British territorial colonisation lasted hundreds of years, creating and spreading ways of thinking and behaving that we still use today. These were tools to order the world to ensure that it could be ruled by a small island.
It is within our government, language, education, food and art. It is in the streets we walk and the names they are called. British colonialism cost lives, memories and land, and continues to distort narratives, values and truth, depriving people of their freedoms and human rights.
Decolonising museums is essential. But everyone imagines decolonial practice differently, as it is an exercise in creatively reimagining the world we live in. It is a future where the colonial legacies do not stigmatise, marginalise and harm some people, while giving others power, authority and domination.
Decolonisation guidance cannot tell you how to decolonise your practice – that is a journey you must take on your own and with others. But hopefully it will provide the tools to help you think about your practice, design ways forward, open closed minds and connect disparate practitioners and practices.
And it should give strength to those who have been undertaking this work, who have endured oppression but are still working towards a fairer cultural landscape for all.
Rachael Minott is a Jamaican-born artist, curator, researcher and policymaker, and is the chair of the Museums Association’s Decolonisation Guidance Working Group