Decolonising the Catalogues: Programme

Session One: Friday 19 November. 


Moderator: Judith Finlay, National Museum of Ireland.

09:30 - 09:40: Welcome, Dr Audrey Whitty, IMA Chair and Deputy Director/Head of Collections and Learning, National Museum of Ireland.

09:40 - 11:00: Dr Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology, School of Archaeology, University of Oxford and Curator of World Archaeology, Pitt Rivers Museum.

Dan Hicks FSA, MCIfA is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. Dan works on the material and visual culture of the human past, up to and including the modern, colonial, contemporary and digital world, and on the history of Archaeology, Anthropology Art, and Architecture. His curatorial work has ranged widely, and most recently included the co-curated exhibition and book Lande: the Calais “Jungle” and Beyond (2019). His latest publication is The Brutish Museums: the Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence, and Cultural Restitution, published in 2020.  


Session Two: Tuesday 23 November. 


Moderators: Shauna Allen, Irish Museums Association (IMA) and Dr Olwen Purdue, IMA Board Member and Professor of Modern Social History and Director, Centre of Public History, Queens University Belfast. 

14:00 - 15:00: Dr Hannah Turner, Assistant Professor, School of Information, The University of British Columbia. 

Hannah Turner is an information and museum studies scholar, and is an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of British Columbia. She has published in journals such as Museum Anthropology, Knowledge Organization, and Cataloging and Classification Quarterly. She was previously a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Making Culture Lab (2016-2018); and a Lecturer in Museum Studies at the University of Leicester (2018-2019), and from 2008-2010, helped build the project, “The Reciprocal Research Network” and was a Research Associate with the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) Project. Her most recent publication, Cataloguing Culture, examines how colonialism operates in museum bureaucracies. 

15:30 - 16:30: Marenka Thompson-Odlum, Research Associate, Pitt Rivers Museum.

Marenka Thompson-Odlum is a Research Associate at the Pitt Rivers Museum and a doctoral candidate at the University of Glasgow. Her doctoral research explores Glasgow’s role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade through the material culture housed at Glasgow Museums.  At the Pitt Rivers Museum, she is the researcher on the Labelling Matters project, which investigates the problematic use of language within the Pitt Rivers Museum's displays and thinking through ways of decolonisation through re-imagining the definition of a label.


Session Three: Friday 26 November. 


Chair: Brian Crowley, Curator, Kilmainham Gaol - OPW.

09:30 - 11:00: Mincéir/Irish Traveller Culture in Museums Panel: Dan Breen, Museum Curator of Cork Public Museum; Oein DeBhairduin, Author and Co-founder of LGBT Tara (Traveller and Roma Alliance); Rosa Meehan, Curator at National Museum of Ireland - Irish Folklife Division; Dr Hannagh McGinley, Education Officer for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA); and Owen Ward, Traveller Education Officer at the Access Centre, NUI Galway. 

Oein DeBhairduin has a strong history in community activism and folklore. He is the co-founder of LGBT Tara (Traveller and Roma Alliance), was vice-chair of the Irish Traveller Movement and a council member of Mincéir Whidden. He seeks to pair community activism with cultural celebration and most recently published Why the moon travels, a collection of folktales from the Irish Traveller community retold. 

Dan Breen is the Museum Curator of Cork Public Museum. Having joined the museum in 2002, he has a long history of collaboration with Irish Travellers Groups to highlight their unique ethnic community and the issues that affect them in contemporary society, with the museum having the only dedicated permanent exhibition space highlighting Traveller culture in Ireland. 

Rosa Meehan is a Curator at National Museum of Ireland, in the Irish Folklife Division, bringing an inter-disciplinary approach to curating the material culture of everyday life and customs of the collection. Rosa studied Irish History and Librarianship at University College Dublin and archaeology at NUI, Galway and is author of The Story of Mayo, published by Mayo County Council in 2002. She holds responsibility for the Irish Country Furniture and vernacular architecture collection along with trades and crafts. 

Hannagh McGinley is an Education Officer for the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). A member of the Irish Traveller Community, she is a mother, an activist and an educator. She was the recipient of the Dr. Mary L. Thornton Scholarship in Education in 2011 and completed her PhD at NUI Galway where her research examined how the intercultural approach to education is being understood and implemented at post-primary level in relation to Irish Travellers. 

Owen Ward is a PhD Candidate and the Traveller Education Officer at the Access Centre, NUI Galway, where he manages Mincéirs Misl'd in Education - Empowering Irish Travellers to transition and build a sense of belonging in Higher Education. 


11:30 - 12:30: Ananda Rutherford, Research Associate, Provisional Semantics, Tate.

Ananda Rutherford is a researcher and museum documentation specialist. Formerly Assistant Keeper at the Museum of the Home, Ananda has previously worked on collections projects and documentation management in a number of collections including the V&A, Crafts Council, and Sir John Soane's Museum. Ananda is in the process of completing a doctorate at UCL's Centre for Digital Humanities and she is currently research associate on an AHRC funded TaNC Foundation project, Provisional Semantics, based in the Research department at Tate, which attempts to address issues around decolonisation and structural racism in museum cataloguing practice and object description.


Session Four: Tuesday 30th November. 


Moderator: Lar Joye, Heritage Director, Dublin Port Company 

10:00 - 11:00: Rachel Hand, Collections Manager, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology Department, University of Cambridge. 

Rachel Hand is Collections Manager (Anthropology) at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge. She has a background in the material culture of the Americas, Africa and Oceania and her current research interests include early Pacific material in the National Museum of Ireland and Irish collecting within the British Empire, informed by her work with the ethnographic collections at the National Museum of Ireland. 

11:30 - 12:30: Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator, Crustacea, Natural History Museum. 

Miranda Lowe is a Principal Curator, Invertebrates Division, at The Natural History Museum in London. She is a founding member of Museum Detox, Chair of the Board of Trustees for Culture, and also mentors students as part of the Social Mobility Foundation ‘Aspiring Professionals’ scheme and the Prince’s Trust. In 2013, Miranda was one of three finalists for the National Diversity Awards ‘Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion & Faith’. Most recently, she was listed in BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour Power List 2020: Our Planet, and was one of the winners of the inaugural Society for the History of Natural History President's Award 2021.

12:45 - 13:30: Aalia Kamal, Culture and Inclusive Heritage Officer, The Heritage Council. 

Aalia Kamal is the Culture and Inclusive Heritage Officer at the Heritage Council of Ireland. Prior to her appointment to this new role in 2021, she was the Engagement Research Lead at Dublin City Council Culture Company, previously holding the role of Head of Engagement. An experienced researcher, she is a former Policy Manager with the Art Fund (UK), Qest Scholar at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and worked with the National Audit Office (UK) and Ipsos MORI.


The IMA would like to acknowledge the assistance of Judith Finlay and Declan Walsh, National Museum of Ireland, and Brian Crowley, Kilmainham Gaol - OPW, in shaping this programme.