Imagining the Not-Museum Power, Pleasure, and Radical Museological Community

  • Dana Carlisle Kletchka
  • Adéwálé Adénlé
  • Shannon Thacker Cregg
  • Anna Freeman
  • Damarius Johnson
  • Megan Wanttie
  • Logan Ward
Keywords: art museums, post-critical museology, Decolonialism, Critical pedagogy, Embodied experience



This manuscript describes a semester-long engagement by members of a graduate course cohort to reckon with individual and collective understandings of contemporary art museum practices, the roots of which are deeply entrenched in colonial, Western, patriarchal discourses. In response to course readings, guest speakers, and embodied experiences, members of the group engaged in a project of resistance—shaped by open, ongoing dialogue and critical reflection about the field of museology and centered in both radical critique and boundless possibility. Inspired by Black Feminist scholars, curators, and justice-seekers (brown, 2019; Cooper, 2018; Autry, personal communication, November 15, 2019) who find pleasure in collective visions of world-building, they entered into a communal space of theoretical imaginings together to invoke a not-museum, a site with the potential to enable a socially-responsive, just, affirming ontology for their communities. The authors conclude with a manifesto that serves as a promise, a vision, and a tool with which to build such museums.