Culture & Collaboration
Uncover Discover Another
Establishing co-authorship and psychological safety in First Nations exhibits through participatory design.
Indigenous culture is exploited by traditional curatorial practices within Canadian museums. The problem stems from the practice of singular ownership of property, information, and voice. It's a power that has been dispossessing people from culture. If Canada is truly working towards reconciliation with Indigenous people, this is a practice that needs to change in museums.
From visiting The Haida Now Gallery in The Museum of Vancouver, the project began with proof that co-authorship was possible. The big question was: "How might museum institutions and First Nations communities work together with a goal of co-curating a cultural-historical exhibit?". Through three iterations with interviews, workshops, user testing and extra museum observations, the main pain points always lead back to getting people working together. This is where the form of a facilitated workshop came about.
From the scenario that museum institutions and First Nations people will co-author exhibits, "Uncover Discover Another" aims to establish psychological safety at the start. The framework stands as a guided workshop paired with a web app tool. Participants use time away from the workshop to self-reflect on their values, hopes and fears to then create core values of the team and exhibit. This framework hopes to bring compassion and understanding for one another, as only a step closer to decolonizing the museum.