Sumaya Kassim
Research Fellow | 2019

Sumaya Kassim

Sumaya Kassim is a RCMC Research Fellow in January and February 2019.


Sumaya Kassim is an independent researcher and writer. She was a co-curator for Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery’s decolonial exhibition ‘Birmingham and the British Empire: The Past is Now’ (2017-18), an exhibition which sought to decolonise the museum’s colonial legacies. Her article chronicling the curation process, ‘The Museum Will Not Be Decolonised’ (Media Diversified, 2017) was shared widely in the sector and has recently been adapted into a short documentary film. Her archival/textual interventions have been exhibited internationally. She has given talks across the UK at various universities and art galleries as well as museums such as the V&A, Wellcome Collection and The British Library. She has worked at the George Padmore Institute and the British Library exploring literary archives, black radicalism, and internationalist anti-racist struggles. She has an essay forthcoming in the collection Cut From The Same Cloth (Unbound, forthcoming). Her interests include but are not limited to memory, archives, secularism, race, alternative institutions/DIY methods of dissemination, the body and the environment. She is currently working on a set of essays and a novel.


At the RCMC, Sumaya hopes to develop her ideas on decolonial praxis and theory. How do institutions support and/or undermine profound reforms? If we are to imagine a decolonial toolkit, what would it contain? Is it possible or even desirable to think of decolonising in colonial centres? And, crucially, what does it mean to hope in these times? She is also working on an essay which meditates upon museums as sites of whiteness.