History, Heritage and Archives: Challenges of archives and museum collections

Date & Time:

12th May, 16:00


Online event; the link will be emailed to those who sign up.


History, Heritage and Archives: Media (and) history
Eugen Pfister (University of Vienna) &Nick Hall (Royal Holloway University of London)

Rasha Salti (Independent Researcher, Writer and Curator) Decolonizing Practice and Visual Archives: A Curator’s Quandry

This presentation proposes to explore aspects surrounding the question of archive from its vexed angles, namely the question of factuality, truth-telling and the knowledge that can be extracted from photographic and audio-visual archives in the absence of standard indexical, documentary information attached to each item. In addition, drawing on several research-based curatorial projects, the presentation will address the degree of subjective and affective projection, and of the colonial legacy and the different logics of control and access of the neoliberal capitalist mindset in our postcolonial present.

Linda Spurdle (Birmingham Museums Trust) Discovery, Creativity and Play

Museums balk at the idea of being gatekeepers, and yet so few in the UK provide open access to digital images of their collection. At a time when many museums have greatly developed their digital engagement programmes, their online collections continue to deter people not only from using their images, but from finding them. Birmingham Museums Trust have developed an open access policy, and have actively encouraged people to use the images. We understood that to make this successful, there was a need to work with partners, collaborate and experiment. This has led to new approaches and the adoption of innovative ideas, from working with Cold War Steve and the Birmingham’s Black Hole Club, to becoming part of the massive multiplayer online video game Occupy White Walls.

In this session I will discuss what led Birmingham Museums Trust to adopt an open access policy, the partnerships, projects and opportunities that have resulted from it, and what might come next.

About the speakers:

Rasha Salti is a researcher, writer and curator of art and film. Since 2017, she is commissioning editor for the experimental documentary slot, La Lucarne at Arte France.

Linda Spurdle is the Head of Digital at Birmingham Museums Trust, leading on digital strategy, digital engagement and ICT across Birmingham Museums Trust. She has spearheaded Birmingham’s open access policy, which has made thousands of out of copyright images free to use without restrictions.