Posts by Richard
6 December 2012 by Richard
With International Human Rights Day approaching on 10 December I wanted to highlight often forgotten human rights activists, in this case Eleanor Roosevelt, Eleanor Rathbone and Ronald Kidd.
Roosevelt, a former U.S. First Lady, chaired the committee that drafted and approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, one of the most important and significant documents of modern times. Some of the articles are more known than others, for instance, Article 1 declares “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights whereas Article 4 states No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” However, of equal importance are such articles as Nos. 16 which states that “Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses”. Human rights abuses which the Declaration has striven to fight are still taking place today, not just in other countries, but the UK, your own town, your own street. Young women in some communities can’t marry who they want and can suffer domestic violence as a result. People of all ages and nationalities are held in domestic servitude, often mistreated by professionals and not everyone is born free with their rights in place. I could go on.
15 November 2012 by Richard
Regardless of the fact that President Obama’s recent election victory brought about a tangible sigh of relief in many parts of the world, these next few years will be a tough test for him and his administration. For those of you interested in Obama, from next January our sister venue the Walker Art Gallery hosts the exhibition In 7 Days by the artist Nicola Green, who between August 2008 and January 2009 had the opportunity to follow Barack Obama on his Presidential campaign. One of the images ‘Change’ has the then Senator Obama in a John Wayne-esque pose. The similarities end there though; it could be said that Wayne had rather more conservative political values.
29 October 2012 by Richard
Surely I’m not the only one to have a feeling of déjà vu? In January of this year I wrote a blog about allegations of racist abuse in football which had overshadowed various anti-racism campaigns and initiatives such as Kick It Out. Well here we are again, same old, same old. Is it too much to ask that those people in the higher echelons of English and European football finally take firm and decisive action around blatant racism on the terraces and on the pitch?
16 August 2012 by Richard
I could not miss the opportunity of an Olympic themed blog. I enjoyed these past few weeks (I now know about ippon and not to pop out of the room before the 50m freestyle) and am looking forward to the Paralympics. That being said, I am not sure whether the Olympics warranted the lead news item most evenings. The world does not put everything on hold for such events.
On several occasions the discussion focused on the achievements of Black athletes, in particular sprinters form the Caribbean and the US. A recent programme which featured Olympian Michael Johnson called Survival of the Fastest looked at whether African American and Caribbean athletes are successful as a result of a legacy of transatlantic slavery. Johnson met sport and science experts and leading historians to examine the link between transatlantic slavery, genetics and plantation ‘breeding programmes’. Did the physical stature of many enslaved Africans forced to carry out backbreaking and deadly physical labour have a role to play in altering the genomes of their descendants? Read more…
24 July 2012 by Richard
At the end of May I left these shores to give a public lecture in Copenhagen as part of the MeLa European Museums in an age of migrations project. MeLa is a four year long research project which aims to define new approaches for museums in relation to the conditions posed by the migrations of people, cultures, ideas, information and knowledge in the global world. Furthermore, the project will evaluate how these changes can interfere with such organizational issues as communication strategies, physical structures and exhibition places. I was invited by the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID) who organized this particular event and who presented some very interesting and innovative design solutions focusing on visitor studies. Read more…
24 May 2012 by Richard
Like many of you I am pleased that the people of Liverpool in the recent Mayoral elections gave a clear message to those of the far-right persuasion that their brand of politics was not wanted. Less than 2% of the 100,000 plus people who went to the polling stations voted for such candidates.
Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of work to do at many levels, to counter the rise of extreme nationalistic and far-right ideologies across Europe. Their vague and utopian ideas of national identity, including Britishness (which rarely includes BME individuals whether or not they were born in Britain…like me) has no factual basis. Read more…
20 March 2012 by Richard
I have been a trustee of the Anthony Walker Foundation for several years, an organisation established by Anthony’s family following his racially-motivated murder in July 2005.
The mission of the Foundation is to promote equality and diversity through education, sport and arts events and to support law enforcement agencies and local communities to reduce hate crime and build safe cohesive communities.
To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the AWF released the following statement:
6 January 2012 by Richard
In 2008 I wrote a blog about my experiences as a Leeds United fan and how Elland Road in the early 80s was a haven of racist abuse and bigotry, usually aimed at opposing Black and Asian players and fans. I explained how I felt uncomfortable when hundreds of people chanted something racist but at the same time I refused to leave or walk away. I had as much right as anyone to be there, I was a Black Yorkshireman and proud of it.
2 August 2011 by Richard
Well there have been plenty of things happening here at the museum since my last blog post. We have launched three very successful and eclectic exhibitions: Living Apart: photographs of apartheid by Ian Berry; ’42’ Women of Sierra Leone, a series of photographs of Sierra Leonean women, highlighting the alarming fact that life expectancy for them is only 42 and Toxteth 1981, a community exhibition developed in collaboration with the Merseyside Black History Month Group to mark the 30th anniversary in July 2011 of the 1981 riots in Toxteth, Liverpool. The latter involved members of the Liverpool Black community who lived in Toxteth during the disturbances loaning photographic material for the exhibition. The images gave them a voice which I believe is very important if museums are to be truly seen as a resource by the local community in particular. Read more…
25 January 2011 by Richard
A Happy New Year to everyone and as someone with Chinese ancestry it is fitting to wish you all a fruitful Year of the Rabbit. Liverpool has a long established and rich Chinese community, one that adds to the diverse fabric of the city. There has been a Chinese community since the mid-nineteenth century which originally settled around the docks but in more recent times settled in and around Berry and Duke Street. Interestingly Liverpool’s Chinatown has the largest Chinese arch in Europe and indeed outside of China. The New Year celebrations in Liverpool are fantastic and well worth attending.
The museum sector has a number of challenges in 2011 but I believe that the International Slavery Museum will continue to have a strong offer and build on the success of 2010. A year which saw us pass the 1 millionth visitor mark; launch the new International Slavery Museum book Transatlantic Slavery: An introduction; host a series of successful exhibitions; develop our contemporary slavery collection and open our new Campaign Zone.
For many years there has been the debate within the sector as to whether museums should be places of neutrality, islands of objectivity in an often subjective world. I wrote about this in a recent article. Those of us involved in the International Slavery Museum disagree and feel that museums are by their very nature active agents of social change and should actively seek to do so. Janet Marstine in ‘New Museum Theory and Practice’ (2006) has echoed similar sentiments;