The Evolving Museum of Conscience:
Exhibitions for Social Justice
Gonzales will be joined in conversation with a range of representatives from local museums that work directly with diverse communities to address issues of social change, and that are featured in Exhibitions for Social Justice: Cesáreo Moreno, Director of Visual Arts & Chief Curator, National Museum of Mexican Art, Kelley H. Szany, Vice President of Education & Exhibitions, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Jennifer Scott, former Director and Chief Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. The panel will share examples of new and recent work that innovatively addresses challenging social topics around gentrification, citizenship, immigration, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and incarceration.
Three very different museums – The Smart Museum of Art at University of Chicago, The Natural History Museum, a traveling pop-up museum, and President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington D.C. – will share the challenges and opportunities of working for social justice in conversation with Elena Gonzales, PhD, author of Exhibitions for Social Justice.
Thursday, May 13, 2021; 10 am CST
This webinar is framed through a social justice lens and lays the groundwork for an understanding of what social justice and equity are, why they are important to museums, and how they relate to conversations around racism and museum sustainability. It explores how museums can recontextualize exhibits to open discussions around social justice and provides examples of museums that have done this successfully. The examples are affordable solutions with high impact and low cost, acknowledging that many museums do not have the resources to reinstall their exhibits, but there are ways they can address social justice within the context of the exhibits they already have on view. Listen here.
Gonzales discussed curatorial work - what it is and what good it is - with Alpha Bruton, a visual artist and the Curator of Phantom Gallery in Chicago. Bruton and her colleague, Adero Knott, are the inaugural Curatorial Fellows at the Evanston Art Center. Listen to the BlogTalk Radio recording.
Thursday, September 24, 2020; 6 pm CST
As we move into 2020, many more museums than ever before are evolving into sites of social justice. Gonzales will moderate a conversation with representatives from local museums that work directly with diverse communities to address issues of social change, and are featured in Exhibitions for Social Justice: Cesáreo Moreno, Director of Visual Arts & Chief Curator, National Museum of Mexican Art, Amanda Friedeman, Assistant Director of Education, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and Jennifer Scott, former Director and Chief Curator, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. The panel will share examples of new and recent work that innovatively addresses challenging social topics around gentrification, citizenship, immigration, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and incarceration. The panel will also explore with the audience new opportunities for museums to creatively collaborate with communities to address issues of justice.
Wednesday, June 10, 2020; 1 pm CST
We Will Not Remain Neutral: Dismantling Structural Racism in Our Archives
Lightening Talks with the Rare and Distinctive Collections (RAD) Hour of the Cornell University Library
As the world faces a second week of anti-racist protests over the treatment of Black Americans in police custody, this RAD Hour will offer an opportunity to learn how archivists and librarians are using their power to create spaces for diversity and inclusion and examine ways to advance social justice and in rare and distinctive collections. See the recording.
POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
Women Speak 2020: Stronger Together
Lorraine Morton Civic Center, Evanston, IL
Evanston Made organized this free panel discussion, moderated by the visual artist, Fran Joy (thanks to her for the image above), Lisa Degliatoni, and Meleika Gardner. Please register here and learn more. All are welcome. There will be copies of Exhibitions for Social Justice available for sale.
POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
Exhibitions for Social Justice:
Engaging Communities Within the Gallery
Humanities Truck Speaker Series,
American University, Washington, DC
In this talk about intersectionality and groupness, Gonzales addresses the ways in which curators can use the space inside exhibitions to make our societies more pro-social and support our ongoing human project on the planet. She hopes the ideas in the book – and this talk – will inspire people inside and outside of the cultural sector in their practices as curators, activists, students, and teachers. The event is free and open to the public.
There will be a recording available later in the spring.
Tuesday, January 28, 2020; 6 pm
Elena Gonzales in Conversation with Dan Silverstein
Bookends & Beginnings, Evanston IL
Join Gonzales and Silverstein for this conversation and book signing. Silverstein is an artist and the Associate Director of Exhibitions and Collections Logistics at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston, IL where he designs, plans, and installs exhibitions. This cozy evening at a local indy bookstore is free and open to all, and books will be available for purchase.
NB: IT'S IN THE ALLEY
Monday, January 27, 2020; 6 pm
Exhibitions for Social Justice Discussion and Book Launch
Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
Gonzales and Michael Christiano, Deputy Director and Curator of Public Practice at the Smart Museum discuss how cultural organizations consider and act on issues critical to their communities. The talk will take place in Adaptation, a site-specific installation commissioned by the Smart and created by John Preus composed of furniture from the Chicago Public Schools closed in 2013. The talk is free and open to the public, and books will be available for purchase.
Thursday, January 23, 2020; 10 am CST
Museum Relevance: Exhibitions for Social Justice
A Webinar for the
Texas Historical Commission’s Museum Services Program
Gonzales discusses how museums can reach the whole population, rather than a dwindling half of it, how museums can develop more honest and functional relationships with communities that typically have not visited, and what curatorial strategies and tactics are most effective when museums want to build empathy, long lasting memories, and inspiration for visitors. Listen now!
Wednesday, December 18, 2019; 5:30 pm
Objects that enable curatorial work for social justice
Martyrs', Chicago, IL
This presentation is part of an event called “That Belongs in a Museum… Or Not”, a collaboration between the Chicago Museum Exhibitors Group and Chicago’s PechaKucha 20x20. During the evening, from 6-10:30 pm, there will be two PechaKucha sessions where six presenters each speak about 20 images for 20 seconds each. Join us in this lively and innovative format for a dark, Midwestern winter evening!
Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Poster credit: Susan Fireside
Museum Archipelago is a tiny show guiding you through the rocky landscape of museums. Museum Archipelago believes that no museum is an island and that museums are not neutral.
Taking a broad definition of museums, host Ian Elsner brings you to different museum spaces around the world, dives deep into institutional problems, and introduces you to the people working to fix them.
In this 15-minute episode, Elsner and Gonzales discuss Exhibitions for Social Justice. Listen here.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019; 6 pm
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
The National Museum of Mexican Art was an important site in Exhibitions for Social Justice, and continues to work for social justice in innovative ways through its exhibitions. Gonzales will discuss the museum's work in the context of the book, and will follow on the Latinx Studies Program's field trip to the NMMA, scheduled for Friday, October 4th, from 11 am - 2 pm. She's looking forward to discussing the findings of participants, but please join the discussion whether or not you can attend the field trip. All are welcome! Books will be for sale at the event.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019; 6:30 pm
The Book Stall, Winnetka IL
Gonzales will discuss Exhibitions for Social Justice from Routledge’s Museum Meanings Series with Dr. Danny M. Cohen, founder of Unsilence and distinguished professor of instruction at Northwestern University. Gonzales will be discussing how galleries, museums, and other arts programmers can help make our society more hospitable, equitable, and sustainable. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.
Sunday, September 8, 2019; 1:30-3 pm
Evanston Art Center, Evanston IL
The Exhibitions Program at the Evanston Art Center includes 20-30 exhibitions each year. Since 2016, as many as 40% of these have been exhibitions that work toward social justice! Explore different types of exhibitions for social justice and discover important work you may have missed on the Art Center's calendar in this special chat with the Art Center's co-chair of Exhibitions, Elena Gonzales. Gonzales is the author of Exhibitions for Social Justice, newly released in July from Routledge. She will discuss the work of the Art Center in the context of her new book. The event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.