Culture minister Nelson McCausland has written to the trustees of the National Museums Northern Ireland asking them to give more prominence in their displays and exhibitions at the Ulster Museum to Ulster Scots, the Orange Order and alternative views as regards the origins of the universe specifically creationism.
The letter, written as part of a consultation for the Ulster Museums business plan for next year (Shared Future Strategy) has led to the Director of the Museums Association Mark Taylor to state that the minister has overstepped his remit by going into too much detail in his request and should not be trying to influence what is exhibited.
Given that the Museum has been shortlisted for the prestigious art prize fund (don’t forget to vote) it would seem pretty bloody obvious that the curators and custodians of the Museum (who are world class professionals) are doing a good job and don’t need any interference from a Minister (and dare I say) his old fashioned (and mythical?) views.
edited to add
Minister McCausland on the Nolan Show stated his disappointment that the letter had been leaked. He also stated that he would be failing in his ministerial responsibilities if he didn’t try to ensure in the interests of equality and cultural rights that ALL of Northern Irelands citizens were reflected in the museum saying it was a human rights issue. (Does that mean that the small number of BNP/C18 members should have an exhibition?) He mentioned 4 points that he had raised in the letter but only got to mention 2 of them, namely that the Orange Order and other fraternal organisations should be represented at the museum and that (the more contentious theory of) Creationism should be also represented. Richard Dawkins was also on and asked if the Minister was so worried about inclusivity would he also be asking for the ‘Stork theory’ of evolution to be taught along with other “Crackpot theories”.
The minister went on to say that by far and away the most number of requests he received as minister responsible for the museum, was to do with the representation of the OO and reiterated that he had raised the issues in the interest of equality and human rights.
Photographer and visual artist based in Belfast.
I have facilitated community based workshops with groups as diverse as visually impaired individuals in Dungannn, Travellers across Northern Ireland, Young Offenders and many community groups across Belfast.
My work has exhibited extensively here in Northern Ireland in group and individual shows and has been shown in North America and i had my first solo international exhibition in New Zealand. I have been the recipient of a number of grants from the Arts Council Northern Ireland.
I’ll be blogging about Arts and Culture, primarily in Belfast
check out www.moochinphotoman.tumblr.com