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© Stiftung Humboldt Forum im Berliner Schloss / Image: David von Becker

In this conversation, scholars and practitioners Janet Marstine, Wandile Kasibe and Macarena Gómez-Barris enter into dialogue on the practices and principles of a relational ethics for museums. They discuss how cultural institutions such as museums are in need for ethics that can lead to shaping new relationships in dealing with the colonial afterlife of museums and beyond.

In her short lecture, Janet Marstine will introduce the need for curating through relational ethics, as it pertains to the project of decolonizing museums. She will explain how ethics codes alone are insufficient to address the complex issues that curators face today and need to be bolstered by values-driven approaches. Dr. Marstine will argue that, by signifying the relationships or ‘connectness’ between objects and people, institutions and people and among people, as facilitated by curators, relational ethics has the capacity to address both art world exclusions and inequalities as well as wider social and political concerns.

Reflecting on the issues raised, Gómez-Barris and Kasibe will explore ethics in museums and the curatorial, as they relate to their own research and practice. Macarena Gómez-Barris, who works at the intersections of the visual arts, the environmental media humanities, and decolonial theory and praxis, will discuss extractivism in relationship to territories, art museums, and material infrastructures. In her talk `The Colonial Anthropocene and Reimagining Art Today` Gomez-Barris will highlight issues in relation to ethics in this current moment, by exploring two examples from New York and Chile. Wandile Kasibe from the Iziko Museums of South Africa, will discuss ethics in relation to his research on museums and the construction of race ideologies, as well as by his involvement in the “Rhodes Must Fall” Movement.




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