The projects included in this profile will focus on critical approaches to the representational practices within these museums over time, examining how ‘other’ cultures or cultural practices have been presented or how objects are collected and mobilized as representative of a culture or cultural practice. Through an engagement with our collections, we want to encourage better understandings of the role that museums have played and continue to play within past and present representational discourses, and to develop new possibilities for more complex presentations of the life worlds of peoples, within exhibitions and other museum programs.
Moreover, we encourage projects that start from objects, whether of art or ethnography, that take representation as strategies of the imagination, where life worlds are expressed in material form. Objects in this sense are collected and studied for the ideas they embody, as materialization of belief systems, and as the people’s strategies for commenting on or negotiating the world around them. Through a study of objects within both the politics of representation and a politics of the imagination we want to understand the meaning that things have in how we structure and understand the world around us. Research projects that pay critical attention to questions of shifting and diverse aesthetic practices, or that rethink histories of technologies of representation, are encouraged.