The shooting of George Floyd has triggered a global stand against racism and racial inequality across the world. Racism and discrimination have had devastating effects on society and this marginalises and isolates communities, the resulting inequalities are reflected throughout society including in our cultural and educational institutions. The toppling of the statue of slave master Edward Colston from Bristol Harbour, has led this week to much debate over the removal of other statues or otherwise, such as the question of the removal of the statue of Robert Baden-Powell from Poole Quay a plan which is now on hold. Borris Johnson has stated that the removal of the statues erases history, the counter argument is that the statues represent racist symbols from the legacy of slavery and their removal actively adds to history. Public monuments and artworks carry memory and also serve as a reflection of societies values, as a presence within the urban topography. This debate highlights the importance of art and culture in the representation of our values as a society.
The Crossing Cultures group is committed to decolonising and diversifying the curriculum in the School of Art, and over the past three years we have invited a diverse range of practitioners to contribute to our curriculum. Student advisors contribute to the blog through editorial and articles on the blog as well as offering feedback on the curriculum.