Imperial Encounters

The Exchange: 3 Centenary Square Birmingham B1 2DR
Friday 10 June 2022 (09:15-17:00)
Roshini Kempadoo, Ghosting, 2004. © Roshini Kempadoo.

Art, museums and education at the crossroads of empire and post-Brexit Britain.

A one-day conference organised by the Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, taking place in person on 10 June 2022 at The Exchange, University of Birmingham. 

a double processed photo showing a faint form of to people in an outdoor setting

Credits: Roshini Kempadoo, Ghosting, 2004. © Roshini Kempadoo.

Responding to recent and ongoing efforts to decolonise the art history curriculum and the museum, the conference will bring together researchers, curators and practitioners, from Higher Education and the museums sector, to begin to address these questions:   

  • How can we critically address the legacy of empire and its multifaceted manifestations in visual imagery and material culture?
  • How can we tackle colonialism and capitalism’s ongoing impact on the production of knowledge, and challenge Eurocentric frameworks in the field of art, art history and art education?
  • What might anti-racist and decolonial education look like in the predominantly white art history classroom?
  • How can images and artworks become catalysts to engage in productive, but perhaps uncomfortable, conversations around race, racism and empire?
  • How do we address histories of colonial violence and racial oppression without centring whiteness?
  • What are best practice examples in the field and what are the challenges?
  • How can art historians, artists and museum practitioners learn from each other?   

This one-day conference and workshop(s) will bring together researchers, curators and practitioners, from Higher Education, the museum and art production, to begin to address these questions.  

The conference will also coincide with the launch of the new issue of the Midlands Art Papers. There will also be time to visit the exhibition Found Cities. Lost Objects: Women in the City, curated by Lubaina Himid at BMAG over lunch. 


9:15 Arrival and Registration, tea and coffee

9:45 Welcome and Introductions and Launch of Midlands Art Papers (Dr Deniz Sözen and Dr Kate Nichols, both Department of Art History, Curating and Visual Studies, University of Birmingham)

10:00 Keynote: Sara Wajid, co-CEO of Birmingham Museums Trust and Victoria Osborne, Curator (Fine Art), Birmingham Museums 

10:50 Comfort break

11-12:30 Thematic papers (20 min) 

  • 11:00 Roshini Kempadoo, Professor of Photography and Visual Culture (The University of Westminster), media artist and photographer
  • 11:20 Karen McLean, visual artist: Karen McLean: Ar’n’t I a Woman! | The New Art Gallery Walsall
  • 11:40 Dorothy Price, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art and Critical Race Art History (The Courtauld) and Editor of Art History, the journal of the Association for Art History - in conversation with Deniz Sözen and Kate Nichols
  • 12-12:30 Q&A

12:30-14:00 Lunch break with the opportunity to visit Found Cities, Lost Objects: Women in the City curated by Lubaina Himid at BMAG

14:00-15:00 Educational Engagement (putting into practice)

15:00-15:30 Break

15:30- 16:30 Interactive workshop on anti-racist art education and sharing of best practice,

led by Raksha Patel (artist and Senior Lecturer at Camberwell College of Arts, UAL)

16:30-17:00 Closing remarks and final Q&A 


Register via the 'Register for this event' button at the top right of this webpage. Conference fees are as follows, lunch and refreshments are included:

  • £20 for those in full time employment
  • £5 concessions for students, unwaged, free-lance artists, those in precarious employment

Please notify us of any access and dietary requirements you may have during registration. If you do have any dietary requirements you will need to notify us by Wednesday June 1st. Please email

Registration has been extended up to the day of the event, Friday June 10th.

In organising this conference, we are pleased to have received the financial support of the School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music and the Centre for the Study of the Middle Ages, College of Arts and Law, University of Birmingham.