“…despite a general sense of human rights as being a good thing, something we should celebrate, the materiality of human rights, and the struggle through human history to get to the culminating point of a museum constructed in their honour, seemed largely absent in this museum, despite the projection of a time line (which interestingly ends with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada has yet to sign).”

Cynthia Milton (CEREV, Université de Montréal) recently shared her first impressions and reflections on the opening of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights on the CSRG website.

Cynthia was one of the participants in “Museum Openings: Caring for Difficult Knowledge Within and Beyond the Canadian Museum for Human Rights”, a September workshop we co-hosted with the University of Winnipeg’s Cultural Studies Research Group.

Click through to see the full post on the CSRG website.

“It is up to all of us to approach the CMHR this way – as a catalyst to renewed engagement with the world around us, and a forum for taking action on injustices in our midst. Members of our various communities bring with them a range of experiences including deep and intimate knowledge of painful histories that may (or may not) be on display at the CMHR. We must see ourselves, and be seen by the museum, as essential partners in contributing to and challenging its representations of human rights. It is in this spirit that we call on the public to help the museum rise to its higher mandate.”

Erica Lehrer (Director, CEREV) and Angela Failler (Cultural Studies Research Group, University of Winnipeg), have written a piece for the CSRG website in which they reflect on the newly-opened Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

CEREV affiliates joined members of the CSRG in Winnipeg recently for Museum Openings: Caring for Difficult Knowledge Within and Beyond the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which formally kicked off CEREV’s partnership with the group.

Click through to see the full write-up.

cmhr signs of unfished galleries

Like a nineteenth-century universal museum, the CMHR is explicitly global. Arguably, Canada, with its diasporic communities linked to any number of historical and contemporary violations of human rights, is the right place for this museological experiment. But logically and morally, I argue, the museum should be grounded and engaged in the local struggles occurring on its doorstep, which reverberate nationally.

In our latest blog post, Shelley Ruth Butler reflects on the contentious September opening of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.

Click through to see her piece.


Welcome back, CEREV friends! I had a wonderful sabbatical, full of the always surprising and thought provoking challenges of public scholarship and curating difficult knowledge.

My June 2013 exhibit Souvenir, Talisman Toy in the Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, Poland was a fascinating experience. Part of this was navigating the institutional politics of bringing “critical museology” to an historic, East European national museum, contributing to their growing pains (and experiencing some of my own) as they “Europeanize” and “globalize.” And part of it was the success of the exhibit itself. This, along with its short run (less than 3 weeks), pushed me to spend much of the year creating a bilingual catalog based on the exhibit, as well as a website, so that the materials could have an ongoing life and be used for pedagogical purposes in Poland and abroad.

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CEREV and les études supérieures en muséologie à l’Université du Québec à Montréal are proud to co-present

Collaboration, Conversation and Reconciliation:
Learning how to address the uneasy conversation between indigenous Australians and settler society

A presentation by
Dr. Andrea Witcomb
(Deakin University)





September 24, 2014

3 – 4:30 PM
Room M-9550
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM)
1001 Boulevard de Maisonneuve E.
Montréal, QC

This paper will take a number of case studies from a large research project funded by the Australian Research Council on the Australian collecting sector and its engagement with cultural diversity to argue that Australian museums, from across the sector, have developed a strong curatorial practice in which Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people are no longer represented as a precursor to Australian history but as integral to the way in which we understand ourselves as a post-settler society.

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