In recent years, diversity and exclusion have become major topics of research and debate in the world of museums and of culture more generally. How can museums reflect on processes of exclusion and inclusion by revisiting their collections, modes of display and curatorial language? How can the museum be a place open to a multiplicity of publics? And what exactly does diversity entail, and how can we translate this into policy and practice? What does equality look like, for whom and why? And what does difference look like, for whom and why?

To investigate these questions further, Centraal Museum has teamed up with MOED: the Museum of Equality and Difference, established by the Gender Studies research group at Utrecht University. This partnership gives Centraal Museum the opportunity to explore new perspectives. The diverse expertise of the team helps us to critically review our own collection, and thereby our own identity.

The collaboration between MOED and Centraal Museum has resulted in the exhibition What is left unseen?. According to MOED, the presentation exposes the white male gaze from different perspectives. From our own collection, pieces by Nola Hatterman, Steve McQueen, Ary Scheffer, Therese Schwartze and historical pieces by Nicolaas Beets are exhibited along with a number of special loan pieces by Patricia Kaersenhout, Iris Kensmil, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Faisal Abdu’allah, Jan van Bijlert and Samuel Aranda. MOED’s critical intervention in the musuem raises some key questions: How does one critically engage with dominant accounts of history? How can we envisage new ways of seeing and visualising in the museum? These and other questions are explicitly addressed in What is left unseen, and they will help the museum to develop a more inclusive programme.


The exhibition MOED: What is left unseen runs from 16 February to 30 June 2019.