Taipei: The Tibet Museum Director, Tenzin Topdhen, spoke on the topic “Leveraging Museum for Human Rights Violation in Tibet ” and also participated in the Federation of International Human Rights Museums-Asia Pacific (FIHRM-AP) annual conference 2023 in Taipei, Taiwan.
Judging the scenario, he deliberated on spreading awareness of Tibet and its significance and the grievous human rights situation inside Tibet, particularly highlighting the wave of self-immolations and finally touching upon the Tibet Museum in advocating human rights violations in Tibet.
The Chief Guest at the event was Sue Wang, Deputy Culture Minister of Taiwan; Director of the National Museum of Human Rights and Chairman of FIHRM-AP, Hong Shifang; FIHRM-AP domestic; and Representative Kalsang Gyaltsen Bawa from the Office of Tibet-Taiwan; and other friends of Tibet also participated.
In 2010, the FIHRM was established with the mission to encourage museums to engage with sensitive and controversial human rights issues. The organisation advocates that all museums need to deal with difficult and controversial issues within their respective contexts. Therefore, through sharing, collaboration, and learning from each other, more museums can be enabled to engage in human rights practices, taking the initiative to challenge various forms of racial discrimination, prejudice, and human rights violations.
This year’s conference introduces five major subtopics: Leveraging Museums for Human Rights Practice, Engaging with Communities to Advocate Human Rights, Migration and Human Rights Challenges across Borders, Narratives of Negative Heritage Sites Transformed into Museums and Memorial Institutions, and Interdisciplinary Human Rights Collaboration: Synergy and Reverberation. For this year’s conference, the Tibet Museum gathered research papers, cases, and practical studies on human rights issues from around the world. These materials explore various topics, including using museums as a means to practice and promote human rights education, spearheading discussions on human rights issues through community collaboration, igniting public interest in the rights of immigrants and migrant workers, transforming negative heritage into museum or commemorative institutions, and harnessing interdisciplinary cooperation to create innovative media. Attendees had the opportunity to conduct in-depth exchanges and discussions on each of these subtopics, thus advancing international dialogue on human rights issues.
The conference featured experts and academics from Australia, Japan, Tibet, Thailand, Indonesia, etc. sharing their experiences and perspectives on how museums and human rights organisations can promote awareness of human rights issues in a variety of ways and means. Research, case studies, and papers on human rights issues from all walks of life were shared, and international museums and human rights organisations were invited to participate to promote new thinking and cross-cutting cooperation.
During the annual meeting, three presentations were given by the Director of the Australian National Indigenous Art Museum, Tracy Puklowski; Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Museum Practice at the University of Liverpool and Director of the International Centre for Slavery Studies, Richard Benjamin; and Director of the National Museum of Human Rights, Hong Shifang. In addition, a series of papers were presented by international museums, and the sub-themes of the conference include “museum-based approach to human rights practices”, “negative heritage into narratives of museums and memorial institutions”, “promoting community engagement to voice human rights”, “cross-cutting human rights resonance and echo” and “moving human rights challenges across borders”, exploring practical approaches to human rights education promotion, translation interpretation of negative heritage, increased community engagement, possibilities for cross-border cooperation, and discussions on how museums face mobile human rights issues.
In addition, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience was invited to attend the annual meeting and run a half-day workshop in Taiwan, an affiliated organisation of the International Association of Museums (ICOM), which provides member exchanges and builds the professional capacity of institutions around the world through grants, networking, education and training, transitional justice mechanisms, and initiatives. The workshop was hosted by Linda Norris, Senior Specialist, Methodology and Practice at the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, who has worked on several important projects, including reinterpreting African slave history, public art projects for Indian artists, and body drawing training in Bosnia and Herzegovina, helping museums present stories in more creative ways, build more compelling narratives, and deepen community ties.
–Filed by the Tibet Museum