Research Interests

Research Interests

I am interested in the power of museum and community collaboration to affect multi-sensory engagement and learning from world art, which includes material culture and intangible heritage: language, storytelling, music and dance.  Issues of identity, memory and knowledge construction, anti-racism and anti-sexism are foregrounded in my recent research projects and publication.

Learning at the Museum Frontiers: Identity, Race and Power, published by Routledge in 2016 explores imaginative approaches to museum learning for economically disadvantaged people in London, Goteborg, and Cape Town. Considering the diverse ways museums might become more inclusive sites to engage a wider audience in respectful dialogue to promote understanding between and within diverse cultures, the book was voted one of the ‘top five’ publications on museum education by Museum Monitor readers in 2010.

The monograph themes are centered in universal human rights and responsibilities as these relate to citizens and citizenship issues at local contexts in a globalised world. I observe that while much of our globe is marked by colonialism and its lingering negative legacies such as racism, citizens can be empowered through museum collaboration to take positive action, raising diverse voices and visibilities, to protect those who are marginalized in nation states. I further consider these themes from a philosophical and political perspective in Collaborative Museums: Curators, Communities and Collections, which I coedited with Dr Wayne Modest of Tropen Museum Amsterdam and in Feminist Review: Affects and Creolisation.

While my research is grounded in the new theoretical perspective of feminist-hermeneutics it is closely linked with international museum practice and the profession. My ideas are largely developed in collaboration and I have a long-term involvement in several international research networks: the Black Body group based at Goldsmiths College London, the Creative Reminiscence network of Japan, and was elected President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICOM-ICME) in 2013 and for a second term in 2016. ICME addresses not only the colonial histories of ethnographic museums but also the contemporary challenges we face to engage audiences in critical thinking and social justice. Museums and Innovations and Museums and Truth, published in 2016 and 2014, are ICME's latest volumes outlining these conerns, which I co-edited with Dr Zvjezdana Antos, Dr Annette Fromm and Per Rekdal. Within the School I have worked within the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG), notably on a Museums Libraries and Archives (MLA) project Their Past Your Future 2, completed in 2010.

New and Ongoing Projects

  • International Council of Museums (ICOM-ICME) 'Diversity an Universality' (2019)
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM) 'Re-Imagining the Human: exploring best practice in object-based learning at the ethnographic museum', ICME, ICOM Croatia, ICOM Germany, ICOM Norway, ICOM Pakistan, Horniman Museum and Gardens (2018)
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM) 'Human Remains Management in southern Africa', Commonwealth Association of Museums (CAM), ICOM ICME and ICOM Namibia (2018-2019)
  • International Council of Museums (ICOM), 'Accessioning Africa', ICME and ICOM Namibia, with Dr Jeremy Silvester, Namibia, (2014-16)
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Bridge Award, ‘Museum and University Collaboration’, with Dr Yoshikazu Ogawa, Tokyo, Japan (December 2014-January 2015)
  • ''Behind the Looking Glass: 'Other-Cultures-Within' Translating Cultures (AHRC Translating Cultures 2011-13) with Professor Joan Anim-Addo at Goldsmiths College London,
  • 'Museum and University Collaboration' with Dr Yoshikazu Ogawa at The National Museum of Nature and Science (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Visiting Fellow (2012-13).
  • 'Mapping Faith and Place in Leicester' with Dr Ruth Young from UoL's School of Archaeology (AHRC Care for the Future 2011-12)
  • 'Developing Museum Literacies in Japan and the UK' with Reiji Takayasu at The National Museum of Nature and Science, Professor Hiroshi Kurushima at The National Museum of Japanese History and Professor Makoto Suzuki Aoyama-Gakuin University (Daiwa 2010-12).

I joined the editorial boards of

I organize, chair and present papers at conferences internationally on my research themes. Recent conferences organised and papers delivered include

In 2019

Conference organisation and moderation

  • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME), 'Diversity and Universality' at the ICOM25th General Conference Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition (1-7 September), Kyoto, Japan (http://www.erm.ee).
  • As Board Member of The Best of Heritage (25-27 September), Dubrovnik, Croatia.
  • In 2018

    Conference organisation and moderation

  • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME), Re-imaging the Museum: in the Global Contemporary (9-12 October), at The Estonia National Museum, Tartu, Estonia (http://www.erm.ee).
  • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME) 'Re-Imagining the Human: exploring best practice in object-based learning at the ethnographic museum', (28-29 November) Horniman Museum and Gardens
  • Papers delivered

  • Golding, V 'Re-Imagining the Human: exploring best practice in object-based learning at the ethnographic museum', (2 October) National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, Japan
  • Golding, V. '‘Representations of identity and power: the museum as a place of enunciation’ at ‘XIV Seminar Museum, Art and Education: Participation and Citizenship’ (8 September) National Museum of Art, Santiago, Chile
  • In 2017

    Conference organisation and moderation

    • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME), Migration, Home and Belonging (17-19 October), at The National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. USA.
    • As Board Member of The Best of Heritage (28-30 September), Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    Papers delivered

    • Golding, V. 'Guiding in museums: expanding the museum dialogue' at Guiding in Museums, (6-7 November) Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
    • Golding, V. 'Coming to our senses: healing approaches to difficult histories in museums' (4-9 July) From cultural mediation to social innovation, at SESC, San Paolo, Brazil

    In 2016

    Conference organisation and moderation

    • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME), Museums and Cultural Landscapes: Curating and Engaging Peoples, Places and Entanglements in an Age ofMigrations. (3-9 July 2016), Milan, Italy.
    • As Board Member of The Best of Heritage (22-24 September 2016), Dubrovnik, Croatia.

    Funded papers

    ‘Working Collaboratively: Education and Engagement at the Creative Frontiers of the Art Museum’ at the 2016 Forum for Curators of Chinese Art (13-15 October 2016), the Palace Museum Beijing, China, and organised by the Bei Shan Tang Foundation.

    In 2015

    Conference organisation

    • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME), with ICOM Vietnam, Museums and Communities: Diversity, Dialogue, Collaboration (25-26 October 2015), Hanoi

    Keynote papers

    • ‘Memory and Forgetting: Learning and Creativity at the Museum Frontiers’, Japan Museum Management Academy (JMMA Kansai branch), National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku), (11 January), Osaka, Japan
    • ‘Museum Education With Communities: Using Feminist-Hermeneutic Practice to Challenge Prejudice and Stereotype’ at Contemporary Museum and Gallery Education Practices: Local Communities meet Global Narratives, Point Centre for Visual Arts, (22 May), Nicosia, Cyprus.

    Funded papers

    • ‘Affective Objects: Sensing Hidden Histories of Care and Cruelty’ at ‘Engaging diverse communities in museums’ Cultures of Sense: Approaches to the Sensuality of the Social World, (13 January), DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FÜR VOLKSKUNDE, (22 July 2015), Zurich, Switzerland;

    In 2014

    Keynote papers

    Round Table Discussion

    • 'Intangible Heritage’ Heritage Lottery Fund (28 March), London.

    Conference organisation

    • As President of the International Council of Museums of Ethnography (ICME), a University of Leicester collaboration and ICME with ICOM Croatia, Museums and Innovation, (14-16 October), Zagreb

    In 2013

    • ‘Memory and Forgetting: Learning and Creativity at the Museum Frontiers’ a keynote for ICOM-CECA (August 12) in Rio;
    • ‘Museum and University Collaboration: Training the Profession in the UK’ a keynote for Intermuseum in Moscow (June 1);
    • ‘Guerilla Consultancies: Exploring Controversy, Stereotype and Humour in Museums’ for JMMA in Kyoto Japan (February 2).

    In 2012

    In 2011

    • Japan Museum Management conference in Osaka (April)
    • National Heritage Board (NHB) Academy in Singapore (November 4);
    • Australian Museums Association (AAM) Annual conference in Perth (November 14-17);
    • Museum 2011 in Taiwan (November 18);
    • The National Museum of Nature and Science, The National Museum of Japanese History and Aoyama-Gakuin University in Tokyo (November 25-27).

    In 2010

    • ‘Museums Imagining A Community of Communities Through Multisensory Engagement’ (May), chair and speaker of a diversity panel, with Lonnie Bunch (Smithsonian Institution), Joseph Gonzales (Fleischer Art Memorial) and Annette Fromm (Frost Art Museum and ICME President), at the AAM in Los Angeles;
    • ‘The Elephant in the Room’ (November) at the triennial ICOM-ICME conference in Shanghai.

    In 2009

    • Museums Curators and Communities: Embedded Approaches to Participation, Collaboration and Inclusion, 2 day conference with Wayne Modest at Horniman
    • I was also invited to present my ideas in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Italy in 2009 and in 2008 in Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic and Germany. Previous conference and research work on diversity, democracy and citizenship, for which I have won Daiwa and British Academy grants, includes: Japan, Korea, China, South Africa, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal and Egypt.

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