What’s in a Name? CEREV Expands its Mandate – by Shelley Ruth Butler
At a well-attended vernissage on Oct. 1, 2015, CEREV Director Erica Lehrer announced two exciting name changes. First, CEREV’s exhibition lab is broadening its mandate, becoming the Centre for Curating and Public Scholarship (CCPS), a university research platform that will be broadly accessible for faculty and student research, exhibits, and training. CEREV will remain a vibrant research group that operates as a key “spoke” in the broader intellectual community surrounding the lab, continuing its focus on difficult histories. The goal is to create a hub where diverse user groups can experiment with exhibition as a significant form of public communication and dialogue. In conjunction with the inauguration of the CCPS, Erica Lehrer’s Canada Research Chair, previously the CRC in Post-Conflict Ethnography, Memory, and Museology has been renamed the CRC in Museum and Heritage Studies. In this role, Lehrer will work to synergize interests and energies across and beyond the university that touch on this important domain of cultural and political significance in Canada and internationally.
The inauguration of the Centre for Curating and Public Scholarship was accompanied by a vernissage of a travelling exhibition from the Museum of Memory and Human Rights in Chile. The exhibition documents human rights violations committed by the Chilean state between 1973 and 1990. In travelling to Montreal, the exhibition aims to connect with the Chilean diasporic community, which is 8,000 strong in Quebec, as well as to stimulate awareness and reflection amongst a broader public. It illustrates well the potential of exhibitions to become sites of redress, public pedagogy, and inspiration. The presence of local Chileans and activists at the vernissage added to the power of the exhibition as both a social and educational tool.
The significance of these various energies was noted by Arts and Sciences Dean André Roy, who spoke of the necessity of interdisciplinary work and university-community collaboration to address real world issues. In the coming months, the CCPS will refine its mission and plans for short and long-term projects that make use of university space for public communication and display. Harnessing popular enthusiasm for museums and curating, the Centre seeks to be at the forefront of efforts to translate the newest academic scholarship into engaging, accessible, public display.