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Monday, December 2 • 10:30am - 11:00am
Museums, Media and Human Rights

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The dynamic processes through which human rights are sought and claimed, awarded and denied, are not confined to discrete legal or governmental domains but rather embedded in the values and practices of individuals and institutions across a variety of social, cultural political and media spheres. With this understanding of human rights, museums – it can be argued – have occupied a unique (indeed, privileged) position as highly trusted and visible institutions that hold the capacity to not only reflect but to challenge and reconfigure normative ways of thinking and talking about equality.

Museums are sites which embody and publicly articulate moral standpoints on rights-related issues, sometimes explicitly – for example in human rights museums – but also implicitly in the narratives and silences that museums of all kinds shape and present. The effects and consequences of these morally loaded narratives, though diffuse and often difficult to capture and measure, can extend beyond museum visitors to reach much broader audiences through a variety of networks and media.

However, a suite of interrelated trends – including the proliferation of media forms made possible through digital innovation; changes in the way audiences interact and engage with diverse media; and a turn towards more participatory and co-creative practices within the cultural sector – are opening up new challenges, and well as opportunities, for museums that take on human rights and related issues of social justice, fairness and equality. Drawing on a range of examples and recent research this paper explores how these trends are impacting museum practice, audiences and, more broadly, the climate within which human rights can be claimed and denied.

avatar for Anne Balsamo

Anne Balsamo

The New School for Public Engagement
Anne Balsamo is the Dean of the School of Media Studies in the New School for Public Engagement in New York City. Her recent book, Designing Culture: The Technological Imagination at Work (Duke, 2011) examines the relationship between culture and technological innovation, with a particular... Read More →

avatar for Richard Sandell

Richard Sandell

Professor of Museum Studies, University of Leicester
Richard Sandell is Professor in the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester where he teaches across the School’s Masters programmes, supervises doctoral students and works with colleagues in the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries on a range of projects. His... Read More →

Monday December 2, 2013 10:30am - 11:00am PST
Hilton Stockholm Slussen Hotel, Auditorium Guldgränd 8 Box 15270, Stockholm, 10465, Sweden

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