The invasion of Ukraine has generated a wave of solidarity. With this debate, the sixth in the series The Activist Museum: Going Deeper, we aim to reflect on the role of museums in time of war, but also in time of peace and before any war. How people-centred are museum policies in different countries around the world? What “culture” is produced and promoted in museums and by whom? How performative are the statements made by different cultural organisations in relation to this war and how critical (or acritical) were, prior to this, their programming and collaborations in different contexts raising ethical issues?
Join for this conversation with Olha Honchar (Memorial Museum of Totalitarian Regimes “Territory of Terror”, Ukraine) and Tony Butler (Derby Museums, UK).
Olha Honchar is a culturologist, project and communications manager, anti-crisis manager. Director of the Memorial Museum of Totalitarian Regimes “Territory of Terror” in Lviv. She researches the features of public relations, cultural and museum management in Ukraine, in particular in the regions. Communicator of the projects “Cultural diplomacy between the regions of Ukraine” in the frontline and liberated cities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, “The museum is open for renovation”, expedition “HERE AND THERE” and others. Co-curator of the experimental exposition of the Anti-Terrorist Operation at the Luhansk Regional Museum in Starobilsk. Founder of the Museum Crisis Centre and the Ambulance Museum project, which emerged in the first days of the Russian war against Ukraine.
Tony Butler is a social history curator at heart. He has been working in museums for over 20 years and has been Executive Director of Derby Museums since January 2014. Derby Museums run three museums in the city and includes the Museum if Making at Derby Silk Mill, the site of the world’s first factory and a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recently re-opened following at £18m refurbishment. Derby Museum, and Art Gallery which contains the world’s finest collection of works by the 18th century artist Joseph Wright of Derby. He sits on the UK National Museums Director’s Council and its Executive Group. Prior to that, Tony was director of the Museum of East Anglian Life for nine years. He repositioned the organisation as a social enterprise and led a major capital development programme involving the restoration of Abbot’s Hall, a Queen Anne mansion and associated buildings. In 2011 he founded the Happy Museum Project, which created an international community of practice to explore how museums could contribute to a society in which well-being and environmental sustainability were its principle values. Happy Museum has affiliates throughout the world and has supported over 60 UK museums to develop projects which build mutual relationships with audiences and ‘steward the future as well as the past.’