1st Edition

Ethics of Contemporary Collecting

    280 Pages 69 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    280 Pages 69 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Ethics of Contemporary Collecting addresses pressing and pertinent issues around ethical contemporary collecting, reflecting on how practices are evolving or in flux.

    Across three sections, each containing live sector subjects from the climate crisis, to digital collecting, through to centring communities, this book collates a combination of case studies and in-depth chapters by leading practitioners working in the field. These pieces are instructive and provide practical, transferable examples of how people have approached these challenges. It highlights examples of leading practice in the field and illustrates ethical approaches to contemporary collecting as work in this area progresses and our conversations about it advance. To reflect this ongoing growth, the book closes with an ‘Activations’ section of discussion prompts intended to keep the conversations and progress – on individual, institutional, and societal levels – going.

    Ethics of Contemporary Collecting is an indispensable tool for informing, training and educating the next generation of curators and collection professionals, and inspiring future collecting projects.


    About the Editors

    List of Images and Tables

    Collecting a moment


    1.0 Collecting a Moment: Introduction

    Jen Kavanagh


    1.1 Making the Future: Contemporary Collecting at National Museums Northern Ireland

    Karen Logan and Hannah Crowdy


    1.2 How Did We Get Here? A Reflection on Collaborative Research in Action

    Elinor Morgan


    1.3 Decapitated Monuments to Colonial Administrators of India at the Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai

    Laharee Mitra and Rebecca Senior


    1.4 Antisemitism and Racism: Collections in Transformation

    Isabel Enzenbach


    1.5 Challenges, Risks and Rewards: Contemporary Conflict Collecting at Imperial War Museums

    Amanda Mason


    1.6 The Ethics of Response-ability in Collecting Spontaneous Memorials

    Kostas Arvanitis, Larysa Bolton, Jenny Marsden, Eleanor Mckenzie and Amanda Wallace


    1.7 Mass Observing COVID-19

    Jessica Scantlebury and Kirsty Pattrick



    Responsible futures


    2.0 Responsible Futures: Introduction

    Ellie Miles


    2.1 Climate Action and Ethics at the Horniman

    Nick Merriman


    2.2 Problem Plastics at the People’s History Museum

    Sam Jenkins


    2.3 Minting New Collection Challenges: A Reflective Analysis of the Ethical Dilemmas Around Collecting NFTs

    Gabi Arrigoni and Livia Turnbull


    2.4 New and Emerging Ethical Considerations for Digital Collecting in Museums

    Arran J. Rees


    2.5 Collecting as Emergency Response in the Earth Crisis

    Bridget McKenzie


    2.6 Experience of Non-custodial Collecting through the Contemporary Ecomuseum Model:

    A Case Study of Taoyuan City Daxi Wood Art Ecomuseum in Taiwan

    I-Ching Lin and Chun-Ni Chiu



    Centring communities


    3.0 Centring Communities: Introduction

    Rosamund Lily West


    3.1 Echoes of Holloway Prison: Collecting Complex Stories

    Roz Currie


    3.2 Punk Polyvagal in a Polycrisis: Remaking Museums in a Time of Social and Ecological Collapse

    Jess and Matt Turtle


    3.3 Collecting Victorian COVID-19 Experiences: Mine, Yours or Ours?

    Michelle Stevenson, Alice Cannon and Rebecca Carland


    3.4 What to Take and What to Leave Behind: Contemporary Ethical Collecting for a Museum in Oxford

    JC Niala


    3.5 The Power of Patient Perspectives: Exploring Participatory Collecting with Patient Groups in a Medical Museum

    Mieneke te Hennepe and Leonie Wingen


    3.6 Critical Reflection on ‘Telling Stories: Experiences of Bereavement During the COVID-19 Pandemic’

    Natasha Vicars, Mary Hodgson and Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh


    3.7 Centring the Donor at the Royal College of Nursing

    Teresa Doherty


    3.8 Ethics and Problems of Museumization in the Current Montane Environment Using Examples from the Slovak Republic

    Helena Galková, Daniel Harvan and Richard R Senček



    Activations and Further Reading

    Biographies of the Authors



    Jen Kavanagh is a freelance curator and oral historian based in London.

    Dr Ellie Miles is a curator and researcher based in London.

    Rosamund Lily West is a lecturer in Architectural Studies at the University of Manchester, UK.

    Susanna Cordner is a Senior Research Fellow at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London, UK.