I went to New Walk Museum over the weekend which is currently undergoing some refurbishment, but hidden at the back of the museum there was an exhibition I knew nothing about, exploring the experiences of three immigrants to Leicester. As I was chatting about with Amy and Ceri last night, what Leicester is famous for today is it's multiculturalism - The subject of immigration and integration is as we all know are hotly debated, and the exhibition I didn't think explicitly addressed this debate - which maybe it could have done. What it did do was explore the human experience of being forced to leave one country and make a life in another. One of the participants fled her home country of Rwanda with only the clothes she was wearing and her bible, both were exhibited in the gallery. The bible which was incredibly fragile and obviously very precious to its owner, got me thinking about what it means to display objects that obviously carry great personal meanings for somebody and the best way of conveying this meaning? I felt very thankful to all of the participants who took part in this exhibit for allowing me an insight into their lives. And although I am not an immigrant to the country I am not a native ‘Leicesterian’ and could see common themes emerging about integration into a new place. One criticism though - I would have been nice to have seen the museum space used more effectively as a forum for discussion here. I don't think (from what I saw – please correct me if I’m wrong) there was an opportunity to leave comments for example.
I'm interested to hear if anyone else has seen this exhibition what they thought? Exhibitions about this theme are not uncommon in museums at the moment, what's the impact of these I wonder? What do they do well and what do they not do so well?
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.