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Blether Together: Decolonising the Curriculum


Blether Together sessions are an opportunity for museums, galleries, and heritage organisations to engage with teachers and community learning and development (CLD) practitioners. These sessions enable practitioners to discuss the latest developments in education settings and promote their resources to support teaching and learning.

This Blether Together event was organised by Museums Galleries Scotland and Education Scotland and focused on museum’s learning resources for schools and communities that have been developed around the Curriculum for Excellence.

The theme of this session was ‘decolonising the curriculum’. The session explored what it means for a museum to decolonise its collections and the process of doing this. Guest speakers from heritage organisations across Scotland shared their experiences in acknowledging their collections and venues’ links to historic slavery and their journey to creating more inclusive spaces as well as discussing how school teachers can engage with this decolonisation work in the curriculum.

Hear from guest speakers from Museums and Heritage Highland, National Trust for Scotland, Museums Galleries Scotland, and Glasgow Life in the recording below.

Watch the video

Video timestamps

(00:00 – 01:55) Jim Fanning, Senior Education Officer, Education Scotland.

Jim talks about his role with Education Scotland and introduces the session.

(01:55 – 23:00) Helen Avenell, Projects and Partnership Manager and Rosie Barrett, Education Consultant, Museums and Heritage Highland.

Helen and Rosie speak about Museums of the Highlands, a digital learning hub for individuals, families, and schools looking to learn more about the rich history of the highlands through its collections. Rosie speaks specifically about colonial objects within the museums’ collections and how these can be used to explore topics of colonialism with pupils and facilitate open conversations.

(23:30 – 39:20) Sarah Cowie, Senior Heritage Learning Advisor, Claire Hammond, Project Co-ordinator, and Sarah Connet, Participation Officer at National Trust for Scotland.

Sarah Cowie introduces the presentation and talks about National Trust for Scotland’s recently launched corporate strategy, Nature, Beauty & Heritage for everyone, which marked a change in approach for NTS as an organisation.

Claire Hammond talks about facing our past, a project which looked at NTS’ sites and their links to historic slavery. Claire also speaks about how NTS collaborated with Barbadian artist, Annalee Davis, to deliver a creative intervention and engage with pupils at a local High School during the facing our past project.

Sarah Connet talks about her role as a Participation Officer with NTS and building long-term relationships with underrepresented audiences. Sarah also talks about how NTS are embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) action into their everyday work and how visiting other museums has built their knowledge and understanding in this area.

They all share resources they have found useful in educating themselves about systemic racism and racial injustice.

(39:30 – 51:40) Gabi Gillott, Project Officer at Museums Galleries Scotland.

Gabi introduces Marseum, a learning resource created by MGS and Daydream Believers designed to engage secondary school pupils with museums. Marseum aims to inspire young people to think about the purpose and value of museums and consider the museum sector as a potential career pathway.

(52:10 – 58:00) Anna Lehr, Learning and Access Curator at Glasgow Life.

Anna shares Hidden Legacies, an online resource developed by Glasgow Museums’ education department for primary and secondary schools which aims to teach pupils about transatlantic slavery in an anti-racist and non-Eurocentric way. The resource focuses on enslaved people’s experiences and includes walking tours and classroom presentations.

Download the transcript
Blether Together: Decolonising the Curriculum transcript
(DOCX, 57 KB)

Further resources

Museums and Heritage Highland

National Trust for Scotland

  • Facing our past – a project that researched the legacies of slavery in Scotland and in particular the links to the properties cared for by the NTS.
  • WOSDEC – a third sector provider of professional learning in Global Citizenship to educators in the West of Scotland. Dedicated to empowering educators across the Western region of Scotland, equipping them with expertise in Global Citizenship, Learning for Sustainability, and Rights-based Learning through an anti-racist lens.
  • Teaching Slavery in Scotland – a project which created a wealth of resources for teachers to use in their classrooms to educate pupils on a range of topics relating to Scotland’s ties to the transatlantic slave trade.
  • Black Oot Here: Black Lives in Scotland – a book that explores the history and contemporary lives of Black people in Scotland. Based on intergenerational interviews, survey responses, photography, and analysis of media and archived material, authors Sobande and Hill offer a unique snapshot of Black Scottish history and recent 21st century realities.
  • The Anti-Racist Educator – Based in Scotland, The Anti-Racist Educator is a collective of educational stakeholders including students, teachers, parents, academics, and activists working toward building an education system that is equitable, free from racial injustice, and critically engaged with issues of power, identity, and privilege.
  • Me and White Supremacy – a book by Layla F. Saad on recognising white privilege and combatting racism.
  • Everything I learned about racism I learned in school – a book by Tiffany Jewell which follows the author from early elementary school through her time at college, unpacking the history of systemic racism in the American educational system along the way.
  • Rabbit Proof Fence – An Australian film which follows three Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being pursued by white law enforcement authorities and an Aboriginal tracker.

Museums Galleries Scotland

  • Marseum – a learning resource for secondary schools and museums.

Glasgow Life

  • Hidden Legacies – a resource for teachers that looks at Glasgow’s connections to the transatlantic slave trade.

Education Scotland