Unlearning: Colonial Legacies

This section of the website hosts work undertaken by the Barber which aims to shed light on colonial legacies in the museum’s collections. The work is intended to begin a process of questioning and ‘unlearning’ previously accepted assumptions and narratives.

Objects displayed in museums hold evidence of the past, but whose version of this is presented? When exploring a public gallery, we may encounter racist depictions, works of art paid for by wealth gained through enslavement or objects looted in colonial wars, to give just three examples. By researching and opening up to a broader range of perspectives and voices, we can begin to unpick the complex and uncomfortable histories embedded but too often hidden in our collections.

This ongoing ‘unlearning’ aims to uncover, share and relearn from these challenging viewpoints, and facilitate meaningful conversations about shared cultural heritage. Please explore our research, resources, events, and projects: