Heads, Hearts and Museums: The Unsettling Pedagogies of Kent Monkman’s Shame and Prejudice
A Story of Resilience
Museums as colonial institutions are filled with the tensions and contradictions of competing discourses. This makes them complex sites of public pedagogy and informal adult education and learning. But they are also becoming important spaces of counter-narrative, self-representation, and resistance as Indigenous artists and curators intervene, and thus key spaces for settler education and truth telling about colonialism. My study inquires into the pedagogies of Cree artist Kent Monkman’s touring exhibition Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience through the lens of my own unsettling as I engage autoethnographically with the exhibition. I highlight the unsettling pedagogical potentials of Monkman’s exhibition and contend that, as a site of experiential learning that challenges Euro-Western epistemologies and pedagogies with more holistic, relational, storied approaches, the exhibition offers much to unsettle and inform public pedagogy and adult education theory, practice, and research within and beyond museums.
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