The Search for Reconciliation: The Politics of National Museums 

Wednesday 30 October 2013 , 12.30-1.30pm
The Todd Foundation Room, Museum of Wellington City and Sea
Wellington  , Wellington 
Free to attend

National Services Te Paerangi, in partnership with Museum and Heritage Studies, Victoria University; Museum Studies, Massey University; Museums Aotearoa and ICOM NZ, is pleased to support this opportunity for museums, art galleries, and heritage and iwi organisations to engage with Simon Knell, Professor of Museum Studies, University of Leicester.

The Search for Reconciliation: The Politics of National Museums

In a Europe committed to the free movement of workers, millions of Euros have been spent searching for a common European identity that might form the basis for greater social cohesion and the acceptance of a common purpose. As part of this search, it has been suggested that national museums might play a role in contributing to Europe-wide social cohesion. But how can they do so?

Europe is a continent scarred by conflict, empires, territorial dispossession and genocide. National museums developed along nationalistic lines and remain instruments of division. By building upon a common ground of inward migration, Te Papa and the AsianCivilisationsMuseum in Singapore offer rare examples of the museum as an instrument of reconciliation. In Australia, a profound understanding of the destruction and dispossession of a sophisticated Indigenous culture is present in every museum regardless of its size or level of professionalism. Perhaps there needs to be a migration of ideas northwards?

Who will I meet?

Simon Knell has been at the University of Leicester since 1992. He is now focused on the PhD programme and driving the School's research programmes forward. His research and teaching is focused on the production of museums and objects in various social, political and disciplinary contexts.

Simon’s current research is focused upon non-British contexts and the possibilities of comparative international study; understanding the museum as a culturally-situated concept rather than as a universalising notion. He is currently involved in an Australian Research Council funded project ‘Collecting institutions: Cultural diversity and the making of citizenship in Australia since the 1970s.’

Who is it for?

This seminar will be of interest to anyone who is working in, or in partnership with, museums, art galleries, and heritage and iwi organisations in New Zealand.

How do I sign up?

This seminar is free to attend, however space is limited.  If you’re planning to attend, please email us on to express your interest.