Pluto Press Logo

Independent Radical Publishing




On the Blog

Dan Hicks

The Brutish Museums

Thu, 11 Nov 2021, 18:30 (GMT)

BSix College, Kenninghall Rd, London, E5 8BP

Launch event hosted by Pages of Hackney

We’re incredibly excited to welcome Dan Hicks to BSix College to discuss his groundbreaking book THE BRUTISH MUSEUMS. Described as ‘a game-changer’ and ‘a long-awaited treatise on justice’, Dan’s book has played a crucial role in moving forward recent discussions of institutional decolonisation and cultural restitution, and we’re really looking forward to what promises to be an unmissable conversation with artist and curator Errol Francis.

Walk into any Western museum today and you will see the curated spoils of Empire. They sit behind plate glass: dignified, tastefully lit. Accompanying pieces of card offer a name, date and place of origin. They do not mention that the objects are all stolen.

Few artefacts embody this history of rapacious and extractive colonialism better than the Benin Bronzes – a collection of thousands of metal plaques and sculptures depicting the history of the Royal Court of the Obas of Benin City, Nigeria. Pillaged during a British naval attack in 1897, the loot was passed on to Queen Victoria, the British Museum and countless private collections.

THE BRUTISH MUSEUMS sits at the heart of a heated debate about cultural restitution, repatriation and the decolonisation of museums. Since its first publication, museums across the western world have begun to return their Bronzes to Nigeria, heralding a new era in the way we understand the collections of empire we once took for granted.

Dan Hicks is Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at the University of Oxford, Curator at the Pitt Rivers Museum, and a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford. His award-winning research focuses on decolonisation in art and culture, and academic disciplines, and on the role of cultural whiteness in ongoing histories of colonial violence and dispossession.

Errol Francis was appointed CEO of Culture& in 2016. He was programme manager at Arts Council England, Inspire Curatorial Fellowship Programme; Head of Arts at the Mental Health Foundation and artistic director of the highly acclaimed Anxiety Arts Festival London 2014, Acting Out Nottingham 2015 and Hysteria 2017-2018 public engagement programmes. He is Visiting Professor at the University of West London. Errol was awarded his PhD from the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, where his research focused on postcolonial artistic responses to museums. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of West London in 2017.

All events