Decolonisation + Democratisation

Supported by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Colchester + Ipswich Museums have been exploring how heritage organisations can be more inclusive.
We have heard from museums, community organisations and some award-winning speakers.
Scroll down to find links to past webinars and further resources.

2021 Programme

In September, we heard from some award-winning speakers, both inside and outside of the museum world.
These webinars were free but required pre-booking, so we are unable to share the recordings.
A colour head and shoulder photograph of a black man wearing rectangular framed black glasses and a dark blue shirt. He has hair in fine braids and is looking at the camera. Behind the man is a grassy landscape which is out of focus.

History Doesn't Care About Our Feelings

Thursday 23rd September, 1 – 2pm

Historian, David Olusoga joins Collections and Learning Curator, Melanie Hollis to discuss the function of history and the institutions that preserve it. As an example, they will reflect on some of the work involved in creating the Christchurch Mansion exhibition, Power of Stories.

A colour photograph of a cark haired man wearing black rectangular glasses, a light pink shirt and grey suit jacket. The man has a close trimmed beard and moustache and is looking directly at the camera. To the left of the frame is a tree-lined brick path leading to a yellow and white building

Empireland Q&A with Sathnam Sanghera

Monday 27th September, 5 – 6pm

In this live Q&A , ‘Empireland’ author, Sathnam Sanghera will be sharing his thoughts on the themes of the book with Museum Manager Frank Hargrave. Your questions are welcomed as we consider how the full story of empire has been downplayed by museums in the past.

A composite image. On the left is a colour, head and shoulder photograph of a white man with shirt blondish hair. He is wearing a dark blue suit jacket, white short and blue tie, and is looking directly at the camera. The man's expression is neutral.

Colonialism and Collecting: Empire and Museums

Wednesday 29th September, 1 – 2pm

Museum Director, Tristram Hunt will discuss the history of the V&A, which holds collections amassed from across the British Empire and beyond. He will be examining how that heritage is reflected in the V&A’s galleries today, and how the museum is confronting and addressing the issues surrounding those histories.

2020 Programme

During November and December, we hosted a series of live-streamed webinars.
Heritage and arts organisations from across the country explored how they were engaging and sharing ownership with communities.
Follow the links below to watch them back on our YouTube channel.
Screenshot of Subhadra Das from our Decolonisation + Democratisation seminar series

Decolonisation + Democratisation

Wednesday 4th November, 12.30 – 1.20pm

Historian, comedian, writer and museum curator, Subhadra Das talks to the Art’s Council’s, Liam Wiseman.

A screenshot from the Reinterpreting Regions of our Decolonisation + Democratisation online seminar. The screen shows 3 photos - a heart Grenfell image, a woman heading a football and another woman holding fruit in a market

Reinterpreting Regions

Wednesday 11th November, 1.30 – 2.30pm

We delve into the place-based projects ‘Snapping the Stiletto’ and the Museum of London’s, ‘Curating London’.

A screenshot from the Community Created Permanent Displays online seminar. The screen shows a photograph of a window. Photographs of an Abraham Lincoln statue and quotes are in each of the window panes. A white woman is talking in the top right hand corner

Community Created Permanent Displays

Wednesday 18th November, 6 – 7pm

Manchester Art Gallery and the Science Museum talk through their experiences, as they went from community contribution to co-creation.

A real person stands in an elabourate black and white striped dress inside a glass case. To the left is a text panel with the title 'We Are Colchester'

Beyond the Museum’s Walls

Wednesday 25th November, 1.30 – 2.30pm

Through loans and external partnerships, the Courtauld Institute and Colchester Museums discuss different approaches to sharing activity.

A screenshot from the Sharing Power seminar. A photo on the left shows groups of people in discussion. A photo on the right shows lots of post-its with statements and questions written on them

Sharing Power

Wednesday 2nd December, 6 – 7.15pm

Ipswich Museums, the South London Gallery and York Museums Trust reveal some of the hidden and, often hard histories being brought to the fore.

A screenshot from All Together Now, the final of our Decolonisation + Democratisation online seminar. The screen shows 12 people on a Zoom call

All together now

Wednesday 9th December, 1.30 – 2.30pm

We welcome back all our speakers, as Subhadra Das chairs a wrap-up roundtable.

Find Out More


Online seminars/ talks

Museums Association – Decolonising Museums video hub
Cornwall Museums Partnership – Decolonisation – Where do I begin?
Association of Art Museum Curators – Beyond Statements series
Essex Cultural Diversity Project – Stand Up For Diversity
Museum Next – Decolonising Display
TEDx Talks – various


Julie’s Bicycle – The Colour Green series



Dan Hicks – The Brutish Museum
Alice Proctor – The Whole Picture
MuseumNext – various
Museums Journal – various


Museums Association – Decolonisation Working Group

Where will your adventure start?