits, which will be followed by informal discussions.

We will be hosting the reading sessions as hybrid events on Grand Parade campus and via Teams. Any students and researchers at University of Brighton and the Royal Pavilion & Museums Trust who are interested in these issues are welcome to join us. When registering, please let us know whether you will be attending in-person or via Teams and any accessibility needs you might have.

Please confirm your attendance in advance by email to:


Museum Visit
Wednesday 23rd Feb, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm

Visit to the Queer the Pier exhibition at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, Brighton, followed by discussions over tea/coffee/drinks. There are no readings for this session, but feel free to listen to the stories of the community curators involved in this exhibition here.

Please meet outside the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery at 1.15 pm. (Entry to the Brighton Museum and Art is free for students with student card. Entry is also free for Brighton and Hove residents with proof of address.)

Session 1: Positionality in decolonising work
Wednesday 9th March 2021, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
In this first session, we will explore how practitioner’s personal and professional lives intertwine, the role of reflexivity in decolonial practice and thinking critically about curatorial power and authority.

Preparation: Think of an exhibition, where you could tell something about the personality of its maker(s), for discussion in the session.

  • Butler, S. R. (2015) ‘Reflexive Museology: Lost and Found’, in The International Handbooks of Museum Studies. (Major Reference Works), pp. 159–182.
  • Azoulay, A. A. (2019) ‘Imagine Going on Strike: Museum Workers and Historians’, in Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism. Verso, pp. 75–76.

Session 2: Alternative curating and curating with communities
Wednesday 6th April 2022, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
We will discuss how the role of a ‘curator’ is not limited to museums and will think of alternative museal practices.

Preparation: Think of an example of your own collections/curating and how it is similar/different to museum collecting/curating, for discussion in the session.

  • Kreps, C. (2006) ‘Non-Western Models of Museums and Curation in Cross- cultural Perspective’ in Macdonald, S. (ed) A Companion to Museum Studies. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
  • Feng, X. (2020) ‘Curating and Exhibiting for the Pandemic: Participatory Virtual Art Practices During the COVID-19 Outbreak in China’, Social Media + Society.

Session 3: Difficult exhibitions and emotions

Wednesday 11th May 2022, 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
We will discuss the ethics of curating exhibitions on ‘difficult’ or ‘challenging’ histories, which are often emotional for both visitors and staff.

Preparation: Reflect on how you might curate an object/story that is emotional, for discussion in the session. (This is a safe space for everyone to discuss emotional and personal objects/stories. However, you do not need to share any personal information you do not want to).


Museum Visit:
Friday 10th June, 11.30 am – 1.30 pm tbc
Details to follow soon