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1981
Curatorial Reflections
  • ISSN: 2040-4417
  • E-ISSN: 2040-4425

Abstract

Once-embodied garments take on new life through curation, where they have the potential to reveal histories, pose questions, inspire creativity, and challenge oppressive systems by bringing attention to inequalities and injustices through the lens of fashion. While the garment does this work materially, it is the curator and their team who conceptualize an exhibition, conduct in-depth research, design the display and author interpretive text, all of which empowers artefacts to convey a narrative. However, the very ‘elevation’ of fashion within major museums has been tethered to an ideological fabrication of fashion as a Euromodern phenomenon, which has created, produced, performed and sensationalized an exclusionary narrative of fashion history. At the same time, this narrative is being challenged through curation, especially in smaller institutions like community archives, tribal museums and university fashion collections. The contributors to this Special Issue reflect on the latter within the context of the United States. They write about the challenges of producing curated displays while offering insights into, and evidence of, the possibilities that curatorial practice offers institutions of higher education and the communities they serve. University collections in the United States create a space of learning that offers possibility for rethinking, reimagining and critiquing fashion. Education is the premise of the university collection and therefore world-building becomes possible through curation. While the university fashion collection is not without colonial baggage, corporate and industry connections, ideological interests and neo-liberal pressures, it is ideally a space premised on scholarly pursuit. This Special Issue grapples with the complexities of curating fashion in North American universities, and the potential of this work to agitate, challenge and resist dominant narratives.

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2022-06-01
2024-06-13
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