Simon Stephens, Issue 118/11, p4, 02.11.2018
Embracing change – in Belfast and in print
This issue of Museums Journal, as you can see from our front cover, has a big focus on this year’s Museums Association Conference theme of Dissent: Inspiring Hope, Embracing Change.

The image is from Nottingham Contemporary’s exhibition Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance and is a work by Eduardo Gil, who is featured in our article on artists and dissent. There will also be a session at the Belfast conference during which speakers will discuss artists’ practices that provoke and challenge accepted certainties and shift perceptions.

Another key session in Belfast will look at the growing movement to decolonise museums and their collections. This will have a particular focus on The Past Is Now exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, which we reviewed in the February 2018 issue of Museums Journal. The session will ask whether museum practice itself is in need of decolonisation and the feature in this issue will give you a taste of the debate.

In this issue, we are also running a review of The Troubles and Beyond at Ulster Museum, a gallery that opened earlier this year to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, which brought to an end 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.

How museums interpret the Troubles will be discussed at the conference in Belfast, with contributions from National Museums Northern Ireland and the Museum of Free Derry. Those working in cultural organisations in Northern Ireland feel that others would benefit from what they have learned about working in the context of a post-conflict society. But Northern Ireland is so much more than its troubled past, as delegates at the conference will find out.

You will notice that we have made a few changes to this edition of Museums Journal, the most obvious of which is the introduction of a longer In Practice section. This is a response to calls by readers to see more practice-based articles in the magazine.

But we will still retain our focus as an issues-led magazine that addresses the concerns of the people who work in, for and with museums, and one that supports the work they do to engage the public.
Simon Stephens, editor, Museums Journal