Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing Histories of Empire in Glasgow

Spooner, R. (2019) Hidden in Plain Sight: Tracing Histories of Empire in Glasgow. Association for Art History 2019 Annual Conference, Brighton, UK, 04-06 Apr 2019.

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This paper aims to present the work of a walking tour offered during Scotland’s recent Black History Month (BHM) celebrations. Developed following an invitation from the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, the leading anti-racism charity that organises BHM Scotland, the tour is grounded on the premise that much of Glasgow’s urban fabric and public institutions reflect the city’s deep involvement in colonial and imperial networks, whether economic, social and/or cultural in nature. The walking tour engaged in a critical examination of two of Glasgow’s most well-known public spaces, a large landscaped park and the purpose-built municipal museum that sits within it. Responding to the theme of ‘“Difficult Heritage” and the Legacies of Empire’, the paper will discuss the motivations behind the walking tour and summarise its route through Kelvingrove Park and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, highlighting specific points of intervention. The session is a timely opportunity to situate this practical case study in relation to other initiatives that similarly seek to examine legacies of empire that are arguably hidden in plain sight and consider the theoretical implications of this discursive mode. This paper will therefore undertake a broader consideration of how collective walking can be a strategy for increasing awareness of difficult histories embedded in public spaces, and how collective talking can be a tool for calling out the continued silencing of these problematic pasts in public museums.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Spooner, Dr Rosie
Authors: Spooner, R.
Subjects:A General Works > AM Museums (General). Collectors and collecting (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Information Studies
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