Institute of Archaeology


Only Collections in the Building Podcast 3

7 May 2024

The third podcast in the series 'Only Collections in The Building' created by Heba Abd el Gawad and Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp (UCL Institute of Archaeology) is now available.

Two women sitting at a table wearing headphones, recording a podcast

The podcast series 'Only Collections in The Building' created by researcher and museum activist Heba Abd el Gawad, and Associate Professor Johanna Zetterstrom-Sharp, forms part of the AHRC-funded project Mobilising Collections for Institutional Change: Egypt at the Horniman.

Activists, artists, and indigenous practitioners are being invited to intervene in or disrupt museum spaces with the aim to bring change. But meaningful collaboration relies on much larger structural or professional changes that they rarely have the power to implement.

There is so much talk about museums, decolonisation, and social justice, but very little that is grounded in the day-to-day work of structural change and how it impacts the people who are relied on to implement it. It is in this everyday work that relationships can breakdown. Rather than having a breakdown, Heba and Johanna will ask what it means in practice to put people before collections by sharing their experience of working together on All Eyes on Her!, a community-collaborative exhibition at the Horniman.

This series is produced by Maria Christodoulou, creator of From Root to Vine.

Episode 3: Money, money, money

Money is both one of the most frequent reasons that tensions arise through work with external collaborators, yet at the same time a direct conversation that we often avoid. Episode 3 of Only Collections in the Building drills down into the decisions made about where money is spent, and how perceptions of museums as well funded institutions impact on trust. 

In this third episode the procedures that surround money, and how they reinscribe power are explored. 

This includes how the legal language of contracts is underpinned by assumptions around institutional ownership, and how financial agreements impact on rights to refuse. They ask to what extent the financial year and the deadlines that fall during spring-time respect a Global calendar, considering, for example, the holy month of Ramadan.

How can we have honest conversations about money on a more human level, considering both the inequalities in the allocation of money, and the financial transactions that surround it?

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