Museums and Conflict: Speculative Political Designs

Dr Helen Graham is the keynote speaker at an international conference organised by the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH), University of Luxembourg.

Museums are arenas of profound tensions forged in a liberal constitutional framework aspiring to conserve, facilitate access, represent and shape the world. Yet, the pursuit of these grand ideals introduces complexities which necessitates perpetual negotiations and effectively subdues conflict within the confines of institutional norms. 

In this keynote lecture, Dr Helen Graham draws on perspectives from agnostic political theory and theories of constituent power to present a redefined understanding of 'conflict' through a non-representational reframing of museums’ political ontology.

The talk concludes with three speculative political designs for a transformed and deconsitutional museum practice: Centring Plurality, Minimal Institution-Maximal Divergent Use, and Commoning.

Please note that the talk takes place at 16:00 CET (15:00 GMT).


Dr Helen Graham teaches museum and heritage studies in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.

Helen’s research lies at the intersection of political theory, affect theory and participative and action-led forms of research. With museums, heritage and place as a focus, Helen investigates the dynamics of property and rights, democracy and ideology and agency and affinity, often through collaborative and experimental projects, both in the doing and on the page.

Book your place

This keynote talk is part of the international conference Agonism: Conflicting Interpretations of the Past, Participation Practices, and Transforming Cultural Venues, taking place online from 7 to 8 December 2023.

Find out more and register for Helen’s talk.


Photo by Liza Rusalskaya on Unsplash.