Our South Asia Gallery Journey

hello future

A guest post from Stephen Welsh, Curator of Living Cultures, with an update on the development of the Museum’s South Asia Gallery.

Since spring our South Asia Gallery has undergone somewhat of a radical transformation, shifting from a gallery primarily focused on chronology and collections to one embedding co-curation and lived experience. So how did we get here and where are we going next?

In April this year our new director Esme Ward joined us and this provided the perfect opportunity for us to reflect on the development of the gallery to date. In short, we asked ourselves whether the gallery was as caring, inclusive and imaginative as it possibly could be. We recognised that lots of key work had already taken place but further innovation was needed to place Manchester’s South Asian diaspora communities at the heart of the gallery. This motivated us to develop a co-production approach inspired…

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Petra, Borders & Boundaries

This is the last film in my current thematic collecting and migration series, many thanks to Dr Petra Tjitske Kalshoven, lecturer in Social Anthropology at The University of Manchester, for participating.

In 2016 I’ll be back with more thematic collecting films!

Tracey, Manchester & Multiculturalism

Here’s my second Thematic Collecting short film featuring Tracey Zengeni. Tracey’s collaborated with Manchester Museum over several years on a multitude of projects and it was fascinating to hear her thoughts:

I’ve got one more film to share with you from this current series so watch this space!

A Mancunian Mantra: Part II

It’s only several weeks now until the Dalai Lama visits Manchester, and as promised I have more wonderful Tibetan objects from the Living Cultures collection to share with you.

In 1969 Salford Museum transferred their collection of ethnography to the Manchester Museum, included in this transfer was an ornate Tibetan brass tea-pot.

Brass tea-pot. Tibet. 1800-1899. The Manchester Museum Living Cultures collection.

Such tea-pots are used in Buddhist monasteries in Tibet to provide monks with refreshment during their remarkably long ceremonies. This particular tea-pot is likely to have been made and used in the 19th century, making it over 100 years old. Similar in age is a wooden tea-bowl intricately decorated with skulls and Buddhas made from brass, silver and turquoise.

Tea bowl. Tibet. 1800-1899. The Manchester Living Cultures collection.

 The bowl was collected by Arnold Forrester Warden, a collector passionate about East Asia, and donated to the Museum in 1964.

I’ll be back in June with part III and more fascinating Tibetan objects.