Hunterian appoints new Curator of Discomfort

Published: 11 September 2020

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Zandra Yeaman as Curator of Discomfort at The Hunterian.

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Zandra Yeaman as Curator of Discomfort at The Hunterian, University of Glasgow.

Zandra will lead the Museums Galleries Scotland funded Curating Discomfort project, challenging The Hunterian to find new, inclusive ways of interpreting collections that may be contested and are sensitive to diverse viewpoints.

Zandra joins The Hunterian on secondment from The Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) and brings many years of professional experience working in the social justice and equality field, promoting diversity and inclusion. Zandra's current role at CRER is as their Communities and Campaigns Officer where she leads on initiatives such as Black History Month, the Empire Museum Campaign and provides support for the Glasgow Voluntary Sector Race Equality Network.

She has previously worked with the museum sector in Scotland, collaborating with Glasgow Life, the National Museum of Scotland, Paisley Museum and the David Livingstone Centre and has assisted the Scottish arts and heritage sector, helping to question their working practices, involve new audiences and ensure that equality and diversity issues are at the heart of all they do. Internationally, Zandra has collaborated with The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Zandra will take up post at The Hunterian in mid-September and will devise museum interventions, community conversations and digital initiatives, intended to revisit The Hunterian collections and explore the multiple meanings, different perspectives and stories associated with them.

Over a period of 18 months, the Curating Discomfort project will allow The Hunterian to adopt more critical approaches to issues of race, identity, gender and colonial histories, offering the opportunity to reassess traditional interpretation, reshape curatorial thinking and establish new narratives.

Hunterian Director Steph Scholten said:

“Museums play an important and highly symbolic role for people in the way the past and the present are explained and identities represented. At The Hunterian, the voices and narratives of those other than a dominant elite remain underrepresented in ways that are no longer acceptable in our day and age. For years to come, we have committed to make The Hunterian a more relevant and meaningful place for more diverse audiences.”

Zandra Yeaman said:

“After many years of agitating and campaigning for change within cultural and heritage institutions from the outside, I am looking forward to joining The Hunterian and helping them take the lead in developing a model that transforms practice, and recognises and addresses our historical legacies.

Leader of the Smithsonian, Lonnie Bunch, has said: ‘Cultural institutions, regardless of the subject matter, have to be as much about today and tomorrow as they are about yesterday’.

The Hunterian recognises this, and that’s why I am both delighted and excited in joining their team.”

First published: 11 September 2020

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