Co-curating with trans people: The Challenges of collaborating with heterogenous minoritised communities

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


What are the challenges entangled with co-curatorial processes developed with highly heterogeneous, minoritised communities? Why do these exhibitions, even when co-created with community members, often emphasize community homogeneity over diversity? I address these questions by focusing on the Science Museum, London. I look back at a past project, What Makes Your Gender? (2014): a pivotal step in the Museum's treatment of gender diversity co-curated with trans young people and activists associated with Gendered Intelligence, a trans-led charity aiming to improve trans people's lives. Drawing on my exhibition analysis and ethnographic research of this co-creation project, I discuss why the heterogeneity and divisions within the curatorial team were overlooked in the co-curatorial process and final display. The discussion then shifts towards more recent debate surrounding the Museum's treatment of trans/gender people in the Who Am I? permanent gallery (2000 to present). The paper shows how inclusive curatorial projects attempting to validate minoritised communities, which are subject to discriminatory discourse in the media and wider public realm, can privilege homogenizing and easily 'consumable' representations of trans people at the expense of more accurate portrayals. It argues for greater attention to intersectionality and community diversity in curatorial projects co-created with heterogenous minoritised groups.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMuseum Management and Curatorship
PublisherRoutledge-Taylor Francis
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameMuseum Management and Curatorship
ISSN (Print)0964-7775


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