The Wonder House

The Wonder House

Sushma Jansari
Feb 17, 2020 2 min

Help us with the British Podcast Awards!

After an amazing reception for Season 1 of The Wonder House, we have decided to enter the British Podcast Awards !! To do this, let us know on Twitter: What are your favourite clips from Episodes 1-6? If you'd like a recap, listen to Subhadra Das, Miranda Lowe, Sara Wajid, Rachael Minott, Sadiah Qureshi and Margot Finn again here:
Jan 27, 2020 40 min

Race, Ethnicity and Equality Report in UK History with Margot Finn

In Episode 6, I speak to Margot Finn, Professor of Modern British History at UCL and President of the Royal Historical Society ('RHS') about the Race, Ethnicity & Equality Report in UK History and The East India Company at Home, 1757-1857 project. Support us on Patreon!! Follow Margot @EICatHome Presented/Produced by Sushma Jansari @TheWonderHouse Produced by Nick Harris @2ndThoughtTank
Jan 21, 2020 35 min

Race, Display and Empire with Sadiah Qureshi

In Episode 5, I speak to Dr Sadiah Qureshi, Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham, about: 1) the Royal Historical Society's Race, Ethnicity & Equality Report; 2) NPG exhibition George Catlin: American Indian Portraits; 3) Sadiah's book Peoples on Parade. Support us on Patreon!! Follow Sadiah @SadiahQureshi Presented/Produced by Sushma Jansari @TheWonderHouse Produced by Nick Harris @2ndThoughtTank
Jan 13, 2020 45 min

Decolonising museum practice with Rachael Minott

In Episode 4, I speak to Rachael Minott, Inclusion and Change Manager at The National Archives, board member of the Museums Association and visual artist working on Jamaican national representation as a form of artistic exploration. We talk about how Rachael’s artistic practice informs her curatorial work, including in the recent exhibition ‘The Past Is Now’ (2017) held at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Support us on Patreon!! Follow Rachael @RachaelMinott Presented/Produced by Sushma Jansari @TheWonderHouse Produced by Nick Harris @2ndThoughtTank
Nov 20, 2019 1 hr 6 min

The past has never been more present with Sara Wajid

In Episode 3, I speak to Sara Wajid, Head of Engagement at the Museum of London, about her sector-changing approach to 'The Past Is Now' (2017) exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Infused throughout our conversation are references to Museum Detox, a networking group for BAME professionals in museums and heritage that we are both members of and which Sara co-founded when she was working at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. We talk about how Sara brings her journalism and literary studies background to inject powerful storytelling into the projects she works on to explore and further develop decolonial methodology in a museum and display context. A key part of this approach is the two-way collaboration between people who work in museums and members of the wider community, including artists and activists, and the 'emotional sledgehammer' this type of work can bring to a display like 'The Past Is Now'. Experimentation and the freedom to fail is so important and this exhibition explored the possibility of finding a new language and way of talking about collections relating to empire, and how visitors responded to this. Within this context of testing, one of the aims was to display a more honest reckoning of empire and to explore how you tell stories - and whose stories are told - as part of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's redevelopment plans so it could be reoriented for a younger, diverse urban population. For me, one of the key points in this episode is to recognise the incredible alchemy that results when you bring together powerful, innovative storytelling and experimentation into a museum. And the role of funders is vital to this: I wonder if The Past Is Now would have happened without Arts Council England’s Changer Makers programme. This type of work is difficult, emotional and unsettling but what came out of the conversation with Sara is that it is also joyful and exciting. Her work shows how you can be brave when you are not naturally brave and that's an important lesson for us all. Links of interest: The Art of Leadership - leading to create greater impact with Hilary Carty, Sara Wajid & David Jubb - How can you decolonise museums? - Museum Next presentations by Sara Wajid & Shaheen Kasmani - Untold Stories: Birmingham, the British Empire and Bangladeshi Curry - Birmingham Museum defends exhibition of 'evil' British Empire [behind paywall] - Follow Sara @Waji35 This episode was Presented/Produced by Sushma Jansari (@TheWonderHouse) and Produced by Nick Harris (@2ndThoughtTank)
Nov 13, 2019 51 min

Nature Read in Black and White with Miranda Lowe

In Episode 2, I speak to Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at the Natural History Museum – and, yes, I ask her what ‘invertebrate zoology’ means! I have long been inspired by Miranda’s work unearthing stories about the important contributions that people of colour have made to the study of natural history and science, as well as associated collecting and collections, over the centuries. Miranda does not keep this knowledge within the narrow boundaries of academia or museums but, instead, she presents her research in many different ways to many different audiences. Recently, Miranda distilled her extensive knowledge and experience into an article she co-authored with Subhadra Das – I spoke to Subhadra about her work in Episode 1. The title of the article is: ‘Nature Read in Black and White: decolonial approaches to interpreting natural history collections’, Journal of Natural Science Collections, Vol.6, pp.4-14. It is fundamentally changing the way natural history collections are researched, understood and presented. I ask Miranda about her research into Graman Kwasi, the Surinamese freedman, natural scientist and collector. Graman Kwasi has been little known outside specialist fields but, as Miranda explains, his legacy is in full public view on the ceiling of the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall and she shares his story and those of others through public talks and other outreach work. Much of Miranda’s research into the many people of colour represented in the NHM’s collections and some displays was also included in the museum’s Slavery and the Natural World project (2007). Follow Miranda @NatHistGirl This episode was Presented/Produced by Sushma Jansari (@TheWonderHouse) and Produced by Nick Harris (@2ndThoughtTank).
Nov 06, 2019 10 min

BRICKS + MORTALS: Marie Stopes, and How Eugenics Was Going to Make the World a Better Place

Subhadra Das has kindly let us share the first episode of Bricks + Mortals, a history of eugenics told through a walking tour of UCL's buildings. While Marie Stopes is widely celebrated as a feminist icon and champion of birth control, this episode explores her eugenic motivations which are less well-known. Link to all of the Bricks + Mortals episodes - Presented/Written by Subhadra Das Produced by Cerys Bradley
Nov 06, 2019 47 min

Challenging the narrative, one building at a time with Subhadra Das

To kick off this new series, I speak to Subhadra Das (@LittleGaudy), Curator of the Science Collections at UCL. Subhadra is doing some really exciting work re-assessing UCL’s scientific and natural history collections and bringing them to wider public knowledge in new and innovative ways – from not-so-traditional exhibitions and gallery interventions, to stand-up comedy shows. For more info: Produced by Sushma Jansari (@TheWonderHouse) & Nick Harris (@2ndThoughtTank)
The Wonder House
Visual Arts
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