Doing the Work: Collecting Practices and Acquisition Strategies, 26 May 2021

29 June 2021

Part of ‘Doing the Work’, an online CPD workshop series co-produced by the Contemporary Art Society and the Decolonising Arts Institute (University of the Arts London). Read more.

This workshop focuses on how anti-racism and decolonisation can be embedded in the collecting practices and acquisition strategies of art museums and galleries. Questions for discussion included: What can short-term, targeted acquisition strategies achieve in terms of diversifying collections, compared to long-term changes to collections development policies? Is diversifying a collection the same as decolonising a collection? How do racist and colonial modes of thinking and doing manifest in the way art museums and galleries develop and make use of their collections? What does an anti-racist and/or decolonial acquisitions or collections development policy look like? What are the challenges of embedding anti-racism and/or decolonisation in collecting practices and policies, particularly in terms of navigating between ethical imperatives, visitor expectations and the interests of funders/donors/trustees?

Dr David Dibosa (Reader in Museology, University of the Arts London) kick starts the discussion and moderates a discussion between Dr Nima Poovaya-Smith (former curator at Cartwright Hall Gallery) and Sepake Angiama (Iniva) on the approaches and initiatives they have developed to impact the makeup of collections in public museums and art galleries. Participants then broke out into small groups for focused conversation on the issues and challenges at hand, as well as strategies to test out back in the workplace.

Click here for participant biographies


Further Reading:


Dalal-Clayton, Anjalie. Developing more representative art collections could not be more urgent

Online Talks

Curating and Collecting Anti-racism? An Online Conversation

Developing more representative art collections could not be more urgent, by Anjalie Dalal-Clayton

Whoever Heard of a Black Artist? BBC x Black Artists & Modernism project documentary on BBC iPlayer

Christopher Bedford, Director of Baltimore Museum of Art at the CAS’s 2019 annual conference on Creating and Implementing a More Inclusive Museum Vision 


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