Decolonisation of Cultural Institutions and Curricula on Cultural Management and Policy

Education and Research Session 2023

Chairs: Maria de Fátima Lambert, Instituto Politécnico do Porto, Portugal, and Brea Heidelberg, Drexel University, United States

Global migration patterns continue to prompt interaction between people from different races throughout the world. While some countries have a longstanding, and often problematic history, of running heterogeneous societies, some homogenous countries are grappling with the impact of increased and sustained migration of multi-racial and multi-ethnic populations for the first time in recent memory. Calls across the world for social and creative justice, more equitable and sustainable cultural practices, and cultural institutions that better reflect the populations they serve have given many within the field cause to pause and examine the managerial, policy, and material implications of continuing to operate in a field built through, upon, and in constant conversation with colonization. Some have chosen to briefly reflect and then return to operating in a system that largely serves them. Others understand the need to create change in this area, but are unsure of what to do or how to get started. This call is for those who have felt compelled to grapple with how cultural organizations and cultural managers can engage in the process of decolonisation and how we might train the next generation of cultural managers to further this work in the future.

The continued need for decolonisation is further problematised by the field’s increasing interaction and reliance upon AI (AA, 2021; Zembylas, 2023). If creators and managers of AI have not grappled with the history of colonisation and the need to both dismantle colonised spaces and practices and construct purposefully decolonised ones, then the foundational algorithms and the resulting processes, procedures, and outcomes will further the harm created in the analog world (Noble, 2018).

How far and how fast does AI run when generating narratives that are based upon simulation humankind processes but lacking emotional sense and critical reason? We cannot consider an AI single perspective, closed frame or pattern when searching for human mind simulation. As for humankind diversity, AI should be shaped according to multiple and diverse modus vivendi, following cultural heritage and communities’ selves. 

The aim of this educational and research session is to explore the concept of decolonisation of curricula and cultural institutions, and to examine the ways in which we can ensure that our education system is more inclusive, diverse, and representative of all voices.

Decolonization is a process of dismantling colonial structures, ideologies, and practices that continue to shape our society and perpetuate inequality. In the context of education, decolonisation means critically examining the Eurocentric and imperialist biases that underpin our curricula and teaching practices, and working towards a more equitable and culturally responsive education system. It also means acknowledging the ways in which colonialism has impacted the relationship between the colonised and the coloniser, and how this has shaped the way we view history and culture.

Cultural institutions, such as museums, galleries, and heritage sites, also have a significant role to play in the decolonisation process. They must acknowledge the role they have played in perpetuating colonial narratives and stereotypes, and work to promote a more accurate and inclusive representation of history and culture. This involves not only diversifying their collections but also rethinking the way they present and interpret history and culture.

During this educational and research session, we will discuss the challenges and opportunities of decolonizing curricula and cultural institutions, and explore case studies and best practices from around the world. We will examine how the process of decolonising curricula can be challenging, as it requires educators to unlearn and relearn new ways of teaching, and to challenge the assumptions that underpin their teaching practices. We will also explore the role of cultural institutions in promoting a more accurate and inclusive representation of history and culture, and the challenges they face in doing so.

Furthermore, we will examine the role of educators, researchers, and cultural practitioners in driving the decolonization agenda, and discuss strategies for creating more inclusive and equitable education and cultural systems. Participants will be encouraged to share their own experiences, insights, and ideas for achieving a more just and equitable society.

The ultimate goal of this research session is to inspire and equip participants with the tools and knowledge to be agents of change in their own contexts, and to contribute to a more just and equitable society. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the concept of decolonisation, and will be equipped with the tools to critically analyse their own practices and to develop strategies for promoting more inclusive and equitable curricula and cultural systems.

​​The contributions to this track could address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Decolonizing cultural management pedagogy
  • Decolonizing cultural management practices (including cultural participation, human resource development, marketing, and executive leadership)
  • Decolonizing cultural policy 
  • Decolonizing immaterial heritage: traditional and oral literature
  • Decolonizing through Iconography versus Contemporary Artists’ productions
  • Decolonizing through literature: teaching foreign language and culture
  • Decolonizing History of Aesthetics and Art Theory

This track is related to the RIC – Research Interest Cluster “Decolonisation of Cultural Management and Policy Curricula and Institutions”.

Main references

AA. (2021). AI Decolonial Manifesto.

Benjamin, Ruha (2022). Humanitarian Digital Ethics - A Foresight and Decolonial Governance Approach. Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.

Gómez, Pedro Pablo y Mignolo, Walter. (2012). Estéticas decoloniales [recurso electrónico]. Bogotá: Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas.

Graham, Maria (1824). Journal of a voyage to Brazil, and residence there, during part of the years 1821, 1822, 1823. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green and J. Murray.

Maldonado-Torres, Nelson interview by Drexler-Dreis. Joe. (2014). Newsletter CLT 9 (October 2014).

Manovich, Lev(2018) AI Artificial Aesthetics. Moscow: Strelka Press.

Manovich, Lev and Arielli, Emanuele (2023) Artificial Aesthetics: A Critical Guide to AI, Media and Design.

Manovich, Lev (2018) Can We Think Without Categories? DCS | Digital Culture and Society | Vol. 4, Issue 1.

Mohamed, Shakir, Png, Marie-Therese and Isaac, William (2020). Decolonial AI: Decolonial Theory as Sociotechnical Foresight in Artificial Intelligence. Philosophy & Technology (2020) 33:659–684.

Noble, Safiya Umoja (2018). Algorithms of Oppression. Available at:

Schütz, Marine (2018). 'Decolonial aesthetics' [online] ECHOES: European Colonial Heritage Modalities in Entangled Cities. Available at:

Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. (1999). Decolonizing Methodologies Research and Indigenous People. London: Zed Books Ltd.

Zembylas, Michalinos (2023). A decolonial approach to AI in higher education teaching and learning: strategies for undoing the ethics of digital neocolonialism. Learning, Media and Technology, Vol. 48, Number 1, 2 January 2023, pp. 25-37(13).