Broadening collection practices for greater inclusion in art museums (Presentation)
Mélanie Boucher, professor at the Université du Québec en Outaouais
In French | Simultaneous interpretation in English and LSQ
Today’s museums are seeking greater equity in their offerings, through exhibitions and public programs that recognize not only the traditional age-based categories of audiences, but also the variety of other, broader profiles determined by various social, cultural and identity parameters. The particularities of these profiles are also reflected in the way museums approach their collections, as demonstrated by several recent initiatives. They question the principles of exemplarity, uniqueness, internal organization of collections and material integrity that until recently served essentially to justify acquisition and its enhancement. The function of collections is thus also questioned in terms of how they maintain colonial and patriarchal biases and become agents of change. By seeking diverse profiles on acquisition committees, adopting annual donation and purchase quotas, redressing historical imbalances through targeted work, acknowledging discriminations based on object categories and disciplines, or inviting contemporary practices to revisit their past, museums today are taking a more inclusive reflexive and critical approach. This paper proposes to revisit this broadening of art museum collections in Canada to present several remarkable initiatives.
Mélanie Boucher is a professor of museology and art history at the Université du Québec en Outaouais. Co-founder of the CIÉCO research group and principal investigator of the group “Se recréer au musée, dans les expositions” (SSHRC 2018-2022), her current research also focuses on performative practices and their musealization. As the head of the third research axis, “The Expanded Collection,” of the CIESCO Partnership on “New Uses of Collections in Art Museums” (SSHRC 2021-2028), Mélanie is responsible for research on the renewal of practices of acquisition, documentation, and presentation of works.