Study Day on Critical Museum Visitorship (how to activate, teach, support, assess)

Jun. 18, 2019 - Jun. 19, 2019 Video conference + at the Curating and Public Scholarship Lab, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec

June 18-19, 2019
Online Video-conference
Initiated by CaPSL (Curating and Public Scholarship Lab), Concordia University, Montreal

Three decades after feminist performance artist Andrea Fraser’s 1989 “Museum Highlights,” a mock-tour of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a crop of new “uncomfortable art tours” and “hacks” has sprouted. They represent a mix of unauthorized interventions that turn the traditional museum tour “against” the institution’s own logic, and more commercially-oriented attempts to make the museum attractive to a new generation.

Based on the projects of cutting edge practitioners, this study day seeks to explore how we might create critical visitorship tools and technologies that animate the museum’s “shadow archive” (Dolmage 2013/Sekula). The problem is rarely that “there’s nothing about X topic” – but rather how the museum frames its collections, what the visitor’s gaze is directed to, and what is thus seeable. How can we activate, teach, support, and assess critical visitor-ship that reveals hidden stories present in museums?

Dolmage, Jay. “Grounds For Exclusion: Canada’s Pier 21 and its Shadow Archive.” In Diverse Spaces: Identity, Heritage and Community in Canadian Public Culture, edited by Susan Ashley, 100-21. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.